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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.
Dean Partington was one of six clean
With dry conditions all the sections were
cleanable and mistakes cost dearly. The six clean sheets were distributed
between three classes, but Dean Partington really flew on the Special
Tests, to win the March Hare Trophy.
Dean Partington in typical relaxed mode
as he successfully restarts on the last section to gain a clean sheet
and win the March Hare Trial.
The Chequers Redbourn.
A few miles from Junction 9 on the M1
Mike Pearson being interviewed by the Mobil 1 The Grid Crew (Picture
by Mike Hayward)
Blakeley discussing technicalities with David Jackson
(Picture by Mike Hayward)
With entries on most trials
down, the March Hare organisers were delighted to have an over-subscribed
entry for their route through Herts, Beds and Bucks.
Looking through the entry it
was roughly split into three. A third were regular Classic Triallers, a
third occasional or class 0 triallers who don't do the rough events and a
third locals who mainly do PCT's.
With some withdrawals and a
couple of non-starters 48 cars left the new start at the Chequers in
Redbourn after an excellent breakfast.
Norton Street Lane
Byway - A long straight
climb on loose stones. A straight run-through this
With no restart or diversion
this year this stony lane was a nice ease in to the day and there were no
Byway - Another hill used for
the first time on last fears modern March Hare but perhaps used by
Falcon in the 50's. The section is a well surfaced track, approached
by more than two miles of green lanes! Chief Official Murray MacDonald
had organised a muddy deviation for class 8
After a couple of miles of
green laning to get to the section the lower classes enjoyed a run
straight up the lane, and even the restart didn't claim any victims.
Originally classes 6, 7 and 8
were to deviate off into the wilds but Chief official Murray MacDonald
took mercy on six and seven, leaving only class eight to enjoy the
The steep bank reduced the
hopes of many and Mike Pearson and Ed Nikel in their Dellow Mk2 Replicas
and Tony Christy driving Ross Nutens Dellow Mk2, were the only local
drivers to go clean.
Byway - Never trialled before
the section was mainly a rutted track that would have been very muddy
had it been wet!
George Diffy in his beautiful Austin Seven (Picture by Dave Cook)
Sam Holmes on his way to
win Class 4 with a clean sheet (Picture by Dave Cook)
This was a new hill this year,
and to the best of our knowledge has never been trialled. Its a wide muddy
lane with lots of ruts.
A few days before it would
have been a stopper for many but the dry wind changed the conditions
completely and Jonathan Baggot, who is more often seen driving a Van
Diemen in the Monoposto series, was the only failure in his Marlin. Chief
Official Simon Robson has a master plan for next year, involving blocking
off the easy route!
Water Cress Lane
Byway - Cress Beds and Water
Tower into one long section, with a restart for all classes on the
step up to the road. The remainder of the section has been rather
spoilt by the County Council who have filled in the ruts!
public byway section in the Hitchin area featured the familiar restart by
the Watercrees beds. The week before the trial the step onto the road
looked so fearsome that Clerk of the Course Arnold Lane made a visit with
a van load of concrete to make it easier. In consequence it was pretty
easy to pull away and nobody troubled the scorer.
Copt Hall Special Test and
Special Test and two
sections on Private Land.
John Plant has former
owner Adrian Tucker-Peake alongside in his Peugeot 205
on the first Copt Hall section.
in one of the seven Suzuki X90's in Class 5,
climbing onto the trackbed of the old Hatfield to Dunstable railway.
The first visit to private land
had twosections and a special test at a new
Falcon location right alongside the Luton Airport runway. The special test
was a nice simple affair on broken tarmac where Dean Partington set the
standard, a second and a half faster than Tim Foster in his Eskimo
The first observed section was
a tight PCT affair on grass. The dew had gone by now so there was plenty
of grip. However, the turns caught out a few, including three of the seven
Suzuki X90's in the trial.
The second Copt Hall section
was very different, utilising the embankment of the disused Hatfield to
Dunstable railway, closed in 1965 when it got the axe from Dr Beeching.
Marshaled by West Suffolk Motor Club, the section had a variety of
surfaces and some tight turns.
Around a third of the field
picked up penalties here. Both Kevin Alexander (Fiat Panda) and dad Brian
(Suzuki X90) dropped nines and Chris Maries and Clive Cooke were the only
X90's remaining with clean sheets. The section wasn't friendly to Class
two either. Peter Thompson dropped two but all the others in this class
failed at the nine as did Kevin Barnes in the blown Liege.
Woodland section finishing up a
steep bank with a restart for Seven & Eight
Jackson spins to a stop on Beetle Drive, as did most of the entry.
The first visit to the Woodland
near Hemel Hempstead further reduced the clean sheets. Beetle Drive ends
on a rutted bank with a restart for 7 & 8 and the Mobil 1 The Grid film
crew in attendance.
