Ben Gladwyn had the lowest score on the day but David Haizelden won the Presidents Cup on Index
Camel Vale drew an excellent entry of 28 for their single venue trial in Bonyalva Woods. The restarts rather got the better of Class 8 and the days main battle was between Ben Gladwyn in his 1300 Beetle and Dave Haizelden, back in the Reliant Scimitar which won the Torbay in the hands of Jack Selwood while Dave was organising the event.
Videos by Liam Hartley
Class eight had an interesting variety of machinery with Dean Vowden out in his Lonsee Special for the second time and Ray Ferguson forsaking his familiar Liege and debuting his recently completed special.
The Torbay team, led as usual by David Haizelden and Keith Sanders, missed the easing of Covid restrictions by one day. This meant car competitors were not allowed passengers and would have to navigate their own way around the route, just like the motorcyclists!
David and Keith sensibly made other changes, forgoing many of the usual classic hills so not to attract unwanted spectators.They also started and finished the event on private land to avoid an indoor gathering.
The event started in woodland, just off the A30 west of Exeter.
The first group of sections were here, three for Cars, five for Solos and four for the excellent entry of six Outfits. This was to be be dominated by a battle between Leon Torres and Alan Wear who won the class by 1 point.
The leading solos and outfits emerged from the woods clear but the only car to do so was Dean Partington in his familiar DP Wasp, despite Class Eight having the first two of their many restarts.
The familiar sections of Coombehead Copse and Coombehead Creek are usually a battle against mud. Not this year as with the recent dry weather they were very dry and didn’t claim as many victims as usual.
Nicks Nip saw most of Class 8 fall foul of their restart.
Only Paul Merson, Dean Vowden and Duncan Stephens amongst the specials cleaned the section. Dean was debuting his Lonsee Special, based around a Notchback engine and Duncan was out for the first time in the UVA Fugitive previously campaigned by Nick Farmer.
With no Simms this year competitors tackled Penhale Climb before the only two traditional Lanes on the event, Tipley and Narracombe, familiar to Class 0 competitors as Donkey Trot on the Exeter.
The Class Eight restart here defeated all of the specials and proved challenging for those having a straight run at the hill.
It was possible though and was cleaned by Jack Selwood (Reliant Scimitar) and James Shallcross (VW Golf) both vehicles more familiar in the hands of Clerk of the Course Dave Haizelden. In Class 7 the modified production cars of Nick Aldridge (Smart) and Paul Watson went clear. Paul was out for the first time in his newly rebuilt Imp/VW built many years ago by Philip Mitchell.
The only other cars to clean Narracombe were Nicola Butcher driving the only Beetle on the event, Phil Parker in the only Escort and Brian Alexander in a well supported Class 90.
Back in the woods where the event started all the cars lost points.
Duncan Stephens and Dean Vowden went into the woods equal but Duncan took the Class 8 victory after dropping one less mark than Dean on Money for Nothing.
Jack Selwood had dropped only two before the final sections and was to loose only one more to end the event on three and winning the event overall.
There were seven clean sheets amongst the Solos, the win going to Tristan Barnicoat (GasGas)
Peter Browne is a familiar face behind the camera lens, photographing many of our trials. But on the Torbay he took to the hills as a competitor and kindly agreed to tell us about his trial.
I have always been fond of the Torbay Trial as it is local and I have had many enjoyable days photographing the event but always with a feeling that I should be out there with them rather than just recording it. I had a Triumph Metisse that I had used for Pre 65 Scrambling and which I had been slowly preparing for Green Laneing and despite the machine being far from finished I submitted an entry for the 2019 Trial. I finally had to concede that I still had not made the bike reliable so the day before the event changed to my normally utterly reliable 500 Triumph only for that to develop an electrical fault on the third section which forced a retirement so the Torbay Trial was very much unfinished business.
I entered the 2020 event but that fell victim to the list of Covid cancellations, which brings me to the 2021 event which ran with Covid considerations although these affected the Car competitors more than it did the Motorcycles.
My choice of machine might not be regarded as Ideal as it carried more weight than I would have liked but I have always been more interested in machinery than competition and with 2020 being a lost year I was able to iron out a number of faults that were waiting to trip me up. I have a long love-hate relationship with the bike but it was running very nicely by the time of the event so I was hopeful that I would be a greater liability than the machine.
Much of the Trial was run on private land as spectators were not allowed due to the Covid restrictions.
The first five sections were in Ashcombe Woods, which very quickly demonstrated how out of practice I was although I suspect that many would have been similarly affected. I had managed a few cleans by the time I left the woods for a section of road work to two sections at Coombehead Creek, which was where I had previously broken down so when I left there with another two lucky cleans and a bike still running nicely I was feeling quite hopeful.
An unnecessary foot at Workshop Windout was a good wakeup call.
My biggest mistake was at Nicks Nip. This was a steep muddy climb with a turn at the bottom, and I planned to get as much speed as I could from the corner and see how far I could get before I slithered to a stop. What happened was quite different. The bike must have thought I was Scrambling and found so much grip at the bottom that I cleared the bog completely and as I had not planned to reach the top, I passed the section ends board with very little control of the bike and soon ended up on my ear. The speed of the finish Marshal getting out of the way was very impressive.
The next few sections passed without incident and the rock surface at Tipley was so dry that it actually had some grip, which was a disappointment in a way having managed to get in so much trouble there previously.
I had been circulating with Richard Cook.
