May 2003 - Part 2
Lands End 2003
It was a dry Lands End this year and dust was a big problem on some of the sections. It certainly
wasn’t a Falcon friendly event with many members falling by the wayside and
This years Lands End Trial was really two separate trials
following a roughly parallel course. The "normal" trial (shown in blue) and
"Class 0" (shown in Green).
It had been very dry in the West Country prior to the Lands End. In fact it
was reckoned to be some five weeks since it rained. As a result there was a
lot of dust about and some of the sections were pretty rough.
The start had been bought forward as part of the organiser’s efforts to get
the event to finish at an earlier time and all the Popham starters left in
daylight. Clive Booth didn’t join them as he decided not to start after a
horrible vibration on the way down from Hatfield. Closer investigation
revealed that the pivot bearing on the rear A frame was completely worn away,
allowing the axle to move about, so Clive decided not to start, taking the
Dellow Rep home to pick up the daily driver and head back West to spectate on
Beggars, Crackington and Blue Hills. Clive had better luck than Peter Mountain
who didn’t even make the start in his newly re-built Dellow!
There was plenty of room at the North Petherton grouping control, where the
Liege’s were all parked together, including the “old number one” machine of
Peter Davis, loaned to MCC Committee man Alan Foster for the occasion. It
didn’t quite have the grunt of the Foster Morgan +8, especially as the
promised blower didn’t materialise and the two SU’s weren’t in the greatest
The approach road to Felon’s Oak was very dusty, a sign of things to come.
There was plenty of grip, and the section wasn’t on the doctoring list, so it
didn’t present to many problems. The road to Minehead wasn’t an easy one for
John Parsons as the steering started to go a “bit funny” on the corners. By
the time the Buggy got to Minehead it was almost un-drivable and there was a
horrible noise coming from somewhere at the back. Leaving the town JP pulled
into the nearest lay-by, got the jack out, and soon found that one of the
inner rear wheel bearings had completely disintegrated. There was no way this
could be repaired so John and Dot limped back to Minehead and were on a
recovery truck back to Stoke Hammond by 4am.
Stoney Street was very rough in the dry. It didn’t present to many problems
for the cars, but all was not well for one of the crews as Mike Hayward had
started to feel really poorly. Michael Leete found a convenient lay-by to stop
for a while and they continued, but Mike felt worse and worse and the Beetle
turned for home when the route crossed the A361, but not before failing the
Beggars re-start when Michael stopped far to low in the box.
There was a holding control at The Culbone Inn where there was some frantic
work amongst the Liege community, with various clutches being adjusted. Simon
Robson had to get his handbrake working before Beggars after having to hold
the car on the clutch at Felon’s Oak. Simon wasn’t the only one grovelling
under the car trying to fix his hand-brake in the dark as he was soon joined
by Andrew Brown whose had given up on the Stoney Street startline but unlike
Simon he couldn’t get his fixed and had to do the rest of his re-starts
Beggars was pretty rough in the dry, with a lot of loose rocks, especially
in the re-start area. Colin Perryman got a pucture here but still got away OK
and went on to claim a gold. Ross Nuten was in trouble as his Dellow was
using-up more brake fluid than petrol. Verdun Webley donated a litre can but
this was soon used up and Ross became yet another Falcon turning for home for
an early bath.
Daylight was starting to break as the cars arrived at Riverton which didn’t
present to many problems for the cars, although some of the bikes found the
ruts at the top a bit deep and John Lees got a foot knocked of the peg. Simon
Robson was able to dive underneath his Liege again to check the back axle,
which had been leaking earlier in the trial. All was well and the crew carried
on but began to slip further and further back down the field as they kept
stopping to check the car.
Sutcombe saw the end of Verdun Webley’s Lands End. The axle twisted on it’s
mountings, ripping the UJ out of it’s lugs, breaking one of them in the
process. Verdun and Mike Pearson dived under the car to assess the damage and
it was soon apparent that it wasn’t repairable without new parts. An Easter
holiday with the ladies was planned so they had to go on down to Cornwall.
