2022 New-Look Moonraker

The 2022 Moonraker hopes to attract more crews willing to develop their time and distance rally skills.

Change of format for Moonraker Rally 2022

On September 23rd 2022, Dungannon Motor Club will run a new format Moonraker Navigation Rally with a view to attracting more crews out to enjoy a night on the roads.   The main change is a shift in emphasis away from tricky route instructions and tight navigation, towards the skill of time and distance management over longer, easier-navigated regularity sections.  

To make it as easy as possible, the route will be defined almost completely by map references on Sheets 13 and 19, with just a single section defined by tulip diagrams to avoid the need for competitors to buy Sheet 7 as well.  To help crews as much as possible, the route instructions will be emailed out the day before the event, so crews can come to the Dungannon start with the route plotted.

In the 1970s, navigation rallies were mainly run using map references, and careful plotting was essential to success. To help newcomers, route details will be provided in advance to avoid having to plot in the car like Jimmy Conlon and Peter Scott.

The regularity sections will use some of the more remote areas on 13 and 19, with longer distances between junctions, and thus allow crews time to get into the regularity rhythm.  Secret checks of course will observe adherence to the set average speed, and will be located in places where keeping the 30 average is considered a bit of a challenge. 

The set average speed for all regularity sections in 2022 will be 30 mph, and a speed table will be provided to help crews manage their distance and time.  Timing will be to the whole minute, so each crew only has to figure out what minute should be showing on the clock for their position at any time.  Controls won’t necessarily be at even miles or half miles, but for every point on the route, there is a correct minute that should be showing on “the clock”.

The Club plans to run a refresher course in advance of the rally, where plotting and timing will be covered to help crews get the concepts clear in their minds!  There will also be a written explanation prepared and posted on the website for crews to read and help with their understanding.

Another change being introduced is the idea of “self-start” regularities.  When a competitor completes a section, a start time for the next section will be issued, the competitor makes his own way to that start line, and moves off when his time comes up.  Being regularity, there is no incentive to move off early.

Experienced crews, like multiple rally champions Leslie and Gareth Hawe, should still find the “whole minute” regularity a challenge and this pair in particular would be candidates for a “clean sheet” on the new-look Moonraker.

As with all rallies, the need for good distance measurement is critical, but with GPS today and mobile phone apps available, it is relatively easy to get precise distance travelled.  Also, a good time-of-day timepiece (or stopwatch if preferred) is equally essential.  Again, with common internet time being easily accessed by phones, everybody (competitors and organisers) can be working to the same time of day.

Anybody who has competed on events like the Circuit of Ireland Retrospective (Circuit Retro) will feel very comfortable with the format for the “New-Look” Moonraker.  We hope we can attract some of those crews out again with a chance to give their cars a shake down, now that it has been quite a few years since that chance last existed.

We hope to attract some of the former Circuit of Ireland Retro competitors out for a night of regularity in the mountains of Tyrone. Sam Bowden and Derek Smyth check in at a control in 1995.

By making the navigation easy, and running at 30 mph to the whole minute throughout, it is conceivable (perhaps even expected) that some crews will manage the whole event without penalty.  Rather than worry about this, the Club wants to celebrate it, and an award for every clean sheet will be made.

A route of about 100 miles is on the cards to make it a good night of competitive driving with five regularity sections to be tackled ranging from 11 miles to 22 miles.  Sections between “regularities” will have relaxed timing so competitors can catch their breath before tackling the next one.

Dungannon Motor Club want to try this new-look Moonraker to see if we can attract some new competitors out for a night of grass-root motorsport.  The skills of time and distance management are critical for all forms of motorsport and we would like to make navigation rallying once again an essential part of a competitor’s progression up the rally ladder.

Maps can be ordered from Ordnance Survey at their website ==> Maps

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