Harolds Tyres Trial 2005 (NPTCC)
For those people who have never before travelled on the M6 between junctions 36 and 40, they will behold some of the most scenic motorway miles in England. However, during the first week of December, they can be scenic, yes, but invariably very cold and bleak as well! Fox's Pulpit is a site owned by Westmoreland Motor Club and used by the NPTCC, offering fell land, which is never too steep but can be very wet and boggy, as well as some strong grass for trickling.
Twenty-three competitors arrived, with some serious club honours still undecided, as this was our final trial of the 2005 season, and in some cases, with all to play for. Four rounds of six hills were to be tackled, daylight permitting.
Round (1) saw Michael Toulmin clear, with Dave Martin and Bill Rhodes on 1 point each. Michael maintained his perfect score up to the lunch break, with Dave and Bill dropping 5 and 6 points respectively. Clerk of the Course Brian Gibson made limited alterations to sections during the break, allowing drivers to improve on the morning's scores over very similar terrain (hopefully).
Hill 5 proved to be the deciding section after the break, with the area for concern emerging at the 5 marker. A slightly cambered, reasonably steep climb, out onto a ledge with a nasty ridge under your offside rear wheel. This section also provided some early afternoon entertainment as our own offside front wheel suddenly felt that enough was enough, and the centre cracked and fell out. (Just glad I wasn't riding the original donor Honda 50 along the Knutsford by-pass at the time.) Bill and Michael got through Hill 5 on round 3, but Dave Martin put the pressure back on by getting through it on round 4, with Bill and Michael stopping at the 5 marker. Michael then lost ground to both of them at Hill 1 (which was becoming very slippery at the top) where he dropped an unfortunate 3. This to-ing and fro-ing of scores set up a very tight finale with all three front runners ending up on 17 points lost for the day. In the final count back, Bill took the honours with 17 clears. Michael second on 16, and Dave third on 15.
Other notable drives during the day were the ever improving Richard Waterhouse who never seemed to have problems at the infamous Hill 5 and came in fourth overall winning the C Class for his last time, before promotion to B class for the 2006 season. The Prime Minister had a good day, finishing fifth overall in his ex Robin Jager Concord, with a notable climb out of Hill 4 during the last round, taking the B Class honours. As always, thanks to our organisers and marshals, with congratulations to all class winners along with newly promoted competitors.