The JB Taylor Trial 2006 by Ian Veale
Three times we've been to this delightful spot in Somerset and each time it has been bone dry. Looking back a year ago to the 2005 event the spring had been warmer and wetter, the grass more lush and grip was a problem. This time around a long cold spell with little rainfall meant the grass was short and once the dew had gone grip was never going to be a problem. However true to form sportingtrials.com had laid out long sections with the finishes getting higher and higher as more of the site is cleared and although the scores were low there were still many places to catch out the unwary. An advertorial in the local paper had resulted in a sizeable crowd lining the top of the field to watch and they were rewarded with some impressive action as cars popped wheelies trying to reach the top of sections 6, 7 and 8.
Quickly into their stride were two former winners at this venue, namely John Fack in the Crossle and Ian Wright, this time in the Kincraft, with first round scores of 5 and 6 respectively. A point adrift was Julian Fack (X-factor) tying with the ever improving Ian Rodman in the Apex. David Vine was out in his brand new Crossle and was putting in some very respectable climbs before he was forced to retire with tired electrics. David's car also initially failed scrutineering because the gas bottle was insecure but rather like Duncan Stephens' car it will no doubt show its calibre once the gremlins are sorted out.
Only minor adjustments to the hills were made for the second round and as expected scores came down as conditions dried. This time it was a three way tie between Duncan Stephens (Crossle), Alan Fullalove (Facksimile) and Peter Meakin (Sherpa) all posting scores of 1 mark lost. Ian Veale (Sherpa) managed to lose just 2 which gave him a lunchtime score of 11, tied with Duncan but 2 points behind joint leaders John Fack and Ian Wright on 9.
More dramatic surgery was performed on the hills during the lunch interval with sections 3 and 8 being completely moved and most of the others tightened. Throw in an impromptu hail storm and the third and fourth rounds became a lot tougher. An innocuous looking second climb on hill 7 proved too much for virtually the entire field yet Bill Hicks (Ibex) running between John Fack and Ian Veale made it look very easy indeed. Clears were much harder to come by but keeping his nerve was Ian Wright who at the conclusion of the third round had pulled out a 6 point lead over John Fack. That should have been enough to secure the victory but a mistake on Chief marshal Sir Monty Peters and Jacqui's hill in the final round saw John overhaul him and take victory by a single point. Maybe the drive of the day however was Simon Kingsley (Kincraft) who having made the long trip down from the north drove superbly to finish third. (I've got an old golf club which looks just like his fiddle brake knobs) Jon Moores (Kincraft) finished fifth to take the Blue class award and best Green was Peter Meakin (Sherpa)
A winning score of 28 is a good result when conditions are so dry particularly when you consider nearly all those points were lost due to grip and not pole bashing. It is very difficult for me to comment on the calibre of this event as I have a large involvement in its setting out, living on the doorstep as I do. However the feedback I have had, both from competitors and spectators alike, confirm that most had an enjoyable day's sport. And as if coloured results on the day were not enough we all received a DVD of the event in the post. (And just as the memory of all those mistakes was diminishing)