The Spring trial 2008
750 Motor Club by John Ridley
The Spring Trial 5 th April 2008.
The 750 clubs spring trial was held at Saol farm just off the A272 near Petersfield, now it just so happens that this is the home of Tony Marsh who is a former six-times British Hill Climb Champion and racing driver. His championships were two hat-tricks exactly ten years apart in 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1965, 1966, 1967. In between these national championships Tony raced in sports cars and single seaters, up to and including Formula One. Tony retired from competitive driving and represented Great Britain a number of times at ski-bobbing before returning to motor sport in 1986. He is still competing today and can regularly be seen at sprints and hill climbs in his Gould, supported by his wife Liza. So it's a small world isn't it. And sure enough Tony was there to see us all play with our Men's toys on the day.
Saol farm is a wooded site, there are a few grassy bits around but not really steep enough to make a dry trial out of. And so the trial was all through the trees, in fact towards the top of the site it is so steep that it would be a real challenge, there is lots of opportunity at the site, and some more clearing would reveal at least 20 sections among the different parts of the venue. The paddock is huge and almost level, and although a bit slushy at the gate entrance, Tony was kind enough to put down some wood chippings to firm it up a bit. Only one person got stuck in it, and this time it wasn't a trials driver either!
The trial was on a Saturday, and so Craig and his team set out 6 sections in the woods on the Friday. The entrants were split up into groups of 3's and 4's not only for marshalling reasons but also for safety reasons. . At the beginning of each round, as first driver on the hill, I was responsible for altering the 2 following sections, a little trim here and sometimes altering the course totally. As there is loads of opportunity at saol farm it wasn't too difficult to find a new course.
The layout of the sections is always important to a trials driver, and making sure that there is enough room to manoeuvre and turn is always a tricky issue through a wooded site. Also after a section has been cleared there must also be enough room to either turn round at the top or enough space to roll backwards back down the section.
So, what about the drivers?
Well the 750 club always runs a friendly trial and this was no exception, my own position in the running, Craig deliberately put me in front of Kevin Judd and Ann Anderson, both of which are novices, this gave me a chance to give them a few clues about what to do, and judging from the scores, it looks as though it did make a bit of difference. As the day went on each round the scores became lower, so I guess I must have done some good.
In the second was Dick Woollett, Paul Filmer and Roland Carson, After Round one, Roland was clearly in the lead, and was the only person to get past the 6 gate on section 2. Unfortunately, almost immediately after starting round 2, Roland had to retire due to a broken thingy bob on the car, which is a bit of a shame because he was going well and could have taken the B group silverware if he had carried on with that performance.
The next group was Bill hicks, Sam Archer and Craig Bazley, Bill hicks being the senior driver here; He showed the way for Sam and Craig to go. And was in the lead all day.
And so what about the running? At the end of round one, this saw Roland Carson in the lead with a score of 24 points dropped, John ridley in second place tying with Dick Woollett, Bill Hicks being in fourth place. At lunch time it was nearly all change as Roland retired during round 2, this meant that John ridley was in the lead with 44 points, with Dick Woollett in second place with 48 points and Paul Filmer trying for a place on the podium with 51 points. It was now not only about getting the sectioned cleared, but also about not cracking and making a mistake.
So after lunch the pressure was on the top 3 drivers, any one of these was in the position to take a win, but it came to pass that Dick Woollett had a couple of costly mistakes taking him to 72 points and bringing him down to 3 rd place, this meant that Paul Filmer moved up to second with 65 points lost and winning him the best A class driver. But John Ridley kept cool and only dropped 5 points in the afternoon to finish on 49 points dropped. It was one of those trials where not only did you have to drive with a bit of conviction and aggression, but the trial also had places where experience on trickling was essential, the ducking and diving in and out of the trees could easily mean that it was easy to make a big mistake, and it was just as important to keep the mistakes of the scoreboard and the driving itself.
So overall, the whole day went as smooth as clockwork, the weather held up, and a usual 750 club helping of friendliness was all about.
John Ridley 49
Paul Filmer 65
Dick Woollett 72
Bill Hicks 76
Sam Archer 97
Craig Bazley 98
Kevin Judd 159
Ann Anderson 202
Roland Carson Rtd