The Robinson Farm Trial 2005

The Club's annual return to the beautiful Robinson estate outside Hillsborough saw fifteen teams gathered to shake off the Christmas excesses. A crisp fresh day with glimpses of sunshine greeted the competitors.

Robert Robinson jr had laid out five sections along the riverside banks with sections 1 and 2 along the steep forested bank, section 3 to the right of the log cabin and sections four and five in the grassy field across the lane. Tyre pressures had been set at 3psi for the live axle cars and 4psi for independent suspension cars.

Section 1 started with a steep climb straight up the bank to the nine gates before dropping back down onto the lower level and another climb up around a tree half way up the bank. Another drop back down the bank onto the lower level before the final climb over some heavy roots all the way to the top field. Section 2 incorporated a greasy traverse off the line taking the teams up the bank before dropping down round a difficult tree at the eleven posts, which led into a very tricky climb around the ten posts before traversing along the top of the bank to the six gates. A dip down around another tree left a very difficult approach into a tight turn at the five and six gates before dropping back onto the lower level and up the final climb. This section was eased considerably after the first round when only three teams negotiated the climb at the ten posts. Section 3 followed a familiar route from previous years starting along the river bank with a climb up onto the lane and then on up the bank to the six gates. A drop back down to the four gates just above the lane provided a difficult entry onto the finishing hill.

Sections 4 and 5 were of a similar nature set out on long grass in a typical up down up format. At the lunch break after two rounds Mark Vaughan had opened a narrow lead on 8 from John Keatley 13 and John McKinney driving with determination tied with Bryan Vaughan on 17. Brian Edgar had struggled on a couple of hills collecting heavy penalties and was trailing on 24 but was still clear of his son Michael who was making a welcome return to the hills after a lengthy break. Trevor Aston on 42 led Tom McKinney by a single point but neither had found the conditions to their liking. Unfortunately Clive Gracey and son Simon were forced to retire at this stage with terminal engine problems. Class C saw Chris Stanley on 41 holding a two point lead over David Webster with Geoffrey McKay on 55 opening a useful gap to Simon Hughes on 64 and Graham Jennings on 80.

A few alterations to the hills added to the difficulties of worsening ground conditions for the final two rounds, which ensured every team was tested to the limit over the remaining ten sections. John McKinney put together two super rounds to overhaul John Keatley who fell foul of the staggered climb on hill 1 with Brian Edgar finally getting things together with a recovery to fourth place. Bryan Vaughan lost out with two poor rounds while his brother Mark again eked out an advantage on each lap to run out a comfortable winner. Tom McKinney was another to finally sort things out and he put in a super afternoon score dropping just 12 points to nearly close down Michael Edgar. David Webster was the man on the move in Class C reversing the advantage Chris Stanley had enjoyed at lunch, with Geoffrey McKay taking the final podium position. Simon Hughes continued to impress with a loss of just thirteen points during his third round and Graham Jennings suffered with a lack of match fitness on his return after having missed a couple of events.

Many thanks to the Robinson family for their kind hospitality on the day and we all look forward to our return next year.