2010 Moonraker Rally Report

3 September 2010

It's a sure sign that the summer is over when the Navigation Rally season gets under way. After a break of nearly 5 months, the crews gathered in Dungannon for the annual Moonraker Rally. The weather could not have been better. After what might have been the best week of the year, it was still dry and warm as the crews went through scrutiny in the grounds of the local Rugby Club.


This year's route stayed south of Dungannon, skirting around Eglish, Aughnacloy, Benburb, Armagh and finishing near Blackwatertown. The field of 17 cars was led away by current championship leaders Gary Sheridan and Lloyd Cochrane. Things didn't exactly go to plan for them right from the off. They were handed an incorrect set of instructions from the first control and drove off before they realised the mistake. They returned about one minute later and Lloyd got out of the car, collected the correct instructions and then managed to bounce his head off the door frame of the car while getting back in. All this clearly distracted him as they went wrong at the very first junction, had collected a total of 17 marks and were in 12th place by the time they ended the first section.


Most other crews were having little or no problems with the early leaders being Eddie Murphy and Barry Taggart, having cleaned the first 3 sections. The decisive moment in the rally came on the next section. The navigators were asked to plot a route through 4 map references. Simple enough, yes, but the direction of approach was cleverly hidden. Most crews headed straight for the first reference, whereas the correct route necessitated taking a long loop in order to approach that first reference from the south. Murphy and Taggart were well down the road before they realised and had to turn, picking up three 7 mark penalties as a result. Leslie Young and Lewis Boyd were further into the section before realising. In fact, they had gone so far they didn't bother turning and just accepted the 30 for the missed control. John and Jonathan Henderson lost a whole chunk of time here too, while Sheridan/Cochrane and David and Kyle Preston coped reasonably well and dropped just 2 minutes at each secret.


At the head of the field, Leslie and Gareth Hawe got the route onto the map and found the first secret on time, but a fuel line problem meant they were stopped at the road side for a costly 4 minutes. Current champions, Willie McKeown and Patrick McCollum cleaned the section altogether which meant that at the half way halt they led on 2 marks, with the Prestons on an impressive score of 10 in second place, the Hawes on 13, Murphy/Taggart on 21 and Sheridan/Cochrane back up to 5th place on 23.


This rally seems to affect more navigators than other events when it comes to sickness and this year was no different. Lewis Boyd felt quite unwell at the break and headed home soon after. Jonathan Henderson had a touch of the 'flu and also called it a night not far passed relaxed. The rally leaders even stopped for a while in the second half for Patrick to be sick. This slowed them down a bit, but all the crews were dropping time in all sections, so it didn't make that big a difference.


The Semi-Expert field had a good close battle all night. Each of the five crews were losing time in each of the sections, so it was a see saw fight as one crew was a little better here, another crew a little better there. In the end, William and David Howard came out victorious on a score of 64, 8 ahead of Gary and Robert Milligan who were on a rare outing as Robert is at university in England. The runaway championship leaders, Andrew Hughes and Neil Anderson were next up on 77, with Ken McDonald and Rachel Muldoon on 107 and Raymond and Gareth Deazley on 146.


Back in the Expert class, Sheridan and Cochrane managed to miss a secret check and that left them on 77 by the end, which was a tie for 7th place, which became 8th on account of their bad start. The Preston's unfortunately also missed a secret in the second half. This meant that what would have been an excellent 2nd place became a 4th place, on a score of 61. Murphy and Taggart were the best crew in the second half of the rally, but not by a big enough margin to make up the deficit they faced at relaxed and finished on 39 in third place. The Hawes got their best finish of the year in this their local event. Their score of 32 was 9 behind the winners, McKeown/McCollum, who after a few shaky results, are now back in contention for the title.


In the Novice class, not one crew found every control and so the final standings were determined by how many controls each crew missed. By missing just one, the ever enthusiastic Richard and Mark Hughes claimed their first class win of the year. Their steady improvement continues and they could well clinch the class title by the year's end. On 2 missed controls were Ian and Aaron Johnston which also gave them their best finish of the year and they happily picked up their first trophy of 2010. Championship leaders, Clive Latimer and David McElroy missed 3 controls. They lost time at fewer control than their rivals, but losing 30 marks 3 times was too costly and they finished 3rd in class. Philip and Kyle Sommerville finished 4th, but Ryan McInteggart and Russell Allen failed to finish.


The overall championship race is now finely poised with 3 rounds to go. Five points separate 4 crews, with Sheridan/Cochrane still leading from the Hendersons, McKeown/McCollum and the Hawes.


Patrick McCollum




  1. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum (Expert, Vauxhall Corsa) 21 marks
  2. Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Expert, Renault Clio) 32 marks
  3. Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart (Expert, Vauxhall Corsa) 39 marks
  4. David Preston/Kyle Preston (Expert, Citroën Saxo) 61 marks
  5. William Howard/David Howard (Semi-Expert, Vauxhall Astra ) 64 marks
  6. Gary Milligan/Robert Milligan (Semi-Expert, Renault Clio) 72 marks
  7. Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Semi-Expert, Peugeot 306) 77 marks
  8. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Expert, Proton) 77 marks
  9. Ken McDonald/Rachel Muldoon (Semi-Expert, Peugeot 205) 107 marks
  10. Raymond Deazley/Gareth Deazley (Semi-Expert, Vauxhall Corsa) 146 marks
  11. DNF John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Expert, Nissan Micra) DNF marks
  12. DNF Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd (Expert, Vauxhall Vectra) DNF marks


  1. Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum (Vauxhall Corsa) 21 marks
  2. Leslie Hawe/Gareth Hawe (Renault Clio) 32 marks
  3. Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart (Vauxhall Corsa) 39 marks
  4. David Preston/Kyle Preston (Citroën Saxo) 61 marks
  5. Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane (Proton) 77 marks
  6. DNF John Henderson/Jonathan Henderson (Nissan Micra) DNF marks
  7. DNF Leslie Young/Lewis Boyd (Vauxhall Vectra) DNF marks


  1. William Howard/David Howard (Vauxhall Astra ) 64 marks
  2. Gary Milligan/Robert Milligan (Renault Clio) 72 marks
  3. Andrew Hughes/Neil Anderson (Peugeot 306) 77 marks
  4. Ken McDonald/Rachel Muldoon (Peugeot 205) 107 marks
  5. Raymond Deazley/Gareth Deazley (Vauxhall Corsa) 146 marks


  1. Richard Hughes/Mark Hughes (Vauxhall Corsa) 74 marks
  2. Ian Johnston/Aaron Johnston (Nissan Micra) 115 marks
  3. Clive Latimer/David McElroy (Seat Ibiza) 132 marks
  4. Philip Somerville/Kyle Somerville (Toyota Starlet) 215 mark
  5. DNF Ryan McInteggart/Russell Allen (BMW 318)
Posted by PMcCollum on 7/9/2010; Last updated by PMcCollum on 7/9/2010