The single venue event in Bonyalva Woods was a trial of two halves, dry in the morning and wet in the afternoon. It soon turned into a Class Eight battle between Simon and Paul Merson who were level until midway through the morning when Paul dropped four on Bonyalva Rise where Simon went clear and slowly increased his lead as the day went on, finishing on 19 compared to Pauls 27.
As a biker, one of the most talked about aspects of the any LDT is the weather and so I have to start there.
What absolutely perfect weather we had for the Lands End trial this year. Not a drop of rain and temperatures barely even down to 10 degrees C during the night, over Exmoor! For the first time ever I didn’t get cold! Chilly, but not cold. And staying dry the whole time was a revelation.
So, for the sections (the second most talked about aspect)
The dryness (back to the weather, sorry!) meant that there was plenty of grip almost everywhere this year, aside from the suspiciously wet and claggy Crackington… This was to be the only section that tripped me up this year, although that was more from sliding side to side than lack of grip. Duncan Stephens caught a great photo of where it all went wrong for me.
The organisers gave us class B participants a very nice surprise at Bishops Wood this year
Our restart wasn’t on the dreaded slab. If they could repeat this next year, when it’s bound to be wet and slippery, that would be appreciated.
As for timings
We kept finding ourselves ahead of time this year, but that was a bonus at the end given we started almost 2 hours behind bike number 1 and were wanting to get home (it’s a long event to endure no matter how you look at it). Not being able to hand your control card in early at Wisley Down is a slight irritation – is that designed to stop you having a nice long nap if you get there ahead of schedule?!
As always, huge thanks to everyone involved in putting on this event.
Wins for Simon Groves, Tristan Barnicoat and Alan Wear
Organisers David Haizelden and Keith Sanders believe in tough trials and maintained their reputation with another well supported event. Their handicapping worked out well with the top ten cars coming from five different classes. Clive Kalber, out in his Dutton Melos, came close to challenging Simon Groves overall win. However, Clive dropped two extra marks on the muddy Upper Kingswell making a total of three for the event where Simon went clear.
With the first three cars in the Clubmans Category it was Aaron Haizelden who claimed maximum Wheelspin points in fourth place overall on 11 marks.
Tristan Barnicoat was the best Solo with a five point margin over John Luckett. The leading outfits were close all day with Alan Wear coming out on top by one mark.
Sam Holmes Reports
The weeks before the Torbay trial were dry and sunny up in the Midlands and we were expecting a dry event. However, as we travelled down past Exeter there was standing water in the fields and the word around the start was that there had been a lot of rain in the preceding couple of days and some sections were very wet – 2 had even been abandoned.
The first couple of sections had a long queue and proved greasy on the lower slopes and more cut up at the top.
The first hill in particular had a sting in the tail that caught out a couple of competitors quite dramatically! The Coombehead sections were drier than previous years and saw a lot of clears, although the restart for the higher classes on Coombehead Creek was cunningly positioned on a nasty root and caught out a number of drivers.
The sections at the Gale Farm complex certainly had dried out from the rain, although the twists and turns of Gale Farm caused some to lose traction towards the top.
Gale Extra was a straight blast right up and over the fearsomely steep hillside, and was fine for most – even with a class 8 restart. In class 4 it was a balancing act between grip and having enough power and the beetles were working very hard to reach the summit – Ryan and Tony having to back down from the very top having scored a 1!
Penhale Climb, adjacent to Simms, was still damp and greasy under the trees.
The vicious tree root that has stood at the 11 marker for the past few years was gone and most competitors had a good run at the hill. It was still on good stopping form though; the side-slope towards the top causing many to run out of grip, especially the Class 8’s who had another restart.
Simms was rough and greasy with some large bumps in the middle and big holes at the top.
The class 8 restart caught out about half of the competitors but the non-stoppers faired a bit better, despite the challenges of the hill. Tipley was another matter! A restart for most classes and tyre pressure limits, together with rough and slippery conditions saw most car competitors fail the hill. A huge hole and steps in the cunningly positioned restart saw only 7 cars going clear.
At Kingswell, the sections were a wet and muddy quagmire that demonstrated the recent rainfall.
There was quite a queue for Kingswell Lane, which was proving to be a real stopper. Just conquering the ruts to reach the start line was a challenge for some and the general consensus was that it only got worse higher up! In the line, talk turned to tactics about how to get the most ground clearance. In the end, the ruts defeated nearly all the car competitors with only a handful of clears – including Matt Facey who made the most of his ground clearance to be the only saloon up. Upper Kingswell was equally wet and muddy, but marginally less rutted and most cars found enough grip to clear. The steep grass of Palfreys stopped more of the field, especially the earlier runners who found it still damp, and the class 8’s who had to restart.
This just left Little Silver where a greasy, grassy slope turned sharp left onto a steep but grippy incline.
This was followed by a special test which was notable for both having a flying finish – rather than the more usual stop astride –and the option to have a second attempt. Many competitors did take the option for a second attempt and there were some very spirited drives which, together with a small hump on the finish line, led to some actual ‘flying’ finishes!
Torbay MC put on a great and well organised event….
….with a superb variety of hills; muddy, rocky, steep, traditional– that required a mix of driving styles from blasting to more technical approaches. It was a long day coming down from the Midlands and back, but definitely worth it – a fantastic days sport. My thanks and congratulations to all the organisers, supporters, marshals and officials for putting on such an event.
Karl Oakley retired on the first section after doing an Eric Carlsson in his Saab
Dean Partington and Mike Chatwin retired at Penhales with Diff and Clutch problems
Torbay did a lot of repair work on Simms and Tipley prior to the event
Adrian Dommett was on for winning National B until failing the last section with a nine
A well known competitor, Murray passed away on 13 March
A tribute by Pete Hart
One of Murray’s great loves was motorsport he raced, sprinted , hillclimbed even the odd PCT in his beloved Morgan +4, before starting his Classic Trialling career in the early eighties.
Frustrated that a sprint had been cancelled due to rain after he and his great friend David Parker had interrupted a holiday in North Wales to travel to Wiltshire for the event. They adjourned to a nearby Pub and decided to give Classic Trials a go, as at least they wouldn’t be cancelled so easily!! Firstly in the Morgan, mostly on MCC events.
Pete first met Murray a few years later, In the holding control for Darracott on the Lands End in 1989. Murray was in the Morgan and his passenger was David Parker. Dave had just bought a Marlin and came up the queue with Murray for a chat. Luckily the delay was a long one and that chat turned into a long term friendship. Murray’s Morgan which premiered his unique paint scheme, affectionately known as the Murray Mint special, had by this time a somewhat, “tired” chassis. He announced that he would compete in the Edinburgh and then change the chassis in time for the Exeter. He did it but the paint was still wet when they set of for the start. Shortly after it was badly damaged in a fire and the proper rebuild that followed marked the end of its serious trials life, although I believe it did once see the Hills in class 0.
His mums old Morris 1000 was then put to the hills and a few one day events were added to his calendar.A brief spell in a Volvo 343 and then in 2003 the Marlin that Dave had bought, found it’s way into the Montgomery-Smith garage. A Fiat twin cam engine was fitted and of course the infamous paint scheme was completed in 2005. Murray loved competing and always enjoyed events whatever the result. He had the knack of performing the perfect climb at the most unexpected moment.His last section was to be Dudwood on the Edinburgh 2018 and I am delighted that he got to see the top for the first time.