“B” ING on the Allen Part 2
by Brian Osborn
Those of you with memories that go back to 1991 may recall that my MGB extended its horizons from the three MCC events and entered its first ACTC trial, which it finished – albeit in last position, but it was a start. Since then it has done several more ACTC events, but found them hard on the clutch, so now limits itself to those north of Bristol. Nevertheless the “Allen” is one of its favourites and it has entered most years since.
This November found it somewhat less pristine than in 1991, six years of trialling and other club events were beginning to show. The question is whether it can reach its 10th year of trialling and the Millennium before it needs a Heritage shell? After which it will be far too nice to do all this rough stuff!
“So”, I hear you say “but what about the trial?” Well we’ve improved, it was a close thing but we didn’t come last – we were 65th out of 66 finishers. But let’s start at the beginning – my usual navigators were indisposed so Rob Cull came along for the ride. He’s been breaking so many gears in his Midget lately he thought it might be nice to actually finish a trial – he nearly didn’t!
Tog Hill was first on the agenda, quite rutted with running water, plenty of grip so not too severe. Cleared it – so did everybody else. On to Bitton Lane with a restart, I eased off approaching the restart line and then struggled on the polished stones to try for a highish position, but couldn’t even do this let alone get away. Big Uplands was well managed, well I’m biased – the MGCC and Edward Kirkland were there. A nice classic hill getting very rocky on the left hand bend and at the top, but an enjoyable clear. It stopped a few though – mainly class 1 and some of those with a restart (6-8)
At Guy’s Hill there was a bit of a queue, a fair indication that the hill was in good form. This was definitely not an MGB hill. its polished wet stones offer zero grip for such a lump. At least we struggled away from the start up to the tree roots for an 8, better than I feared, but in company with four others about the highest score. Most other failures were around the restart area at 6. Of these with a restart (6-8) only two got away for a clear. Namely Julian Dommett (Dellow) and Antony Young (Ardley) – well done.
Sandy Lane it might be called, but we found it rather muddy, just right for a special test. These are purely for fun as far as the MGB is concerned because we never “tie” with anyone. Interesting to see the times of others though. FTD went to Mick Workman (Ford GVS) with 12.5 secs (is that what GVS stands for – Goes Very Speedily).
Section 5 was the infamous Elwell with a 12psi limit and the greasy field at the top included in the section as last year. So down to 12 psi and on with the WD40 – over the ignition bits that is – in readiness for the “well” part of Elwell. Apparently the local farmer has added his own birm just after the start since last year. If you don’t go fast enough you might jump the water splash! We didn’t. we went cautiously as per the marshal’s advice and grounded on the top, fortunately without stopping. Down into the water – or was it? Looked more like **** , well you know what. That over, or under, off we went anxious to keep up the momentum to get us across the field at the top. Well we certainly had plenty of momentum, one momentum we were on the track, and the next momentum we were up the left hand bank and into a tree! “Oh dear” I said (or words to that effect), “we’ve failed”.
After we had crowbarred the nearside front wing back to somewhere where it came from, we plodded on up the rest of the section and across most of the field, until stopping just inside the gate to change the nearside rear wheel, because the tyre was nearly in bits. According to the marshals it blew on the hill – well its a good excuse anyway. Andrew Brown and Roger Stanbury stopped to assist and pushed us through the gate on hard tyres. Only 5 of us failed Elwell. At the picnic area I had a look at the damage, it didn’t look as if it had damaged any of the suspension, so off we went to:-
Strode, even fewer failed this hill, even with a restart and a 10 psi limit, but we were one of the four. We tried hard and even went over the usual 6-10 secs allowed because it nearly went, but to no avail. Rob reckoned it was equivalent to 10 minutes in the gym. Cleared Travers, a bit rocky but OK. Only five failed here – one from class 1 and four from 6-8 with a restart.
Burledge is a hill the “B” has never seen the top of, usually ending up on its belly part way up. So it was this year, only this time we bellied out for a six, could have been worse. There were several clears from the proper car classes, 1-5, and also some low scores. Only seven class 8s got away from their restart for a clear.
At Nanny Hurns special test we were running last and did our oft repeated act at this spot. Not wishing to get well and truly stuck for 15 minutes or so, especially with so few bodies around to push, we took a fail and tootled up the lane. FTD on this wall of death was Robin Pearce (Dellow) at 14.4. secs, just ahead of Brian Cope (Shuttle) with 14.7.
We cleared Mill Lane as did all but two, including Perce Harden on his first Allen when his Midget stuck in the mud. Mind you it was a bit glutinous and it helps to know what’s around the corner under the bridge. Thanks to the local car buff who lives at the top and leaves his airline out for us – it’s much appreciated.
Little Uplands was on the menu for a change this year and a nice climb it is, minimal failures, but we do not want to struggle on all the hills. Main hazard for the “B” is the manhole cover halfway up, it’s a touch harder that a tree. The MGCC crew here were glad to see us as it had been a long day – Big Uplands in the morning and Little Uplands in the Afternoon, well done chaps.
On to be last at the last hill in the dark, my favourite John Walker. Only failed here once – last year when the exhaust got knocked off and embedded in the banks of the stream. Cleaned the mud off the screen and headlamps and eventually off we go. My the stream seems deeper this year than last when it rained dogs and cats (yes that hard). By the time we reached the cross track the mud was flying everywhere, so we were fast loosing vision both from lights and through the screen. Hoping we were pointing the right way and with foot hard down we charged onwards into the muddy gloom, there’s a marshal ahead – must be the right way.
Only three failures here all day, must not make it four. Onto the steep bit now, wheels spinning, engine revving, now into synchronised bouncing mode in unison with bouncer, who is now earning his keep, and onward, ever onward – seems longer in the dark – until we pop out through the gateway at the top and past the section ends board – phew! I think the car was as knackered as we were, but what fun and exhilaration, this is what its all about. It was worth it for this hill alone.
Back to the finish to sign off. The Allen Team (Pete, Carlie, Mark and Tim) hadn’t even waited for our marks, they’d already finished the results. What a cheek – fancy not expecting us to win. Anyway within minutes Graham and Janette Brasier found they had won the Allen Trophy in their class 6 Beetle. Our class 5 usually has a quorum on this trial, even so we were no match for the Greenslades in their Reliant SS1 with a clear round, well done Dennis and Tricia. I think even if we gave him a handicap (a Reliant trike) he’d still beat us.
There were many quite low scores, with the majority scoring less than 20. But this is a true road trial with no gimmicks or trick sporting trial sections, I think all of it is one public rights of way, which makes it even more enjoyable. This makes it even more important to be on our guard – I think that if or when foxhunting is banned it will be a bad day for trialling The rentamob yobbos could look for something else to go after and it might be vehicular access rights. Thanks for an enjoyable trial, even if it did work out more expensive than planned. Can’t you have Rubber trees next year?