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Classical Gas is an independent web site and is not affiliated to any of the clubs or organisers of the events featured. Words and Pictures by Michael unless attributed otherwise. Michael is a proud member of the MCC, ACTC, Dellow Register and Falcon amongst others, but does not represent their views nor the views of any other organisers or clubs.
December 2002 - Part 1

The Mechanics Trial

by Fred Gregory

200211Fred.jpg (8979 bytes)

Fred Gregory and Pete Stafford enjoyed The Mechanics Trial

Having competed in quite a few Cotswold Clouds, Pete Stafford and I knew that their Mechanic’s 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 hadn’t expected to see clubmates Michael Leete and Mike Hayward, who were among the tail end Charlie's. It was a good job we didn’t hang around for them, because they didn’t 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 weren’t 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) 10 First Overall, The Mechanics Trophy
Michael Collins (VW Golf) 16 1st Class 1
Paul Bartleman (Escort) 11 1st Class 3
Stuart Deacon (Escort) 17 2nd Class 3
Giles Greenslade (VW Beetle) 11 1st Class 4
Ian Moss (Imp) 17 2nd Class 4
Rob Cull (MG Midget) 23 1st Class 5
Mal Allen (Marlin) 15 1st Class 7
Arthur Vowden (Marlin) 17 2nd Class 7
Bill Foreshew (GVS) 15 1st Class 8
Iain Daniels (Rebel) 17 2nd Class 8

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