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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.

Enigmatic Exeter
 

Smooth Running Trial, Just the Right Amount of Bite

It had been wet before the event, but was dry on the day, creating ideal conditions. There were some new ideas which worked well, although with some controversy over Run Back penalties on the timed restart. The old favourites were on form. The resurfaced sections at Normans Hump and Simms still took their toll as did a rough Tipley.

Mike Pearson getting out of shape as he fights a loosing battle with the rough steps of Tipley. (Picture by Brian J Rees)

Click on the Links for:-

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Full Results

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Art Tidesco passengers in the Parsons

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Richard Miller rides his Enfield Bullet

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Exeter on RetroSpeed

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TrollPowers pictures from Haynes

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Brian J Rees pictures from Tipley

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Bob Blackmans Exeter Trial

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Michael Leete's Exeter Trial

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Lots of Stuff on the Classic Trials Facebook Group

Clerk of the Course Tim Whellock introduced the trial by explaining how he had revised the first part of the route to make the transition down to Bovey Woods more interesting. This started with a Special Test within the Haynes Complex. This went down well, especially with car competitors who had a rare chance to see the motorcyclists in action.

Timed Restart at Windwhistle Hill

A concept not seen for a while. Competitors were stopped on a muddy tarmac road, drove into a restart box then restarted on a light signal and given 10 seconds to clear the section ends board which wasn't that far away. All should have been well. There were certainly plenty of marshals but the provisional results caused controversy when 25% of the entry were shown with Run Back penalties, including eventual Best in Class 1 award winner James Shallcross.

New Underdown Sections

With Meerhay no longer available it was good to have these new forestry sections near Yarcombe, close to where the A30 joins the A303. Class 0 and the main trial shared the rough downhill approach track. The Class 0 section came first, but proved too difficult for quite a few cars, causing a tailback while they reversed out. Unfortunately this prevented cars in the main trial getting to their section and a big queue built up until the Class 0 section was cancelled. The section proved nowhere near as rough as the entrance track and Bill Bennett (MG J2) was its only notable scalp, although it did prove problematic for quite a few of the Suzuki's in Class 5

Normans Hump

Richard and Paul Williams in their Oval with a rag roof  would have gained an award but were penalised for not signing on (Picture by Dave Cook)

If you thought the Oval was old how about Ben Collings 1901 Mercedes? (Picture by Dave Cook)

Back on the agenda after a years absence the area around Normans Hump looked very different after all the logging. The surface of the track had changed as well. It wasn't as rough and stony but there was a layer of mud to contend with. The restart was limited to Classes 3 and 6, taking its toll of both. In Class 3 only Lester Keat (Avenger) and Neil Bray in his ex Tony Underhill Escort went clear. It was a similar story in Class 6, only three of a sizeable entry reaching the summit with Courtney Yandle (Beetle) and Dean Vowden (VW Notchback) going on for Gold.

Clinton

After an easy run so far Class 8 had to restart on Clinton. Although the logging hadn't affected the track the restart was still a test for the specials and 50% of them didn't get away, including Dean Partington, Brian Partridge and all the Dellows apart from Eric Wall.

Waterloo

After last year there had been some improvements to the section and it didn't have much affect on the results of this years trial. Mind you, there were a few competitors that hadn't got this far. John Plant's Golf had lost all its power; Barry Clarke had retired the Grotty Chummy; Tim Smith and Chris Maries were both on their way home after strut problems with their very different Toyotas; Matt & Barry Denny were trying to get back to Popham on the train to collect their trailer and pick up their Fugitive after breaking the diff; Mark Rosten-Edwards had broken his Escorts Gearbox in Bovey Woods; Colin Sumner had fuel feed problems with his Beetle.......

Stretes, Core Hill ST,  Bulverton Steep and Breakfast

 

Graham and Barry Redmayne had problems with their Liege overheating and when they had cured that they discovered petrol leaking from the fuel tank. They persevered and finished the trial

 

None of these caused any problems, especially with the restart on Bulverton Steep cancelled, although the trial lost Wheelspin Champion Dean Partington before breakfast.

The Mid Trial break was at Crealey Amusement Park, and most people thought it was a much better venue than Exeter Services. MCC President Jonathan Laver was on hand to talk too as many people as possible. Jonathan had started the event in his MGB but retired when he found a newly fitted axle had far to higher ratio.

Tillerton

Only 7 and 8 had to restart on Tillerton. The section is a bit of a shock to newcomers. It looks horrendously rough over the solid rock. But the rises and falls are not too bad and its possible to get up without risking much damage. The problem was that the rock was pretty greasy and it took a fair toll. Roger Bricknell (Vincent) and Josh Moss (Gregory) both lost their clean sheets on the slippery rock. Other notable Class 8's to be penalised were Eric and David Wall in their Dellows and Carl Talbot in his Special.

