The Ross Motor Club’s Kyrle Trophy Trial by Duncan Welch, Navigating for Glynn Lobb
The last ACTC championship round before the summer break, has always been, a particularly difficult event. Very steep, rocky, and slippery hills liberally sprinkled with awful restarts. The entry list reflected this in that there was this year, a great preponderance of Class 7 and 8 cars. This was very obvious at the start, with more Marlins that you could shake a stick at. The main topic of conversation seemed to be “How I threw away my gold award on the Lands End,” some overshot test lines, others arrived at controls early, while some even broke vital components within sight of the finish.
The Kyrle weather is usually fine, even hot, and this year it had been dry for weeks so the hills were very dry on the whole and allied to the C of C’s attempt to make the trial a bit more friendly, many people climbed hills as never before.
After a thorough scrutiny, and a cup of tea, we trundled off towards out first group of hills around the infamous Pludds. The first special test involved three lines and backing round a corner which tested some drivers to the limit as they are not used to going the wrong way. Fastest here was David Llewellyn in a Marlin. How do you do that in a Marlin? Next was Alan Lewis in a Buggy and then Julian Dommett in the S.V. Dellow. Pludds, itself was not very easy, and some of those who had to restart (Class 8) failed, but it was much easier than in previous years and it was the first time I have seen the top. John Parsons had trouble here with the V8 Westfield which is not easy to get away from restarts.
Jack and Jill, two of the steepest hills you can imagine, had been altered to become Jackson, which would have tested Classes I – 7 if it had been wet, and Jill just for Class 8. Dudley Sterry had the supercharger mixture get in a tangle and the engine stopped at 4. Otherwise most went clear.
Howlers Hill involved a tortuous route between tree stumps, following a trickily placed restart. Very few had trouble here, nor at Snompers which had a restart. In the same forest was Tomlin Splash which was indeed wet. In fact there seemed to be a series of springs which drained over it and down it. There was a lot of revving going on as we arrived, as the Dingo with Peter Fear at the wheel fought its way to 4. Andy Carter made a magnificent climb in his big Beetle finding grip by slipping the throttle right to the top. Mike Hobbs, similarly mounted, was next, and although he was given a clean, he stopped several times and by furious bouncing of the valves and the rear seat passenger did get going again. Julian Dommett stopped rather suddenly, lack of ground clearance since he was running on 15″ wheels at the rear. Our attempt here was a great disappointment, as my driver rather lost speed rapidly stopping at 8. Reversing down I asked if he could see where he was going. “Oh yes” says he. Why then are you driving up this bank? Can a Marlin tip up to 70 degrees from the horizontal without falling over? No it can’t. Luckily it has an integral windscreen /rollover-bar made of very thick iron which easily supports the car when inverted. To everybody’s amazement the engine continued to tick-over at 600 rpm whilst upside down, but as I lay there in a
muddy stream with my driver on top of me, I worried about the oil I could see running out of the bonnet louvers and down the mudguard towards me. By now many willing hands had lifted the car back to 70 degrees and held it there while my driver trampled me further into the mire. Mike Workman then insisted I got back into the driver’s seat and bring the car down to the bottom of the hill. Sadly I am too tall to get into the drivers seat, so he jumped in and guided the machine to the bottom, covered in mud and oil. A cracked wing and broken wind deflector were the only damage and after topping up the oil we were on our way once more.
Cuddleigh Bank only stopped a few unlucky souls right at the bottom where a nasty start line incline reared its ugly head. My man did very well here and raced to the summit. Charcoal Flats was far from flat and was somewhat moist in several places, one being between I2 and II and the other between 8 and 7. Again there were tree stumps to contend with and after a brilliant start, we got confused by the stumps and leaf mould and stopped at 7. Poor Mrs. Templeton stopped at I2 by going too slowly as did Tim Whellock in his Austin 7.
The second special test was to decide the trial, in that Mr. Workman did a lightening time of I5.5 secs which was quicker than all the others who went clear. The test itself involved avoiding a deep chasm and more backing between markers which hid behind the spare wheels all of which is not easy for a startled Marlin driver, but he managed it. Ken Orson actually did a I5.0 sec run here again in a Marlin. How do they do it.?
We couldn’t quite manage Daws Tump. So near yet so far. Stuck on a tree root at 4. One day, I shall see the top of that nasty incline.
To my mind, Deep Dean is the nicest of all the Kyrle hills, being a proper road unlike all the forest tracks. This year there was a very sharp LH hairpin at the summit which my man negotiated with great skill to find a sunny field full of trials drivers. They appeared to be waiting to jeer at Phil Winnel who was running near the end. There was talk of “improving” the restart especially for him and it must have worked, as somehow he scored a 6. So ended a remarkably easy Kyrle trial with seven cars with clean sheets. I think it is more enjoyable when you can climb most of the hills with just a few real stoppers. Jeremy Flann’s Chummy took Class 2, Paul Bartleman Class 3 with an excellent clean sheet. David Greenaway and Derek Chatto Classes 4 and 5. Andy Carter and Frank Burton took 6 and 7 again with superb cleans, while David Alderson and Dean Partington took Ist and 2nd in Class 8 again clean.
Wonderful Worky won overall making up for falling to pieces on the Lands End. I hope this is enough. If not, I may be in detention again next week.