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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.
February 2003 - Part 3

Terry Ball Wins Another Classy Clee

Terry Ball won another excellent Clee Hills Trial, finishing a mere two marks in front of Adrian Tucker-Peake and David Haizelden. Competitors enjoyed some superb sections in excellent trialling conditions on a well-balanced trial where the first special was down in 5th place.

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Left - Giles Greenslade cleaning Round Oak while (right) John Ludford got a little stuck lower down.
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Left - Adrian Tucker-Peake challenged for the overall lead. Right - Richard Peck beginning his assault on Hungerford shortly before his retirement.

 There had been a fair amount of rain the week before the trial but it was reasonably fine on the day as competitors gathered in the car parks of the Boyne Arms in Burwarton for the Clee Hills Trial. The drama had already started for a couple of competitors, who had troubles on the way to the start. David Turner had a broken rear window when a passing police car threw up a stone that shattered the glass.

Giles Greenslade was in worse trouble when the steering went funny and closer investigation revealed the steering box had become detached from the beam. One of the securing bolts had sheered and the box was flopping around. Giles quickly had the petrol tank out and with the help of Michael Collins and several other competitors rigged a jury repair with the aid of exhaust clamps and jubilee clips. It wasn’t very elegant but it was good enough to get him round the route, shepherded by David Sargeant and Michael Leete.

Simon Woodhall had put a lot of thought into avoiding delays and had organised alternative routes to "spread the load" on Round Oak where there had been considerable delays last year. The plan was that later numbers would do the last two sections first, while the early runners went to do battle with Farlow. This is a relatively short section for The Clee, with mud and ruts presenting the challenge. It was the downfall of quite a few fancied runners, including Roger Bricknell, Mike Hobbs, John Looker and Keith Vipond, yet half the class ones breezed to the summit.

There was a long run to The Craven Arms where the route divided. Odd numbers tackled Round Oak while evens did the Rattlinghope, Gatten’s Gamble, Adstone loop. This started with a trip over The Long Mynd, in the reverse direction to usual. There were fantastic views and fantastic unguarded drops. The views continued at the top of Rattlinghope, which was cleaned by the entire field. Gattens Gamble was more challenging as the start was on a steep muddy bank which stopped all the class fives and few others as well, including the DAF of Fred Mills and Derek Reynolds whose Variomatic transmission wouldn’t play ball.

Adstone was next, after a hairy downhill approach road with extremely deep ruts on the right, which leaned the cars right over into the trees lining the track. The section itself wasn’t too difficult, but it did catch out Peter Thompson in his Opel Kadett. Peter had been on of the competitors who did Round Oak first, and by the time he got to the Rattlinghope, Gatten’s Gamble, Adstone loop he was behind the course closing car. The marshals had gone on the first two section but he went over the first one anyway.

Later numbers faced an hour and a half in a queue at Round Oak. There were a lot of failures on the first part of the section that had to be dragged our backwards with a Land Rover, which took a ling time. It’s worth describing this fascinating section, which you either love or hate! The first fifty yards or so is more or less flat, which is very rutted and muddy. The ruts weave about a bit and the track drops away into a ditch. Too much power in the wrong place and you slip into that ditch. Then there’s a ninety left and the track gets a bit steeper and the ruts deeper! There were a lot of failures including Mike Chatwin and Tony Rothin in class eight and all the Marlins in class seven. Round Oak wasn’t very kind to class there and Dave Turner was the only competitor to come out the top. Most of the Beetles got up and plenty of ground clearance was a definite advantage. The hill saw the end of the trial for a couple of the Austin Sevens when both Barry Clarke and John Bamber broke their transmissions.

The ruts at the top of Hungerford were pretty deep this year and the class eights had a restart just before as well to slow them down. None of them could build up enough momentum to get through without a tow and neither could any of the class sevens, even without a restart. Four of the Beetles did, Giles Greensalde, Keith Vipond, Richard Peck and eventual winner Terry Ball and so did Adrian Tucker-Peake in his Peugeot 205. The bottom corner was a problem for some and Peter Thompson gave the bank a fair old wack to the detriment of the bodywork. But Hugerford is about more than the section. Getting through the ruts on the escape road is a challenge equal to any section! In fact it was to much for some Land Rovers who were out green laneing and one of them rolled over, delaying the trial.

Rob Cull was in charge of the diff test just before a rather Mickey Mouse special test. Just up the track the routes divided. Class eights tackled Majors Leap, which stopped most of them. The rest of the entry had to try and get round the hairpin on Ippikins Rock, with a restart right on the corner itself for some of the classes, although there was some confusion as this wasn’t in the route card. Andrew Brown and Peter Thompson were some of the few front engined rear drive re-starters to get round. Classes one and two did much better without a restart and all but one were successful.

It was dark when the later numbers reached The Jenny Wind. This was a total stopper and four was the best score anyone got. The hill was the end of Richard Peck’s trial when he retired from the Clee with suspension breakage for the second year running. Last year it was the back, this year the front. Harley Bank was next on the agenda. A long, long section, with quite a bit of mud towards the top. The class eights had a diversion, which stopped them all, and only Adrian Marfell got any where near the top and even he only got to the two. The other classes had an easier route but it was still tough going for many.

Classes seven and eight tackled Meadowley, although it was cancelled after it was closed prematurely, but not before Andrew Brown got within spitting distance of the summit.

The final sections were on the Boyne Estate, very muddy and marked out in the woods. They were rather out of character with the rest of the event and not so popular with some of the later numbers who tackled them in the pitch black. The finish was just around at the Boyne Arms and Terry Ball was soon announced the winner in front of Adrian Tucker-Peake and David Haizelden. It was The Jenny Wind that decided it, with Terry getting all the way to the four while Adrian stopped at the Seven. Adrian managed to get one mark back on Hillside but it was Terry’s day and he was the worthy winner of an excellent Clee Hills Trial. There were a few organisational glitches. The last couple of sections weren’t universally popular, but it was a very good event. Most of the sections were long and not to damaging as even when the ruts were deep it was mud rather than rocks that jammed underneath. There were plenty of friendly marshals and some beautiful countryside. 

1st Overall Terry Ball (VW Beetle) 25
Class 1 Adrian Tucker-Peake (Peugeot 205) 27
Class 2 Jeremy Flann (Austin 7) 33
Class 3 David Turner (BMW) 28
Class 4 Giles Greenslade (VW Beetle) 35
Class 5 Gregor Dixon-Smith (Morgan 4/4) 71
Class 6 Mark Tooth (VW Beetle) 32
Class 7 Roger Bricknell (Vincent) 31
Class 8 Peter Fear (Dingo) 30

Click here for full results over on Pat's site


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