|Keith and Edwin still smiling in the mud!|
On Saturday 18th Feb Edwin Cook and I were one of the 88 entries of both motor bikes and cars in the Fellside Auto clubs Northern trial which started at Wigton and we had a really interesting and enjoyable day and despite horrendous rain during the Friday night and right up to the start. It cleared away as we started and we had warm sunshine for quite a part of the day then snow up in the highest part of the mountains above Whinlatter pass before a cold but clear late afternoon on the final few hills.
Once again I did last minute work to the car as seems to be my usual routine for some strange reason and we chopped up the inlet manifold from the carb to the supercharger and shortened it by about 15 inches to try to overcome slow throttle response, It worked quite well but the mixture obviously needs sorting as on certain throttle openings it spluttered as if it was oiled up or too rich but eventually would clear and feel quite on song much of the time. I developed a technique after a while of holding the accelerator at a steady opening of about three quarter throttle and slipped the clutch to compensate for the rise or fall in revs to keep us mobile. Not kind on the clutch but it kept us going and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t'. We got round the event and some steep hills we cleaned that we didn’t expect to and on some easier hills we stopped when we didn’t expect to either !
The organisers were very unfortunate that the torrential rain the night before made some hills impossible after marking them out the day before when the markers would have been in perfect positions. On one long section rain on the track where forestry vehicles had been turning made the track impassable after a number of cars had failed and this caused all manner of problems and having to tow competitors through the long section meant it had to be scrubbed eventually and competitors had a long reverse for over quarter of a mile along a quite narrow track to be able to go to other hills. This affected the timing of the event and closing times of the hills of course but it was no ones fault just pure bad luck.
It was great to see various other motor clubs co-operating again and marshalling various hills. Wigton motor club and Ilkley motor club had big signs out on their respective hills and some other clubs from South of Scotland and places much farther afield did a truly great job manning up their sections.
Start and finish at Wigton cattle market was ideal with great facilities and really helpful and friendly waitresses serving great food at very reasonable prices where competitors from all over the country could sit and discuss the days trial and have a really relaxing time. Unless of course some crews had to get off down the motorway to places as far away as Devon London, or places in between.
One interesting combination had a very long trailer pulled by a Landrover TDV6 with two trials cars on and the four people travelling in one vehicle, this they said saved about £150 in fuel costs on their 400 mile round trip, quite a saving.
Everyone appreciated all the effort put in by the hard working organisers for this event and whilst luck might have a bearing on some final positions it was a very well run event and no one could do more to find and run so many varied sections at a number of locations to give every car a chance, paperwork and documentation was superb so thank you on behalf of everyone who took part we will hopefully be back again next year but I will definitely try to prepare the car a bit earlier though !