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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.

Exeter in Class 0
 

Claire Oakes Reports

Our sixth venture into Class 0 with the MCC. This time we were in our new toy, an Eagle RV

  Keith and Claire tackle Sandy Lane in their Eagle RV

(Picture by Dave Cook)

 

The daylight Class 0 sections from Chris Bonnetts Salamander Sports

It is our sixth classic event in M.C.C “O” class. First time in “O” class was 2009 Exeter (2010 cancelled ) in the Dutton Phaeton, which was a delightful “O” class trial. We had a new toy for the Edinburgh“O” 2010, an Eagle RV Kit, which left me feeling deflated for a long time after the event. To many negative reasons to write about 2010 Edinburgh, but I think, one were in with-draw-al for the “Green Goddess” and class 7, but we were glad to be in the Eagle on our journey in a constant down pour travelling back home the next day. So, when Exeter was drawing closer I wasn't getting any build up of emotions, excitement and anticipation the sort you get as a child when Christmas eve had finally arrived. Sad I know, but that's how it feels for me when D-Day approaches for trailing. Each to their own enjoyment in life.

Departed with an open mind from “Oakes Castle” at 20-00hrs prompt and returned by 20-10hrs to collect documents that are needed for signing on! Perfect evening drive via A45—A46---A429 to Cirencester and finding a petrol station on route selling at £1.24 and without having to follow the main trail route from Cirencester we arrived at Haynes Car Museum at approx 23-30. We timed it right to join the queue of only five in front of us for scrutinising and about the same number of competitors queuing for food. Its a nightmare at Haynes for the main trailers when they all start pile-ling in to queue for refreshments. The congestion, the heat due to layers of clothes.......the prices. Back to the Eagle for some “shut eye” for 45 mins and I had no problems nodding off with the click-clicking of the flag pole wire on the pole. Folks will have to listen to Michael Leetes' video to know what I am writing about. Its mind over matter and I haven't got a mind, so it doesn't matter! As I'm dozing it starts to rain and the pitter-patter on the roof of the Eagle sends me soon asleep.

Refreshed, our trial starts at 01-14. Verdun Webley with Arnold Lane 513 in a Ranger, are fellow compatriots in the Falcon Club and they are the car in front of us. Verdun told Keith he was stopping to get petrol at Sparkford Services and for us to go on. We took great glee in telling him of our pit stop earlier. Verdun must have gone back to Milton Keynes for his fuel as we didn't see him again until Exeter Services. We found out later that he had to queue for fuel plus payment and this does eat into the travel time, though ample time is allotted for this. Just over a gentle forty mile drive to Musbury Control, a delicious coffee was made for me by the very helpful and friendly garage staff. Having grey hair and a face that looks like a pair of old gym plimsolls with a vacant expression, I think the staff wasn't taking a chance, in case I broke their brand new machine and did it for me. I don't blame them, as I'm renowned for putting a voodoo on anything electric. Two miles from control to our first section Emmettes Lane and we don't know why we were the first car. We didn't inflate our tyres after each section as this saves time but we were also relieved that a travelling marshall 526 Brian Osborn with John Fry in a MGB Roadster were behind us, to be our witness that we were not speeding to each section. Brian told Keith that the Eagles` near side front light had gone and this gave me an insight what it must be like for a motorcycle with their single illumination climbing a section.

From section one to Exeter Services we did seven section and one special test in a total distance of forty six miles all in the dark ......brilliant. At the top of Sandy Lane Section 6, we saw Dave Cook (photographer) who looked surprised to see competitors so early and quickly swung into action and started taking pictures. As soon as we got to Sidmouth, Keith parked at the Esplanade to replace the bulb. We just trundled our way to every hill, which suited us and still no other cars in front and a void of twelve behind back to Brian and John. It was just us two competitors and an official travelling behind Brian in a Dellow blowing steam all the way to the start of day light at M5 Services....where was everybody? As we had to leave Exeter at our scheduled time, Verdun was back in the pack. Just Verdun, Keith and Brian and still no other competitors, where were they? The trial began to feel like our own private event with a few motorcycles from the main trial. Later that afternoon Verduns` Ranger started with a high pitched scream from under its bonnet, followed by steam exiting every orifice of the Ranger. The marshall said to him “when you've made the tea, mine has two sugars”. Electric hiccups (and I hadn't been near it to put a spell on it) other minor mechanical gremlins plagued the car, but they managed to get to do all hills and finish.

Windout Section 8: We descend a steep track to a stream, which we had to cross. With the melted snow and the strong blustery gale we had in the night, the stream was now a small fast flowing river. Once again I was glad to be in the Eagle as I think if we were in the Phaeton I'm sure we would had water inside the cockpit. I would like to know how the new comers coped here.

