VSCC Lakeland Trial

The VSCC scenario moved to the tough terrain of the Lake District for a difficult, therefore enjoyable, trial on November 11th. The 77 competitors had to sign on at either Bassenthwaite Lake or at Llanthwaite Green, which they did in ideal trials’ weather, overnight rain having changed to some daytime drizzle. That the sections would be challenging was forecast when the officials cancelled that at Blaze Beck, alarmed at the instability of Barry Clarke’s A7 on a high-speed demonstration, also at Blaze Beck, leaving 12 sections to tackle.

The notorious Drumhouse was tricky this time and among the Class 2 big cars the Vauxhalls of Bruce Spolion and Ghosh and the usually effective Hickling Dodge failed, the yellow Dodge with a suspected broken crankshaft. A stop-and-restart on Buttermere Old Road claimed some more victims but a dry summer had made Llanthwaite Green, used by courtesy of the National Trust, less of a watersplash than in previous years, but Mike Hirst failed to take advantage of this, going the wrong side of the markers in his Alvis. The long-chassis entry found Heavy Sides and Masmill very difficult but the well known Whinlatters were of varying `stopiness’.

None of the 30/98 entry got beyond marker 6 up Grisedale but both Amanda Smith (4½-litre Bentley) and Stuart Baxter (Chrysler) sped up commendably to stop at marker 15. The long Raughton Beck Rise failed many at the difficult bit near the summit, which came as a surprise after struggling for half a mile upwards. There was plenty of drama. The outright winner, Rodney Felton in the Bugatti, holed the Brescia’s sump, which he mended at the lunch stop at The Pheasant with plastic metal. It was also touch-and-go for Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in his Frazer Nash, who failed to win by a single mark after his fair bouncer had knocked the ignition off on one of the sections. Alas, Richard Marsh broke the Morris’s backaxle on his way to the first of the hills and Peter Garland (30/98) also lost his transmission. All in all, a splendid trial, ably superintended by Andrew Smith. One must commend the enthusiasm of Ian Mahaney who not only competed but over the weekend drove his 1100 HRG well over 620 miles to do so. Roger Collings drove his versatile 1903 Mercedes Sixty to a 1st Class Award and still had time to spot the action for me, and young Simon Price from Wales took a 3rd Class Award in his father’s Ulster-engined A7 Chummy.

Bridge Hotel Trophy (Best Performance): R Felton (Bugatti).
Roy Patterson Cup: D Marsh (Bugatti).
Kirkstyle plate: S Baxter (Chrysler).
1st Class Awards: P Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash), R Thwaites (A7), H Stringer (A7), S Welch (A7), S Baxter (Chrysler), R Collings (Mercedes), G Toms (Fiat), R Low (A7).
2nd Class Awards: G Winder (A7), J Diffey (A7), J Blake (GN), H Spence (Lea-Francis), R Low (A7), G Rankin (30/98), P Tebbeft (Riley), M Holt (Ford), P Harris (Bentley).
3rd Class Awards: S Gordon (A7), B Clarke (A7-GN), P Longhurst (Riley), C Barker (A7), T Jones (30/98), S Price (A7), M Hurst (Alvis).