2004 Moonraker Rally Report

17 September 2004

Phil and Alan Dorman returned to winning ways with victory in Dungannon Motor Club's Moonraker Rally. Twenty-nine cars started the rally which was run around south-east Tyrone. The route initially went towards Eglish before winding its way to the half way halt near Blackwatertown. The second half passed Benburb and Aughnacloy before returning to rally HQ in Dungannon Rugby Club.

The rally had a surprise early leader at half way. Ivan and Gareth Hawe (Renault Scenic) shared the lead with Eddie Murphy/Barry Taggart on one penalty apiece. This was Gareth's first attempt at Semi-Expert Class instructions in the championship and shows he has a tremendous potential. His good run came to an end after stopping several times in the second half when he did not feel well.

The Dorman's Nova lay third at the halt, as a result of picking up 2 marks for an early arrival at a Secret Check. Tied for fourth at this stage were another Semi-Expert crew in Clifford Auld/John Lindsay and current championship leaders Willie McKeown/Patrick McCollum, both on 4 marks.

The second half was to prove as low-scoring as the first, with the Dormans, McKeown/McCollum and Gary Sheridan/Lloyd Cochrane all staying penalty free. Murphy/Taggart only picked 2 marks in the final 40 miles, but it was enough to drop them behind the Dormans and finish second. McKeown/McCollum held on to their championship lead by finishing third and making it another Vauxhall 1-2-3.

Last year's Semi-Expert champions, Stephen Wishart/Jonathan Charlesson finished fourth in Stephen's road car, a Subaru Legacy. Sheridan/Cochrane rued the single mistake they made between TCB and TCC as the 10 marks they picked up there dropped them right down to fifth. Auld/Lindsay demonstrated just how much closer the Semi-Expert class are getting to the experts by finishing on 14 marks and with it took the lead in the Semi-Expert championship.

In the Novice Class, James Woods/Chris Ragg have changed car during the summer break to a Ford Sierra Estate, but it made little difference to their performance as they made it 3 wins out of 3 rallies this year. They only picked up 3 marks, 10 clear of second place William Todd/Maurice Cresswell (Vauxhall Corsa). Third was popular father and son crew of John and Jonathan Henderson in their venerable Talbot Sunbeam.

In the championship, the Dorman's win has moved them to within 3 points of the lead as they fight to retain their title. They have two wins and McKeown/McCollum have two wins, with 3 rallies to go. The chasing pack of Barry Taggart, Jonathan Charlesson and Lloyd Cochrane are all still within striking distance as dropped scores are yet to be taken into account.

Patrick McCollum

Posted by PMcCollum on 23/9/2008; Last updated by PMcCollum on 23/9/2008