With a dry spell leading up to
the trial the heavy rain on the evening of the trial was to liven up the
on Felons Oak
With very distance between the
R boards there was little choice of where to stop on the Felons Oak
Restart, assuming of course you could sight your wheels between the lines!
Everyone in Class Eight went clear but failures were prevalent as you went
down the classes and by the time you got to Class One there were only four
cleans. Perhaps the MCC need a rethink on making Class One do restarts, it
must have been very de-motivating for newcomers
to fail the first hill like this.
After the Crook Horn Hill
Special Test there came the usual run over the wilds of Exmoor on a clear
night, with none of the usual fog or horizontal snow to liven things up
The idea of the County Gate
Control is to regulate the flow into Barbrook to reduce congestion. Its a
sound principle, but unfortunately the execution didn't work out so well.
It took well over a minute for the officials to process each competitor.
This caused a considerable queue to build up and later competitors lost
well over half an hour waiting for a signature.
The other sections during the
hours of darkness passed without too much drama and didn't have any
significant effect on the results
Lane was Rough
After a string of gentle
sections things changed at Cutliffe Lane. There were no restarts and
Classes One and Two only had to reach the A Boards. No matter, this was a
tough hill, rough as well. Eric Wall had his Dellows spare wheel carrier
break away, forcing his first retirement in more than 40 years of MCC
The hill wasn't friendly to
rear engined cars, unless you were a member of the Butcher family. Nicola
and Harry were the only cleans, in classes four and six respectively. They
were to go on to class awards although in Harry's case after battling with
three punctures and initially falling victim to time penalties before they
were all cancelled.
After such a rough hill
Darracott didn't present many problems with its new surface eliminating
the steps up to the concrete slabs on the corners.
The locals had spiced up
Crackington with a fair amount of clag dumped in the area where Class
Eight had their restart. Getting away was tricky and around half were
penalised, including Dudley Sterry, running his MG J2 in Class Eight
instead of Seven as he has been doing on ACTC events recently. Brian
Partridge (Ridge Cannon), Mike Pearson (Dellow Rep) were amongst others
that didn't succeed.
The other classes had a
straight run through the clag but it still took its toll, especially in
the well supported Class Five where around half spun to a halt.
Warleggan followed the Wilsey
Down Rest Halt, where those that arrived early enough had breakfast. This
is a very rough section with a restart for classes seven and eight where
Brian Partridge was penalised for running back again. It was a tough hill
for the Marlin dominated Class Seven, who had already lost about a quarter
of their number through retirements, and only 50% of the remainder were to
New Section in Laneskin
After a special test came the
new section in Laneskin Woods. It was straight and not too rough, but it
was very muddy and this was what stopped many competitors, especially in
the lower classes where only a handful of cars went clean.
Hoskin was Tough
Cardinham Woods was only a few
miles away, where Hoskin was to be the biggest challenge of the trial.
Six, Seven and Eight had a restart but the other classes were denied a
straight run by a tapped off chicane. This prevented the lower classes
taking a full blooded run at the steep bit which certainly took its toll
and all the Front Wheel Drives failed and received non counting stops.
Classes Three and Four each had only one clear, Lester Keat and Nicola
Butcher respectively. Three Class fives came out of the top and Alan Bee
proved that power isn't everything by coaxing his Austin Seven to the
summit in Class Two along with Adrian Dommett in his Wolsley Hornet.
The re-starters had a tough
challenge and nobody in Classes Six or Seven succeeded so they benefited
from a non counting stop. It was cleanable though, as Nick Farmer and Josh
Bishops Wood Restarts
After the usual Special Test
the Bishops Wood section lay just up the track. This had the usual two
restarts situated around the cross track. One to Six had theirs on a loose
surface leading up to the track, with the box located so it was possible
to get the front wheels well onto the track itself. It was a challenge,
but an achievable one, and around half got away OK.
Seven and Eight had a tougher
job, their box was on the steep polished paving after the track. This was
a tough one, only Rob Haworth (Liege) and Mac Taylor (Marlin) getting
away. Class Eight found it difficult as as well with only four successes.
The tricky horseshoe that is
Blue Hills One had tough tyre pressure limits and a restart for Six, Seven
and Eight. There had also been a local rain shower, well downpour, that
left the track leading to the restart area flooded, ensuring tyres were
wet and muddy for the difficult bit!
With a straight run through
most in the lower classes went clear, apart from Class Five that is where
many of the big Suzukis struggled a bit. The restart really sorted out the
higher classes. Only Harry Butcher got away in Class Six along with a mere
four of the Seven's. Class Eights did a bit better but even they only had
a 50% success rate.
After that BH2 was a bit of an
anti climax to finish off the sections, leaving just the run back up for
signing off at Fraddon to finish the event.
The provisional results had
lateness penalties applied and this had a considerable impact on the
awards. By the time the finals were issued these had been scrapped on
All in all a tough Lands End
with some very rough sections and long queues for the later numbers. The
timing issues were controversial and in the main didn't go down very well
with competitors. Clerk of the Course Bill Rosten was much in evidence
throughout the trial, looking at what was going on and talking to
competitors. He has a lot to think about but I'm sure he will be looking
to address the issues.
Published here on 12 May 2015