Liam Rafferty won a dry March Hare,
setting the fastest test times from the five clean sheets.
break in the wet weather the sections were very dry and there were five
clean sheets. Three were Class Eight, dominated by the very welcome
contingent that came down from Derbyshire. In Class Five former March Hare
winner Keith Pettit went clean as did multiple PCT and Sporting
Trials Champion Dave Oliver in Class One.
Alan Oakes drops the flag and Liam Rafferty eases his
DP Cannon off the restart at Binghams Warren to win The March Hare Trial
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Unseasonably Dry Weather
Unlike last year when the event
was run in a blizzard this years March Hare enjoyed fine weather. This
posed problems for the organisers as some of the sections were very dry
necessitating toughening up some of the restarts, in what proved an
unsuccessful attempt to get a result on the hills.
The first couple of sections were a gentle
introduction to classic trialling for the several competitors who were
competing in their first event. This was to change when they had problems
in finding Chalk Hill. The problem was that there were no marshals on Dead
Woman's Lane and many missed the turning off the track after the intended
The Chalk Hill Restart was
Mike Pearson tiptoes over the water
eroded gullies under the eagle eye of Jonathan Baggott
positions his Liege for the restart before his front mudguards became
detached further up the hill (Picture by
After a glorious couple of
miles of greenlaning Chalk Hill presented a different challenge to recent
years. The muddy deviations off the track aren't presently accessible.
However, water erosion has created a gulley and a judiciously placed
restart made the section competitive. Around half the entry lost their
clean sheets here. These included Nigel Jones, debuting his newly acquired
MX5. The other byways east of Luton Airport challenged some of those
trying the sport for the first time but didn't impact on the head of the
Hall Challenges Class Eight
Brian Osborn spins his wheels as he
tries to find grip on Copt Hall 1 (Picture by Dave Cook)
Class 1 winner Dave Oliver was one
of five clean sheets (Picture by Dave Cook)
There was a Special Test and
Two sections on private land alongside the Thameslink line, within sight
of Luton Airport. The ST was to be very important at the end of the day,
Dean Partington narrowly setting fastest time just ahead of Liam Rafferty
in his Dean constructed DP Cannon.
The first of the two observed
sections was relatively straightforward, but even so former March Hare
winner Andy Curtis dropped 7 in his VW Buggy.
The second Copt Hall section
had tight turns up the railway embankment used by the former Dunstable
branch line. Unfortunately one of the turns was too tight for both the
Trojans and the four X90's, duly noted by the Clerk of the Course as a
problem to be fixed for next year. Class 8 had a restart on the steepest
part of the bank. Mike Pearson was to regret not letting his tyres down
and couldn't find enough grip to get his Dellow Rep away.
John Wilton got a
big round of applause when
he came out the top of Beetle Drive (Picture by Don Stringer)
Keith Newton trying to find some
grip after restarting his Cannon. (Picture by Don Stringer)
Beetle Drive is one of the
toughest March Hare sections and was to have a big impact on the results.
In Class one Dave Oliver was the only FWD to clear the steep bank and
maintain his clean sheet. Both the Trojans did well but Steve Potter
couldn't quite clear the summit. John Wilton did that tiny bit better to
get over the top to huge cheers from everyone in the wood.
Classes 7 and 8 had a restart
before the final bank. This stopped all of Class 7, Mark Endley getting
the furthest in his Liege which had broken its new front mudguards earlier
in the event.
Charlie Knifton just failed to
get to section ends but Liam Rafferty, Dean Partington and Stuart Bartlett
(in the Datsun Sunny powered, ex Adiran Linnecor, Cannon) all went clean.
Webleys Wobble was more
straightforward but still claimed a few scalps including Geoff Hodge (RDT),
Graham Redmayne (Liege) and Tony Christie (Dellow Mk2) who all failed the
Class 8 restart.
reduces the Clean Sheets
The Kensworth Special Test,
marshalled by the Herts VW Club, was a super affair, uphill around a barn.
Liam Rafferty was on fire, posting 8.56 in his DP Cannon, more than two
seconds faster than Dean Partington. Mark Wills (Marlin) and Andy Curtis (VW
Buggy) were the only other cars under 10 seconds.
The first observed section at
Kensworth was a pure PCT affair, on a steep grassy bank which tested
competitors trickling skills.
A few hundred yards away the
second one was very different, all about a "tree rooty" restart for
classes 3 to 8. This proved too difficult for locals Michael Leete (VW
Beetle) and Peter Manning (MG Midget), both loosing their clean sheets
here. This left five drivers on zero. Dave Oliver (Peugeot 205), Keith
Pettit (AH Sprite), Liam Rafferty (DP Cannon), Dean Partington (DP Wasp)
and Stuart Bartlett (Cannon).
Nigel Jones in
his newly acquired Mazda MX5 about to tackle the final slope on Coombe
Bottom (Picture by Dave Cook)
Former March Hare Trial winner Andy
Curtis successfully restarting
on Coombe Bottom. (Picture by Dave Cook)
New for last year the sections
here had been changed following the lessons learned. Coombe Hole was
completely new and really long, but being dry was much easier than
anticipated and cleaned by everyone.
Coombe Bottom started
differently to last year but finished up the same steep track with a Class
8 restart which caught out Charlie Knifton in his Subaru powered Scorpion.
Hawridge Lane and Hill Farm
Simon Robson had positioned the
Hill Farm class 3 to 8 restart in the toughest
place he could find to negate the dry conditions. In class five it caught
out both Peter Manning in his Midget and Chis Maries who has reverted to
an X90 after experimenting with a FWD RAV4.
Back to Binghams
Stuart Bartlett successfully
restarts to finish with one of the five clean sheets.
Harry Bounden on the lower reaches
of Binghams Warren
Back at Binghams the field had
two different sections to those attempted in the morning. Falcons Folly
had its usual tree rooty restart for 6, 7 and 8 but it wasn't on form this
year, catching only Tony Christie in Ross Nutens Dellow Mk2 in class 8,
Harry Bounden in his Class 7 Marlin and both Adrian Tucker-Peake (MGF) and
Reg Taylor (Beetle) in Class 6.
The final section, Binghams
Warren, is all about a very tight hairpin towards the end, with a restart
for class 8 right on the apex. Although half the entry failed the section
all the leading contenders managed to get round the bend OK.
Back at The Finish
The organisers were pleased
that everyone returned to the finish with no retirements. It was certainly
an experience for the several drivers who had never competed in a Classic
trial. Hopefully they will have enjoyed their day and will come back to
the hills soon.
||Liam Rafferty (DP Cannon)
||Mike Pearson (Dellow Rep)
||Dave Oliver (Peugeot
||Michael Leete (VW
||Keith Pettit (AH
||Adrian Tucker Peake
||Mark Endley (Liege)
||Dean Partington (DP
17 March - Added some more links to photos and corrected a
24 March 2013 - Added link to Don Stringers pictures
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