Walsingham Trial - 13th February 2005. BTRDA and MSA by John Ridley

The Walsingham trial organised by the 750 club on February 13 th was the second trial in my diary for 2005. Langrish had a memory for me in the past but I just couldn't picture the venue in my mind. As I rolled up to the car park I remembered that this was the motocross site that the 750 club had used some 3 years earlier as Christmas time, and funnily enough the weather was the same as well. About 10 o'clock the temperature suddenly dropped and it began to sleet. My car filled up with icy sleet about an inch deep. I didn't fancy this at all; thoughts of “what am I doing here” ran though my mind. Bizarrely enough as soon as we went to the hills the weather suddenly cleared giving a clean crisp bright sun. One of those glorious fresh mornings for strolling along the prom. The site at Langrish is quite compact, a kind of oval bowl with some useful obstacles to work with, Some trees at the sides, some various small rises and falls all over the place.

Bill Watson was Clerk of course and after the drivers briefing we went to the sections, We soon realised then that Bill had laid out the sections with more ups and downs than a new brides nightie

Section 1 to the left hand side of the site. A wide start with a climb to the 7 gate then a left down the hill to a right turn then up again to a steeper climb. Overall a simple section where you could see all of the section all of the time. On rounds 2 and 3 the last part was changed to give a different line. No real problems here except for Murray Jarvis using Jeremy Ault's car who failed at the 10 gate in round 1.

Section 2 on the opposite side. A small climb up a ramp to the 11 gate then a right hand turn into the woods, a left then a right though the trees then out onto the grass for a sharp right and then left to the one gate. Lots of opportunities to get stuck here. In round 3 the start had been made a little more difficult with a right left kink to get to the twelve. This catching out Norman Flury who took his usual keen eye off the ball to claim a big 11.

Section 3 A left hand turn up then a left right kink at the six to go though a few trees. It was a bit bouncy here and despite a few drivers “going for it” the left right kink and the bounce just slowed people up enough to end up in the wrong place on the section to make the final 4,3,2,1 gates an awkward angle. A real mixed bag of scores on this section during the morning rounds, but as the section had dried a bit in the afternoon almost everybody went clear

Section 4. Slip down a small ramp though the foot deep mud and then climb to a left right turn. Another mixed bag of scores, only Steve “careful” Courts, Kevin Rivers and Ian Wright achieving a clear in the morning drive, as the afternoon dried the course, a few more clears were achieved.

Section 5. A long left hand curve to the left, then over a small rise then turn to the right with another right to the trees then a sharp left. The 12 to 6 gates having a nice wide area to have a blast on. Even though it was slippery cross camber on this part of the section it did hold up all day. Some drivers going very wide after the 6 gate and not being able to get back to the right hand side to enter the wooded part.

Section 6. Again on the opposite side. This was a good blast up the middle with a turn down to the left and then a right leaving you at a cross camber to get to the 5 gate, then up though some trees to the one. In round 1 I watched Ian Rodman, Ron Bland, and Norman Flury all slide down the camber at the 5. So with determination I decided that I must get high on the camber to avoid the fall, but it was all to no avail as I joined in the club with them. Julian however who was after me drove across is it as though it wasn't there. I think I did learn a lesson here watching Julian. No cautiousness, no messing around, just a steady gas and above all trusting the car to do the job.

Section 7. This was in the right hand corner of the woods and a section had been laid out in though the trees. A choice of line was available, most people opting for the left hand side. Although the climb looked as though it was achievable, it became clear that there was just not quite enough room to get a run at it to get past the 7 gate. So with almost everybody achieving a 7 here, and there not being enough space to take the line elsewhere this section was dropped for the third round.

Section 8 on the right hand side. Another section that clearly improved during the day, most drivers getting clear in the second round. The line was altered for the 3 rd round. And just when compliancy sets in because of the previous clear in the last round. The right left kink at the 3 gate claimed some points

Section 9 on the opposite side. This was changed at each round, which made an interesting challenge each time. The start was very muddy and so it was a great opportunity to nail it right from the word go. 5 th gear and wallop. As the mud cleared past the 12 and 11 gate giving the car the speed and momentum that was needed to be carried over lip of the 5 gate at the level pathway leaving a left and right turn up to the final gates. The bottom part of the section still claiming a few drivers that didn't get of to a good start.

Section 10 was in the woods over to the far right hand side. It reminded me a bit Dyram Wood only more slippery. In the morning rounds this section claimed nearly everybody at the 7 and eight gate. However in the afternoon Steve Courts was the only person to clear the section while every body else could best manage a 4, 5, or 6. Looking at it again after I had driven it, it was one of those sections that you would love to have another go at, as it just did look as if it was on, and yet I couldn't put my finger exactly on the reason I couldn't get any further.

After lunch the whole bottom of the site was becoming very muddy, not just surface mud, but mud that is a foot deep where drivers were moving from section to section. It was also clear that as the weather had been good to us that the conditions on the sections would be dryer, no doubt some scores would tumble, Big gears were the general order of the day, I came back to the paddock at lunch and found that the tank was almost empty where I had been blasting all morning. Now there are some drivers that enjoy a good blast, And Kevin Rivers is one of them, finishing 4 th overall and taking the highest blue for the second week running. Kevin only needed to knock out a couple of points from each round to be rubbing shoulders with the leaders.

A few retirements, Peter fensom being unlucky to suffer broken half shaft on the first section, David Zank and Bill Hicks having to retire after the first round as well

After the trial, on the way home we all reflect on our errors and if only's. With the exception of Julian of course, who is quite rightfully a champion in every sense of the word, with an insight into how to use the car to the best effectiveness. It certainly is up to all of us now to aspire to Julian's approach to Sporting trials and give him a good challenge for this year's championship before he runs away with it.

If you remember the November sporting at long Compton in 2003, this I think, was a watershed event that changed the thinking in the way that modern trials are laid out. Ian Wright laid out sections that were long and wide and a test of driver and machine over terrain. And Bill laid out this trial that followed this ideal, wide sections with choice of lines, I cant remember at any time thinking “ooh that's tight” in an attempt to get round the posts

So, overall a cracking trial where the layout was a real trial by terrain rather than trial by posts.