Julian Dommett won the Allen for a record third time. It was a
close thing though, as there were four clean sheets. Julian won by a second on special
test times, beating Giles Greenslade, Bill Bennett and Philip Mitchell. David Foreshew was
the best class eight but everyone in this class dropped marks somewhere as a result of
their extra restarts.
Michale Leete smiling for the camera, as in the
background competitors can be seen tackling the new section at Birch Hill
Neil Bray changing his drive shaft after Nanny Hurns
Stuart Harrold and Chris Phillips grounding out on
Anyone for Class Nine! Stuart Ridge out for a gentle
Sunday drive on Burledge.
Pete Hart and his team kept The Allen to its established format, with
all the hills, with the exception of Nanny Hurns, run on well-established tracks. There
were changes though. There was a new hill and the route was a little different as the
start had to be moved a few miles up the road this year.
Last years winner, Adrian Marfell, led the field away from The White Hart in Cold
Ashton in near ideal trialling conditions. The weather was overcast, but dry, after some
very heavy rain the previous two days, and even on the morning itself, to spice things up.
This was a good thing as The Allens sections are not particularly difficult in the
The route from the start passed the top of Tog Hill, the normal first hill, on the way
to Bitton Lane, which was the first competitive section this time. The Blues and
Whites had a clean run at the hill. Yellows and Reds had the usual restart on the left
hand bend but this didnt present much of a problem and only Arthur Jones in his
Liege failed to get away.
The trial followed its usual route through Keynsham to Uplands where "Little
Uplands" was on the agenda this year while its "big" cousin was
given a rest. This was the end of Stephen Potters trial when his magnificent Trojan cried
enough. This was a shame but Trojan fans still had John Wiltons similar machine to
watch. Like all except the reds the Trojan crew had a clear run through, so they could
build a bit of momentum over the rough rocky bit in the middle. Class eight werent
let off so easy and this is where they had their restart, which was to prove pretty
challenging. Last years winner Adrian Marfell failed to get away properly and he
wasnt the only one. Stuart Harrold (Troll), Anthony Young (VW Special) didnt
get away either. The three class eight Falcons all failed to re-start. Although John
Parsons actually got going he slipped back quite a few inches in the process and was given
Next came the infamous Guys Hill, where everyone has to reverse and come
back down after the land-mark right-of-way judgement of a few years ago. Guys Hill
is dead straight and doesnt have a tremendous gradient. Its the surface that
makes the section difficult, with a combination of polished stones and tree roots. Blue
and White were allowed a clean run and those who built up sufficient momentum got to the
summit OK. There were a few that didnt though. In class One Paul Allaway stopped at
the one and Adrian Tucker-Peake couldnt get past the six. All the class threes
got up except Stuart Deacon (Escort) and Murray Montgomery-Smith (Morris Minor), both of
whom retired not long afterwards. The section didnt present much of a problem to
class four although Michael Leete didnt drive it very well and stopped at the two.
Life was different for the Yellows and Reds who had to restart half way up and tackle
the upper reaches without the benefit of momentum. Most either failed for a six or
stuttered a few yards to gain a five. It was cleanable though and Mike Hobbs stormed to
the top in his Big Beetle, followed by Julian Dommett in his side valve Dellow Mk 1. A few
of the class eights were successful including Adrian Marfell, Carl Talbot and
Falcons Mike Pearson.
Everyone had to restart on Sandy Lane and this was all about stopping in the
right place. Surprisingly it was the class sevens who seemed to have the most
difficulty and ACTC Rights of Way Officer and "Wheelspin" webmaster Andrew Brown
was one of the failures. After a wonderfully muddy, rutted track and a series of tiny
lanes came Strode, which is also all about the restart for all except the blues.
This one didnt present many problems and it was followed more or less immediately by
a special test involving going across and then back through a puddle of muddy water!