Phoning home Dorinda and Frances were just on their way so they diverted to
pick up the stranded crew, leaving the Marlin at Sutcombe. Over the weekend
Verdun made a tour of the Cornish scrap-yards and managed to find the
necessary parts, stopping back at Sutcombe on the way home on Tuesday to fix
the car and drive it home.
Verdun Webley and Roger Hooper
leaving Popham Airfield in their Marlins
Nick Farmer on Crackington in his
MG Maestro (picture by Tim Hellings)
Up until now Patrick Osbourne had been going well in his nicely prepared
Skoda, complete with children asleep in the back! Unfortunately the clutch
suffered a bit on the Sutcombe re-start. They continued but there was another
re-start to come at Darrcott and this finished the clutch completely. They
managed to limp out of the section and telephoned Britannia Rescue to take
them down to St Ives for their family holiday.
Crackington had been doctored as usual, but only the class eights had to
re-start. It wasn’t a formality though and Dave Nash and Neil Bray spun to a
stop in the doctored bit. Team Liege had some problems here when Chris Sewell
sputtered to a halt. The fuel tank outlet had fractured, but they continued
with the bouncer holding things together by hand until they found a shop that
sold super-glue and fixed everything back together!
Class Eight competitors arrived at the foot of Treworld to be greeted by a
friendly marshal asking them if they had read their route card! Closer
examination revealed that only the yellows had to stop here, so the class
eights were able to blast up without any difficulty, although at the expense
of a ruined rear tyre for Dudley Sterry.
Warleggan wasn’t too much of a problem, and neither was Hoskin, where the
yellows had a much easier re-start than usual and were able to blast up. There
were quite a few clean sheets when the cars arrived at Bishops Wood but this
was to change on the Yellow and Red re-start. Like last year it was on the
steep bank after crossing the track, but this time it was right on the steep
slope, positioned so that even if cars stopped just in the box the rear wheels
were still on a steep slope, which seemed to have experienced an extremely
local shower of rain! This was where the MCC slimmed out the Triple list and
only the real Supermen retained their clean sheets. For the record the
following are now allowed to call themselves Clarke Kent :- Dudley Sterry,
Tony Young, Eric Wall, Tim Whellock, Roger Bricknell and Tommy Kalber.
The route wound it’s way towards the coast, an ever-increasing dust cloud
announcing the approach to Bluehills. No problem on “One” but “Two” was a
different issue. There was an enormous amount of loose dust, rock and stone on
the re-start area making it very difficult for the restarters to get away.
Even if they did their problems were not over as the spinning wheels threw up
huge clouds of dust that the tail wind blew past the cars so the drivers
couldn’t see the corners at the top properly!
In consequence the banks relieved a fair amount of bashing, and early
runners Mike Relf (Opel Manta) and John Bennett in the immaculate class 4
Renault, did quite a bit of damage to their cars. Clive Booth was spectating
here and thought the Liege’s went really well, being nimble enough to
negotiate the deviation with ease. Dave Nash and Neil Bray weren’t so lucky
and were unable to get away on the restart. As the cars went through so much
of the loose material was blown away, but then they started to dig holes, and
by the time Dave Haizelden came through as the last car it looked as though
the section had been cluster bombed!
With the dry weather and the earlier start time the event finished pretty
much on time and competitors were able to “enjoy” the delights of their
Newquay Hotel! Or not as the case may be as both Dave Nash/Neil Bray and
Simon/Matt Robson were so disgusted by theirs they refused to stay there. Dave
drove home and Simon managed to take over Brian Osbourne’s room as the MGB had
broken it’s back axle. Popular opinion is that the trial itself was enjoyable
and well organised. All it needs next year is some rain in the weeks before
the event and to move the finish back further West!