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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.
March 2003 - Part 1

Adrian Marfell Cleans Clouds

There was one clean sheet on the Cotswold Clouds and it was achieved by Kyrle organiser, and Man of the Moment, Adrian Marfell, in his Fiat Twin cam engined rail. The Moss Bros were only just behind, both only dropping one mark with Nigel beating Ian on special test times.

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Overall winner Adrian Marfell kept cool and achieved the only clean sheet of the event.
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A happy David Foreshew emerges from Nailsworth Ladder and would have won the trial if he had climbed Highwood Two.
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Ian Moss came close to victory in his Imp, dropping only one mark in a superb drive. (Picture by John Salter)
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Beetle preparation specialist Nigel Allen looks very lonely as he trys to fix his collapsed suspension. Nigel is having his mechanical troubles recently as Giles Greenslade's Beetle, that he also takes care of, broke it's steering on the way to the Clee Hills.

The Stroud club had excellent conditions for The Cotswold Clouds. It was dry on the day, but bad weather during the previous week made the sections nice and muddy, without turning into a quagmire. Needless to say there was a full entry for this historic and very special event which stands on it’s own, not wanting or needing the "status" of any championship.

Roger Fox led the field away from the Gordons Garage for the short run to Crawley Hill. His Citroen AX wasn’t running very well and he soon had to stop and dive under the bonnet. This left Simon and Matt Robson to run first car on the road for much of the event. The little yellow Liege must have been rather over-awed by the experience because it promptly failed Crawley, one of the very few to stop on this gentle opener.

Team Robson soon made up for this by being one of only two class seven’s to clean Crooked Mustard, something they never achieved in their Skoda days. The majority of the class eight’s cleaned this demanding hill but only Ian Moss in his smart new yellow Imp got up from the lower classes. John Bell deserves an honourable mention for getting to the four marker. However, the red Escort was soon to blot it’s copybook by failing Axe with no less than three punctures! The problem was after the step, where there must have been some nasty sharp rocks buried in the mud as there were numerous punctures, including Ian Davis, whose VW Buggy picked up two, a front and a rear.

There was plenty of grip on Nailsworth Ladder, but it still caused problems for the majority of the class ones and only the "super-quartet" of Dave Haizelden, Paul Allaway, Michael Collins and Adrian Tucker-Peake cleaned the section. These four certainly set a high standard and not only have fantastic scraps between them but are challenging for overall wins on many trials. The sevens and eight’s had to restart of course and neither Clive Booth nor Owen Briggs got away, although fellow Falcon Simon Robson was clean. This was a particular shame for Owen as he had coaxed his self built special "Winney One" up Mustard.

Clerk of the Course Tim Lakin had devised a handicap system for Ham Mill. The Blues had a clear run, the whites a restart on the exit from the right hander and the yellows and reds before the corner with a step to contend with. Most competitors cleaned the section but the restarts caught out a few including Falcon’s Clive Booth and Michael Leete.

There was a new variation for Mackhouse, which gave a downhill approach before the muddy blast up through the trees. Classes seven and eight had a re-start on the slope so the downhill approach didn’t help very much. Even so a fair few of the class eight’s cleaned the section, but not Nigel Moss who like most of the entry stopped short of the final muddy rise for a one. This cost Nigel overall victory as Adrian Marfell cleaned the hill. Has Nigel done the same he would have won as he was faster on the special tests.

The lunchbreak was at Tesco’s as usual, although most competitors didn’t stay long as the delays at Crooked Mustard had put the timing a bit behind. Unlike some of the MCC events there didn’t appear to be a ban on toolkits, so Michael Leete helped Ian Davis change the tube in one of his punctured wheels. The Bulls Cross special test was just up the road with a downhill stop line, which fooled both Jim Scott and John Ludford.