The route continued its traditional way to Travers where again the yellows
and reds had to re-start, although this was a little higher up the section than usual.
Without a restart it wasnt too difficult, provided you didnt have a puncture
of course! Unfortunately Neil Bray did and had to change the wheel on the section in order
to clear the way for those following. The restart area was quite rocky. John Parsons
stopped quite high up and got away but Mike Pearson chose to come to a halt lower down and
got his wheels stuck in a dip.
There were a dozen clean sheets at the Chew Valley reservoir rest halt, but that was to
change just up the road at Burledge. This is a real classic trials hill. The lower
reaches are in a tree-lined gully, rocky but pretty smooth. After a 45 degree right hander
the section goes straight as an arrow up a rutted track with a restart for yellows and
reds and less and less ground clearance a you get near the top. Tyre pressures are
critical, especially for the restarters. As Chief Official Nigel Moss said, "you need
6 psi to get off the re-start then fifty psi to maximise ground clearance at the top!
The guys with the big wheels did well here; although the section was to see the end of
Dudley Sterry. In Class One David Haizelden and Michael Collins were to loose their only
marks of the day in their VW Golfs. Phillip Mitchell stormed up in his David Turner
prepared blower BMW and so did Giles Greenslade and Dick Glossop in Class Four. It was a
tough section for the restarters although it clearly suited the big Beetles as four of
them got up. In class seven wheel size was everything and all the Marlins failed but
Julian Dommett (Dellow) and Arthur Jones (Liege) were clean.
Quite a few of the class eights stopped, either failing to get away from the restart or
running out of ground clearance just before the summit. Mike Pearson couldnt get
away but Clive Booth in his similar Reg Taylor/Geoff Jackson built Dellow Replica got off
the re-start only to fail at the two. Poor John Parsons got out the top of the section but
was judged to have failed the restart.
Seven competitors lost their clean sheets on Burledge and the remaining five approached
Nanny Hurns with all to play for. The special test was separate to the section this
year. Julian Dommett set another fast time and this put him in the lead of the trial. The
section was its usual self, short, muddy and slippery but cleanable with skill. Its
necessary to get the speed just right. To slow and you wont get over the bank, to
fast and you under-steer into the trees. All of the leaders slid over the bank OK and the
entire field cleaned the following Tog Hill after Stony Hill had to be
cancelled due to an influx of New Age Travellers. Neil Bray had to change a drive shaft on
the way when a rat-tat-tat from the rear indicated that one of the CVs were on its
It was north up the A46 now, over the M4 in the gathering gloom to a new section called
Birch Hill, presided over by John Sargeant. The hill was quite long. The first bit
had a gentle gradient but was quite badly rutted, catching out Mike Hobbs in his Big
Beetle. It entered a tunnel of trees, rounded a gentle right hander then wiggled through a
muddy quagmire with a restart for Reds right on the edge where the grip went away. The
weather was to play its part here as the heavens opened up to make things more
interesting. Getting through the mud was all about burning your way through with sheer
power or building speed and using pure momentum if you didnt have to re-start.
Jeremy Flann (Austin Seven) lost his clean sheet here so it was down to four as then field
wound its way to John Walker which was to be the final hill of the day.
The section was its usual magnificent self, by no means a "stopper" but
a pure pleasure to drive. It can catch out the unwary though, as Clive Booth found out
when he flooded out in the ford. So there were four clean sheets in the end, with overall
victory going to Julian Dommett on Special Test times. It was a well-fought trial and the
result could have been different. Clee winner Michael Collins had faster times than Julian
but got a three on Burledge. What a year if a Class One driver had won two ACTC events!
And spare a thought for Adrian Marfell who also did better on the Special Tests but
couldnt restart on the dinosaurs eggs at Little Uplands! But well done to Julian
Dommett who on the day was the best driver in a well-prepared car. And thank you to Pete
& Carlie Hart, Mark Tooth and all the team for another excellent and well judged Allen