Tonkin Ends Run

Ben Tonkin wins a well supported Tamar Trial

Ben Tonkin and family on their way to their Tamar victory (Photo by Duncan Stephens)

Ben Tonkin won Launceston’s Tamar Classic Trial on Sunday, returning in his 1600 VW Beetle with 2 year old son George passengering for the first time. It was a very close scoring day that saw the lead change multiple times on the last hill.

Tonkin cleaned this final hill and was lucky to win despite missing a stop and restart on a section before lunch costing six points. Second saw a three way tie with Charlie Merson finally taking it with some very determined driving in his special, beating David Haizelden and Philip Thomas who both slipped up at the five on the final hill at Trevilla.

Duncan Stephens, who has won the last three ACTC rounds overall, slipped up on the last hill also to finish fifth beating Ian Facey’s supercharge BMW Z3 on times. Facey was leading going into the last hill but got caught out earlier than the aforementioned to drop a ten doubling his score for the day.

Aaron Haizelden succumbed to the five on the final section having had a poor day by his standards to finish in seventh just ahead of the Honda S2000 engined Smart car of Nick Aldridge. Ross Hancock and Josh Moss completed the top ten overall. James Shallcross returned to his first event in the autumn to win the front wheel drive class.

The battle of the day was seen in the Suzuki X90 class. With normal front runner Nick Deacon missing the top six in the same X90’s were covered by just six points with Mark White taking the win by a point from Richard Tappin. With Tonkin winning overall Jamie Harding won the Beetle class on just his second classic trial.

  1. Ben Tonkin, VW Beetle, 16
  2. Charlie Merson, Ford Special, 18
  3. Dave Haizelden, Reliant SS1, 18
  4. Philip Thomas, Dutton Melos, 18
  5. Duncan Stephens, UVA Fugitive, 19
  6. Ian Facey, BMW Z3, 19
  7. Aaron Haizelden, Reliant SS1, 21
  8. Nick Aldridge, Smart, 23
  9. Ross Hancock, VW Buggy, 24
  10. Josh Moss, Cannon, 26

Duncan Stephens

More on the Tamar


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Dry Tamar

Ben Tonkin broke Duncan Stephens run of wins. Richard Maddern went clean to be best motorcycle

Ben Tonkin made the Tamar a family occasion for his Tamar win (vidcap from Norton Selwood)
Video from Launceston and North Cornwall Motor Club

After the morning sections it looked as if Duncan Stephens was going to continue his run of ACTC wins having only dropped three at Lee Quarry.

The situation changed at Park Impossible with all but Phillip Thomas dropping at least eight amongst the 7’s and 8’s.

Ben Tonkin lost three marks at Park Impossible and went clear thereafter to win the Tamar Trophy by two marks from Charlie Merson.

A special mention to Michael Gibson who had to retire his MG Midget before the first section after travelling all the way from Milton Keynes for his first Classic Trial.

Richard Maddern had the only clean sheet of the day to be best motorcycle for the Dunheved Cup.

In class A ACTC Motorcycle coordinator Chris Barham had a good run for the class award ahead of regular trials photographer Peter Browne.

Motorcycles on Angel Steps by Norton Selwood

Cars on Angel Steps by Norton Selwood

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Mechanics Trial

Hat Trick of ACTC wins for Duncan Stephens who pipped Philip Thomas on Test Times

Philip Thomas only dropped one mark but lost out to Duncan Stephens for the overall win on Special Test Times Photo by Bryan Hunt

Duncan Stephens won Stroud Motor Clubs Mechanics Trial, his third win of the season dropping just a single point. Stephens was the only car off the restart on the last section that saw local Josh Moss slip from first to third overall dropping his only three points whilst debuting his freshly rebuilt Cannon. Fellow Cornish driver Philip Thomas dragged his Escort out to tie with Stephens, but lost on the timed test. He was still ecstatic to win the class, let alone second overall, dropping his point on the same Sapseed Surprise section. Despite the dry conditions points were taken off all competitors with a good mix of classes. Sam Holmes was fourth overall, and third different class winner in his 1300 Beetle having failed to get off the restart at Don’t Blink. 

Stewart Green broke the selector for first gear, but showed why never give up and completed the final four hills in second gear with lots of clutch slipping to finish third in the specials class and a brilliant fifth overall, considering.

Chris Ferrin debuted his freshly bought Troll and finished sixth, after been penalised for a tiny rollback on Bulls Banks restart.

Championship challenger Keith Sanders made a very uncharacteristic mistake spinning to a halt on a technical deviation on Greenaway 1 dropping all his nine points, costing him overall and potentially ACTC championship opportunity. Ryan Eamer and Dean Partington completed the top ten overall in their specials. 

The kit car class was won by Jonathan Ellwood in his Marlin, beating the Melos of Ed Wells on the tie breaking timed test, on a day four could have won the class but made costly errors. The big engined rear wheel drive class was won by Kevin Sharp who beat Karen Warren by a single point. Warren beating her brother Greg in his Escort during her first season by six points. Nick Deacon was challenging for the overall win but struggled towards the end with car issues slipping outside the top ten overall on the final three hills which were all climbable. 

