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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.

2005 Musings

Michael's (December 2005) Musings

 Its been a couple of hectic weeks, going on two very different ACTC trials. The Hardy is fighting to re-establish itself after being abandoned by the Woolbridge club. Mike Hayward and I went marshalling and really enjoyed our day. The main thing was the fantastic atmosphere. Everyone was united in their determination to make the event a success, despite there being no time to run the usual “classic” sections.

 Two weeks later it was down to Cornwall to passenger Simon Groves on the Camel. This was a really tough event, not rough, just tough. I really enjoyed the trial and the associated social side as we made it a three day event, going down the day before and staying the Sunday night with some of the Stroud boys.

It was wonderful to be part of an event where Ian Davis fought off a tough challenge from Adrian Dommett and Ross Norman to win the ACTC Wheelspin Championship.

Michael's (November 2005) Musings

The two trials were both excellent events. Very different because of the venues and the weather! It was really good to see a couple of “new” faces taking the premier awards.

With the evenings getting darker the March Hare Team have started work in earnest and I understand Arnold has found a super new section on a byway.

Neil’s Snetterton testing incident was a shock. The red flag came out and the cars came in while the incident was cleared. We waited for our man only to find he was the cause! Neil wasn’t hurt (apart from his wallet) and a lot of technical knowledge was gained, especially concerning the tyres and I reckon the Capri will be at least two seconds a lap quicker next year.

Talking of Motor Racing I have discovered that Marlin Trialler Jonathan Baggott races a Single Seater and I hope to tell you about that soon.

Michael's (October 2005) Musings

Pembrey was interesting with a dramatic journey down. Half way along the M4 there was a bang from the clutch and the pedal on the lorry went to the floor. We were rolling along in traffic, with no hard shoulder because of road works, so we kept going while I lay on the floor and dismantled the bulkhead around the pedal.

Pretty soon it was evident the problem was a broken plastic bracket on the end of the master cylinder pushrod. Still rolling down the motorway Neil phoned around to locate a replacement at the Mercedes truck dealer in Swindon. We continued with Neil doing clutch-less changes for about 40 miles to pick up the new one. Fortunately lights and traffic were in our favour and we only came to a stop once.

Goodness how Neil managed to get the lorry (with Capri on the back) towing a caravan going again but he did. It goes to show that necessity is the mother of invention!

Michael's (September 2005) Musings

Went to F1 testing at Silverstone. First time I have been there, or seen F1, since around 1970. Back then it was called "Grand Prix", Doris Day was still a virgin and some of the participants seemed to be enjoying themselves! Anyway I went with a crowd of great buddies, one of whom had organised access to the inner sanctum of the pit lane and garage complex. Lots of hush, hush, wink, wink about this but we were able to get onto the pit lane right outside Toyota and Red Bull and go inside one of their garages.

 First impression was the noise. Wow! Then the understanding of how these guys are spending mega-bucks. I think every Toyota mechanics assistant had an assistant.  They seemed to be spending all their time testing different tyres and fiddling with computer settings. They could fire up the cars and blip the throttle without the driver in the car or without any one touching them.

Lots of other motoring stuff. Great Autotest at Codicote with a fantastic entry and more racing with Neil. This is getting exciting. he is in the top three of the championship with two races to go and could win!

The evenings are drawing in now of course which means the trialling seasons upon us. Still not driving for personal reasons but looking forward to my ride on The Edinburgh with Simon Groves.

Michael's (August 2005) Musings

Another busy month with a real mixture of motoring. I have been quite involved in the highs and lows of Neil’s circuit racing. Although Cadwell was a fantastic circuit we hit a performance low as the Capri didn’t go as well as expected after all the post-Mallory work.

Lydden was a different story. The new radiator cured the overheating and both Neil and Chris had fantastic races. Roll on Donnington on Bank Holiday Monday.

It wasn’t Motorsport as such but many thanks to Murray for some fantastic off roading with the 4x4 boys. Some of you may be saying that Murray hasn’t got a 4x4. No he uses his Golf!

Finally I marshalled at the Autotest organised by Mike Turner, who put on some super tests and was rewarded by a fine entry. Great day and well done Keith with a fine FTD.

Michael's (July 2005) Musings

It’s been a very different summer for me this year. No cars to tinker with and lots changes to cope with.

Mike Hayward and I have been to quite a few of Neil’s races and really enjoyed ourselves. The highlight was the breakfast Nashy cooked at Oulton Park. The low all the bent cars in the Brands paddock after the startline shunt.

Oh! Lets not forget Neil. The boy’s doing well although he better watch out as David Heale was in the Mallory paddock under the cars with a tape measure!

