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
- John Cox hit and felled a tree on Coombehead