There was a new Clerk
of the Course this year, Simon Woodall and Jonathan Toulmin handing over
the reigns to Adrian Tucker-Peake who had Graham Austin to assist him.
There were some changes to the route. No Alez Oop, as agreement couldn’t
be reached with the landowner. This meant taking the long way round to the
Priors Holt sections but this was more than compensated for by the lower
classes having Castle Hill introduced for the first time.
Adrian kept the
double loop system, where the route is two circles, forming a figure of
eight with the start in the centre. The entry is split according to class.
So 7 and 8 do one loop first while the other classes do the other. It's a
bit more complicated as class 0 have some unique sections and omit some
used by 1 to 6, while 7 and 8 also have some unique sections. Why am I
telling you this? So you understand that as a competitor in class 4 I
didn't see all the sections and this report starts at section 10!
There was no
Penhale's Puzzler Special Test this year so Classes 0 to 6 started
proceedings at Section 10 - Flounders Folly, while 7 & 8 went over
The Long Mynd via Castle Hill to Rattlinghope, although they bypassed the
new section itself. Flounders Folly is a slippery affair though the trees
with a more difficult route for the higher classes which stopped all of
them. There were a few cleans for the lesser mortals, including the
amazing David Haizelden in his Class 1 Golf.
Section 11 –
Harton Wood – John Sergeant was in charge here, for this track through
the woods, which was Class 0 only this year, although John was able to
give a wave to the other competitors as they drove by the foot of the
section. Richard Andrews and Nick Woolett both went clear in their Dellows
and it was shame that Nick had failed in the gate area at Flounders Folly
as they were to be very close for the rest of the day.
Special Test - Adrian Tucker-Peake reintroduced this old favourite,
which was to decide the winner of this years trial. This section is as
much a restart as a special test. After going all four wheels over line B
you have to reverse all four wheels back before going forward again. The
problem is this is on a slippery slope and its very difficult to get going
forwards again. Drivers have to decide how far to back down past the line.
Go a long way back and it takes time but you get to clear the section.
Back up just a bit and you will get a good time, if you get away. If you
don’t you get a 3 mark penalty. This is exactly what happened to Dean
Partington and it cost him the trial.
was another one of many to fall foul here as well. That was a shame as he
was running David Haizelden very close on the other sections. Its only a
matter of time before James triumphs over the all conquering Dave.
Section 12 -
Easthope 1 - This is in the same complex as Ippikins Rock and Majors
Leap. It's a muddy track with some pretty deep ruts, despite some work by
the club during the winter. There were only four clears, all in class
eight, Simon Woodall and Andy Curtis in their VW Buggies, Dudley Sterry in
his venerable MG J2 and Dean Partington in his self constructed Special.
Outside of class eight most people came to a stop when they ran out of
ground clearance, somewhere between the seven and nine.
Section 13 -
Ippikins Rock - Only the lower classes tackled this nice little
section which is all about a very tight hairpin right. There is usually a
restart here, but Adrian T-P had dropped it this time. That made a
difference as only a couple of cars in Class 0 dropped any marks here.
Section 14 -
Majors Leap - Only attempted by the reds and yellows this defeated all
of the Class Sevens and many of the class eights as well. Four of the top
five in class eight went clear, Dean Partington being the only exception
in his DP Wasp.
Section 15 - The
Jenny Wind - A well known section which has been used on The Clee for
many years and was trialled before the war. After the sharp right hander
its straight up if you can. For most it was a reverse back down but both
Pete Hart (Marlin) and Tris White (Hillman Imp) had the ultimate
experience of seeing the exit track at the top. Dean was the only one of
the top class eights to fail. He stopped at the two and well done to Giles
Greenslade in Class 4 to better this with a one. We expect you to come out
of the top next year Giles!!
Section 16 -
Harley Bank - This used to be a wonderful long track but the old route
has become too easy after council re-surfacing. There are now three
different sections. The Class 0’s get to run straight through the old
section which they all cleared. 1 to 6 used the same track but had a
horrible left had hairpin in sticky clay and nobody got around.
Classes 7 and 8 had
a different route. The eights also had a nasty hairpin on their route and
all failed. The Sevens had things a little easier and Mal Allen (Marlin)
and Steve Kenny (Liege) joined Pete and Tris in going clear.
