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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.

Carl Cleans Northern

A proper Northern Trial. Mud, Snow, Good sections and a warm welcome.

Carl Talbot won The Northern Trial on 15th February in his Morris Trialsmaster with a clean sheet. Despite the weather there was more than the usual amount of grip on most of the sections. The event was closely fought between the leading Class Eight contenders. Stuart Bartlett came so close in his ex Adrian Linnecor Datsun Sunny powered Cannon, just failing to get past the one marker on Ullister Hill. Dean Partington dropped nine on the comparatively straightforward "24" which cost him the event as he was fastest on the Special Tests.

Stuart and Kieran Bartlett are a picture of concentration as they restart their Cannon in the slime of Sandale on their way to second overall (Picture by Mark Milne)

In car on Darling How with Michael Leete

Click on the Links for:-


Full Results


Dave Cooks Pictures


Order prints of Dave Cook's Pictures


Fellside AC Site

Cumbria had escaped the flooding that has bedevilled the south since Christmas. However, there was a lot of rain and high winds in the days leading up to the event and Fellside where forced cancel The Lords Seat in Winlatter Forest when the Forestry Commission condemned the access track because of a fallen tree. There were quite a few non starters and 26 motorcycles and 23 cars gathered at the excellent new start venue in Wigton for efficient and friendly scrutineering and signing on.

Julian Lack didn't make the journey north. After spending all day rebuilding his Lieges diff the Suzuki Jimney's gearbox cried enough on the road test.

A couple of people were having problems in the car park. Colin Perryman's Skoda Rapide had been running perfectly in the week leading up to the event but was now reluctant to run on all four cylinders. Bernie Pugh, one of those behind the new Durham AC Classic Trial, was having problems with his Reliant Rialto and decided not to start. Not a great advert for a car that was on EBay the following day!

The ruts on Carlislegate Lane were tricky

There was no visit to Allhallows Colliery this year so the rutted Carlislegate Lane was the first section, approached by and a nice bit of green-laning which could be a future section. There was a bit of a queue for the hill which gave competitors sight of the depth of the ruts when Hal Branson grounded his Marlin.

Wythop Woods

After a long climb on forest tracks there was the usual long queue for Routens Romp, with views of Bassentwaite Lake through the trees despite the drizzle. Queues here are somewhat inevitable as competitors take well over two minutes to climb the hill, even if they go clear. There was a restart for class eight, which didn't trouble them, followed by a muddy deviation through the trees for everyone,which wasn't very Suzuki friendly and none of the X90's got through the mud.

The lower reaches of Brown's Challenge looked like a mud bath but there was plenty of grip for those that got their pressures correct. There was a deviation off the track at the end that several didn't spot and both Charlie Knifton and Fred Mills were penalised one. Clears had to turn at the top and come back down. Michael Leete made a real mess of this and needed a tug from the Land Rover which bent the Beetles steering and drove part of a stump between the rim and tyre. The event lost two of the Yorkshire contingent here when John Bell retired his MG TB. John Rhodes also called it a day when an after market A arm spacer broke on his X90. John and passenger David Toff were able to make a temporary repair and limp home.

After a surprisingly forgiving Little Cock Up competitors exited the Wythop complex via Lothwaite Side where the Yellows and Reds had a rocky restart which caught out most of Class Seven.

Low Burthwaite Side was a nice new section

John Charles heading for the upper reaches of Low Burthwaite Side. Reliant engined Lieges finished 1 - 2 in Class 7 (Picture by Dave Cook) Michael Leete rounds the muddy first corner on the new Burthwaite Side section (Picture by Dave Cook)

Fellside came out with a new section on the yellow road after leaving the woods. A narrow rutted track it started muddy and dried out towards top where the gradient became more severe. There were no restarts but it proved quite challenging and only Stuart Bartlett, Charlie Knifton, Carl Talbot and Dean Partington went clear. Colin Perryman didn't make it this far as he wisely decided to give up the battle with his misfiring Skoda and went spectating for the rest of the day.

