The Geoff Taylor Trial 6th February 2005

Well, the weekend started like any other Trial weekend, make sure the car is clean, safe, everything working, and all the fluid levels correct.As always the Sherpa is very good in this respect and everything is all ok.

The next part is always painful, checking the map to see how early we need to leave in the morning. Living near Brighton is great apart from Trialling, all BTRDA events across the country require us travelling around some part of the M25 which is currently plagued with the road works between the M4 and M40. After much discussion we decide a 5.45am start should get us at the site for 9.30.

So once on the road it never seems quite so bad, the weather's wet and cold however the Little Chef breakfast (l must read the supplementary regs next time as it clearly said that a chuck wagon was on site, that would have meant an extra 45 minutes in bed) hits the spot and we're soon upon the site. So this is where the fun begins, we now use a MWB Transit van in which the Sherpa fits a treat along with the table and chairs, oh and not to mention the candle lit chandelier, however when it comes to traction its got about as much grip as Bambi on ice, plus we are informed that its been raining solid for the past 24 hours and its clear the site is very wet. After two attempts to get into the site it's clear we need help, and as always in Sporting Trials there's always someone on hand. In this case it was John Yates with his trusty Land Rover, what we would do without him, more of John later!

So time to get the car out of the van, slight problem! The front wheels won't move the front brakes have seized, now how can that happen they were perfect less than 24 hours ago when l checked them. After much fiddling and advice from Ian Wright (who said hit it with a hammer) the master cylinder is freed off and the brakes work perfectly again. As always at this event the organisation is second to none, and we're soon despatched to the hills. The initial entry of 44 turns into 40 actual competitors competing, my brother Michael Meakin had his front brake fail the previous day as he was preparing the car. Not sure why the others failed to turn out. However as with most of the midland/southern BTRDA events a field of 40 entrants is becoming the norm. Tyre pressure was set at 2psi which suited the site conditions well. The hills were laid out along the long bank of the site over looking the wonderful views of the local countryside, luckily the rain stopped and the weather remained dry but cold all day.

Round 1. Hill 1 ran through a gulley and out, then back up to and through the gulley again, however only Julian Fack, John Ward, and John (flipper) Ridley actually made it back through the gulley in the process achieving a 0 for Julian and a 2 for the others. The rest of the field achieved a 7, 8, or 10.

Hill 2 entailed a blast up to and round a large tree, once this was achieved you were pretty much guaranteed a clean however half of the field didn't make the tree and scored a 10.

Hill 3 was in a bomb hole at the bottom of the site, the bottom of the bomb hole was very muddy which most people managed to get through, however the final blast trying to exit the hole and score a zero eluded everyone, most people scored a 4.

Hill 4 was on and around a small hillock with a short (deceptively hard, only because I failed it for the first 2 rounds) blast up to the 10 followed by a tight left turn down the hill then round to the right and back up the hill. Peter (perfect) Fensom was the only person to clean this hill

Hill 5 was a blast up to the 8 which virtually everyone achieved followed by a 90 degree turn right with a traverse across an adverse camber, the problem for a lot of people was the car slipping down the hill and collecting the 5, 6, or 7 poles. Once passed the camber it was a sharp left and a blast out of the hill, Duncan Stephens, Peter Perfect, and Kevin Rivers all achieved a 1 being the best for round one.

Hill 6 was a series of right and left turns followed by a straight climb at the end, most people scoring a 2 or less, however the 10 caught out a few in the green class.

Hill 7 was another blast, in fact once the initial fresh grass had gone the whole event pretty much turned into a mega blasting day, which was to prove a problem for some later on. A 3 was the bestachieved on the hill, but the majority got stuck at the 8 or 9.

Hill 8 had to be a very committed blast up the first section followed by a right turn down the hill then left blasting back up the hill, typical score being a 5 or 6, Julian sneaked a 4.

Hill 9 had a very tricky slippery downward section which involved turning left at the bottom of the steep slope, however there were two control poles to stop you driving out of the section, because it was so slippery most people couldn't help hitting these two poles resulting in a high score. Notable heroes on this hill were Julian Fack who cleaned the section, Ian Veale, Mike Reading, and Tom Stevenson all with a 2 and David Bastable and Andy Gowen on 3.

Hill 10 involved a wide start up a steep part of the hill followed by a series of tight turns. However it was the first part of the climb that was to prove impossible for most of the field resulting in a 10, 11, or 12. Ian Veale, Julian Fack, Tom Stevenson and Steve Courts all achieved a 2 with Ian Wright a 3. So round one was over, in the reds Julian was leading with a fine score of 23 Tom Stevenson was second on 35, Mike Reading and Ian Wright on 36 and 37 respectively. In the blues John (flipper) Ridley was leading with 39 followed by Andy Gowen and Kevin Rivers on 42 and 44 respectively. The Greens was led by John Ward on 52 with Peter Meakin on 54.