Section 16 -
Meadowley Wood - Only the hard men were are allowed top tackle this,
their last section of the trial. If you like mud, tree roots and deep ruts
this is your hill. Class eight had to have a minimum of 15 psi. This
handicapped them and only Dean and Paul Bartleman (Troll) came out of the
The 2nd loop, for
the lower classes, the one that 7 & 8 started with, had a very different
character. Much more picturesque, more rocks and less mud. It started with
a wonderful new section called Castle Hill before climbing The Long
Mynd. Unfortunately only the lower classes were allowed a go. There was
only one failure but no matter, this was a really, really enjoyable
section, very reminiscent of Axe on The Cotswold Clouds.
Special Test - Adrian T-P and Grahan Austin had tried to spice up his
delightful section by making it a regularity test. The Route Card told you
it was 1/8 mile long, but you were only given the target speed of 7.5 mph
, on the start line. Sitting here its easy to work out that the target
time was exactly a minute. Around half the entry got it right and there
were only two fails for an incomplete test, including none other than
Dudley Sterry. Fortunately the six marks he lost didn’t cost him the trial
win but if he had cleaned Meadowley it would have done!
Section 2 -
Gatten's Gamble - Starting in farmer Phil Harding's yard the big
disappointment was that the tank wasn’t there this year! This is another
wonderful, long, up and over, Clee section with fantastic views crossing
the summit. There was a restart near the top this year which claimed a few
scalps before the muddy descent to the road.
Section 3 -
Handless - Attempted only by Class 8 this was a new hill. It had a
very greasy hairpin right followed by some good grip and a hairpin left.
Dave Foreshew was in charge here, to see the three leading cars go clear
with the others failing on one of the hairpins.
With Alez Oop off
the agenda this year cars had to take the long way round to the Priors
Section 4 -
Priors Holt 1 - This is a steep, rocky climb that gets progressively
steeper with tyre pressure limits for the higher classes. The leading
class 7 & 8 competitors went clear but the lower classes found life much
more difficult. In Class three the powerful Escorts of Dick Bolt and
Andrew Martin went clear as did Terry Ball in his Beetle in Class 4. For
the others it was a long and difficult reverse.
Section 5 -
Priors Holt 2 - Deemed too easy for class eight the remainder of the
entry enjoyed this long climb, very similar in character to priors Holt 1,
but a little easier, hence a restart for some. This caught out a few
experienced competitors. In Class three Andrew Martin dropped 8, denying
him the opportunity to challenge Dick Bolt in his Duratec engined machine.
Giles Greenslade bellied out here and with the points he lost on Priors
Holt 1 had to settle for second in class to Terry Ball. At least Giles
didn’t have to contend with the mud and ruts at the summit!
Section 6 -
Priors Holt 3 - A steep climb with loose rock, demanding close
attention to tyre pressures and throttle control. Thankfully there were no
restarts this year and pretty much everyone got a clean to enjoy the trip
through the forest at the summit.
Special Test - Nice timed rocky climb with a nifty descent where it
was all too possible to overshoot the finish line.
Section 8 -
Strefford Wood 2 - No this isn’t out of order! This was the entrance
track for the Class 1 to 6’s attack on the main Strefford Wood section. It
turned out to be a great challenge. Slippery clay and as it said in the
route instructions “flat tyres and flat out”. There was a friendly Land
Rover to tow you up to the main section if you failed, all in all a great
replacement for the much missed Round Oak.
Section 7 -
Strefford Wood - The team had drained the “Gunge Pit” this year but it
was still a challenge. Classes 7&8 approached via the Gunge Pit. This
wasn’t very Dellow friendly and Peter Mountain and David Bache both
stopped here in their Mk1’s, as did David Jackson in his Fiat engined FPS.
Once through the Gunge Pit the other Class Eights all went clean.
Class 7 found it a
bit more difficult, but it was Marlin friendly, with Pete Hart, John
Ludford and Mal Alen all getting to the summit, as did Andrew Rippon his
Baja before he retired after Flounders Folly.
None of the lower
classes got to the summit. Missing out the Gunge Pit most were defeated by
the ruts at the bottom, caused by 7 & 8’s earlier attempts. This was no
place to be without good ground clearance and none of the class threes did
better than a 10. The FWD contingent did better, perhaps they were able to
pick a better line? They all got to at least to the eight and James
Shallcross had another good drive to better Dave Haizelden to just behind
him in class one.
In summary another
excellent Clee. Adrian Tucker-Peake and Graham Austin living up to the
challenge of following Simon and Jonathan. The new sections went down well
and they had addressed the criticisms of last years trial.