The 63rd Derbyshire Trial by Ian Rodman and Jim Hannis
We set out from Gloucester at 7.00 a.m. A good clear run up the M5/6. On approaching Averillside Farm we looked across the valley and could see the sun shining brilliantly across the site. By the time we arrived however the cloud had come down. There were a few drops of rain and it looked as if we were in for a wet day but after the drivers' meeting, the clouds lifted, the sun began to shine through and stayed with us for the rest of the day.
A strong field of 32 started and all bar 1 finished under the demanding conditions of this site.
At the end of Round 1 John Fack was out in the lead on 30 beating Steve Courts by 3. Brian Wall was the first Blue on 40 and Alister McVittie was leading the Greens on 61.
Hill 1 had an unusual downhill start and was cleared by most throughout the day. By Round 3 all were managing it.
Hill 2 - Generally 1s or clears due to the final very steep step, apart from those caught for a high score by four wheels out.
Hill 3 - Difficult for most with the exception of Simon Kingsley managing a one on Round 2, the hill being cancelled for Round 3.
Hill 4 - Another high scoring hill except for Paul Price and Steve Courts who had an astonishingly high climb for a score of 2.
Hill 5 - Very mixed scores, nobody managing any better than 3 all day.
Hill 6 - Marshalled by Mike Stephens, as usual giving out his helpful advice. John Fack was the only person to clean it in the morning. In Round 2 Neville Collett had the best score of 1. In the afternoon, the hill had been changed resulting in a few more clears.
Hill 7 - This wasn't as complicated as John Yates' usual merry-go-round but still a very challenging hill. Most of the field were caught for at least 4. Steve Courts managed a 1, joined by Richard Gowen and John Ward in Round 2. All were beaten by Duncan Stephens and Julian Fack. It was further tightened at the top for Round 3 which resulted in nothing better than a 2 by John Fack and Brian Wall.
Hill 8 - Our start hill. We took a five in Round 1, the same as the majority of drivers. Things got worse in Round 2, improving slightly in Round 3. Julian Fack was the only one to score as low as a 2.
Hill 9 - Scores ranging from 1 to 9 in Round 1. Round 2 produced eleven clears. By struggling in Round 3 we managed to raise the number of clears to 13!
Hill 10 - This hill was set in a gulley and seemed to have more turns than there were sticks to mark them with. It didn't improve our scorecard, catching a 7 along with several others, improving in Rounds 2 and 3. Most cleaned the hill , including George Watson, hungry for success, Victoria however, was hungry for mud. Keep your mouth shut next time Victoria!
An enjoyable day was had by all. Our thanks go to the Lancashire and Cheshire Car Club and especially to the Marshals. Congratulations to Duncan on his win.