It was dry as the first
competitors left Haynes after completing the first
Observed Test. Although the test itself was popular the queue for
the preceding time control was chaotic. Many had
problems getting to the line on time as their way was blocked by those
that had got there early. Bill Moffatt didn't get that far as his Troll
developed engine problems at scruitineering.
Problems getting to the
Classic Canes was the first
section, a new one to the trial. The section itself wasn't a big problem
but the muddy entrance track was. A queue back to the road soon built up
so competitors couldn't get to the start of the section. Quite a few were
penalised, as either missing or stopping,
including a high proportion of the Suzuki X90's in Class Five. Most of
these received the same penalty on the following section Underdown and it
will be interesting to discover if this was a coincidence.
Few failures in Bovey Woods
After the Musbury Control the
route crossed the Seaton Tramway and climbed Harepath Hill before turning
off the A3052 into Bovey Woods, where Normans Hump and Clinton awaited. It
was raining heavily by now. Perhaps the rain washed the mud away as these
familiar old sections didn't take their usual quota of scalps.
The woods caused problems for
some though. Kevin Lindsay's Marlin lost most of its B series power and
the crew decided not to continue. The experienced Phillip Mitchell (Skoda)
and Barry Clarke (Grotty Chummy) also retired here. Mark Endley
cleaned both sections
at the expense of a holed sump and had to be towed out of the woods
by Julian Lack, 2013's only car triple winner.
Waterloo was just down the road
and although there was plenty of grip the old hill took a few prisoners,
particularly in Classes One and Five.
The Rain Eases Up for
The heavy rain started to ease
as the event approached its breakfast break via Stretes and Bulverton
Steep. Neither were a problem but the experienced Brian Alexander was
penalised for not stopping on the Bulverton restart.
Breakfast was at Crealey Park,
with a reasonable amount of room to spread out in the restaurant
and dry out.
Classes Seven and Eight had
their usual restart but even with this there were only a couple of fails
there was so much grip.
Fingle was next and it is
noticeable how rough this is becoming. Again there were only a couple of
failures and surprisingly one of those was Lester Keat in his normally
very effective Avenger. Derek Reynolds came to a halt in a dramatic way,
riding the bank in the process and very fortunate to keep the car on four
Wooston had some Bite
Wooston had its usual handicap
system. 1 -7 turned sharp sharp left just before the steep gradient kicked
in. 6 & 7 had the challenge of a restart just before the turn. Class 8
didn't have to restart but they did have to tackle the full hill.
Any hill that stops Dean
Partington must be a tough one and he was joined by most of the Class
Eights who took on the steep gradient. It was possible though and Dave
Wall (Dellow), Nick Farmer (Fugitive), Dudley Sterry (MG J2) and David
Jackson (FPS) reached the summit. Lee Peck had to retire his Kracken here
when the MX5 diff mounting broke. However, Lee was pleased with the car up
till them and had started constructing a second car.
Although 1 -7 didn't tackle the
full hill the muddy left hand corner claimed many scalps and in Class 4
only Hans Viertel and Aaron Homewood were unpenalised.
Plenty of Grip on Simms
Considered the Exeters
signature hill, Simms was thronged as usual by enthusiastic spectators,
urging competitors to the top. Early numbers found there was a a lot of
grip, although this diminished as successive cars dragged mud from the
approach track onto the section.
With all the grip some cars
were really motoring and one spectator had the misfortune to break his
nose when it came in contact with a stone kicked up by James Shallcross's
Peugeot. This emphasised the need for the safety measure of the stop line
at the summit and several competitors were excluded for failing to obey
There were a couple of notable
breakages. Mark Rosten-Edwards had the transmission fail on the Imp,
handed down by Dad, and new Lands End Clerk of
the Course Bill Rosten. Adrian Dommett had the propshaft fail on his
Wolsley Hornet but no problems for his twin Julian in his side valve
It was interesting that apart
from Class One at least one car in every class made the summit and there
were a couple of very happy Suzuki X90 drivers at the finish.
Punctures on Tipley
Tipley was approached via a
holding control where Nick Farmer drafted his spill kit into action when
he found a cracked sump on his Fugitive's Vauxhall Red Top. Clean so far,
and with only two hills remaining, Nick drained
the oil and used rapid setting epoxy provided by
Lee Sample/Simon Robson to stem the flow. This was successful and Nick
went on to Gold.
The repairs to Tipley may have
made the section smother but the sharp edges on the concrete took its toil
on tyres. Nigel Jones was one of this affected, using his second spare
wheel and was in real trouble when he got another puncture on Slippery
Slippery Sam is another Exeter
Hill that is getting really rough. The restart for the higher classes was
the real problem though and Dudley Sterry was penalised for running back,
loosing his gold in the process.
Finish and Evening
only disappointment at the Trecarn was that the only two Triple Winners
in 2013 were not
presented with their awards during the evening
do. That was a shame as it would have been nice to give them a well
deserved round of applause. However the function
was well attended and gave competitors the chance to exchange experiences.
For motorcyclist and those in open cars the overriding memory was getting
very wet during the night. For others it was
Simms where the conditions allowed many to make their first climb of the
famous hill. If indeed this is Tim Whellocks last Exeter as Clerk of the
Course he went out on a high.
Published 26 January 2014