More water driving at Fingle Bridge. We pass the bottom of Fingle Hill and follow the now swift white water River Teign to drive over a waterfall that is rushing down the hill-side to cross our track, and as it spills into the river it takes more embankment with it, thus narrowing the track to Hitchcombe Section 9: Hope later competitors got through ok.

Here were family members Allan and Pru, who cheered us on our way to the top. Unfortunately I don't think Brain cleared the section, but results will tell when published.

Once again a warm welcome at Ilsington Village Hall by the locals who provided very appreciated home made food. After five weeks, no biscuits, sweets, slabs of chocolates, cakes, trifles, Christmas cake, puddings of any description, of life's little essentials had not passed my lips, I thought now was the time for a reward.....and yes I did enjoy the large slice of lemon drizzle cake.....yummy. The local school had put on an art display of cars and motorcycles and left a comment book for the competitors to leave their remarks.

That was appreciated too by the trialers.

Lands End organiser Roger Ugalde passengered for Caroline. They were Tail End Charlie but gained a Class 0 award (Picture by Dave Cook)

John and Janet Walker emerge from Penhales Plantation (Picture by John Baker)

Penhales Plantation Section 11: This is the escape route for the main trial failures. With all the wet draining from Simms onto Penhales, a torrent was flowing rapidly down the approach to class “O” re-start. The Eagle dug her talons in to get traction to claw her way up to the box and she pulled away cleanly. After driving through rain and rivers the Eagle was still reasonably clean, and as we tootled to “O”s last section towards Teignmouth, to cross over the River Teign, I knew then that we were not going to get away scot-free and stay clean. We had entered red soil country! French's Section 12: When we arrived I thought there had been a bank robbery as people scurried and climbed into the back of a 4x 4 and drove off lickety-split up the section! Yes, we had arrived before the marshalls were in place. Jovial laughter all round, then behold, the first two motorcycles in “O” class arrived...hurray, at last they made it! A new hill and a concrete drain to drive over (the same as those in Lenda lane) on a sharp left hand ascending bend to negotiate over rounded rocks. At least they weren't the sharks teeth of Great Hucklow! These were capped!! Again I wondered here how newcomers coped.

We think we cleared all and after a soak in the tub at The Trecarn, and sorry it was I who wanted to eat out for a change. Allan and Pru did a reconnaissance in Babbacombe for a eatery in the afternoon and in the evening they took us to a quite Bistro they found and I gorged myself on a lovely fillet steak and trimmings. Then back to the hotel to join in with the throng of competitors to hear their highs and lows of the trial. I'm glad to say that Exeter was a enormous big high for me, roll on Lands End. As I'm getting older and the bones cant take the punishment, the drive home in the Eagle with a roof is quicker than the Phaeton, so I'm not so knackered after event, but there's something about trialling in a open car!

I think I'm correct, but not a 100% sure that there is talk of a three-wheeler competitor who is thinking about not competing any-more in the three-wheeler, for causing holds ups on sections and embarrassments. I hope not, he has every right to compete and not to feel embarrassed if he feels trialers are getting impatience. Its nice to have nostalgic beautiful Shetland pony with all its charisma and appeal and to remind us of what this event is all about. Not every-body wants to see a thoroughbred stallion charging up sections all guns blazing. It takes all sorts of ingredients to make a good cake, not just best butter on its own. The pot here is calling the kettle black, for I have done many events in class 7. Those who know me have heard me screaming at the Green Goddess “ Come on baby!” I want so much to get to the top, but not to the extent of churning up the hill (others have to follow) sitting in a plume acrid smoke. As a navigator, if we get to sign off I'm very happy with my cardboard certificate, to state I was there and I did it. More talk at the finish that a large number in “O” class didn't sign off, but at this moment in time until results are announced, I don't know how many signed on.

To give you some idea of “O” class, enter, MCC Exeter Trial 2011 Class “O” on You Tube an excellent 12mins video. 2.35 into the film you will see the water following across the track at Fingle on their way to Hitchcombe, 7.40 the water coming down Penhales Plantation and 10.35 the concrete drain at French's and their rocky ride to section ends. This is how I like trailing to be.....driving up sections (preferably with-out re-starts). This competitor drove the sections with respect for the hill, no bumping and goring, not going up the hills like a bat out of hell in clouds of burning rubber with his adrenalin so high, that wax pops out of his ears. Driver and passenger absorbing the beauty all round them as they drove at a sensible speed from Fingle car park along the long river bank to Hitchcombe. Is this why more cars are entering “O” class, as we want to do it more sedately to drive up the sections, and will it be spoilt by putting in a bucket full of re-starts?

Page added 22 January 2011

 

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