Whinlatter Forest

Back on the road the route climbed towards Whinlatter Forest where the temperature dropped and competitors were greeted by snow. The wonderful "Darling How" started proceedings here, another very long section. Its in two parts, separated by a cross track after which its rocky and rough for a while and this caught out some of the less experienced competitors.

After Sheepfold came Ullister Hill . Stuart Bartlett didn't get past the one marker where the stone surface gives out at the top which left only Carl Talbot (Morris Trialsmaster) and Dean Partington (DP Wasp) with clean sheets. The top of Ullister Hill is very tricky as the ruts give out and its very difficult to stop the front of the car sliding sideways down the hill. This happened to Chris Maries, leaving his X90 precariously poised and it took a very special Land Rover to extricate him safely. Charlie Knifon was having problems with his Scorpion as the alternator had stopped charging so he was hoping to finish before needing to use his lights.

Carl Talbot went into the lead of the trial on the next section, the seemingly innocuous "24", when Dean Partington got his tyre pressures totally wrong and dropped nine. It is one of these sections that demands total commitment to get around the muddy first corner and Dean was far from the only one to come to a stop on the lower to mid reaches.

Setmurthy Plantation

Fellside achieved the perfect result with Carl Talbot getting the only clean sheet (Picture by Dave Cook) Usually seen passengering for Nigel Jones David Hunt drove his Suzuki X90, pictured by Dave Cook on the difficult start line at Watch Hill

There was a seven mile road run before the third and last forest complex where there was no snow and Telfs Challenge awaited. This is named after the late Mike Telford whose "Tucker Nipper Special" was being driven on the event by new owner John Hunter.

The first problem here is a steep muddy right hand turn which stopped about half the entry. After this there wasn't a great deal of gradient but the there was no hard surface under the mud and only four of the class eights went clear.

Next came The Black Hole, a wonderful straight climb through the trees with a restart for class eight. The rain must have washed away the usual mud as there was quite a lot of grip this year and about half the entry reached the summit. This is a hill you have to return back down and this caused a few problems. Mike Chatwin ripped the under guarding from his DP Wasp and Michael Leete had a root impaled between a heat exchanger and the sump guard. The Beetle was well and truly stuck as it wasn't possible for the recovery Land Rover to get past and pull him up. There was nothing for it but to pull backwards and hope the root would break without causing to much damage. It did and Michael continued with the remains of the offending timber still wedged in place.

After the first special test came Watch Hill. The higher classes had a straight run at Upper Watch Hill while the Blues and Whites had to restart on Lower Watch Hill. Both started in an absolute quagmire and there were an awful lot of 12's as most people couldn't get off the start line, much to the amusement of Dave Cook who was photographing there.

Sandale was tame this year

David Golighly had no problem with the mud on Sandale in his Model T based Morton and Brett Boardracer (Picture by Mark Milne) John Hunter on Sandale in The Tucker Nipper Special, previously campaigned by the late Mike Telford (Picture by Mark Milne)

After the second Special test only Sandale remained, with the rain stopped and the sun peaking out. The class 8's had to restart which didn't bother most of them and only a handful of the non re starters needed a tow. Perhaps this was fitting for the Northern's signature hill as it had been a long day battling the conditions as well as the sections.

Back at the finish a nice meal awaited to round off the day, with the organisers having achieved the perfect result, Carl Talbot going clear and everyone else dropping points. The consensus amongst the competitors was that the organisers had got the trial pretty much perfect, a hard act to follow next year.


Class Driver/Car Marks
Overall Carl Talbot (Morris Trials Master) 0
0 Nick Smith (Marlin Roadster) 33
1 Peter Masters (Toyota Starlet) 101
2 Hamish White (Alvis 12/50 5D) 43
4 Michael Leete (VW Beetle) 12
5 David Golightly (Morton & Brett Board Racer) 22
7 Roger Goldthorpe (Liege) 29
8 Stuart Bartlett (Cannon) 1

Added 23 February 2014

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