Mark Hoppe completed the double and won the BTRDA Gold Star Car Trials Championship at his maiden attempt (adding to his British championship), having taken up the sport just two years ago.
The Gold Star championship rules have been changed to a class based structure this year. Hoppe went into the final with a maximum score and the pressure was showing. After two rounds of seven extremely long, slippery sections, set up by outgoing champion Duncan Stephens, Hoppe was four points behind Dave Walker, but with some improved focus and good climbs over the following three rounds he managed to retake the class lead, and extend it over Walker to fourteen points. Hoppe was delighted to take the Gold Star having spent twenty two years competing in autograss racing previously.
Dave Walker won the class as a result of Hoppe winning overall, ahead of Tim Beard who had a much better afternoon as conditions dried slightly.
Seventy seven year old and extremely successful privateer rally driver from the 1960's John Wadsworth finished fourth in class but over the season won the Mac Hazlewood award for most class points and the Bronze Star title.
Having invested in some new tyres after six years, Simon Harris' form and confidence has improved immensely during the year, and on his favourite venue he stormed to a tremendous class win ahead of three other former Gold Star winners with a perfect drive including lowest marks over the last round, to finish runner up in the Silver Star. John Moffatt was presented with the class award after a daylong battle with Nick Pollitt, both borrowing different Nova's.
Dave Oliver and Steve Courts battle of the Imps was wonderfully close until Courts made a mistake at a five just after lunch to hand the advantage to Oliver, who retained the lead to the end. Courts could have challenged Hoppe for Gold, but had to settle for the Silver Star. Kevin Roberts finished fourth in class and managed to finish runner up in the Bronze star for the second successive year after a much improved season.
1. Mark Hoppe, Citroen Saxo, 87.9%
2. Dave Oliver, Hillman Imp, 93.4%
3. Simon Harris, VW Golf GTI, 95.5%
4. Dave Walker, Vauxhall Corsa, 95.7%
5. Steve Courts, Hillman Imp, 104.4%
6. Tim Beard, Citroen Saxo, 107.3%
7. Brian Roberts, Dutton Phaeton, 115.2%
8. John Moffatt, Vauxhall Nova, 117.9%
9. John Wadsworth, Ford KA, 121.1%
10. David Allman, Citroen Saxo, 125.0%
Gold Star: Mark Hoppe
Silver Star: Steve Courts
Runner Up Silver Star: Simon Harris
Bronze Star: John Wadsworth
Runner Up Bronze Star: Kevin Roberts
The culmination of our Car Trials Championship will take place at our Grand Final Trial to be held at Catton Park, Walton-upon-Trent, South Derbyshire, DE12 8LN. (MR 128/208152). Start time 1000hrs.
With revised Championship Rules this year, incorporating "league" scoring throughout the year, contenders still have to contest this event to feature in the Championship awards; but it isn't all over yet as double points are scored on the Final to add to the end-of-season tension!
With competitive sections being set out by multi award-winning Duncan Stephens we are assured of a truly challenging and enjoyable end to another successful year in the BTRDA Car Trials Championship.
Further information: Neil Mackay, Championship Committee Chairman, 0115 9291728 (not after 9 p.m please).