Freds Folly was across the road. Like Axe this is a hill that has become more difficult over the years. It’s a long gentle climb through the trees, then comes a right hander after which the ruts get deeper, the gradient steepens and the mud starts! The difficulty is that with the right hander you can’t take much of a run at the last bit as if you go too fast you jump out of the ruts and under-steer into the trees. With their low diffs the hill wasn’t very friendly to class three and only John Bell and Dave Miller got their Escorts to the summit, in John’s case after a near 360 on the lower reaches! In class seven Simon Robson found an early number a decided disadvantage as he cleared some of the mud away for the later numbers, failing at the four marker.

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(Left) Andrew Brown failing to smoke his way of the restart at Nailsworth Ladder. (sorry Andrew but it is a nice picture by John Salter) (Right) With Nigel Allen's wreck blocking the exit road the marshals had to push failures up Mackhouse.
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(Left) Owen Briggs, baring his chassis tubes for all to see in the MCC Committee's favourite car, is pictured by Pete Hart on Merve's Swerve on Owen's first one day trial. "Whinney" attracted a lot of attention at the start. Can we expect more VR6 powered specials in class 8 soon? (Right) Another super picture by John Salter as David Wall leaps away from the Nailsworth restart.

The crowds had gathered for the entertainment at Merve’s Sweerve, which was under the control of Allen organisers Pete and Carlie Hart. The stars were definitely Paul Allaway and Dave Haizelden who both got their Front Wheel Drive cars over the muddy hump. Ian Davis and Owen Briggs both went clear but otherwise Merve’s wasn’t Falcon friendly and Michael Leete, Simon Robson and Clive Booth all floundered on the big bump for a humiliating reverse in front of their peers!

It was back into the woods for the Highwood Special Test and two observed sections. The challenge on Highwood One is another quagmire at the top of a hill! It wasn’t so muddy this year and it is possible to build some speed on the approach so there were cleans in all classes this year. Highwood Two was just up the track. There were different start lines for the various classes but nobody had a real run at the steep bit this year. The overall lead of the trial changed here. Up until now there were six clean sheets and the leading order was decided by the special test times reading:-

  1. David Foreshew (GVS) 23.35
  2. Mike Workman (GVS) 23.78
  3. Paul Bartleman (Troll) 24.24
  4. Dudley Sterry (MG J2) 24.34
  5. Adrian Marfell (VW Special) 26.91
  6. Peter Fear (Dingo) 31.40.

Everything was change here, as apart from Ian Moss only class eight’s Adrian Marfell, Nigel Moss and Carl Talbot got to the summit, most people having to make the terrifying reverse back down the section. As Nigel had failed Mackhouse and Carl the Highwood Special test, this gave Adrian the lead of the trial that kept to the end.

Things were drawing to a close now. Climperwell didn’t present any problems so it was all down to the finale at he two Bulls Bank re-starts, where competitors were greeted by Stuart Harrold and Chris Phillips, with the news that "the restart are evil and competitors in all classes are failing". Thanks guys! Adrian got away OK but the restarts did affect the results in some classes. Stephen White failed Bulls Bank Two, passing the lead in Class Two to Bill Bennett. John Bell’s successful climb of Freds Folly faded away when he couldn’t get away from "Two" either, leaving class Three to successful restarter Paul Eamer. In Class Six Terry Ball failed Bulls Bank One putting him back to the same hill score as Mike Hobbs but Terry hung onto his lead on special test times.

Most competitors got to the finish at The Old Lodge Inn on Minchinhampton Common at a reasonable time, as there were no real delays after lunch. Well-done Adrian Marfell on another well deserved victory. And well done Tim Lakin and the Stroud team for another successful, enjoyable and well judged Cotsold Clouds.

Results

1st Overall Adrian Marfel (VW Special) 0
Best Stroud Nigel Moss (Troll) 1
Class 1 Paul Allaway (Astra) 10
Class 2 Bill Bennett (MG J2 19
Class 3 Paul Eamer (Escort) 20
Class 4 Ian Moss (Imp) 1
Class 5 Mike Wordsworth (MG Midget) 28
Class 6 Terry Ball(VW Beetle) 17
Class 7 Dean Vowden (Marlin) 5
Class 8 Dudley Sterry (MG J2) 2

Click here for Full results on PDF over on The Stroud Site

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them

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