I won’t be driving again this year which was going to mean missing The Edinburgh which I have done every year since I started Classic’s. Simon Groves has very kindly offered me the bouncers seat in his Escort which means Mike Hayward is available to passenger. Does anyone have a ride for Mike?

Michael's (June 2005) Musings

It had been a while but after a gap of 30 years I joined the organising team of a Falcon event as Clerk of the Course for the Spring Fever Autotest.

The reality was that Mike Hayward did most of the work before and after. I just designed the tests and turned up on the day to lay them out.

Not too demanding but hats of to all the clubs organisers who put together our trials. I can’t begin to imagine the efforts put in on an event like The March Hare where Secretary of the meeting Dave Nash has to write scores of letters getting every detail approved by the bureaucracy.

No organisers no club. I don’t plan to leave it another 30 years till the next time.

Michael's (May 2005) Musings

It was a really tough Lands End with very few gold's. None went to Falcons, only Mike Pearson and Peter Manning getting amongst the medals.

It was no surprise that Hoskin claimed so many scalps. Mike Hayward and I joined Clive Booth and we saw most of the cars go through, or at least try too. It’s fearsomely steep and the class eight restart was particularly evil and only four succeeded. Hats of to Peter Mountain who made a superb attempt, positioning his Dellow just right, but failing to gain sufficient momentum before hitting the dinosaur eggs!

Neither Bishopwood or Bluehills 1 went down very well, most competitors thought they were too Mickey Mouse with “impossible” restarts. The other strange thing was the number of failures on the Felons Oak where are sizeable hole has appeared.

Neil Bray had a really busy weekend, driving home on Sunday to collect his racing Capri and come back South to Thruxton to debut the car on Monday. Neil did really well to finish 2nd in class and 4th overall.

Michael's (April 2005) Musings

The March Hare went very well and was a tremendous credit to the organising team. Arnold, Mike and Verdun spent a lot of time in the weeks leading up to the event clearing undergrowth and cutting back trees so some of the sections could be used.

Then just before the event there were route authorisation problems in the Whitwell area, these were solved, only for the last minute discovery that Half Moon Lane couldn't be used because the council were re-surfacing it1

There had been some concern about having enough marshals but Verdun had over 50 on duty on the day, including a full team from the Herts VW Club who had re-organised one of their own events so they could be present at Brickhill.

The following week there was good turnout at the AGM where John Parsons was elected as Vice president. A well deserved honour for all he has done, and is doing for the club.

Michael's (March 2005) Musings

It was really interesting to stand on the bank at Crooked Mustard. It really showed the advantage the “Sporting Trials” cars had over everyone else. The section has it all, gradient, sharp corners and for the later numbers mud.

As Andrew Brown said on his Website, Crooked Mustard is all about taking the right line, and for most that meant a perfect line. The nimble flyweights had the advantage that if they got the whole thing wrong on one corner they could reposition for the next. As Andrew says “a triumph of engineering over driver skill”

In the past I have sarcastically referred to the flyweights as Class Nine. Perhaps that’s not a bad idea!

Simon Groves really entertained the crowd by coming oh so nearly to putting his Escort on its side. I put a video on the Web site, only for it to be so popular that my ISP blocked my site until I removed it because it used so much bandwidth!

Michael's (February 2005) Musings

The March Hare will only be a month away when you read this. It’s become an established feature in the Falcon calendar but of course its one of the most demanding to run as the sections are spread all over our area.

Mike Pearson and Arnold Lane have been around and about with those helpers they an muster to prepare the sections. They could do with more help so if you can spare some time over the weekends please give them a call.

The event needs a lot of marshals on the day so do help if you are not competing and give Verdun Webley a ring.

Talking of marshals I was amazed to read that the one at the top of Simms on the Exeter didn’t record who reached the summit so anyone who passed the A boards was given a clean!

As you can read in this months Classical Gas Mike Hayward and I went marshalling on The Clee Hills and received tremendous support from the landowner when things went wrong.

Michael's (January 2005) Musings

The death of Graham Brasier, on the Lands End to John O’Groats Le Jog historic rally, was a shock. I suppose we think these are things we read about concerning people we don’t actually know. I met him on a number of occasions when we were both campaigning his Class 6 Beetles. He was always very friendly even though he knew I was totally against type 4 engines!

More recently Graham was active against some of the changes in MCC events and he phoned me several times, about a letter he wanted published on the internet as he “wasn’t a computer nerd”.

The last time I saw him was at the MCC AGM when he was one of several Cornishmen to make the long journey to the midlands.

It remains to be seen if there will be repercussions following Grahams death as according to the BBC Web site the police are investigating whether tiredness played any part in the accident.

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