Warco Trial 2004 by Julian Fack
Peterborough MC used the same site at Uppingham as last year, but this time they restricted themselves to the (north facing) south side of the valley, which worked very well, remaining damp all day. Although the parking is somewhat restricted, they found room for 10 challenging sections. The lush autumn grass demanded a well modulated trickling technique, and some drivers found themselves searching for traction, whilst others cruised along as if on a motorway.
During briefing the sizeable entry of 37 were regaled with dire warnings from Brian Stapleton on tyre pressures, the committee having decreed just days earlier that a minimum of 2psi should be used in championship events and that pressures should be checked by an official throughout the day.
The long grass was certainly testing, but those who trickled whilst smoothly maintaining motion found that most sections were climbable. There were no tight gates anywhere on the course, which is always a pleasant surprise, the terrain alone was sufficient to provide the challenge all day. All the sections were laid out in a straight line along the side of the valley, which meant that there was little room between them, a factor that would have a bearing on the result later on.
Calvin Kneebone's Kincraft showed his mastery of the conditions by cruising the first round on just 13 points, followed by David Martin's Crossle from Cumbria, last year's winner, on 19. Kim Warwick's CAP was next on 21 followed by the rest of the field not too far behind.
Although the weather was kind, the shade kept the ground slippery and it did not get any easier for the second round. Julian Fack's X-Facktor matched Calvin's pace for the round on 17, but Dougie and Kim kept up the pressure just behind on 18 and 19, so there was everything to play for after lunch. The order at this stage was Calvin on 30, well clear of David on 37 with Julian and Kim not too far adrift on 40. Peter Fensom's CAP was 5th on 44. Leading Blue Class runner was Dick Gowen's CAP on 68 in 12th place at lunch, and Richard Waterhouse led the Greens by a small margin on 83.
John Corfield the scrutineer had been busy checking tyre pressures, during both the morning and the afternoon rounds, but after lunch he found both of Calvin's tyres below the 2psi set for the day, and the C of C awarded him a 50 point penalty, which was a mortal blow since he had an extensive lead at the time. This was all the more so since Dave Martin had a very poor afternoon round of 26, dropping him to 5th at the end.
Julian had a good round until his last section, a superb long and complicated John Yates special, the lower slopes of which caught out all but five of the drivers. Julian, who had been on 3 up to this point in the round, climbed the whole hill, only to find he had gone the wrong side of the 9 pole, a route which was actually more difficult than the correct one. This left Calvin on 5 for the round, followed by Peter on 6 and Duncan Stephens' Sherpa on 7. Julian's slip let Peter overhaul him to take a deserved win on 50, Julian finishing second on 52, with Kim right behind on 53. Simon Kingsley's Kincraft was the best Blue for the round, on 14, and just took the class on 85 for the day, 13th overall. Peter Meakin's Sherpa had a superb last round of 18, eighth equal for the round, which netted him the Green Class win and an excellent 17th overall.
Everyone agreed that it had been a superb event, every section in every round was difficult but possible, and it all ran smoothly without any safety concerns, well done the PMC!