In the lower classes only Keith
Pettit in his Frogeye Sprite, and the three Beetles of Sam Holmes, John
White and Michael Leete went clean. Kevin Barnes was the best in Class 7
but even he dropped two.
It was left to six of the
Class Eight's to show how it was to be done and even they had to work
hard. Even so a number of them lost their clean sheets here, including
Mike Pearson who was carrying the TV crews camera.
Second section in Binghams Wood
with a Class Eight only restart
Mark Ensoll in his
Dutton Phaeton (picture by Mike Hayward)
Class Seven winner Harry
Bounden in his Marlin (Picture by Mike Hayward)
The second woodland section
was mild in comparison. There was a class 8 only restart and although half
of them failed it didn't affect any of the clean sheets. Unfortunately
Roger Dudleys Marlin developed engine problems and he had to retire here.
sections on Private Land.
Brian Alexander came up
from Cornwall but dropped out of contention when he failed the second
Copt Hall section (Picture by Dave Cook)
Geoff Simpson rounding
the Barn hairpin on Kensworth 3
There were three sections at
this familiar Falcon venue. The first two were typical PCT affairs.
The third utilised the rutted track around the
barn and had a re-start
that would had been tricky had it not been for the dry conditions.
Special Test and Two
sub-divided sections on Private Land.
Diffy has plenty of help in his Humber Nine Twenty (Picture by Julian
Lister in his Blown Dellow with an Elva Overheard inlet valve
conversion (Picture by Julian Robinson)
After a longish road run there
was a special test and two observed sections in the familiar setting of
Brickhill that has been trialled for the best part of 50 years. Dean
Partington was fastest again in the sandy ST with Tim Foster second again,
this time by only a tenth of a section.
Brickhill 1 utilised the track
up the gully, a marvelous blast through rutted sand before restarting and
turning up the bank. Most went clean but there were a few failures in the
gully for those who didn't have enough momentum to get through the power
Brickhill 2 started in the
woods at the far end coming back up to the paddock through the ruts formed
at the Falcon PCT a few weeks before. There was a restart here where the
Suzuki's struggled although Howard Blackwell used his experience to go
clear. In the higher classes the only failure was John Parsons who has
organised many events at this venue but was struggling with a very fluffy
type 4 engine in his VW Buggy.
County Road - Clean/Fail.
With no restart this year this
county road wasn't too problematical.
County Road - Clean/Fail with a
restart for classes 3 to 8
Rachel Zamorski fell into Simon Robsons hole and failed the restart. (Picture by
John Wilton in his
magnificent Trojan (Picture by Dave Cook)
Despite the dry conditions
Hill Farm always catches the unwary. Apart from 1 & 2 all the classes had
to restart. This was definitely not Suzuki friendly and again Howard
Blackwell was the only Japanese machine to go clear.
Back in the woods 6,7 & 8 had a restart on tree
The event finale was back in
woodland for the final two sections. The Falcons Folly restart wasn't as
difficult as usual this year with only a couple of failures
The final section ends with a tricky hairpin with a
restart for Class 8
Bell had a good run in his MG TD and was just one mark behind the
John Rowland was driving
familiar Opel while Peter drove his Chummy.
The last section has decided
the outcome of The March Hare for many years. Its all about a rutted
hairpin bend, with a restart for class eight only. It was no problem for
class 1 & 2 who all went clear. Not so for Class 4 as both John White and
Michael Leete failed. Sam Holmes got though to retain his clean sheet and
win the class, one year after his Classic trial debut.
Keith Pettit in his Frogeye
went clear to retain his clean sheet and win Class Five. Peter Manning was
second in his Midget on 11, narrowly pipping Clive Cooke in his X90 who
had been second until failing Binghams Warren. Brian Alexander proved the
Japanese machine could get around the hairpin but earlier fails kept him
out of the awards.
In Class 7 Harry Bounden
arrived with three but that went up to nine after failing here, just
pipping Kevin Barnes to the Class win.
Although half of the class
eights couldn't get away the four with clean sheets all did, so their
class was decided on ST times. These made Dean Partington (DP Wasp) the
overall winner, Tim Foster (Eskimo Special) the Class 8 award, followed by
Liam Rafferty (Cannon) and Mike Chatwin (DP Wasp)
dry conditions the organisers were pleased to get only six clean sheets
and the fact they were spread amongst the classes proved the restarts used
to handicap some of the classes worked.
seemed to go down well with the competitors. Some commented that a couple
of the new sections were too tight but we can
reply on the organisers to sort this for next year.
day was characterised by a great variety of cars
from Simon Diffys Humber Nine Twenty and John Wiltons Trojan in Class 2 to
the highly developed DP Wasps driven by some of the sports most successful
drivers in Class 8, all enjoyed by those participating, marshalling or
viewing the event.