In Class 2 Nigel Hilling lost his clean sheet in his side-valve Ford Anglia but Ben Collings romped up in his wonderful Mercedes although he was to miss the final few hills.

Fingle

Peter Mountain forsook his Dellow for his newly acquired supercharged BMW (Picture by Peter Bennett)

Nigel Hilling in his very tidy 100E engined Anglia (Picture by Peter Bennett)

Chief Official Jeremy Bennett had moved the section start way down the hill compared to usual. This didn't have any affect on the results but certainly added to competitors enjoyment.

Wooston Steep

Only Class Eight were allowed to assault the long bank this year. All the others had to turn left before the gradient went up, albeit classes 6 and 7 had to restart.

Only five of the Class 8's reached their section ends board, including Alex Wheeler in his ex Tony Underhill special with the former owner urging him on from the passenger seat. Alex went on to join Nick Farmer and Mike Chatwin to keep clean sheets amongst the specials.

Simms

Brian Partridge getting airbourne on his way to cleaning Simms (Picture by John Perriam)

John Wilton has determination etched on his face, but like everyone in Class 2 he couldn't reach the summit on this occasion (Picture by John Baker)

After pasties and cake at Ilsington Village hall it was time for Simms. The hill was going to be different as the Torbay lads and the Flay family digger had put in a lot of repair work. This really paid off as they had eliminated the worst of the rough stuff without loosing the hills competitiveness. Experience pays!

It was generally reckoned that conditions became tougher as the day went on and the upper part of the hill became more and more slippery.

Class 1 - James Shallcross made a storming climb, the only FWD to reach section ends. James was one of many to pick up one of the unfortunate RB's on Underdown and had failed Normans Hump. However, the shape of Class 1 started to change when David Haizelden lost his clean sheet failing Simms.

Class 2 - Nobody got a clean so the hill didn't count in their results. Unfortunately the many spectators were denied the spectacle of Ben Collings Mercedes as he had driven to the finish after Wooston.

Class 3 - Three of the Front Engined RWD saloons made the climb. No surprises that Lester Keat was one of them in his Avenger, David Millar made it with his Escort but Alan Selwood provided the best spectacle for the many spectators, with flames belching from his BMW Estate.

Class 4 - There was a high success rate here, four of the eight survivors going clean with the best performance put up by Nicola Butcher who stormed up late in the gathering gloom when the hill was very slippery.

Class 5 - Only two cleans amongst the sports cars. Phil Tucker in his TR3A and a stormer by Paul Brooks in his Suzuki X90. Simms wasn't very kind to Mike Warnes who had the prop shaft yoke break on his TR7. Fortunately Mike was carrying a spare and changed it at the bottom of the hill.

Class 6 - I hope Dean Vowden and Alan Treloar don't mind but the star performance in this class was Courtney Yandle in his Beetle, cleaning Simms and getting a Gold at 85 years young.

Class 7 - 7 and 8 both had a restart but the three cylinder Suzuki engined Lieges of Julian Lack and Mark Endley were up to the challenge, joined only by Nick Gibb's Marlin

Class 8 - The Specials were up to the challenge of the old hill, most of them storming up and it didn't seem to matter where you were in the running order in this class.

Tipley

Lee Peck had to reply on his passenger and a spectating friend to help him when he punctured on the rocks (picture by Brian J Rees) Ray Goodright taking an interesting line. (picture by Brian J Rees)

The hill was very rough and slippery this year. With a lot of failures the queue at the preceding Lenda Lane control soon built up. The organisers took the unusual step of persuading competitors who were not on for a medal to miss the hill so that it didn't have to be cancelled.

Dave Haizelden probably wished he was amongst them as the suspension on his well prepared Golf broke on one of the rough steps and it took a while to get it out of the section. Dave wasn't the only failure to have problems getting out and its hard to see how Tipley can remain in the event unless things change.

Slippery Sam

The field was very spread out by the time the cars came to Slippery Sam The hill has become very rough at the top and a big problem is looming here. There was plenty of grip however and it was only Class 7 that had a lot of failures, having to re-start along with the Class 8's.

The End

With some missing Tipley the survivors all made it to The Trecarn in time for the traditional evening meal. The Windwhistle Hill RB issue hadn't reared its head at this stage and popular opinion was that it was a good event.

The innovations at the start of the event were very welcome and Underdown was a good find. The last few hills became quite challenging for the later runners and Tipley will need some work if its to stay in the event. The organisers had put a lot of work into the event and its clear why The Exeter is so popular.

Published 28 January 2012

 

 

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