Magnificent Moonraker

Photo: Derek Smyth
Winners of the 2019 Moonraker Navigation Rally were Kenneth Murray and Gordon Noble.

Report by Grace King.

Dungannon Motor Club hosted its legendary Moonraker Navigation Rally on Friday 20th September.  With 24 entries, including some of the top names in navigation, targa and autotests, it was to be a night of fantastic competition.  This event followed the same format as the previous 3 years, with some tight navigation sections and 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 Hadden’s Lane.

Seamus Goodfellow and Joel McFarland set the fastest time on Test 1.

Seamus Goodfellow, partnered by Joel McFarland, set the pace with a time of 50 seconds in his Mazda MX-5, followed closely by Paul and Damien Mooney in their Vauxhall Nova and third fastest was Darrell and Jordan Burns in their Ford Fiesta.  The first section of navigation proved to be no issue with 10 crews being penalty-free as they 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, Fairview.  Again, the pace was quick with the Mooney brothers

Paul and Damien Mooney set fast times on the tests all night but broke a drive shaft towards the end.

setting the fastest time of 48 seconds on the test.  Second fastest were Robin Pitts and Jim Allen in their Toyota MR2, and third fastest on 50 seconds were Mark and Kyle Thompson in their Mazda MX-5. 

A further section of navigation would keep the competitors busy until they reached the final test of the evening at Smith’s Lane.  Again, it would be Paul Mooney who set the pace and showed how his autotest experience could be transferred into this style of event.  The Mooney brothers set a lightning-quick time of 71 seconds, with the second-fastest crew of the Burns brothers a further 2 seconds behind on 73 seconds.  

The experienced Leslie Hawe had Beginner navigator (and Brother) Ashley with him, and they managed to win the Beginner Class.

Then it was back out onto the roads 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. 

After this final time control, it was back to rally HQ in Killyman Church Hall, for some well-deserved refreshments whilst the crews waited on the club to finalise the results.  Clerk of the Course David White thanked all the crews for their participation, and the marshals and landowners for their assistance in making the night a great success, before presenting the awards to the worthy winners.

Full results can be found here ===> Results

Overall Winners – Kenneth Murray & Gordon Noble (Ford Focus)

Class 1 (Experts)

1st. John Henderson & Jonathan Henderson (Nissan Micra)

2nd. Michael Reid & John Lindsay (MG Midget)

Class 2 (Semi-Experts)

1st. Philip Sommerville & Kyle Sommerville (Rover Mini)

2nd. Mark McIlwee & Michael McIlwee (Toyota MR2)

3rd. Harry Johnston & Ashley Boulton (Mazda MX-5)

Class 3 (Novices)

1st. Mark Thompson & Kyle Thompson (Mazda MX-5)

2nd. Neil Fletcher & Rodney McCready (Nissan Micra)

Class 4 (Beginners)

1st. Leslie Hawe & Ashley Hawe (Mazda MX-5)

2nd. Ronan Cox & Joe O’Neill (Ford Ka)

3rd. Alastair Kerr & Jamie Kerr (Mazda MX-5)