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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.

James wins Claggy Clee
 

With unusually dry conditions there were nine clean sheets, across five classes, so special test times came into play to determine the results.

 It was an excellent trial, with some new and reintroduced sections, although the dry conditions made stoppers like The Jenny Wind and Easthope cleanable by mere mortals. The event was notable for the bumper Class Two entry with the VSCC coming out in force to enliven the proceedings.

Clee Hills Winner Dean Partington enjoying the classic section at Castle Hill. Picture by Dave Cook

Click on the Links for:-

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Clee Hills Trial on The Classical Gas Message Board

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Full Results

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Clee Hills Trial Web Site

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Dave Cooks Pictures

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Russell Otway's Pictures from The Jenny Wind & The Slab

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Michael's Clee Hills Trial

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Pictures from RallyPix

 

Clerk of the Course Graham Austin and his Midland Automobile Club Team were rewarded by a bumper entry for this years Clee. A few weeks before numbers were a bit thin and consequently Graham decided to do away with the events familiar double loop system. Come the day there was a full entry of 80, with some prospective competitors turned away. The system worked well though and there were very few delays.

Although there were 22 sections they were not attempted by everyone, as the comprehensive plan sent out with the final instructions revealed. The idea was to more or less eliminate the necessity for restarts by deviations, differential start lines and alternative sections for the different classes.

Class 0 winner Andrew Isherwood in his Sidevalve Mk1 Dellow on Castle (Picture by Dave Cook)

Pictured on Flounders Folly Rob Wells was in the only Suzuki X90 to clear The Jenny Wind (Picture by Dave Cook)

Richard Houlgate was behind the VSCC presence, including Hicky Hicklings Dodge captured on The Slab by Dave Cook Gary Browning was went clean of the event and is pictured storming The Jenny Wind by Russell Otway

Muddy Strefford

A muddy Strefford Wood 3 was first on the agenda for 1,2,7 and 8. This defeated all in classes 1 and 7 with Pete Hart doing best to get to the three. Unfortunately some of the VSCC contingent in class 2 had trouble with the entrance track and it was abandoned for them, but not until Bill Bennett stormed to the 5. It was on for the Class 8's though and half a dozen of them went clean.

Class Eight Flounder

Those who didn't start at Strefford Wood commenced battle at a reintroduced Flounders Folly, now without the gate on the twist at the start. This proved relatively straightforward for the lower classes, who turned off before the mud started. Classes 7 & 8 had to go straight up where the mud and increasing gradient saw only eventual winner Dean Partington and fellow DP Wasp driver Mike Chatwin go clear. Despite having picked up two punctures already Duncan Stephens came close in his Class 7 Melos, getting to the two, one further than Tim Smith (Marlin). As it turned out these first two hills decided 7 & 8 as the leading contenders were to clean the rest of the sections.

Cleared Callow

The next section was just across the car park and the clearing refers to the organisers efforts with saw and brush cutter to make the section usable. It was a straight blast for everyone but class eight, who had a wicked deviation that was too much for 50% of them, including Adrian Marfell (in his special rather than the Beetle he had entered) and Dudley Sterry. The other classes had to contend with differential start lines which resolved Class 6 as Gary Browning went clear and remained so, while Vic Lockley dropped his only mark of the day. A couple of the Class 0's went clear, Andrew Isherwood wasn't in this group, dropping six in his Dellow Mk1. However, these were the only marks he was to lose all day and he went on to win the Class.

Hungerford Returns

2011 saw the return of the marvellous Hungerford, at least if you weren't in 7 or 8 who gave it a miss. The lower reaches were dry with the exposed rock steps to contend with, not too bad if you took it easy. Once out of the gully the gradient eased and the rocks stopped, replaced by mud and deep ruts that went on and on, a truly marvellous section, if you have the ground clearance. The VSCC contingent did well here but only Rob Wells could coax a Suzuki X90 over the muddy hump at the end, even Jonathan Toulmin, who has done so much for the event, needing a tow. After a Class 0 only section at Harton Wood they were given a taste of the action here, which was perhaps a little unfair for the lower slung cars as some of the ruts were really deep.

Lots of Grip on The Jenny Wind

Everyone attempted The Jenny Wind, but how different can a hill be. It was very dry and there was plenty of grip everywhere, apart from the very top where the gradient increases as the section meets the cross track. The majority of the entry cleaned the section, many for the first time. Most of those that didn't at least saw the summit, defeated by the mud at that last little rise. This group included Clee stalwarts and Northern Trial organisers Fred Mills (Marlin) and Derek Reynolds (DAF). Having lost Lee Huck at the first section all the class 1's stormed up, at the expense of a CV joint for Dave Haizelden's Golf which he soon repaired. Nigel Jones was delighted to go clean in his MGF but decided to retire afterwards with gear selection problems, caused earlier in the day when the sump guard was pushed up onto the linkage,

Into the Woods

Going back through Much Wenlock and onto the B4371 there was a new route into Easthope Wood and its one way system. 7&8 had Major's Leap and Hill Top on the agenda. Everyone in Class 8 cleaned both and most of the Class 7's as well.

