Light rain was forecast for the start of the event, becoming heavier by lunchtime. It did.
Unfortunately the hills had been set up on the Saturday (as is usually the case) in the dry and it was a tough first round. Some were very wide and quite steep, and wet of course, while others were shallower in gradient, but very very tight; and wet of course. Most drivers were in their usual cars, but welcomes were given to Karl Foster (Panda) and Andy Gowan (205) with Nick Pollitt (Micra) making a rare appearance at the Caton Hall site where he is usually clerking. Richard and Jaimie Yapp came looking for Allrounders points in Class B with their Nova. Barrie Parker had conned Rich Harrison into double driving the latter’s MGB, while Anglesey residents Gruffydd Parry and Sion Matthews had decided to take on the Imps and Midgets in Class D with their Nova.
Les Andrew (Pug 104) stormed up the first hill and easily cleaned it while Garry Preston (Fiat 127) was next best in Class A on 2: Derek Barnes (Golf) also managed a 2 in Class B. A very tight Hill 3 sorted the car handlers from the others with David Holmes (Panda) and Preston taking 9 marks off everybody in A, and Simon Harris (Golf) doing the same in B. The rest of the round was fairly evenly balanced and so Preston led A on 32 with Holmes on 38 and the others in the 40’s and 50’s. Harris led B on 40 with the rest in the 50’s. Malcolm Brown was the first to clean hill 4 which had a tricky turn after the five marker, so he had an 8 point lead in Class C over Harrison, Parker and Dave Harvey who was in his ‘new’ Fiat X1/9. Howard Blackwell and Jeff Buchanan were finding the damp conditions not to their liking. There were tight battles throughout D, with the Imps of Steve Courts and Dave Oliver ahead of the Midget of Team Fortnight who had opened up a gap to the Nova drivers.
The second round was much the same story throughout all classes, with only Parker’s and Courts’ cleans on Hill 5 being particularly noteworthy. However, the introduction of a stop and restart on Hills 3 and 5 was met with less than enthusiasm by damp competitors because of the virtual impossibility of their positioning. More thought needed there. Lunch was a damp affair……………
Some sections were widened slightly, but otherwise not too much sympathy was shown to the competitors for the afternoon activity. Preston and Harris devised plans to find the only FWD way up Hill 2, while Brown was the only clean at Hill 6. But nobody saw the halfway mark at Hill 8 all day – bit of a waste. There was a very tight battle going on in the middle of Class C with Harvey pipping Parker by one mark, who in turn thanked the car’s owner by beating him by just one point too.
The organisers abandoned the fourth round for the marshals’ sake, and the competitors were probably grateful too – some had long journeys on wet motorways. Malcolm Brown deservedly won the event overall, with Garry Preston in second. Thanks to the marshals of W&SSCC and particularly to C of C, John Ludford, for coping with the late change in venue (10 days’ notice) and with the May monsoon.