Clean Sheets On a Dry Yorkshire Dales

Ian Davis was best car on Airedale and Pennine’s Yorkshire Dales Trial on 8 May. Ian was one of three clean sheets, but was faster than Mike Chatwin and Charlie Knifton on Special Test Times. It was very much a Class Eight event apart from Sam Holmes who was sixth overall, dropping two marks in his 1300 Beetle. Mick Whitehouse was best motorcycle.

Dave Cook pictures Yorkshire Dales winner and third generation trialler, Ian Davis on Brimham Lodge. More of Dave Cooks event photos and you can purchase prints here.

Airedale and Pennine had attracted a reasonable entry who gathered in the sunshine at the well equipped start at Pateley Bridge. It was dominated by cars in classes seven and eight where it was interesting to see Dean Partington driving Mike Chatwins Troll.

Some Familiar Sections

Apart from the different start the route and sections  were familiar to those who remember the Yorkshire Dales predecessor The Ilkley Trial. Fortunately Airedale and Pennine no longer require competitors to carry their score card but many of the sections are still marked out PCT style, demanding a sharp eye to spot the route between the coloured poles. Having said that the two true Classic Sections Watergate and Longside Wood top and tailed the route.

Watergate is a real rocky track, with a ford immediately after the start line.

There is a restart for classes seven and eight which stopped a few, including veteran Dudley Sterry, who drove straight through in his familiar MG J2 in Class Seven and the Leiges of Julian Lack and Roger Goldthorpe.

Tricky Stuff at Strid Wood

There were three sections at Strid Wood. The first was the familiar trio through the peaty gully. There is a hump half way up where ground clearance can be a problem but not this year and all but Tim Barrington (Dellow Mk1) went clear.

The second Strid Wood section was one of the most difficult on the trial.

It starts with a straight run up a steepish hill before turning sharp right onto a track just after the eight marker. The section stays on the track for a few yards before diving off to the left between the poles.

Over the years the first part of the section has matured and has rutted over the years with the passage of trials cars. However there is a substantial rock on the inside of the ninety right onto the track and a sizeable step has developed. This is where about half the entry came to grief. Very few of the lower  classes overcame this obstacle, notably Steve Kingston in his Midget and Jonathan Toulmin the only one of the four X90’s to succeed.


Fell Side Auto Club Chairman Myke Pocock splashes through the stream at the foot of Hawpike 1. This was Mykes first outing after transferring Baldrics mechanicals into a new shell. There were a few teething problems and Myke had to nurse the car round with overheating issues.

The familiar Hawpike and Peels Wood sections claimed few victims. The most notable was Pete Hart (Marlin) who dropped six on the Peels Wood restart which cost him the win in Class Seven.

Peels Wood Video by Adam Ogden

There was a welcome break at the Fewston Farm Shop with a nice selection of food for lunch before the two Sword Point sections. Alistair Queen was competing for the first time in his Dellow Mk2 and discovered that its first gear was far to high for trialling. As the smell of burning clutch was increasing hill by hill he wisely decided to retire. Alistair had re-imported his Dellow from the USA where it had been raced and post trial investigation revealed that it had been equipped with a Buckler close ration gearbox with a very high first gear.

Into the Trees at Sword Point

Nigel Hilling eases his Upright Ford around the trees before assaulting the bank on Sword Point 1 (Photo by Geoff Wright)

The first of the Sword Point sections winds tightly through the trees before finishing with a sharp ramp with a 90 right onto a track. The tight route caught out a few including Mark Smith in his Class Six Beetle and Jonathan Toulmin and Derek (Mr Daf) Reynolds in their X90’s. A fair few did clean the section but later numbers were caught out by a horrendous hole that dug out just before the turn onto the track.

David Golightly had been clean up till now but had to retire his gorgeous Morton and Brett Board racer after failing the section.

The second Sword Point section is another word through the trees but has been extended to form a really long hill passing Sword Point 1 after exiting the section. Myke Pocock didn’t get this far in his reshelled Skoda. The car was running well apart from the fan which started malfunctioning after Strid Wood. With the temperature gauge hovering in the danger zone Myke wisely decided to limp to the finish.

The sections at Wilsons Wood and Brimham Lodge were straightforward in the ultra dry weather. They would have been very different if it had been wet but never less were very nice sections.

Delays at Bluebell Wood

With two sections left the event was running to time and even the later numbers hadn’t experienced any delays.

That all changed at Bluebell Wood alongside Gouthwaite  Reservoir where they joined a long queue where they were to stay for well over an hour. The problem was that this was a long section which you had to return past section begins even if you went clean where it was very tricky to turn the car round.

The Class Eights had a deviation which most cleared. The others followed alongside a stream, through a mud hole where ground clearance was at a premium, followed by a confusing deviation into the trees where some went the wrong side of the markers. The mud hole stopped more than a third of the entry, including some experienced competitors. Nobody cleaned the section and Pete Harts one was the lowest score.

Longside Wood

InCar with Graham Redmayne on Longside Wood

Longside Wood was a few miles down the reservoir, a long rack through a Bluebell Wood which gets steeper and twister as the section goes on.

This was a nice finale to the trial with almost everyone getting to the interesting bit at the top with about half needing the assistance of the friendly tractor driver to get up the last bit!

With many competitors having a long drive home very few people stayed long at the finish which was a shame as it’s a nice place to end up and even had a Jet Wash. All in all a successful Trial. The nature of the sections is they are very weather dependant as many do not have a stoney bottom. As it was dry clean sheets were inevitable but as the organisers said if the trial had been a few days before….

First Overall – Ian Davis (VW Buggy) 0

1  John Heppenstall (Peugeot205 GTi) 23
2  Bill Bennett (MG J2) 10
3  Nigel Hilling (Ford Anglia) 19
4  Sam Holmes (VW Beetle) 2
5  Steve Kingstone (MG Midget) 7
6  Mark Smith (VW Beetle) 12
7  Steve Bennington (Leige) 6
8  Mike Chatwin (DP Wasp) 0
0 Martin Grindrod (Cannon) 15

Full Car Results
Full Motorcycle Results


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