As usual, there were
dramas even before the start, for some.
Simon Robson had
replaced the new gearbox that broke on Bamford with one re-built from
various bits and pieces that were laying around the garage. He also
replaced the CWP and all the brake slave cylinders, finishing all this
just hours before he had to leave for the start.
Peter Mountain had
lots of trouble with his Dellow Mk1 during the week. The diff was very
noisy and ne of the cylinders was running very rich. Fortunately Peter
managed to get everything fixed, with lots of help from various experts.
Fred Gregory was the
first car in Class 0 to leave the Cirencester start, after drama on the
journey from home when he had a puncture. With three spare wheels, it
shouldn't have been a problem, but his Rickman Ranger has locking wheel
nuts and the key broke during the change. So Fred couldnít afford any
punctures in the other three wheels!
Simon Robson had found
oil leaking from his newly replaced gearbox and had to borrow Simon Groves
arrived early and many had taken the direct route permitted in the road
book. Scruitineering was very efficient, but it was very dark in the car
park and John Parsons had the misfortune to fall over a kerb, breaking a
tooth amongst other things in the process.
Colin Sumner was
having electrical problems with his Beetle. Despite changing almost
everything it wouldnít run properly. Colin limped around the first few
sections, but running at the back of the field, he was in constant danger
of being overtaken by the back marker and he retired.
It was nice to see
Meerhay re-introduced as the first hill after being rested since 1992.
Itís a long climb, prone to developing a queue, necessitating a holding
control on the approach. Ross Nuten and some of the other Falcons were
delayed here as a Reliant Scimitar was stuck on the hill. No, it wasnít
Dave Nashís new car, but the standard V6 machine driven by Reliant
restoration expert David Womack who retired soon afterwards. Ross has
replaced the notoriously smoky engine in his Mk2 Dellow with a super new
lump he sourced on Ebay. Bill Rosten stormed up but had to stop at the top
to change a fan belt. The Imp was soon fixed and Bill went on to a gold.
Used even by Class 0,
there were no problems.
Into Bovey Woods for
the usual two well known sections. Normans Hump was first. Classes 1, 2
and 5 only did the first bit, diverting left in the restart area where
classes 7 and 8 had to stop, just before the steep bit starts. The others
had to do the full hill but without a stop.
Pete Barr struggled in
his class 4 Beetle but went on to clean the hill for gold. The upper
reaches were a problem for many of the class 7ís, who couldnít build
enough speed after their re-start. None of the Liegeís had enough power
here, even the supercharged version of John Sawle. Simon Robson was one of
many who came so close to the top but couldnít quire reach it. Neil Bray
was penalised for a run-back which didnít please him and fellow Falcon Ian
Davis broke a driveshaft, which he managed to change, while observing a
number of Marlins fail the hill through not building enough momentum after
Tim Whellock had
chosen the shorter version of Clinton this year, with a restart for the
higher classes, positioned on a steepish slope. MCC secretary Peter Lawley
was delighted to clean the section in the ex-Ron Butcher Beetle as was
Simon Robson in his Liege. Neil Bray failed and while Ross Nuten got away
from the restart OK he lost grip a few yards up the hill.
Martin Allen had the
misfortune to break the diff on the ex Mike Young Racecorp and wasnít
carrying a spare. Unbelievably a friendly local farmer not only towed him
to his house but also leant him a diff and helped him change it.
Most of the non
restarters got up without to many problems although Tristan White failed
when his engine cut out. Clinton also saw the end of Dennis Greenslades
Exeter when he retired the NSU 1000.
After last years
problems when the class 0ís used the escape road as their section they
were diverted elsewhere. For the main trial the bottom corner was there as
ever to trap the un-wary and multiple National PCT champion Barrie Parker
lost his clean sheet in the big Audi 80.
Neil Bray cleaned the
section at the expense of a puncture and blocked the exit road as he
didnít have a club hammer for knock off wheels and had to adjust the
brakes before he could get Primrose going.
Plyford and Higher Rill
These were both smooth
easy climbs, even class 0. They saw the end of Greg Warrenís Exeter when
he retired whis Ford Anglia Estate with mechanical problems.
The only restart for
the lower classes was in this wooded complex near Sidmouth. Adrian Dommett
failed when he didnít stop. Hopefully he didnít blame a very cold looking
Michael Collins making his debut as a trials passenger in the Wolesley
Hornet. Ian Moss was reported as not getting off the start line in 3
attempts but was shown cleaning the hill for gold in the results.
