Clerk of the Course Jonathan Toulmin retained the twin
loop format for the MACís Clee Hills Trial. Jonathan and his team have a
justified reputation for running an excellent event, in a highly
professional way, and were rewarded by an excellent entry including no
less than 15 cars in class two. There was no snow this year but the mist
didnít lift in some places throughout the day.
There were quite a few route changes because of bad
ruts caused by over enthusiastic 4wdís and Round Oak had to be cancelled
at the last minute because of a sick horse.
Classes six, seven and eight set out from the start at
The Craven Arms to embark on the western loop to battle for overall
honours. First on the agenda was the Rattlinghope special test. I wonder
if Carl Talbot realised that this would cost him overall victory at the
end of the day when he was 1.5 seconds slower than Adrian Marfell. The
leading runners went round the western loop clean, with only the new
Priors Holt 1 section causing any real problems, with fails for both
Peter Mountain and Keith Oakes.
The first observed Hills on the Eastern loop were on
National Trust land with the two Easthope sections and Majors Leap.
Adrian Marfell was the only car to reach the summit of the previously
un-cleaned Eeasthope 2 that was first used in 2005. Most of the other
Class Eights dropped either 4 or 5. The class 7ís didnít fare so well
and Andrew Brown was best with 5.
Majors Leap was a toughie for the higher classes and a
fair few dropped a full 12, including Falcons Keith and Claire Oakes in
their Dutton Phaeton, putting them out of contention early in the
After these three sections on National Trust Land it
was back on the road to the Harley Bank - Jenny Wind complex. The
slippery Harley Bank 2 section was one of the new ones used for the
first time last year and Simon Woodall piloted the only car to get to
the summit. Carl Talbot was best of the rest with a two, five better
than Adrian Marfell, putting them equal on seven. This was to remain the
score at the end, as both cleaned The Jenny Wind and Meadowley where
Simon Woodall came out the top with a rough sounding engine. It promptly
seized, and the VW Buggy needed a tow from Ross Norman to get back to
So overall victory went to Adrian Marfell by virtue of
his special test times. Ian Davis came 5th overall, stopping mid way on
both the Easthope sections and Harley Bank 2 and also stopping just
short of the summit of The Jenny Wind.
The lower classes embarked on the Eastern Loop first.
It started with a bang for classes three, four and five as none of them
got away from their restart. Ippikins Rock was the decider for the lower
classes. The section is all about that very sharp right-handed hairpin.
In class three Nick Farmer couldnít get the big BMW round, dropping 8
which was to give the class to Simon Groves. Class four was decided here
as well. Terry Ball had been battling with the ex-Matthew Sharratt March
Hare winning Beetle of Nicola Wainwright. Unfortunately, neither got
around the famous hairpin but Pete Barr did in 1303 handing him the
On the Western Loop the steep new Priors Holt 1 was
prove a problem to many cars, including Simon Groves who dropped four
but still maintained his class lead. Adrian Dommett won Class 2 in his
familiar Wolesley Hornet but all eyes were on James Diffeys magnificent
Bresica Bugatti, which he drove into 2nd place in class with great
An excellent Clee, run under difficult circumstances
this year. There is a rumour that this could be Jonathan Toulmins last
event in the leading organising role. Lets all hope he changes his mind.