Round 2. There were various tweaks to some of the hills, the only major change being on hill 9 where the slippery down hill section was removed and hill 8 was removed. In my relatively short time trialling this trial was by far the harshest on the cars, due to the amount of time the right pedal was nailed to the floor, but it was great fun. Victims of mechanical failures during the second round were, Duncan Stephens with his diff exploding, Richard Rimes, David Zank with a nasty sounding engine, and Roger Bricknell. Ian Wright suffered with a misfiring engine which caused a few extra points. As an indicator to the amount of blasting that was taking place there were two minor fires, the first was Ed Wells which was caused by paint on bodywork near the exhaust igniting, and my car having grease melt and drip from a steering support bearing onto the exhaust and subsequently catching fire. Both cars compete regularly without any problem, I think it was just the amount of heat generated by the engines running at full throttle for the extended period of time. Both cars were equipped with fire extinguishers but neither needed to be used.

Scores in the second round were significantly better in most cases, Ian Veale had the best round with a total of 5, Tony Harrison and Kevin Rivers (blue class) both scored 6, and Julian Fack on 7. Peter (no so perfect) Fensom however had 2 expensive eights on hills 1 and 9 which put paid to his chance of a victory. Other good scores besides Kevin Rivers in the blues were Richard (Santa) Gowen with 14 and Andy Gowen with a 15. John (flipper) Ridley had a stinker scoring 48 which was great shame given his leading score in the first round. John Ward had another good round of 20 to lead the green class with Ian Rodman second with a fine 29 in second. After a much needed rest for lunch it was back to the finely tweaked hills which included the reinstated hill 8. The leaders going into the last round were:

Julian Fack on 30, Ian Veale on 47, Ian Wright on 48 Kevin Rivers on 50 (blue class), Tony Harrison and Tom Stevenson on 52 jointly, Second in the blue class was Andy Gowen on 57, John Ward was first in green by a mile on 72 Julian's lead looked unattainable going into the last round, however the fight for second was very close.

Any chance of someone catching Julian was dashed as he score a 0 for the whole of the third round as did Kevin Rivers (how can they do that?) Other superb rounds went to Andy Gowen on 2, Steve Courts and John (shame about round 2) Ridley on 3. Jon Moores and Ian Wright on 4 and Ian Veale on 5.

So the trial was won in impressive style by Julian and Meg on a total of 30, second overall (and given my vote of driver of the day) was Blue class winner Kevin Rivers on 50. Third on count back, on 52 was Ian Veale with fourth going to Ian Wright. Second in the blue class was Andy Gowen on 59, green class winner and a very good twelfth overall was John Ward on 79, and second in green was Peter Meakin on 115. So we should all take heart, Julian and Meg are not so perfect, the theoretical best score was a mind blowing 17. That means they were above the target score by a whopping 46%, however it also means l was over by 679%.

A great event with excellent organisation, lots of very much welcomed marshals.

So the final bit trying to get out of the field ready to face the M25, not a chance! So to the rescue comes John Yates with his trusty steed. It seem a bit of a struggle for him to get me out of the field which was a bit of a surprise, until my brother pointed out it might of helped if l had taken the hand brake off!!! Sorry, John.

The journey back was definitely one of those where the conversation was very much the what if only type, which helped make the journey go quicker and l suppose getting home for 8.00 in the evening after leaving at 5.45 in the mornings not too bad, we must be MAD.

1 Julian Fack X-Facktor R1 30
2 Kevin Rivers Sherpa B1 50
3 Ian Veale Sherpa R2 52
4 Ian Wright Kincraft R3 52
5 Andy Gowen Facksimile B2 59

6 Tony Harrison Crosslé R4 59
7 Steve Courts Facksimile R5 60
8 Tom Stevenson Kincraft R6 61
9 Roger Anderson CAP R7 66
10 Mike readings CAP R8 72
11 Richard Gowen CAP B3 76
12 John Ward Kincraft G1 79
13 Kim Warwick CAP V R9 80
14 Jon Moores Kincraft B4 85
15 Peter Fensom CAP R10 88
16 John Ridley Sherpa B5 99
17 Paul Price CAP R11 92
18 Paul Faulkner Sherpa B6 104
19 Jerome Fack SRB B7 106
20 Peter Meakin Sherpa G2 115
21 Ron Bland Apex R12 123
22 Ed Wells Concord G3 135
23 Richard Robarts RB6 G4 136
24 David Bastable Crosslé B8 139
25 Neville Collett CAP B9 142
26 Steven Kelsey SKAEG G5 152
27 Ian Rodman Apex G6 166
28 Brian Wall Kincraft B10 173
29 Pat Henson Facksimile B11 183
30 Dave Oliver Facksimile G7 186
31 George Watson Concord B12 191
32 Antony Lane Concord G8 201
33 Chris Turley Facksimile G9 221
34 Roy Robinson Ibex G10 293
Duncan Stephens Sherpa R Rtd
Richard Rimes Kincraft B Rtd
Roger Bricknell Facksimile R Rtd
David Zank Concord G Rtd