Michael's (December 2004) Musings
Itís certainly a busy end of season for most Falconís. The Guy Fawkes
followed quickly after The Gill Morrell. How different they were. Brickhill
was nice and dry but not so at Kensworth where persistent drizzle made
conditions slippery all day.
Never mind, contending with the conditions is what trialling is all about.
The feature of this edition of Classical Gas is the first instalment about
Simon Groveís trials season. Itís really nice to see a new generation of an
established trials family out on the hills. Now if only John would get that
I am out of action as a driver for the time being but hopefully that will
allow me to get out and about with my camera a bit more.
Michael's (November 2004) Musings
The Classic trials season has resumed after the summer break. There were 23
Falcon crews driving on the Edinburgh and thatís not including our three
I thought it was great event and how amazing was Litton Slack! The cars
arrived comparatively late in the day, when the dew had gone, but boy was it
difficult to find grip. I am sure a lot of the class eights would have
succeeded without their re-start but I was one of many to watch Dudleys
attempt and when he failed we all knew it definitely wasnít on.
Falcon had a couple of really good climbs when both Simon Groves and Colin
Sumner got beyond the A boards to win their classes. A particular well done to
Colin to do so well in his low slung Morgan. I would love to have seen how he
managed to get the car through the ruts, mud and rocks of Great Hucklow. I
wonder how long it is since a Morgan did so well on a trial?
Michael's (October 2004) Musings
The nights are drawing in now and for many of us Motor Sport shifts from
Autotests to Trials. This winter could see the return of rallying as well,
with the decision of the Watling Club to merge with Falcon
Watling have concentrated mainly on Rallying and Autotests but like so many
clubs have had a problem with declining membership, to the point where it
became difficult to find enough members to compete, organise and marshal
This is a sign of the times that have seen the departure of many clubs,
including SODís in particularly sad circumstances. Fortunately the Watling
team recognised the difficulty and did something about it before it was too
Personally I am looking forward to getting involved in Rallying again,
although as I donít have a suitable car it will be through marshalling.
Perhaps I should have kept the Nova!
Michael's (September 2004) Musings
Michael's Dellow is getting neglected
while he prepares his Beetle for the Autumn season
Where did the summer go to this year? Iím not talking about the weather
itís the time! It seems only yesterday that I came back from The Lands End
and now the Edinburgh looms and I havenít done a thing to the Beetle.
The front suspension needs re-bushing to try to get rid of the dreaded
shakes that bedevil Beetles with McPherson struts.
While I am enjoying the Dellow there are two reasons why I donít plan to
use it for long distance trials, at least for a while. The first is
reliability. Itís very much an un-known quantity and what I do know doesnít
inspire me with confidence. David, the guy I bought it from, was very honest
when he told me he hadnít done anything to it for the eight years he owned
The other reason is of course that I donít really fit in it. Certainly
there is no question of erecting the hood unless I cut a hole in it. Anyway,
if Dudley never uses a hood then neither will I!
Michael's (August 2004) Musings
"OK the brakes are working now what about
I have finally managed to get the Dellow back on its wheels and on the road
after rebuilding the brakes which involved throwing pretty much everything
away and starting again. Never mind it introduced me to the joys of making
I had the ambition of taking it to the Testing Trial,
but that passed by with the car still on its axle stands,
so Falconís August Autotest will be its next competitive outing.
I went to the MCC AGM which was interesting. I raised an issue during the
formal part of the AGM which, if you were there, you will know wasnít resolved
to my satisfaction. Afterwards I received some face-to-face comments and later
some e-mails, some pushing me to go on with my question and some, including
from a gentleman who I have known a very long time and respect enormously,
suggesting I should be more diplomatic in my approach.
So, some thinking to do. Perhaps Itís best that I stay out of Motor Club
politics' and concentrate on learning how to drive a trials car properly and
riding my bike! I have done a bit of long distance mountain biking recently
but no races this year as I didnít spend enough time training in the spring.
Michael's (July 2004) Musings
Still fixing the Dellow's brakes!