Running immediately after me Richard and I had a very nice return ride to Ashcombe Woods via a route which included some lanes that I was familiar with from Green Laneing and arrived about an hour before the last three sections and special test were due to open, which was a good excuse for some lunch. Just to remind us that it was the Torbay a brief flurry of snow passed through as a warning that nothing should be taken for granted.
The last three sections were much like the first five.
I was a little less rusty by this time so that was a help and whilst waiting I was given much good advice on tyres and pressures etc which will be very useful.
I have included a picture of Matthew Little and Richard Miller on their Ariel outfit as despite the unsuitability of the machine they were constantly in good spirits and clearly enjoying the day, which is the object of the exercise after all.
The Torbay Trial was an extremely enjoyable event and it was very much to the credit of the Torbay Club that it was so well supported despite the problems associated with the Covid restrictions.
For me it was very pleasing to reach the finish with the bike still running well but this does present a new problem in that as much as I enjoy photographing trials I would like to press my luck and use the Metisse a bit more often. I can see a bit of juggling will be needed.
With no Lands End the MCC ran an Experimental Pop Up Trial on Easter Saturday. For whatever reason it wasn’t well supported but those that participated seemed to have a good time.
With no Lands End Trial because of the current Corona Virus Pandemic the MCC decided to run their “Experimental Pop Up Trial” on Easter Saturday during the first weekend Motor Sport was permitted. There were restrictions. In particular the event started at the first sections rather than a refreshment venue and car drivers were not permitted passengers. There was a maximum entry of 80 but the MCC only received 34 entries, running the event after revisiting the minimum number of 40 specified in the ASR’s.
The weather was nice, the sections dry and there were no incidents of note amongst the eight cars that took part although a couple of motorcycles had tyre troubles that prevented them from enjoying the sections.
There were several clean sheets amongst the Motorcycles with David Craddock coming out with the best performance. Rob Haworth was best car.
With Covid still affecting Road Events Camel Vale were still able to run a very successful Single Venue Presidents Trial
Camel Vale acknowledged the forthcoming American election by naming the sections after former Presidents. There was no ballot but Matt Facey came out on top of a competitive field.
Clerks of the Course Ryan and Ben Tonkin laid out ten observed sections, attempted twice, which went down well with competitors, providing a challenge for the experts but giving the less competitive cars the chance of seeing the top of some hills.
Matt Facey came close to a clean sheet but dropped a one on two of the sections during the first round. Arnie Martin (Dutton Melos) and Simon Groves (Troll) were not far behind, both dropping five marks on the day.
ACTC Chair and Secretary Dave Haizelden and Keith Sanders were in their familiar Class Five Reliant Scimitar’s but couldn’t quite match Matt’s BMW Z3 dropping 11 and 13 respectively. Francis Thomas also finished on 13 with his Melos in Class 7.
There were three retirements Craig Allen, John Cox and Duncan Stephens.
Classic Trialling resumed in the current difficult Covid situation with Minehead MC running their event at a single venue.
Classic Trialling came to a halt after the Launceston Trial in March due to Covid 19. With the Government, Motorsport UK and ACU restrictions to contend with Minehead MC were able to run the Exmoor Clouds as a single venue event in Headon Woods. Unfortunately the event couldn’t cater for bikes and sidecars. The other big change was that drivers could run without passengers if they wished as crews from different passengers would have to wear a face mask.
It was tee shirt weather but there was quite a bit of mud around and even getting to the sections proved challenging at times.
Winner Aaron Haizelden, in his Class 5 Reliant Scimitar, was the only car outside of Class 8 to climb the notorious Crooked Mustard near the start of the event and thoroughly dominated the rest of the days proceedings. It was difficult, even for the specials, and only seven of them reached the summit. The old hill took its toll on the machinery and the dead car park soon started to fill up. Alex Wheeler had his front suspension part company with the rest of his Nova. John Cox broke the diff on his Porshe 924 and even Dean Partingtons ultra reliable DP Wasp broke its transmission as did Matt Johnstons Cannon.
Across the road at the top of Crooked Mustard lay the summit of Axe, another long standing section. Competitors emerged covered in the glutinous mud which laid in the sections deep gulley. This clung to the wheels and underside of the cars, slowing many of the cars in the lower classes, some to a complete stop.
Nailsworth Ladder by Simon Jones
Neither of the traditional sections at Nailsworth Ladder or Ham Mill across from the Bear Inn at Rodborough caused to much trouble but that was soon to change.
Bryans by Kevin Sharp
Bryan’s is an unsurfaced track in the woods and got muddier and muddier as the day went on. Some in the higher classes couldn’t even get to their restart let alone pull away from it. Aaron Haizelden picked up his first fail of the day here and even he only got to the two, one mark further than Dave in his similar car.
Aaron and Dave continued their domination when they cleaned the short, sharp, Merves Swerve, a feat only repeated by Ray Ferguson (Liege), Dave Middleditch in the Top Gear Dutton Phaeton and ACTC Secretary Bill Bennett in his MG J2, the only Class Two car in the event.
The innocuous looking Bulls Bank restart is there to trap the unwary on its polished stones and this year its victims included Mark and James Smith. You can view their on James InCar Video.
Wicked Juniper by Kevin Sharp
Jerrys the penultimate section, a very muddy climb through the trees. Then there was Talbots Terror with headlights necessary in the gathering gloom for the early numbers and in the proper dark for those running towards the back. Aaron Haizelden dropped one here but it didn’t matter, he was hands down winner of this years Cotswold Clouds.