(Words by Grace Campbell, photos by Derek Smyth.)
Following on from a successful Nostalgia Night, held in the Donnelly Groups M1 Motorstore, which raised over £1600 for the NI Air Ambulance, Dungannon Motor Club hosted their legendary Moonraker Navigation Rally on Friday 21st September. With 28 entries, including some of the top names in navigation, targas and autotests it was to be a night of fantastic competition. This event sponsored by Hobson Electronics, followed the same format as the previous 2 years, with some tight navigation sections with a few targa style tests, thrown in for good measure.
Before the crews set off into their navigation sections, they tackled the first test of the evening at Gribben’s Lane. Desertmartin’s Mark King, partnered by Malcolm McQueen set the pace with a time of 92 seconds in his Mazda MX-5, followed closely by David Burns and Conor Murphy in their Ford Fiesta and third fastest was the father-son duo of Kenny & Peter Anderson in their Renault Clio. The first section of navigation proved to be no issue with 8 crews being penalty free as the reached time control B. The second section caught a few of these crews out and a number of small penalties were incurred.
After the first 3 sections of navigation, the crews arrived at their second test of the evening, Smiths Lane. Again, the pace was quick with Burns & Murphy setting the fastest time of 79 seconds on the test. Second fastest were Leslie & Gareth Hawe in their Vauxhall Astra, and tied for third fastest on 85 seconds were Andrew Mairs & Ciaran Carey in their Mini, Neil Fletcher & Rodney McCready in their Ford Escort and King & McQueen.
Then it was back out onto the roads around Castlecaulfield again for the final 3 sections of navigation, which saw the penalties mounting for many of the crews, as they struggled to stick to the tight time schedules on the even tighter roads.
The final test of the evening would come just before the finish and it was a reverse version of Gribben’s Lane, which had been used earlier in the evening. Again, it would be Mark King who set the pace, and showed how his autotest experience could be transferred into this style of event. King & McQueen set a lightening quick time of 86 seconds, with the second fastest crew of Burns & Murphy a further 4 seconds behind on 90 seconds.
After this final test it was back to rally HQ in Davison’s Bar in Castlecaulfield, for some well-deserved Irish Stew whilst the crews waited on the club to finalise the results. Clerk of the Course Glenn Millar thanked all the crews for their participation, and the
marshals and landowners for their assistance in making the night a great success, before asking sponsor Derek Hobson to come forward to present the awards to the worthy winners.
Full results can be found here ===> RESULTS
Overall Winners – Leslie Hawe & Gareth Hawe (Vauxhall Astra)
Class 2 (Semi-Experts)
1st. Andrew Mairs & Ciaran Carey (Austin Mini)
2nd. John Henderson & Michael McIlwee (Nissan Micra)
3rd. Mark King & Malcolm McQueen (Mazda MX-5)
Class 3 (Novices)
1st. David Burns & Conor Murphy (Ford Fiesta)
2nd. Mark Thompson & Kyle Thompson (Mazda MX-5)
3rd. Bert Reid & Austin Burnett (Toyota Yaris)
Class 4 (Beginners)
1st. Derek Hobson & Chris Hobson (Mazda MX-5)
2nd. Jason Stirrup & Niall McKenna (Toyota MR2)
3rd. Arthur McMullan & Adam McMullan (Ford Anglia)