Kentish border trial

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Held in picturesque surroundings at Maidstone’s Vintner’s Park on November 24th, the Kentish Border CC’s 21st Annual Sporting Trial, a qualifier for the 1963/64 R.A.C. Trials Championship, produced a win for triple Champion Rex Chappell, driving his familiar maroon Cannon-Ford. Chappell showed complete mastery over the mud by finishing the 20-hill course with 155 points, a clear 42 points ahead of Percy Barden’s second-place P.A.B.-Ford. Third place went to Bernard Dees driving his immaculate Cannon de Luxe, with the Cannons of Geoff. Lindsay and Gordon Holdrup fifth and sixth.

Vintner’s Park, once owned, by Percy Barden, has changed little in the hands of its new owners but some initiative had been shown in finding new sections, some of which were too steep for even the trials specials to tackle. The first section was an old favourite and started with a plunge into a deep ditch and then a straight run up the side of the valley. The wet tyres soon turned the surface into deep mud and penalties tor stopping on the lower slopes soon began to add up. Only Chappell and Bruce Blundell (Cannon) managed to make anything of the section by reaching the “five” marker halfway up the hill. The story was much the same at the next group of hills, until the 10th section saw conditions getting worse to the extent of complete failures by many drivers. However, the course was adjusted for the second ascent in the afternoon, when most drivers made the halfway mark. Eventually Blundell, Charles Pollard (Cannon), Peter Highwood (Canhi), David Render and Geoff. Lindsay (Cannon) all managed to record clean sheets on the hill.

In the morning four cars fell by the wayside, these being Ken Lindsay (Cannon), Tony Tickle (Notacan), J. Bassett (Cannon) and Bertie Sayers in his new Aberties, surely the smartest trials car ever built! After the lunch interval Bugatti O.C. Secretary Godfrey Eaton, who was competing in his first sporting trial with an old Cannon, once the property of another Bugatti O.C. member, Frank Wall, retired after suffering from numerous mishaps. Colin Taylor’s Cannon disappeared from the sections for a while to have a loose drive spine remedied, but the addition of gear-selector trouble eventually pushed him down to 10th place at the finish.

The final sections were more interesting from the spectator point of view, being set out in more bumpy terrain, but Chappell’s early lead was far too great for anyone to touch and the last stages saw a close chase between Fred Cole and Bernard Dees for third place, Dees just beating Cole by four points. Although not a spectacular event as far as trials go the meeting provided an opportunity to see Ivor Portlock in action with his new Alexis, which could well challenge the supremacy of the Cannon in this type of event. However, Mike Cannon, builder of the Cannons, was amongst the spectators and told our reporter that he has a new car on the stocks which will have a vertical steering column!

E. L. W.

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