The Derbyshire trial 2005 By Robin Jager

The day started well enough with an easy trip down the M6 from the Lake District in glorious sunshine despite the gloomy weather forecast. Sadly things started to go wrong when on arriving at the familiar site near Longnor, with poor judgement I parked beside Julian who wasted no time in appointing me as your humble scribe for this particular mission. Despite my protests that I am a Computer Free Zone and therefore can only offer a report written with a quill pen on Basildon Bond made no difference well it wouldn't when it's poor old Janet Darbyshire who has to graft it on to something modern!

At scrutineering we were advised on 5 psi and adjusted our rears accordingly. But thankfully, as we were departing for the hills, we noticed this had been modified to 3 psi, a sensible decision as grip proved to be at a premium. The inviting layer of dead bracken that is normally a tricklers' treat concealed some very soggy peaty stuff that surprised everyone. Section 1 was probably the kindest in the first round, collecting a number of zeros but catching out the odd unexpected expert such as Jerome Fack with a 4.

Hill 2 was a straight up affair using the same route as probably the previous 50 Derbyshires! Peter and Lizzie Fensom somehow collected a 10 here, but this hill produced a wide range of scores. I was following Ian Wright which was pretty demoralising as he has an amazing knack of finding grip in the unlikeliest of places (studded tyres or what??) Hills 3, 4 and 5 again followed much the same routes as in previous years and needed a lot of early momentum before backing off for a trickle. Again I could only admire Ian's technique in this department. The reason for all this sycophancy (spell that if you dare Janet! ) (note to Robin . Had to check it with the OED! Jan) is that I should be guaranteed a drink or two from Ian at the next event!

Hill 6 was pretty familiar apart from a tricky right turn round a tree at the 10 mark. This caught out nearly everyone with the exception on your Hon Ed Julian who managed an amazing 1. Oh. All right John, you got a 2 just to prove the Facks stick together! This hill was marshalled by Malcolm Hague, resplendent in his familiar dazzling white overalls. I backed off rather early on this hill as I didn't want to collect a dose of snow blindness with my dodgy eyes. High scores again for hill 7, then back to 8 and 9 for the usual rush up the loose brackeny bank. Plenty of space to choose from here but still no zeros on Hill 8 and only a handful on Hill 9. Hill 10 was a tricky little number with the start line about 20 yards wide but every one selected the same route on the left side. Only Ian Wright and John Fack cleaned this hill, most of the rest of the bunch touching a bogey pole at 8. Round 1 saw Ian Wright (make that the meal as well, Ian!) and John Ridley, his protégé, sharing the lead as well as the car. Cynical thought . There is a rule in tennis that bans coaching during matches! Ian and John were followed closely by John and Julian Fack, but of course they were in different cars!

Round 2, especially Malcolm Hague's with the dreaded tree. Nevertheless, the going was still very sticky in spite of the sun and the scores kept piling on, well mine did anyway! Round 2 completed, the brilliant Ian Wright (make it the whole damn hotel bill!) had a firm grip on the trial, leaving John Ridley well behind, with Jules and John F breathing down his neck. Roger Bricknell was having a good day by my standards, and our own Phil Yarwood with the lovely Ann was well in touch and showing great new found skill following his first win a couple of weeks previously. After the longish lunch break we all headed back to the hills, including a bleary-eyed Roger Bricknell who had spent the break having a kip in the back of his van I wondered why I couldn't find him for a chat! Again some subtle tweaking had taken place but also the ground had dried somewhat so things were significantly grippier and nearly everyone enjoyed more fulfilling climbs.

Ian Wright was still the man to beat with a last round of only 9, with John Fack on 10 in his flashy new Crosslé. John Ridley dropped 28 but still ran out the Blue class winner with Phil Yarwood, son of Eric (remember him, wrinklies?) holding it all together to grab second Blue. John Ward was first in the Greens and other of our NPTCC team, Richard Waterhouse, did well for 2nd Green. As always a great trial but with such a fine site offering so much variety I felt that much more imagination could have been employed for section planning, thus avoiding the previous year's ruts. But as usual the Lancs and Cheshire Club produced a slickly organised trial with impeccably produced results and managed a beautiful day to boot the rain started as we drove away!