Both the weather and sections made this a challenging Lands End for Class O entrants. The night consisted of mild weather and relatively straightforward sections. Come the dawn came rain, wind and tough sections. In particular there were two formidable long forest tracks near Bodmin replacing the taped chicanes of previous years. Amongst the cars Mike Greenwood denied MCC President Jonathan Laver his second Class 0 award by a mere 0.1 of a second. Trevor Gibb was best motorcycle and nine BH Tin and six Copper medals were awarded.
With bad weather forecast there were eleven non starters amongst the entry of 56 at the Bridgwater start.
A mild night
With no Crook Horn Hill special test there was only a straightforward Catsash to interrupt the road mileage on the 55 mile run to the Barbrook control. Omitting Crook Horn Hill did mean a run up Porlock Hill to get up to the wilds of Exmoor, so there was plenty of interest. Barry Clarke didn’t get to enjoy this though, loosing his clutch on Catsash and retiring soon afterwards.
For those that planned to go up Bluehills 2 there was only one restart, on the tarmac Barton Steep section, a few miles after Barbrook. All but two managed it without penalty.
Stuck at Sherwood
Sherwood came after a straightforward Hangmans Hill. The start came just after fording a little stream. The bottom of the section was a bit rough but not to problematic. The difficulty came further up, where a deep muddy hole lay across the track. The presence of photographer Dave Cook should have given the game away. Momentum was the key and there were a few that didn’t have enough speed and got stuck. There was no recovery so fellow competitors were drafted in to help with the extraction. All part of the camaraderie in Class 0 .
The approach to this county highway is down the same track as the main trial use to get to the Daracott Holding Control. There is a fork after quarter of a mile, where the Hobbs Choice Special Test used to be. Main trial competitors were to go left while Class 0 went straight on. Unfortunately Jacques Veyer & Felicia Guillaume missed the section in their Rover V8 engined AHS and ended up going up Daracott before they rejoined the Class 0 route.
Hackmarsh is quite long and twisty on loose rock. The route card rated it a 9 for roughness and some fell foul of this when they lost momentum as they slowed to ease over the rocks.
There was a long delay when John Bennett’s Ford Model A got stuck and with no recovery this would have been a major problem if Clerk of the Course Bill Rosten hadn’t turned up with his 4×4 to tow them out.
Jonathan Elliott discovered a broken spring on his MG PA and decided to retire rather than risk further damage to his car.
Rain and Wind at the Wilsey Down Control
The rain had started with the dawn and by the time competitors arrived at the breakfast halt it was horizontal, so strong was the wind. With the earlier delays later runners were a good hour behind scheduled time so there were no issues at what was the only time control before the finish.
Into the Woods
After the break Class 0 followed the main trial into the Laneskin and Cardinham Woods.
Both Laneskin Wood and Powell Hill were long, straight, steep, muddy sections. These both took their toll and less than 40% of the cars were clean afterwards. Neil Bray had electrical problems with his Escort on the Laneskin exit track. He found the problem was with the feed to the coil, solving the problem by hot wiring direct to the battery, relieved the problem didn’t occur on the section itself.
Old Bishops Wood
After a Special Test shared with the main trial Class 0 took on Old Bishops Wood, which starts alongside the main trials restart on their adjoining section. Its a long section. The challenge comes with what the route card describes as a “nip and deviation near the top”. This is where the problem comes. Cresting a steep bank onto a cross track there is a 90 left, 45 right before the last bit. If you go too fast over the bank you won’t have time to get lined up for the blast up the gulley to section ends.
The section took its toll on the clean sheets and Clive Cooke (Suzuki X90), Ian Parsons (Dutton Melos) and Alistair Stevenson (Escort) all lost theirs here.
Blue Hills Finale
There was just Blue Hills left now, with a choice between a tarmac Restart on the bend of Old Blue Hills or a run up Blue Hills 2 without the deviation through the artificial gully at the top. The choice had to be made at the Perranporth Control, before having sight of the respective challenges.
The split Old Hill/BH2 was about 50/50 with those opting for BH2 left thinking they made the correct decision as the restart on the Old Hill was right on the inside of the corner and really steep. Of the 17 cars choosing this section only Richard Tompkins (Imp) and the Suzuki X90’s of Anthony Thomas and Pat Morgan were unpenalised and that involved a fair amount of tyre smoke. All but one of the failures had failed earlier on the trial but Richard Turner lost his Blue Hills Tin in his Polo.
Exactly half of the 20 cars attempting BH2 went clean, but Mark Delves lost his Blue Hills Tin when he didn’t make it in his BMW 316 as did Mark Gregg and Jim Davidson in their Suzuki X90’s.
There was just the run to the finish at Hayle left now. When the results were published there were nine tins awarded, plus the Class Awards for Trevor Gibb (Yamaha Serow) and Mike Greenwood (Suzuki X90).
The results don’t do justice to how tough this Class 0 Lands End was.
The sections after Wilsey Down were all challenging but perhaps all the rain made them easier as it washed the mud away. There were few complaints amongst the competitors who especially enjoyed the new sections at Laneskin Wood and Powell Hill.