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Moonbeam Rally 1998

Sponsored by Telford Motor Auctions

Telford Auto Club

7th/8th March 1998

Clerk of the Course: Maurice Leach

Route: 146 Miles

Maps: 126 127 & 137

Starters: 75

Winners: Dennis Quinn/Andrew Thomson (Ford Escort)

Their victory on Telford AC's Moonbeam Rally put Dennis Quinn/Andrew Thomson in a very strong position in the West Midlands Championship - they had now taken maximum points on all of the first three rounds of the series. The Moonbeam had a reputation as a tough event and the torrential rain in the days leading up to the rally just added to the task facing competitors. Of the 75 starters only 38 were classified as finishers.

Moonbeam Rally 1998

Telford AC had declined to have the Moonbeam included in the Welsh Championship for 1998 as the WAMC had introduced a rule that stipulated that only one section in a championship round could be timed to the second; the Moonbeam organisers proudly announced that they would have 13 sections timed to the second.

Despite withdrawing from the Welsh Championship the Moonbeam's entry was fully subscribed as it was still a round of both the West Midlands and North Western Championships, the event having taken the Best Rally award for both series in 1997. The 1998 rally used the now traditional lanes and numerous farm tracks in south Shropshire, taking a clockwise loop starting and finishing at Telford.

Kevin Ikin/Martin Saunders were keen to repeat their victory of the previous year, Ikin having just completed repairs to his car after an off on the 061 Rally, four month's earlier. However they were out of luck, having started well they lost time when their Escort became stuck on a track at the top of the Long Mynd. Soon afterwards their rally came to an end when they struck a pothole which deranged the rear suspension.

Mechanical failures put pay to the chances of three other fancied runners - Chris Wilson/Roger Fildes had the engine on their Astra expire, while Dave Jones/Ian Vale withdrew after they lost all the lights on their Corolla and Cyril Crook/Chris Ware had another unsuccessful outing when the diff on their Sunbeam failed. Geraint Davies/Sarah Guylas (Toyota Corolla) and Kevin Hesketh/Andy Moss (Ford Escort) both retired after their cars suffered damage from the tough conditions.

Moonbeam Rally 1998

Quinn/Thomson had taken an early lead, being the only crew with a penalty of under a minute after the first two sections. However they then became stuck on a slippery field, which was part of the route, and dropped over four minutes extracting themselves. It was a steady run through the second half and the misfortunes of others that then allowed them to take victory by just eight seconds at the end. Adrian Hodgson/Sean Caddick, who finished second, could have denied them the win but lost over a minute on the fifth section when they picked up a puncture.

Graham Evans/Ian Mills (Toyota Corolla) lost five minutes crossing the same set of fields that had caused problems for Quinn/Thomson, but recovered to take third place at the Finish.

Alan Walker was making his road rally debut with experienced navigator Nick Darkin on the maps, remarkably they were leading the rally with just two miles to go when they went off the road and lost nine minutes, dropping them to ninth at the Finish. This should have handed the win to Adrian Higman/Gareth Price but ironically they went off the road on the debris from Walker's accident and struggled home in fourth.

Pete Cotton/Dave Pitchford started strongly but then their Escort started to have its lights fail intermitently. The problem persisted throughout the night and they struggled home in 17th place.

The Semi-Expert Class was won by Escort of Martin Cresswell/Corin Redman who were seventh overall. The similar car of Iwan Pritchard/Paul Owen was second to them less than two minutes behind. The Novice Award went to the Sierra of Adrian Green/Geraint Jones, while Chris Painter/Phil Stocking took the Under 1400 trophy in their Nova.

Four crews were excluded at the post-event Damage Control.


Pos Driver Navigator Car Penalty
1 Dennis Quinn Andrew Thomson Ford Escort 13m 20s
2 Adrian Hodgson Sean Caddick Renault Fuego 13m 28s
3 Graham Evans Ian Mills Toyota Corolla 16m 20s
4 Adrian Higman Gareth Price Talbot Sunbeam 16m 27s
5 Baron Glaze Pete Davies Ford Escort 17m 55s
6 Chris Painter Phil Stocking Vauxhall Nova 18m 27s
7 Martin Cresswell Corin Redman Ford Escort 18m 38s
8 Wayne Morris Paul Middleton Ford Escort 18m 42s
9 Alan Walker Nick Darkin Ford Escort 19m 04s
10 Iwan Pritchard Paul Owen Ford Escort 20m 25s
11 Alwyn Jones Aled Pennant Ford Escort 29m 03s
12 Trevor Pritchard Paul Hughes Vauxhall Carlton 30m 06s
13 Terrence Pressdee Iain Tullie Vauxhall Chevette 30m 08s
14 Jon Ross Jane Powell Ford Escort 30m 17s
15 Brian Harrison Cliff Washbrook Ford Escort 30m 36s
16 Simon Price Alan Lovett Ford Escort 30m 38s
17 Pete Cotton Dave Pitchford Ford Escort 31m 23s
18 Nick Broadway Andy Oakes Ford Sierra 38m 36s
19 John Painter Peter Lewis Opel Manta GTE 39m 37s
20 Barrie Smith Paul Dolby Ford Escort 1F 28m 01s
21 Oliver Davies Chris Jones Ford Escort 1F 31m 19s
22 Si Tuckman Steve Booth Ford Escort 1F 37m 50s
23 Adrian Green Geraint Jones Ford Sierra 2F 33m 25s
24 Neil Adren Giles Corbett Ford Escort 4F 45m 37s
25 Nick Bloxham Martyn Allen Peugeot 205 5F 36m 37s
26 Heath Evans Andrew Rumble Ford Escort XR3 7F 52m 47s
27 Gareth Davies Andrew Davies Vauxhall Chevette 8F 52m 33s
28 Tony Watkins Medwyn Evans Mini 1275GT 10F 65m 00s
29 Michael Harrison Andrew Rousell Ford Escort 12F 31m 35s
30 Alen Ridge Simon Ridge Ford Escort 12F 40m 29s
31 Daniel Middle Julian Potter Ford Escort 14F 36m 32s
32 Peter Crighton Amanda Ceely Peugeot 205 14F 51m 07s
33 Christopher Randle Joe Anderson Vauxhall Astra GTE 15F 37m 34s
34 Justin Sharples Jon Sharples Toyota Corolla 15F 58m 02s
35 Steven Roberts Alan Jôs Ford Escort 17F 16m 17s
36 Paul Davies Dave Cartwright Ford Escort 24F 37m 15s
37 Simon Jones Tina Jones Ford Escort 26F 51m 37s
38 Derek Tracey Chris Hughes Mini 1000 27F 67m 13s