Murphy/O’Brien Claim 2011 Valvoline Irish Forest Championship

Monday, 26 September 2011 17:44

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Owen Murphy and co-driver James O’Brien in their Hankook obrienmurphy  Mitsubishi Evo 9 won the 2011 Valvoline Forest Rally Championship in Saturday’s Bushwhacker Rally, based in Omagh. Murphy from Ballincollig and O’Brien from Kanturk are the first all Cork crew to win the forestry series. John Mc Carthy from Carrigtwohill was champion in 2006 when he was co driven by Wexfords MJ Morrissey.

Murphy and O’Brien drove all day with an eye on the championship however on stage one they were right on the pace. Moving on to stage two and there were intercom problems and some valuable time was lost. This was sorted but Owen was keeping a close eye on his fellow competitors in the Valvoline series.

Stage 3 was a wakeup call to take it handy when exiting a chicane he clipped a rock this put out the tracking and the camber and dropped him two places but little time was lost , then on stage 4 Owen got caught behind a WRC car stuck in a chicane  it seemed like we were there for ever we went one way he blocked us we went the other way he was still in the way finally we got through maybe 20 seconds or more lost but it was a stressful few seconds.

After that Owen decided to take it easy and bring it home which he did in fine style 10th overall and 4th in the Valvoline series.

murphy2Owen is a Former National Karting champion, a Billy Coleman award winner and the 2006 National GpN Forest Rally Champion. To date this is his biggest achievement he led the championship from the word go with a win, round 2 saw him win again , on round 3 a stone broke the fan and punctured the rad leading to retirement while leading at his ease then he started to drive for the championship with a 2nd in Cork but Maximum points and with the result in Omagh he now has the series won  with one round remaining. Owen said the stages were very different to the ones down south  the stages today were short but very fast and gravelly one would need to do a few events to get the proper  feel for them  in order to drive flat out.

Owen said at the finish it has not sank in yet what a great year so many people to thank firstly my friend and co -driver James o Brien who steered me along all year there is no doubt he is one of the best in the country, To Hankook   Ireland for putting their faith in me and to TTEC for a super car all year, thanks to my service crew my family my parents my girlfriend Ciara and everyone who helped in any way to make this a great year. Thanks to my associate sponsors and all my friends too many to mention but never forgotten.