Competitors faced the challenge of Heavy Rain and a Brand New Section
Donkey Trot was a brand new section on the outskirts of Ilsington village, dramatically reducing the medal count when only 12 cars and 3 motorcycles reached the top.
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The event started with some Tarmac Tests
There were seven non starters out of an excellent entry of 57 assembled in the rain at the Haynes Motor Museum start. The first Special Test was right on site, before setting out to pick up the A30 to Windwhistle Hill where where there was a timed restart on tarmac. This road is normally quite muddy but all the rain had washed most of this away. However, the section claimed a couple of failures as did the preceding test at Haynes.
No failures at Redscrip
Back on the A30 the turn to Redscrip is quite hard to find. Once you have found it the section doesn’t have much gradient and isn’t too rough. Nevertheless there were sparks flying from underneath some of the lower slung cars that were new to the sport. The big problem for them came after the section ends board where the mud and deep ruts started on the way back to A30!
Emmetts Lane Cancelled
A route amendment was issued at the Musbury Garage route check as competitors were informed that there were problems using the nearby Emmetts Lane and the section was cancelled.
The rain was coming down hard at Gatcombe Lane for a straightforward section, once competitors had got away from the loose stones in the start area which caught out a couple of motorcycles.
Neither Jobbles Lane or the Stewarts Hill section proved too much of a problem but some competitors got really lost finding Stewarts Hill as they took a turning 80 yards to soon.
Plyford back on the agenda after a few years
There was a long green lane approaching this stoney hill. Like most of the sections during the night it only claimed a couple of failures. David Shaw stopped on the hill when the chain on his Yamaha XT slipped on the sprocket. Back on tarmac he found drive provided he was gentle with the throttle and wisely decided to retire.
Failures on the Core Hill Special Test
Sandy Lane and the Core Hill Special Test were in the complex near Ottley St Mary where the Class 0 route merged with the main trial after they had completed Strete. Navigators had to keep their wits about them as cars and bikes were going in every direction! The approach to Core Hill was rough and wet and it was a relief to get to the test itself. As there is no class award for class 0 so times are not significant. It is possible to pick up a failure though and unfortunately five of the car competitors did.
Early at Breakfast
Most competitors arrived at the Crealey Park breakfast halt well ahead of scheduled time so had plenty of time to dry out and partake of the food on offer.
Once underway again it was the best part of twenty miles to the tarmac Windout section with its tricky restart on a sharp bend. There was a fast flowing Ford just before the section started, making sure that the tyres were well and truely wet for the restart.
With all the rain the road at the top was well and truly under water and Neil Bray was one of several to stop with flooded electrics.
Hinchcombe was slippery
Passing over Fingle Bridge the Class 0 route followed alongside the River Teign to Hitchcombe. The section is a steepish forest track with leaf filled ruts to challenge man and machine. The start line was on the gradient so there was little chance to build speed before the steep bit started. With grip at a premium this section really challenged computers who attempted it on road pressures and around 40% spun to a stop on the lower reaches.
Donkey Trot, a new section on the outskirts of Ilslington Village
Class 0 may no longer go up Fingle but still had the glorious blast up Pepperdon before the pasty break at Islington Parish Hall.
Clerk of the Course Roger Ugalde didn’t want Class 0 using Penhales Plantation as it is used as the escape road for Simms, with all the problems of congestion where it merges with the old hills exit track.
Soliciting the help of local man Greg Warren they came up with Donkey Trot, a short steep section exiting onto the main road into Ilsington village. They were concerned about the safety of this junction so imposed a stop astride the section ends boards. In the event only three motorcycles and twelve cars got this far. The remainder fell victim to the slippery mud on the upper reaches of the hill, unseen from the start line.
There was only Frenches left now, a long rough section on the outskirts of Stokeinteignhead. There was only one failure and unfortunately it was Daniel Cole who had been clean up to now on his Royal Enfield.
Finish at the Trecarn Hotel
With few delays most competitors finished well ahead of schedule leaving plenty of a time for a rest before the evenings festivities. Hinchcombe and Donkey Trot had taken their toll after a reasonably straightforward night and in the end there were 10 Tins awarded and 16 Coppers.