The Harrison Trial March 2005 By Phil Yarwood
Dry weather preceding the Harrison trial had us expecting a day of pole dodging, though on arrival, I for one was pleasantly surprised how wet and slippery the site was. I also had a spot of deja-vu which was later confirmed when I spoke to my dad, and realised that the site was one which he had trialled on some 30 years earlier in his 1172 cc side valve Cannon.
The very hospitable Sheffield and Hallamshire club had set out 8 sections, which could be basically split into two sets of four. The first sections were set around a rough shale hillock which resembled a miniature slagheap and dug out extremely easily (apologies to John Ridley); the other 4 hills were set out on a very muddy, slippery wooded bank, and were not for the faint hearted early on. In fact we actually achieved the first retirement of the day before the start in the shape of Peter Thorpe, when he ventured towards the sections and returned with a bent A- Frame, spending the rest of the day as a marshal.
Round 1 saw Duncan Stephens take the lead on 19 pts from Roger Bricknell and Steve Courts who were on 28 pts each. Major traps included Hill 2 amongst the shale, which had an extremely tight right- hand turn at the 10 marker, catching nearly half the field.
Round 2 saw virtually everybody's score drop significantly as conditions began to be mastered. A superb round of only 11 pts dropped by Roger Bricknell saw him nip into the lead at lunch time by 1 pt from Duncan Stephens, with Kim Warwick 3rd, a further 6pts behind. The Blue Class was being led by John Ridley, and a spirited drive by Chris Maries saw him leading the Greens.
The lunch break saw a heavy toll in retirements including Tony Harrison [gearbox] John Ward [unknown fault] and Richard Waterhouse [bent A- frame]. Struggling, but hoping to recover, were Mark Milne and Chris Hodgson double driving a Sherpa running on 3 cylinders virtually all morning, and Brian Wall who was going well despite a distinct lack of fiddle brake power on his newly acquired Kincraft .
The afternoon saw some changes to most sections with Hill 3, marshalled by Peter Thorpe, almost impossible to get out of if you passed the 10 but didn't make clear. However Peter had seconded the help of Geoff Pickup for an afternoon of pushing and shoving. Hills 1 and 2 created some extra excitement with both finishes converging on each other like the intersection of a stock car figure of 8. At one point Kim Warwick was seen powering out of the top of Hill 1, whilst Brian Wall, who was trying to clear Hill 2, had to do a bale out at the 3 marker in order to avoid, in aviation terms, a “ near miss.” If you came out this unscathed, all you had to master was one of John Yates' entertaining, but mind-boggling twists and turns full of wasp-like, intermediate poles. An added irritant for some was that certain parts of John's section were not particularly easy to climb either. The Master marshal at his best!
Round 3 saw a tie for the lead between Kim and Duncan on 54 pts with Roger Bricknell a close 3rd on 56pts. An extremely hard fought last round of only 11 pts dropped by Kim saw him take the overall win on 65 pts followed by Duncan 2nd on 68 pts and Roger 3rd on 70 pts. Ron Bland drove consistently well all day to take 4th place on 87 pts, and again John Ridley drove well to take 5th along with the Blue Class honours. Relatively local hero Chris Maries, who received loud applause for his efforts in reaching 11th place overall, took the Green Class. 32 sections on this difficult terrain was certainly hard work on cars and crews alike but everyone who finished could feel a sense of achievement. Thanks must go to Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club and all their contributors to the day's successful event.