Clerk of the Course Stan Peel
had been very worried about the weather building up to the weekend as some
of the roads on the route were flooded. Come the day the water had receded
but it was still necessary to cancel a couple of sections, including the
popular Incline on the outskirts of Pateley Bridge. To compensate a couple
of familiar sections at Sword Point were drafted back into use.
The event attracted quite a
good entry of 38 bikes, 14 cars in Class 0 and 33 in the main classes.
Most of the events regulars were present, but noticeably only a handle of
championship contenders. The main car classes had quite high pressure
restrictions of 15psi for Seven and Eight and 12 psi for the others. Class
0 had neither pressure restrictions or restarts
Big Hole at Strid Wood
With the first Hawpike section
being cancelled the picturesque Hawpike 2 was first on the agenda. Quite a
few drivers were caught out by the steep bank at the start, including Paul
Clay and Nigel Hilling with their 1172 sidevalves and Graham Redmayne in
his Liege in Class 0. Graham didn't make many more errors and went on to
an excellent second in Class 0.
The familiar sections at Strid
Wood came next. The first wasn't too bad for the early cars in class 0,
but soon developed a huge hole in the soft surface which only Dean
Partington and Stuart Lambert of the later numbers could surmount. The
second hill here had a very difficult 90 right onto a track which proved
too much for most cars. The few that did get round were trapped by the
tight PCT markers higher up and two was the best anyone could do. David
Golightly had a good try in his wonderful Model A but got rather crossed
up in the process and had a rather alarming unplanned descent through the
Suburb Green Laning across
Pock Stones Moor
There was a new section called
Ellers Edge on Pock Stones Moor. The section was fine but even better was
mile after mile of green laning to get to the section and more afterwards,
finally emerging at the Hey Slack Section. Ellers Edge was a slippery bank
which stopped a surprising number of the entry including all the Lieges
apart from Graham Redmayne in Class 0.
There were the usual two
sections at a cold and windy Hey Slack, attempted according to Class. They
were very wet at the bottom which prevented competitors attacking the
short sharp banks. Nobody climbed the easier one and in 7 and 8 only
Duncan Stephens in Class 7 and Dean Partington and Charlie Knifton in
Class 8 came out the top.
The weather was better at the
sheltered Peels Wood 1 where the routes were split, class 8 having to
descend to the bottom before attacking a steep grassy bank. Only one
competitor surmounted this bank and nobody will be surprised that was Dean
Partington. The other classes had a much easier route and there were few
Only the higher Classes
tackle Wilson Wood
Wilsons Wood was only attempted
by Classes 7 & 8 and didn't take too many scalps this year. The only two
retirements occurred here. Steve Lister had problems with his blown Dellow
and there was no Charlie Knifton as his Subaru powered Scorpion had stuck
in gear leaving Peels Wood.
There was a lunch break in the
farmyard before Brimham Lodge, with a much appreciated refreshment wagon
and toilets. The Brimham Lodge section was in fine form. Cleanable, but it
wasn't easy and about half the cars didn't succeed in getting up without a
tow. David Golightly in the Model A was penalised 50 marks here,
presumably for tyre pressures and this cost him a class win. Incidentally
the tyre pressure check was at the top of the section, so no chance to
adjust them if they didn't satisfy the marshals gauge.
New Section at Coppy was
With the Incline Sections
cancelled due to the wet ground the route went through Pateley Bridge and
alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir to a new section called Coppy. This had a
relatively gentle gradient, the challenge was the ruts, rocks and mud. The
majority of the Class 0's running at the front of the field had problems
and had to back out. Before long pretty much the entire field were queued
on the main road. Fortunately some of the senior competitors stepped in
and marshalled the cars onto the adjoining grassy field otherwise there
could have been a nasty accident.
The main classes were not
without their problems, but even those that cleared the section had a
struggle with the hairy drop into the stream on the exit track.
After Coppy the route continued
to follow the reservoir road to Longside Wood, introduced for last years
event. Stan Peel had taken pity on the lower classes and allowed them to
start after the tight hairpin at the bottom. The section is a magnificent
long blast up a track through a Bluebell Wood, finishing with some tight
corners. These were the downfall of the few competitors who got that far,
all except Mike Chatwin who was the only clear in his DP Wasp.
On the Moors above Pateley
Watergate lay back down the
reservoir road, through Pateley Bridge and up onto the moors. Watergate 1
is one of the jewels of the Ilkley Trial, a real classic section in a
picturesque setting, such a shame about the car damaging unnecessary
artificial bit at the top. There were no restarts for the lower classes
but even so it the section claimed scalps on the lower reaches.
Watergate 2 was a dive into
and out of a quarry, cleaned by all but one competitor.
The Cock Hill Mine section was
higher on the moor. Bleak and exposed it was a new variation for most
classes, marked PCT style and routed over some big rocks before a tight 90
left onto the exit track. This was quite tricky but competitors in most of
the classes managed a clean, including three in Class 2, John Bell (MG TB)
and Richard Parker and Sebastian Welch in their Austin Seven's. David
Child did some damage to his Pop here and he missed the remaining
Back to Peels Wood
There was a second run at Peels
Wood on the way back to Otley, with a relatively straightforward restart
for those who didn't have to deviate. The Class 8's had their deviation
again and once again it was only cleaned by a DP Wasp, but it was Mike
Chatwin this time. Dean dropped seven, loosing the overall win in the
Two familiar sections at Sword
Point weren't included originally but were drafted in a few days before to
replace those lost to the wet ground. The first one had a more attainable
route through the trees before the step up to the track. Very few in the
lower classes could surmount that so well done to Sam Holmes (beetle),
David Golighltly (Ford Model A) and Paul Clay (Ford 10 powered A7) who
crested the summit.
Sword Point 2 was another weave
though the trees with a tricky restart on some soft peat thrown in for
good measure. This proved a real challenge and only John Bell and Sam
Holmes got away. The higher classes didn't fare much better, most of them
failing to get away.
Finish and Reflections
With so many sections and some
substantial delays, later numbers were still trickling into the finish for
their supper past 6pm, which was shame for those who had a long journey
home followed by work on Monday morning. For those that had the time to
enjoy it there was a nice supper, included in the entry fee.
On reflection the trial was
much rougher than usual in places and Class 0 had no respite from these
sections on this event. The overall winner came from this class but
considering they had no restarts, free tyre pressures and were in a road
going Sporting Trials car this attracted quite a bit of comment.
Having made these comments The
Ilkley has never fitted into the mould of the other championship events.
Those who come back each year know what to expect and enjoy the event for
what it offers. Just a shame it was rough for those who choose Class 0 to
avoid damage to their cars.