The Harolds Tyres Trial 2006 by Alistair McVittie
The summer months had seemed to drag as we all
waited with anticipation for the start at Dockray of
the 2nd part of the season. The venue was Michael
Toulmin’s lovely home set in the heart of the Lake
District and it was clear that Michael and Sandy
had been hard at work to make sure this was going
to be another highlight of the trialing year. This time
we had 3 days to look forward to and the weather
appeared to be on our side. As competitors started
to arrive on Friday night (and l believe some had
arrived even earlier!) the field was filling up with
Motorhome’s, Caravan’s and those brave souls
prepared to camp out. Meanwhile, much to Carol’s
frustration, we checked into the pub just down the road from the site with a few other club members looking for those wee comforts in life, like hot showers! And cold beer! Saturday saw a good entry for the practice day,
which this year was under the control of Geoff Pickup. He and Michael had arranged a series of hills at the bottom of the field to help the crews try out the summer modifications to their cars and/or rub the rust off their driving skills. Disc brakes on the front of Crossle’s seemed to be a popular modification during the summer, and we welcomed Helen and Stuart Perren to the club for the first time. They quickly found out that the black
art of trialing is so different from any other forms of Motorsport, especially autotesting where they are leading lights in the UK.
Michael had also arranged his own form of autotest
for those brave enough to attempt it, and another
perfect opening to the weekend was well under
Sunday morning arrived and the field was quickly
filling up with competitors, and everyone managed to pass scrutineering without much trouble, even if Irvin and I tried, and failed, to raise some funds by the selling of yellow tape for battery terminals. Phil Yarwood and Michael had set up some challenging tests on the hills opposite Michael’s house, and after carefully crossing the road, we all were keen to attempt to get those clear rounds. It was quickly clear that the man to beat today was David Martin, with Rollo, as he was like a man on a mission, trying to win the trophy sponsored by his
own business. As ever, Bill Rhodes was not just going to sit back and let this happen. However, perhaps he was wishing that he had also changed the front brakes on his car as he was seen flying down one hill, with no means of stopping until he completed a lovely Scandinavian flick at that bottom (think his old rally driving skills saved the day!). Robin Jager and Mike Lawn were also neck and neck, with Mike quickly getting used to his new Crosslé. Our host Michael was also driving well and there was very little between the top drivers at lunchtime. Brian Gibson was having a good battle with his son Richard, and Bob Packham, Barry Hogg and Ian Evitt all challenging hard in class C.
It looked like it was going to remain really close for
the whole day, and then good old-fashioned
Cumbrian weather struck.
If you ever wondered why the grass is so green and
the lakes are so full in Cumbria, you quickly
understood when you are stuck in a trials car in the
middle of a monsoon. Boy did it rain! Richard
Waterhouse was seen hiding under the trees trying
to find shelter, but most of just got soaked to the
The effect of the rain on the hills plus a delay on Joy
and Jeff’s hill allowed the rain to really change the
grip (or lack of it!) on the hills. However, no one
could stop David and Rollo taking a well-earned
victory, and having witnessed him cleaning Lorna’s
difficult hill, he really deserved it, with some
fantastic driving. Bill came second from Robin, with Michael and Mike close behind. Great driving from Richard Gibson saw him win B class but he was pipped overall by his dad Brian who won Class C. Big thank you to all the marshals for braving the weather, most without waterproofs, and Phil,Gerald and Eva for making the day run so smoothly.
On to Day Two: Phil….
Michael Toulmin’s innocuous statement on the
previous Friday night of: “We really haven’t had
any worthwhile rain at all” I thought rather brave at
the time as I believe that fate can be tempted. And
so it rained (most of it during the barbeque!)
Michael, as C of C for the day, had set out 8 hills,
though six only were to be used during each round,
enabling a switch at lunchtime. The previous day’s
entry of 30 had been trimmed somewhat by a
number of retirements. However, a still
respectable 20 crews set out for the day’s activity.
Hill 1 marshalled by Lorna Woodward was probably the most innocuous looking of all six but proved to be the only one to split early leaders during Round 1 (with Mike Lawn, Bill Rhodes and Richard Waterhouse being separated by only one point.) Hill 4 marshalled by Jeff and Joy Barton put paid to at least seven competitors, all collecting 11’s as a result of the overnight rain and the use of a 3” pump from the beck on the previous day.
Round 2 saw the same sections with only minor tweaks, and the lunchtime leader was Mike Lawn using the ex Mark Vaughan Crosslé to great effect, with Bill Rhodes trailing by 1 point. Richard Waterhouse was trailing still further, having collected a six during one of the morning’s deluges of Best Cumbrian Mineral Water on Hill 2. However, Richard was leading the B class, level with Chris Maries holding up the C class banner.
The short lunch break saw the sky clear a little and
the competitors took to the hills again.
The third round saw Bill Rhodes nudge ahead of
Mike with a miserly return of 1 pt, to Mike’s 5 pts
which set up a real dog fight during the last round.
Mike’s nemesis appeared to be Hill 2 marshalled
by his own beloved Linda (maybe this was the
problem). But it was Hill 5 which proved to be the
final decider, with Michael Toulmin having
switched a very muddy mid section completely,
forcing every driver to burn more and more
precious turf out, before trying to catch the trickle
The final analysis saw Mike Lawn’s sound
investment pay off, taking the win by just the one
point from Bill. Richard Waterhouse took the B
Class and Chris Maries walked off with the C
Class. One particularly notable drive was that of Brian Gibson who managed to beat son Richard on both days. I must not finish without reiterating our thanks to Mike and Sandy, for their wonderful hospitality. It is
clear that people will travel many miles for just a sniff of Sandy’s delicious fruit crumble. Special thanks must go to to Douggie and Jackie for a superb barbeque, despite the weather, and of course, to the marshals who constantly had to weather the storm this weekend!!!