Classes 1 to 6 were treated to a relatively dry Easthope, cleaned by all but a few who struggled with the bump at the top. Ippikins Rock followed. Its hairpin bend was on form but those that got round were disappointed as it had to be taken out of the results following some confusion regarding the instructions.

Heywood Common

Classes 7 & 8 missed out on this nice little BOAT, that proved surprising difficult. It was rocky, rutty and being shaded the mud hadn't dried. It certainly sorted out the Class 0's, only a couple of Dellows a Melos and a Marlin getting to the summit. It defeated quite a few of the VSCC contingent as well. Surprising with the large entry, there were only two Class 3's in this years Clee and neither climbed Heywood Common. James Smith was to win the Class in his BMW while Derek Reynolds had to retire after Castle.

Castle

The organisers are to be congratulated for finding this fine old track. Everyone had a go and there were no failures despite being restricted to road pressures. It is truly a magnificent setting, providing a stunning backdrop to Dave Cook's photos.

Rattlinghope & Gattens Gamble

After a nice run over The Long Mynd there was a the usual special test at Rattlinghope followed by Gattens Gamble, run the normal way round this year. It was nice to see the land owner talking to some of the competitors at the start of the section. The club are very lucky to have him support the event with such enthusiasm. He is well known in the area for taking his daughter to school in his tank! The views at the top of Gattens Gamble are truely magnificent, as they were through the Gliding Club on the way to the Priors Holt Complex. One of the many reasons why competitors are attracted to this event.

Priors Holt 4

This was a new hill, despite looking very much like Priors Holt 3. Everyone but Class 0 attempted the section which had differential start lines. The first part was steep muddy rock, although there was plenty of grip, before a sting in the tail when the route dived off into deep muddy ruts before finishing back on the main track. As it happened it didn't prove a problem to the regulars, although Nick Cleal bogged down in his Peugeot 205

Enterprise Observed Test

There was a long run round the perimeter of the wood to this new special test. The finish line was on a steep bank where, perhaps surprisingly, most people managed to stop astride. Former Clee Clerks of the Course Simon Woodall and Jonathan Toulmin managed the finish line OK but fell foul of line C-C.

With several clean sheets the two observed tests were important. Dean Partington was inch perfect to make it a DP Wasp one, two with Mike Chatwin in Class Eight and take the Fray Cup for the overall winner.

James Shallcross kept to his winning ways in Class 1 while in Class 2 I'm sure even Bill Bennett wouldn't have minded being pipped to the class by John Bell in his slightly more modern MG TD. Class four was the other category to be decided on test times and John White made it decisive, by nine seconds, over Sam Holmes.

The Slab

This was the first year the lower classes had been let lose on this twisty, bumpy little section. Although tricky there was plenty of grip in the dry and the main contenders had no problems. It was easy to lose control though and David Jackson dived into the bracken in his FPS but was able to continue. Not so Dean Yarranton who retired his Reliant Goose Special in the Priors Holt Complex with a broken diff. Julian Fack was spectaing and promptly sold him a new one!

Priors Holt 1

Adjacent to The Slab, and attempted by only 7 & 8, PH1 is long with loose stones, mud and a steadily increasing gradient. It turned out to be tricky, stopping more than 50% including Ian Davis who had dropped only one mark till then.

Priors Holt 2

The lower Classes were spared the fearsome reverse down PH1 this year but still had PH2 to contend with. This is a very long hill, stony at the bottom, mud and ruts at the top with a restart for 3 to 6, their only one of the day. There was plenty of grip and the section claimed only a few victims. A couple on the sharp corner at the bottom and a few more in the ruts after the sharp right hander at the top.

Strefford Wood 1

The lower classes were off to the finish to sign off after the Piors Holt Sections but 7 & 8 went back across the A49 for Strefford Wood 1 to tackle the full section this time. Things had dried out considerably since the morning but the gully was there to trap the unwary. The section proved a sting in the tail for Andy Curtis who went up the class 7 route in his Buggy, losing the award for second in class in the process.

The Finish

Back at the finish there were a happy crowd of competitors who had enjoyed a near perfect event. OK it was a shame that some of the awards had to be decided on the Observed Tests but the organisers couldn't have expected things would be so dry. At least it gave some of the stalwarts of the entry list the chance to see the top of a few hills they had never seen before. There were a few criticisms but in true Clee spirit Graham Austin and Adrian Tucker-Peake didn't defend the situation but vowed to sort them out for next time. Its that attitude which brings competitors and marshals back to this excellent event.

Results:-

Class
Overall Dean Partington (DP  Wasp) 0
0 Andrew Isherwood (Mk1 Dellow) 6
1 James Shallcross (Peugeot 205) 5
2 John Bell (MG TB) 7
3 James Smith (BMW 318 Si) 6
4 John White (VW Beetle) 0
5 Keith Sanders (Reliant Scimitar SS) 0
6 Gary Browning (VW Beetle) 0
7 Duncan Stephens (Dutton Melos) 5
8 Mike Chatwin (DP Wasp) 0

 

Page added 30 January 2012
Updated 31 March with link to Michael's Clee Hills and RallyPix

 

 

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