Having competed in quite a few Cotswold Clouds, Pete Stafford and I knew
that their Mechanics Trial was going to be a rough, tough event. We were not
disappointed, and getting the chance to explore sections and tracks that we had never seen
before, and had not been trialled for many years, heightened the experience.
The day dawned wet and misty. We were running quite early in the field; at number
seven, so we hadnt expected to see clubmates Michael Leete and Mike Hayward, who
were among the tail end Charlie's. It was a good job we didnt hang around for them,
because they didnt make the start, when the Beetles front brakes locked on only a
few miles from home.
Our adventure started even before the first hill. We were travelling in convoy on a
long off road run-in to the first section when my Rickman Ranger got stuck. We were
actually going down hill at the time and the car was well and truly stuck on its diff
casing. We were stranded with our driven wheels practically off the ground. Clearly we
werent going to drive off under our own power, so the ever resourceful Pete Stafford
dived into the undergrowth to produce a strong tree branch that we used to lever the car
off. Away we went towards the first section, not very far though, because just a few yards
further on the track had been washed out. There was a triangular shaped gully up the
middle with the sides at an angle of about 30 degrees. I tried my hardest to straddle it
but the Rickman soon dropped in, to heel over at an enormous angle. Pete fell across on
top of me but there was no choice but to keep my foot down. We scraped along with the side
of the car wearing away as it rubbed along the side of the trench! We were not alone; one
of the Moss Brothers in an Imp did the same, only he got stuck! I wonder how many other
competitors followed suite?
The section was a no-no, too tight a turn at the bottom for us. On to section two, not
so fast though as there was more off roading. Our convoy found a Cannon ahead trying to
reach the tarmac road un-aided. Teamwork got him out, plus our entire group of six or so
cars. Carl Talbot got all the way to the four in his class eight Trialsmaster and Ian Moss
wasn't far behind him in his Imp. Most of the entry was like me though, grinding to a
halt at the eleven!
Some of the sections were sub divided, funnily enough we found these ones easier! The
off-roading was great, the sections were often narrow, rough and challenging, absolutely
marvellous stuff, never mind that two were abandoned.
By the time we reached the last section, called "Viaduct" we were running
first on the road. The start was on a flat, deep leaf-moulded surface then a muddy bit,
through a gate onto a soggy field, climbing, then harder ground followed by steep mud with
ruts and it was sub-divided. We gave it full power. Pete on full bounce mode even using 2nd
gear it was touch and go at times, a brilliant section. We stopped in sight of the section
ends board for a one. No way out, it was back down to the start, nearly half a mile away.
While we waited for a way back to the road there was a medical emergency, a suspected
heart attack. Nearly everybody had to leave to make room for an ambulance. We hoped the
patient was OK but after the event we learned that he died.
The section was cancelled and the entry wound their sad way to the finish. A tragic end
but thanks Stroud boys and girls we really enjoyed our Mechanics Trial.
|Carl Talbot (Trialmaster)
||First Overall, The Mechanics Trophy
|Michael Collins (VW Golf)
||1st Class 1
|Paul Bartleman (Escort)
||1st Class 3
|Stuart Deacon (Escort)
||2nd Class 3
|Giles Greenslade (VW Beetle)
||1st Class 4
|Ian Moss (Imp)
||2nd Class 4
|Rob Cull (MG Midget)
||1st Class 5
|Mal Allen (Marlin)
||1st Class 7
|Arthur Vowden (Marlin)
||2nd Class 7
|Bill Foreshew (GVS)
||1st Class 8
|Iain Daniels (Rebel)
||2nd Class 8