1971 Moonraker Rally

Photo: Motorweek
Overall winners of the 71 Moonraker were brothers Sydney and Stanley Meeke, pictured after the finish at the Glenavon Hotel Cookstown. Their 1601 Escort RS broke the run of successes by BMC Cooper S types.

Meeke Brothers Lead the Field

Ernie Oliver and Ken Atkinson – Photo B. Sands

Dungannon Motor Club’s Auto-Supplies Moonraker Rally, held on Friday night, was won easily by Sydney and Stanley Meeke from the Bush, near Dungannon in their Ford Escort RS1600, entered and serviced by J.E. Coulter Ltd., the Belfast Ford Rallye Sport dealers.  Other Local crews also came in fourth and sixth places, these being Norman Reid and Gordon Taggart (Cooper S) and Trevor Haydock and George Beatty (Escort RS1600), Gordon Taggart showing that his last few months living in England have not cost him any of his navigational ability.

Snowdon Corkey and Tom Wilson – Photo B. Sands

A large crowd of spectators were at the Bush X-roads to see the cars leave the start.  On the first section, from the Bush to near Tamnamore, the Meeke’s were ‘at home’ and were much faster than the second crew, Ronnie McCartney/Norman Henderson in a Triumph 2.5 PI who were destined to retire soon after with a damaged gearbox.  Also destined to retire were Pat M‘Court/Peter Scott and Jim Conlon/Ian McFarland, both in Escort Twin Cam’s.

Peter Little and John White – Photo B. Sands

The Meeke Escort was never out of the lead for the rest of the night.  Such fancied crews as Mervyn Johnston/Paul Phelan and Ronnie White/Harold Hagan (Cooper S types) missed controls along the route, as did Dessie McCartney and Terry Harryman in an Escort T.C.  Ernie Oliver from Coalisland, navigated by Ken Atkinson, in has new Escort RS1600 was lying second until his retirement near the finish.

In the semi-experts class Peter Little and John White won easily, and in fact brought their Cooper S into fifth place overall.  Class three, the touring class, went to Snowdon Corkey and Tom Wilson in a Saab V4 and were it not for a few minor differences in the timing of this class compared with the other two, would have finished second overall.

Alwyn Doak and Jim Allen – Photo B. Sands
Harry Farr and Jim Taggart – Photo B. Sands
Fred Patterson and Brian Rowan – Photo B. Sands

This was the last event in the Dungannon Motor Club annual championship series and the positions are as follows:
Experts Driver: Norman Reid; Navigator: Peter Scott.
Novices: Driver: Snowdon Corkey; Navigator: Tom Wilson.

Overall Results:
1st Sydney Meeke/Stanley Meeke, Dungannon, Escort RS1601, 10.7;
2nd Mervyn Johnston/Paul Phelan, Tullyhommon, Cooper S, 39.2;
3rd Dessie McCartney/Terry Harryman, Bangor, Escort T.C., 41.9;
4th, Norman Reid/Gordon Taggart, Dungannon, Cooper S, 43.2;
5th Peter Little/John White, Enniskillen, Cooper S, 43.5;
6th Trevor Haydock/George Beatty, Dungannon, Escort RS1600, 51.2.

Semi Experts:
1st Peter Little/John White; Enniskillen, Cooper S, 43.5;
2nd Roger Kennedy/Andrew Blaney, Lisburn, Escort 1600GT, 60.1;
3rd, Alwyn Doak/Jim Allen, Portadown, Escort 1600GT, 86.6.

1st Snowdon Corkey/Tom Wilson. Glenanne, Saab V4, 33.2;
2nd Philip Scott/Alan Pentland, Belfast, Mini, 76.0;
3rd Fred Patterson/Brian Rowan, Ballygawley, Escort TC, 90.5.