English Visitors’ - 28 October
STCC by David Hamilton.
The Club was delighted to welcome an excellent
turnout of 11 teams from the mainland to the annual
visitor's trial. We were especially glad to see
Gerald Hepplewhite who came out of retirement for
the event. The visitors trial would not be the same
without the Hepplewhites.
The trial was once again held at Tweed's Farm in
its scenic setting above Carncastle on the Antrim
Coast. In total 24 drivers signed on to compete.
C.of C. David Hamilton had set up 6 testing hills on
the grassy slopes and the plan was to complete two
laps before lunch and two after.
As the teams arrived on site the weather conditions
were wet and windy but as the trial got underway
the rain stopped and it turned out to be quite a
pleasant day for trialling. Tyre pressures were set
at 4psi for independent cars and 3psi for live axil cars. It was the visiting team of Martin and J.Grinwood who took the lead after Lap 1 on 4pts, closely followed by Julian Fack and David Webster on 5pts, one clear of Clive Gracey, Mark and Bryan Vaughan. By lunchtime a shocked Class B driver David Webster had taken the lead on 17pts, one point ahead of the much more experienced A Class drivers Clive Gracey and Tom McKinney. Second in Class B at this stage on 32pts was Simon Gracey but only 2pts ahead of Chris Stanley and George Burton and 4 ahead of Willie Woodside.
Julian Fack still led the visitors on 21pts followed by a pack of 4 drivers only 4pts apart, Phil Yarwood on 30, Steve Courts on 31, Dave Martin on 32 and Martin Grinwood on 33. At lunch time only 16pts split the top ten drivers so during the lunch break the hills were tightened and the finishes lengthened in an attempt to split the field. Hill 5 had to be changed almost completely as it had become too slippery to continue to run. Positions changed somewhat after Lap 3, Mark Vaughan taking the lead by dropping only 4pts taking his score to 24, 2pts ahead of David Webster who in spite of dropping 9pts still retained second place. Clive Gracey and Julian Fack were in joint third on 30pts. Tom McKinney who was first to drive Hill 1 after lunch took an unfortunate 9 which put him into 4th position. He can take some consolation in the fact that the same hill caused big scores to quite a few of the drivers including Brian Edgar who had been lying 6th at lunchtime, only 9pts adrift of the lead. He was very peeved to take the same 9 (in fact the air was blue!). Best score of Lap 3 however went to Dave Martin who dropped only 3pts putting him ahead in the pack. Phil Yarwood had a disasterous 3rd lap causing him to drop quite a few places while Steve Courts picked up an unfortunate 9 due to a stall on Hill 2. Simon Gracey retained his position as 2nd in Class B and had extended his lead to 8 ahead of George Burton and 20 ahead of Chris Stanley who had a poor Lap 3. In the 4th and final lap Mark Vaughan dropped 9pts finishing on a score of 33 and overall winner. David Webster dropped 10 pts leaving him on 36 and in second place, an excellent result for the Class B driver. Tom McKinney made a good come back dropping only 6pts and finishing in 3rd position. John McKinney who at lunchtime was in 10th place made a good recovery in the afternoon laps to finish in 4th position on the same points as Clive Gracey but ahead of him on cleans. Brian Edgar who ironically cleaned Hill 1 and only dropped 8pts in his final lap finished 7th overall and only 2pts adrift of Clive and John. Simon Gracey finished second in the B Class and a very plausible 10th overall. Chris Stanley beating George Burton for 3rd place by 5pts. In 6th position on 45pts and winning the Visitor's trophy was Dave Martin with Rollo Twitchin in the passenger seat, in his Crossle, built and maintained by Eric Hamilton. He beat Steve Courts by 2pts even though Steve's final lap was the best of the day as he dropped only 2pts. Incidentally Steve also recorded the highest number of clears on the day.Well done Steve! Julian Fack having fallen foul of Hill 1 in his final lap was 3rd in the visitors with Martin Grinwood in 4th, Simon Kingsley 5th and Phil Yarwood 6th.. Driver of the day however must go David Webster coming second in his 1970's Concord. 24 drivers signed on and 24 drivers finished most of whom commented on a very enjoyable days trialling. After the event the results and prize giving was held in the Highways Hotel outside Larne where suitable refreshments were provided. Club Chairman Clive Gracey had been researching the archives of the STCC and made an interesting and amusing speech about events long past. He also drew our attention to the fact that there were three constructors present at the trial Julian Fack, Michael Martin, who was spectating and John Crossle. He also commented that it was as a result of observing Julian's Facsimile that Michael Martin decided that he too could construct a trials car and so developed the Concord and proceeded to build 25 of them. In more recent years someone suggested to John Crossle that he should build a trials car and that is what he did and there are now quite a few of them in competition. Clive added humourously that if Julian came here to compete and was beaten he only had himself to blame! (Sorry Julian). We would like to thank all our mainland visitors for making the trip over and hope that they enjoyed their weekend so much that they will all return again next year.