Off we go at 3am to Yorkshire for the Ilkley Classic Trial.
We had just got off the M1, to take the ring road round Leeds, when the
Dutton started to splutter, then stall. We thought it might be the
carburettor, as it plays up in very cold conditions, but this couldn’t be
the case as it was a DRY and warm night. I never knew how many roundabouts
and traffic lights there were as we did a kangaroo hop to get round Leeds.
We coughed and wheezed and limped into Ilkley Rugger
Club. The marshal who directed us where to park said “there’s water coming
from your car, no, hang on, its petrol”! It was pumping out like a cut
artery, and I’d been puffing on ciggies for the last ten miles!! Keith set
to and dismantled the carburettor as he thought the float was sticking.
(While I had another cig in the clubhouse to clam myself at thought of
being blown up). Ian Cairns arrived to say he was lucky to be a starter
too. His Marlin Roadster hydraulic clutch pipe broke, on the Friday, fluid
Our kick off time was 09.05. The sun had been out since
dawn and it continued to shine until just before the lunch break. Then it
rained & rained & rained. On the tulip route card two sections, 3 and 4,
had been deleted due to the rotten weather of the past week at Browns Wood
and the crossing over Dob Park Splash.
Sections 1 & 2 Carr Side, we approached the start line
sideward like a crab, as did the other trialers. This was the format of
the day, a second trial getting to the start lines! Cricket scores end of
the day of 155 for Reg Salway VW Golf was not alone with 21 other cars
collecting triple points, we toted up 96. The star for the cars was best
overall Robin Preedy VW Scorpion with 27. How did he do it? Well-done
This is the only trial apart from the MCC. “Big Three”
where we see bikes. Ian Thompson (Beta Alpa) got nil points, what a man.
We had to laugh when Graham Makepiece (Honda XR) said he was annoyed with
himself for dropping six on Wilson’s Wood. He should have had a look at
the book Keith purchased the club; entitled “So this is Yorkshire” by
Janet E. Kitchens. A compulsive read crammed full of photographs of bikes
and some cars from 1910 to 1939. Men had to men and women tough as nails
to endure the elements and conditions of harder trialing than today. They
just got on with it and land owners joined in. No DEFA, Health & Safety,
PC. The only “street cred” these lads needed to look cool was, Brylcream
hair slicked back parted on top, carbolic soap and to finish the manliness
was a Woodbine sticking out of the corner of their mouth. Not the pasty
sickly faced tattooed baseball caps hoodies of today trying to pass
themselves off as humans.
Can`t write what these trialers got up to in the “days
of yore” as I might be breaking copyright, but every steep hill or water
they could find they drove up it or through it and there’s plenty of both
on “Bar Tat”. No 4x4, or tractor to pull you out, but a horse or a dozen
or so men. I will let you know that for solo bikers, by 1927 the penalty
for zigzagging was six and wobbling or swerving badly five! Sorry, I`m
digressing, back to 2006. Sections 5/6/7 Sword Point 1, 2&3. We got as far
as 12 on one, told to reverse into a gateway as this was now the new start
line, opposite to the gate entrance for section 2, to have a longer run up
to the section (across the tarmac public road) which we did a bit better
and wow got to 10. At Sword Point 3 we sat and watched Bill Foreshew,
Golden Valley Special MK II, get to the eight. Keith didn’t think he could
do any better, but hey, the Dutton found grip and flew up to the one! We
were towed out onto a very narrow track, but still had to do a 6-point
manoeuvre to clear the bank opposite, the track for it is only the depth
of a car on the “T” section ends exit. Good place for spectators as all
three are within a few hundred yards.
Sections 8 & 9 Fewston 1 / 2 Our first clear on one. We
straddled a tree root on 2 for eight points.
Section 10 Peels Wood As we slowed to turn into the gate
a voice shouted from a group of bikers “Do you want a passenger?” “What’s
up, I said to the rider, has your passenger thrown there Teddy out of the
pram?” “No, he replied, I have!” “OK, I’ll swap”, but Keith drove on into
the field before his wife made more of a fool of herself. Classes “A” &
eight diverted on this hill, others went straight up this year, and we
reached the one, and were dragged out to exit the hill.
Section 11 Hey Slack next to the lunch halt on Pock
Stone Moor we got as far as the three. It started to rain at the break,
ever the optimists we didn’t put the roof on, but after a hour or so we
had to relent to the elements as the wet stuff was now coming down like
stair rods and Keith’s glasses were beginning to rust.
Section 12 Wilson’s Wood we arrived at post eleven and
the Dutton sat posing on a large hump of mud for Dave Cook the
photographer while we thought which was best way to reverse out.
Sections 13/14 Brimham Lodge, the marshal told us
drivers had trouble getting to the eleven. We said we would try to do
better; we did, just made it to the twelve! The timed test on section 14
last year was to go slow, yes, you’ve guessed it, this year you had to go
as fast as you can through the sea of mud.
Sections 15/16 Incline 1&2 at Bruce House Farm, David
Child Ford Pop was up to his oxters in mud and was towed to the start
line! Guess what, he got to the twelve. We surprised ourselves with five.
Incline 2 was cancelled.
Section 17 Watergate, Colin Perryman was pleased with
his BMW 2002 as it cleared the hill. He told us this hill was used for
“Scrap Heap Challenge” and none of the vehicles climb it in the T.V.
programme. We got to broom handle eight.
Section 18 Cock Hill Mine, with the rain, now mist
swirling around, bounced back with a dream restart and shot up the hill.
When we arrived at Sections 19/20/21 Strid Wood the last 3 sections were
also cancelled. So, straight to the finish for a early free meal, lovely
food and warm hospitality from the organisers and helpers, but the
accolade goes to the course setters on the wet day before and the marshals
who stayed cheerful in such miserable conditions. The Ilkley is a
delightful event and not damaging to vehicles. The only gripe from some of
the competitors was the 12/ 15 psi limits. Personally I think it should
have been 10 psi or, with the adverse conditions free tyre pressure,
except for Robin Preedy who should have been 30 psi, only kidding Robin.
We stayed at the Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley, very nice place and recommend
We travelled south on the A1 & because of the heavy
rain. Went wrong at a roundabout and inadvertently was now driving south
on the M1. Grief, it was a nightmare like driving in a car wash! Spray
every where, with side screens off, water was coming in by the buckets
onto our laps, buttock clenching experience, exit to get back to “A”
roads. With motorways road works, why can’t pipe be laid to move water
round the country where it is needed in droughts? Or as a friend text me
with this question, isn’t it a good job we have a drought, where else
would we store the water?
Preedy (VW Scorpion)
Sykes (Mini Moke)
Parker (Austin Seven)
Perryman (BMW 2002)
Clay (Austin 7/Ford Special)
Peck (VW Beetle)
Oakes (Dutton Phaeton)
Webster (Ford Special)
Thompson (Beta Alp)
Makepiece (Hona XR)
Brown (Triumph T110)
Hind (Triumph 7T)