It was very cold, with a touch of snow on the ground, as competitors
joined the queue for scruitineering. It stretched a long way down the
narrow street. Not sure the locals will have enjoyed all those idling
engines outside their windows when they were expecting a Sunday morning
lie in! The first few sections still had a bit of ice and the rather
gentle Tog Hill stopped a couple of the Front Wheel Drive cars. Alan Holly
was one of these in a rather low Ford Ka, prepared for endurance rallying
rather than trials. Despite the front of his car scraping the ground
everywhere he carried on to finish the event. Lets hope he enjoyed himself
enough to stick with the sport.
Bitton Lane was not Front
Engine Rear Wheel Drive Friendly
For classes three to eight
Bitton Lane is all about a restart on polished stones, sited on a left
hand bend. This was definitely not class five friendly as none of the four
competitors could get their cars away. It was clearly a front engine, rear
wheel drive issue as 40% of Class three failed as well, including Aaron
Haizelden in his Mexico liveried escort which is surely too nice to trial?
Only Trojans Clean Big
Big Uplands had an experienced
team of marshals from Stroud and DMC. Classes 7 and 8 bypassed the section
in the morning and would return for their attempt late in the afternoon.
There were some big holes mid way up the section and these were a problem
for some of the lower slung cars, including many of the Escorts. The big
problem came after the ninety left corner, the momentum lost rounding this
was sufficient for most to come to a halt, apart from two cars that is,
Steve Potter and John Wilton in their Trojans. The ground clearance
certainly helped but hats off to the skill of both drivers to coax their
wonderful machines to the summit of this difficult section. A mention to
the best of the rest who got to the two. Bill Bennett (MG J2), Dick Bolt
(Ford Escort), Reg Salway (BMW), Brian Alexander (Suzuki X90) and Matt
Facey (1976 Beetle). Also reaching the two were four competitors in Class
One, Nick Cleal, Dave Haizelden, James Shallcross and Charles Knifton.
Retirements at Guys Hill
The historic Guys Hill was
next. There are no corners but its polished stones and tree roots are more
than enough to trap the unwary, especially with a restart for class six
and higher. This was another hill that proved problematic for classes
three and five although Keith Sanders (Reliant Scimitar SS1) made amends
for an eight on Big Uplands to go clean. In Class 4 Michael Leete left the
start with wheels spinning and paid the price, stopping at the five. The
other Class 4 competitors all went clear although Colin Perryman was to go
no further, retiring with unknown problems, as did Matt Facey in Class 6.
The restart for the higher classes saw many of their clean sheets
disappear as the old hill did its work.
Past Chew Valley Lake and
bypassing Burledge the route went onto the A368 and up Cleeve Hill to
Travers. The section wasn't too much of a problem if you didn't have to
restart, but it was a different matter for those that did. Ian Davis, in
his nicely rebuilt VW Buggy, lost his clean sheet here.
Steve Potter leads the Trial
in his Trojan before loosing it on Ubley Woods 3
The three Ubley Woods sections
were just up the track and these were to determine the result of the
trial. The Yellows and Reds had to restart on Ubley Woods 1 and only Tris
White (Troll) and Nick Farmer (Cannon Alfa) managed to go clear. Then,
like everyone else, Tris failed the Class Eight only restart on Ubley
Woods 2. This left Steve Potter in his Trojan the lead of the trial with
the only clean sheet. Sadly he was to loose this on Ubley Woods 3 where he
dropped three marks. It was possible to get up in a Trojan though, as John
Wilton proved when it was his turn.
So, as competitors made their
way back to Chew Valley Lake for the rest halt, the leaders were all on
two. They were Nick Cleal and James Shallcross in their Peugeot 205's, the
omni-present Dave Haizelden in his familiar Golf, Bill Bennett (MG J2) and
Dick Bolt (Escort).
Nick Cleal and Bill Bennett
tie for the lead. Nick wins on Special Test Times
These five were reduced to
three when neither James nor Dick could get away from the slippery restart
on Burledge. Then at the first of the two sections in the Lakeside Complex
Dave Haizelden didn't get all the way out of the bomb hole and lost one
mark. That left Nick Cleal and Bill Bennett in the lead on two marks and
the situation remained that way till the end, victory going to Nick on
Special Test Times.
Whilst this was going on the
Yellows and Reds went to Big Uplands for their attempt, with Class Eight
having a restart. Most of the leading contenders went clear but after
Ubley Woods this didn't impact on the final results.
Another successful Allen
The trial had its traditional
finish at John Walker, a wonderful blast through the mud in the gathering
dusk to conclude another excellent Allen Trial. Pete and Carlie Hart, Mark
Tooth and the team are to be congratulated on preserving the traditions of
the Allen Trial even though they have lost many "real lanes" over the
years. In particular moving the Lakeside sections to their present
location has been a great improvement and are a welcome addition.