There were dramas before the event even started, as some people made heavy weather
of the hill on the gravel road into the site!
When we did get into the site, we discovered that much of the terrain that we had used last
year had changed beyond all recognition. The large pond (scene of Vincent's 'submarine'
experience last year) had been drained, and was now a series of smaller pools. Some of these
were quite deep, as we were to find later. What used to be a 'big hill' was now a gentle slope
leading up to a field above the site.
As a result, three of the tests were on completely new ground. One of them included an even
bigger hill than we had used last year.
Brian finally wins one!!
Another was a marathon
which took us through mud, over
a concrete pipe in the bottom of a drain, through a lot of (thorny) bushes, and ended up in
those small pools.
The other two were situated high up at the edge of the site, giving us a fantastic view of the
surrounding countryside. These consisted of a lot of axle-twisters interspersed with some
sharp climbs and steep drop-offs.
It was at the end of the first of these two that Steve Mahon in his matt black (stealth
technology?) Mitsubishi performed some
aerobatics for the spectators!
Gates one and zero were laid out up a short, steep hill about twenty feet high, with a step at
the one gate. Steve hit the hill at a high rate of knots and took off at the step at gate one.
Witnesses report that the Mitsubishi cleared gate zero with about four feet to spare, and
on the flat top of the hill just short of the cliff on the other side! Luckily, Orla Mahon
(who was double driving with him) was wearing a full-face helmet at the time, so no-one could
hear what she was saying!.
As if this wasn't enough, Steve proceeded to roll the vehicle on it's side during the afternoon
run, on the same test! In spite of all this, Orla managed to win the novice class for the day,
and Steve took second in class two.
This is how
you do it Steve!!
Orla wins novice class
Mick O'Shea, meanwhile, was having dramas of his own. Having failed to climb a steep hill, his
Daihatsu decided to disembowel itself by tearing it's rear axle off at the bottom of the hill.
With the axle attached only by the brake lines and the propshaft, help was required to shift
the remains. The owner of the site was on hand to start up a (vary large) tracked digger, and
having tied the loose axle up to the remains of the chassis, he picked up the entire vehicle and
carefully deposited it onto Mick's trailer. Time to break out the welder!
Alan Gettings and Stewart Wallis managed to twist off the rear propshaft on their Suzuki
and spent the rest of the day going around in front-wheel drive. Their main mistake was
letting slip that they did have a spare, but that it was nice and safe at home. They got a bit
of a hard time about that one.
Tom Twomey got his Isuzu Amigo hung up on the concrete pipe that I mentioned earlier, and had
to be towed off by Edwin Pratt driving the 'Beast' (3.5l Range Rover special). For some reason,
Edwin kept his right foot firmly planted even when Tom was free of the pipe, and the Isuzu
got a beautiful coat of thick mud over it. Tom's comments as he cleaned his windscreen do not
In order to get out of the test, he had to go back over the pipe. The result was predictable.
John Buckley does well on his first outing
Edwin very kindly hooked up to the Isuzu once more, and gave it a second coat. He then drove off
at high speed before Tom could get out and explain the folly of his actions to him.
Malcolm Cooper and Mervyn Colton speared the front differential casing of their Land-Rover on a
sharp rock. Lunchtime was spent packing Araldite into the hole, and covering up the whole thing
with duct tape. Oil of various grades was poured into the axle, and Malcolm went on to take
third overall, and Mervyn won class two. Perhaps they should think of fitting that diff-guard
they bought a few months ago.
At the end of a tiring, but very enjoyable day's trialling, we all retired to a local hostelry
for the prizegiving. Brian Berkery received a great round of applause when he was awarded his
trophy as overall winner of the event. He made a short speech thanking the land owner, the
organising club, and particularly the large turnout of marshals, and everyone went home well
pleased with a great day.