The compulsory rest
halt gave the opportunity for competitors to catch up with each other and
compare results. Derek Reynolds was still going after fixing a broken
throttle cable, two punctures and a broken exhaust. Stuart Harrold and
Chris Phillips were finding their Trolls engine down on power. They got
off both Clinton and Normans Hump restarts but couldn't come out the top
of either. Pete Barr reported charging problems but went on to gold
The lower classes had
their first run at Clinton for a couple of years. They found the hill
pretty much as before with some big rocky bumps that needed a lot of care
to avoid damaging the car. There was no tyre pressure check here which was
a shame as it was to be a crucial hill for the higher classes.
John Parsons and Keith
Oakes had been going well but both lost their clean sheets on the restart,
which is all about positioning. Neil Bray and Dave Nash stopped as well.
Peter Mountain struggled, got going but was given a runback and David
Foreshew retired with transmission problems
The problem for the
lower classes was that not having to stop they could attack the fearsome
rocks in the restart area as fast as they wanted or their cars would
stand. It was to much for Colin Perrymanís lovely BMW when the rear
suspension turrets collapsed and it looks as if the shell is a write-off.
Simon Groves took things uncharacteristically easy but still incurred some
damage when he scrapped the Escorts wings against the rocks.
Peter Manning and
Keith Pettit had lucky escapes after failing to go into the car park to
let the tyres down, but still stormed up on 20 psi. Although the hill
itself wasnít too difficult the spectacular setting meant there were many
photographers in evidence, to inspire the competitors who got to the top.
When they got there they found snow in the hedgerows.
Stuart Tucker and
Classical Gas Contributor John Salter were the first car, in the Billy
Goat Gruff and couldnít get off the restart as it was very slippery with
loose stuff. The restart was to cause problems and Simon Robson was one of
many not to get away. Mike Pearson had been clean until Wooston. They
restarted OK, but with low revs, and failed on the steep slope. David
Bache was just behind in his similar car on the same pressures. He gave it
more revs and cleaned the hill.
The lower classes
didnít have too many problems with their route apart from a very overgrown
There was some snow on
the route from Wooston to Simms but it had changed to rain by the time the
mid runners arrived at the famous old hill.
As usual the section
was thronged with spectators who saw a fair selection of the
non-restarting lower classes get to the top. A spectating Mark Rosten-Edwards
said the Cornish Escorts just flew up like it was the A30 but in class 7
the Liegeís didnít have enough puff to cope with the restart, although
John Sawleís blown one clearly had more grunt than the rest. John Parsons
route up the right made the crowd step back but Mark thought the class 8ís
should have their own restart higher up. Certainly Simms wasnít class 7
friendly this year and both Andrew Brown and Keith Oakes failed above the
Neil and Jade Bray
were delighted to go clean in Primrose but Simms was to be unkind to
Falcons Dellows and Mike Pearson, Ross Nuten and Peter Mountain all
stopped just short of section ends. In class Five Peter Manning choose the
right hand of Simms and believed this strategy paid off even though he
failed a cars length from the top. Keith Pettit did exactly the same thing
but Mike Warnes showed it was possible for a sports car and went on to
gold in his TR7.
Wheelspin Champion Ian
Davis compounded his Bovey Woods problems when a petrol pipe failed on
Simms and he had his first retirement since 1991.
There was no rest for
competitors as Tipley waited just across the road with a very tough
restart for the higher classes. This proved a tough proposition and a
queue soon developed as car after car couldnít get away. Simon Robson
proved it was possible when he succeeded in getting his Liege off the
restart, crediting his success to bouncer Matt. Fellow Class 7 driver
Keith Oakes also went clean but at the expense of a puncture on the
following road section. Barrie Parker got the big Audi well stuck on a
section he considered to be very rough and choose to back out rather than
try to go to the top.
There was a restart
for Class 8 only on the final hill. Other than that class 7 had the same
sections as the reds. Ross failed the restart and fellow Dellow driver
Mark Worsfeld had the ex-Potter super-charged car seized its 1172 motor
and he retired. Interestingly Mark had his cars set up by David Thomas
who races a Capri in the same championship as Neil Bray. Itís a very small
enjoyed the evening manifestation at the Trecarn, although President Ron
Butcher lost his battle with the PA and some thought the new owners had
taken portion control to far. The trial wasnít over for Ross Nuten.
Leaving the Trecarn on the Sunday Ross discovered a major weld on the rear
A frame had broken. He and Maureen managed to bodge a repair for the drive
home to Hertfordshire.