Itís been a month of slaving away in the garage on the Dellow. Hopefully I
will get the chance to get in some roof down summer motoring once it has a
braking system that works! It would be nice to take it to the autotests as
I understand that SODís have officially folded. I know a lot of people,
including Laurie Knightís grandson, would like to know the fate of all the
trophies. I wonder whatís officially supposed to happen in those
circumstances? I was actually a paid up member in the final years but I
havenít had any form of communication.
It looks possible that David Thompson may be coming back to the area to
work. It would be super to see him at our events again, hopefully driving his
Looks like insurance for road events will go up now Marsh have pulled the
plug. The Alexander Forbes Scheme is more expensive but doesnít seem to
involve paperwork. I think my Dellow insurance may include road cover for
trials but the wording is very ambiguous.
Michael's (June 2004) Musings
Fixing the Dellow's brakes!
Falconís Autotest opener went off very well. I had hoped to drive my Dellow
but what I thought would be a simple job to fix the brakes has turned out to
be a bit more complicated and I have decided to completely strip and refurbish
them. This has involved taking the floor up so I decided to clean and paint
part of the chassis as well!
Back to the autotest. Although Arnold won it was far from a forgone
conclusion and Richard Tompkins came very close to taking the major honours
with David Manning and Bob Tatum not so very far away.
It was a also super to see so many younger drivers having a go and the
Production Class is certainly a success in giving them a chance to get
I hadnít heard that JP was stepping down as Vice-Chairman when I wrote last
months piece. Itís super that JP will carry on organising Brickhill and the
Sporting Challenge and I wish him well in his retirement from his business.
Michael's (May 2004) Musings
It was back to the Beetle for the Lands
Mike Hayward and I really enjoyed our Lands End. I thought the sections were
just right (although I might not have said that if I had to restart on Bishops
Path or Bluehills 1).
We got a Silver after cleaning everything except Hoskin. Now I would have
said this hill was impossible for class four until the results came and I saw
how many people in similar cars got up. Needless to say we have a master plan
for next year!
Time for a quick apology to Mike Pearson who will continue his C of the C
role on next years March Hare so not to loose to much continuity by both he and
JP stepping down to compete in one year. I know I have said it before but MP and
JP donít get enough praise for the fantastic work they do on our trials, both in
organising and behind the scenes.
With trialling finished for the season I can turn my attention to getting the
Dellows brakes working so I can take it to the autotests. Then thereís the
Beetles front suspension to re-build andÖÖÖ..
The year has come to an end but trialling is very much in full swing. Itís
always strange to me that the ACTC and MCC ďyearsĒ end in the middle of what I
think of as the ďseasonĒ. Perhaps we should change tradition and have the
trials year from summer to summer?
Anyway, Roger Bricknell ended up as ACTC champion but only just as Dave
Haizelden finished runner up in his Golf. Itís quite amazing how the top Class
One drivers get their cars up some of the hills, two of them even came out the
top of Burledge on The Allen, quite remarkable.
Roger and Dave were lucky that Paul Bartleman didnít do a full season as he
won five of the six events he started in his Troll.
Talking of Trollís I here that David Thompson is recovering enough from his
terrible injury to start thinking of trialling again and hopes to take part in
The Northern Trial in his native Lake District. Iím sure everyone will join me
in wishing David well.
Classic Trials Under Threat
As you may have read elsewhere our much revered government have discovered
that a small body of people have the audacity to be enjoying themselves. They
have reacted by getting Mr Alun Michael on the case. Yes this the man who had to
leave his position as First Secretary for Wales with his tail between his legs,
very appropriate as he has been described in the press as ďMr Blairs PoodleĒ.
This is a quote from their so called consultation document.
ďAs Rural Affairs Minister, I have been approached by many individuals and
organisations who are deeply concerned about problems caused by the use of
mechanically propelled vehicles on rights of way and in the wider countryside. I
share these concerns, having seen for myself examples of damage to fragile
tracks and other aspects of our natural and cultural heritage in various areas
of the country. There is considerable concern about behaviour that causes
distress to others seeking quiet enjoyment of the countryside.Ē
Reading the paper gives the impression that they are out to ban Cars and
Bikes from all un-surfaced tracks. The ACTC, LARA and other organisations are
fighting against the effect on our sport. Please support them. You can read more
on the Internet at http://www.laragb.org