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Moonbeam Road Rally

Sponsored by CRM-TEC Motorsport

Telford Auto Club

25th/26th February 2023

Moonbeam Road Rally 2023
Winners: Mark Lennox/Ian Beamond (Ford Escort)
Photograph: Joseph John Gilbertson

Organiser: Telford Auto Club

Date: 25th/26th February 2023

Clerk of the Course: Kevin Hutchings

Route: 100 Miles (Map 126 & 137)

Start: Shrewsbury

Starters: 47

The 2023 Moonbeam Rally used its traditional area stamping ground, starting in Shrewsbury, with Petrol at Cravern Arms, before the Finish at Wentnor, in the shadow the Log Mynd. The 47 starters faced a testing 100 mile route.

The opening section ran south from Atcham and finished, 20 miles later, at Longville. The first two TCs were timed to the second and all competitors dropped time at both. George Williams/Nick Bloxham led Richard Williams/Kieran Price by three seconds after TC3, while Mark Lennox/Ian Beamond were six seconds off the lead.

After cleanable sections in the lanes east of Acton Burnell, the next dropper was in the Chatwall area. Decisively Williams/Bloxham missed TC8, the resultant fail putting them out of contention for the win. Top seeds Robi Wood/Neil Spiers also failed to spot the entrance into the control.

Lennox/Beamond now led, but had Mark 'GT' Roberts/Andrew Lowe, who had been the quickest to TC8, just four seconds behind. From a start number of 25, Gareth Price/Liam Evans held in third place, three seconds ahead of Williams/Price.

Richard Jones/Richard Jackson made a spectacular exit from the event on the Chatwall loop, rolling their Nissan Micra into retirement. Kevin Brown/Rhys Griffiths also failed to make Petrol after picking up a puncture and having the wheel nuts becoming rounded on their MG ZR.

For the leading crews the next dropper was on the run down Wenlock Edge, where Lennox/Beamond shared fastest time with Williams/Bloxham, putting the Knighton MC pair into a 13 seconds lead at Petrol. Roberts/Lowe were in second, while Williams/Price had regained third place, but were 33 seconds behind the leaders.

Amongst the eight crews who failed to make the halfway halt were Andy Morgan/Colin Bowen, whose Citroen Saxo came to a halt with gear selector problems. Meanwhile too many puncture had caused the retirement of Lynne Rigby/Simon Rigby.

A few easy sections, which most crews cleaned, took the route up the Long Mynd and then down to Snailbeach. Everyone dropped time at TC22 and TC24, where Lennox/Beamond extended their lead as they were fastest at both. They led by 45 seconds at TC24.

The battle for second place was now between Roberts/Lowe, who were on 6m08s, Williams/Price (6m23s), Price/Evans (6m36s) and Jamie Crump/Robbie Pugh (6m53s).

However neither Roberts/Lowe nor Williams/Price were to make the Finish; both broke shafts at Linley Hairpin on the final section.

This all meant that Lennox/Beamond romped home with a winning margin of 1m03s, while Crump/Pugh, who had been in sixth at Petrol, stormed through to grab the runner up spot, 1m04s ahead of Price/Evans.

Will Atkins/David Price had been clear leaders in the Semi-Expert Class throughout the rally and finished over a minute ahead of their nearest class rivals. They took tenth place overall.

The winners of the Novice Class were Greg Penn/Dave Andrew, who were the only crew in the category to finish without a fail. They were 15th overall.

While the leading crews found the Moonbeam challenging, they never dropped more than a couple of minutes at any control; in contrast the competitors in the Clubman category struggled. The class was won by Lewis Higman/Adrian Higman, who completed the event in 22nd place, with one fail, for booking in early at a time control.