  1. Duncan Stephens, UVA Fugitive, 1
  2. Philip Thomas, Ford Escort, 1
  3. Josh Moss, Cannon, 3
  4. Sam Holmes, VW Beetle, 4
  5. Stewart Green, SG Grufallo, 8
  6. Chris Ferrin, Troll, 9
  7. Keith Sanders, Reliant SS1, 9
  8. Nicola Butcher, VW Beetle, 10
  9. Ryan Eamer, Cannon, 11
  10. Dean Partington, DP Wasp, 12

Duncan Stephens

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Duncan Doubles Up on T and T

Duncan Stephens followed up his win on the Exmoor Clouds with a dominating drive on the Taw and Torridge

Paul Morris captures Duncan Stephens and Stuart Bartlett on their way to a win. Click here for more photos from Paul Morris

With Stuart Bartlett in the passengers seat of his UVA Fugitive Duncan had a day long battle Keith Sanders in his Reliant Scimitar SS. At the end of the day these were the only cars with single digit scores, the win going to Duncan on six with Keith on nine.

Apart from Duncan and Keith the remainder of the entry attracted some high scores on what was reckoned to be a tough event with some very steep sections.

The motorcycles had a strong class X entry. Ian Thompson was the best Solo amongst the regular classes

Photo Gallery by Duncan Stephens at the Across the Stream section Click here for Duncans Photography Page

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Exmoor Clouds Restarts Season

Wins for Tristan Barnicoat and Duncan Stephens

Run last year as a Single Venue Event Minehead Motor Club had planned to run a road trial this year. Unfortunately there were problems a few weeks before the event and the route had to be confined to the extensive Headon Woods. Tristan Barnicoat dominated the Motorcycles while Duncan Stephens had a hard fight with Charlie Merson and Stewart Green to win the cars.

Lead Picture to come

Duncan Stephens won the fiftieth anniversary Exmoor Clouds Classic Trial, in his UVA Fugitve, his first in the car in only his seventh event. Stephens led the single venue woods trial at lunch which saw most of the section in a new wood complex having been the only competitor to climb up “Water Run” which was extremely steep and slippery.

The afternoon sections saw slightly drier conditions on a different loop, saw Charlie Merson and Stewart Green take the joint lead after a technical downhill hairpin that Stephens failed. With two hills left back over on the long wet Water Run and Periton with restart the three leading lights all cleaned Water Run. Periton saw a restart introduced hill up. Stephens was the only one to climb off the restart out the top of the section to win the trial overall on the final section. Green beat Merson on times to complete the podium.

The sports car class saw Keith Sanders technical skill show with a superb ten points all day in his Reliant SS1, beating Stuart Highwood in his similar car into seventh overall. Stroud drivers Gary Browning, VW Beetle, and Nick Deacon,  Suzuki X90, tied on thirteen points both winning their classes.

Paul Brooks won the kit car class in eighth overall, who was also fastest on the speed test. Ryan Tonkin was struggling with an inconsistent misfire on his wifes Beetle engine in the back of his VW Buggy and could only manage ninth.

Previous years winner Nick Farmer debuted a BMW Z3 with minimal expectations, but surprised many with tenth overall in the heavy car and third in the competitive sports car class. Phil Parker won the saloon car class in his historic Escort, and Nicola Butcher the small engined Beetle class. 

  1. Duncan Stephens, UVA Fugitive, 5
  2. Stewart Green, SG Grufaloe, 8
  3. Charlie Merson, Ford Special, 8
  4. Keith Sanders, Reliant SS1, 10
  5. Gary Browning, VW Beetle, 13
  6. Nick Deacon, Suzuki X90, 13
  7. Stuart Highwood, Reliant SS1, 15
  8. Paul Brooks, Marlin, 18
  9. Ryan Tonkin, VW Buggy, 18
  10. Nick Farmer, BMW Z3, 20

Duncan Stephens

In Car with Kofi Farley who sadly had to retire when he lost his clutch
Videos by Duncan Stephens

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Launceston wins for Richard Maddern and Ryan Tonkin

The Event was notable for scores being well spread out amongst the classes

Kofi Farley debuted his newly acquired MX5. (Vidcap from a Norton Selwood Video)

Launceston and North Cornwall MC had a surprising number of non starters for their single venue Classic Trial in Lew and Eastcott Woods. It was still a good entry though. The organisers had made good use of the land and the 20 sections went down very well with the competitors.

InCar with Roger Ashby

The second section, Zacks Track, was cleaned by only a handful of cars. This was to be significant for Roger Ashby, as without the four he dropped here he would have won the car category in his Coates Orthoptera which has been reclassified into Class 2 this years. Rogers car reflects specials trialling of the early 50’s with a Ford Sidevalve in an Austin Seven Chassis with the security of a “heavy” axle from an E83W van.

Ryan Tonkin cemented his event win on section 8, Tunnel Run when he was the only restarter to go clear and ended the day dropping only three marks.

Roger Ashby was second dropping five and Andrew Rippon third on eight. A good spread amongst the classes.

There were two solos and one outfit with clean sheets. The win going to ACTC regular Richard Maddern.

Motorcycle Playlist from Simons Folly (Videos by Norton Selwood)

Car Playlist from Simons Folly (Videos by Norton Selwood)

Car Playlist from Up Over and Across (Videos by Norton Selwood)

Photos on the Launceston and North Cornwall FB Page


Comments, Corrections, Criticism & Concerns are all welcome. You can leave a comment to have your say or tell us about your trial.