Exeter In The VW Notchback
A view from the navigator’s seat. Driver Dean Vowden, Navigator Arthur Vowden.
The Trial greeted us with a new start venue at Betty Cottles Inn near Okehampton, an ideal venue with a good atmosphere. The drive to Haynes was not easy with fog interspersed with bright moonlight. Haske, the on route observed test was no problem. The passage Control at Totally Triumph was reached on time from there we travelled at the correct average speed and arrived at the Hayes common start only to find a lot of cars from the second individual start group of Cirencester in front of us. This was not good as it could have caused us to be late checking in. We managed with not many minutes in hand
Redscrip ,Underdown, Normans Hump, Woosten Steep and Passaford Lane could be termed forest sections. All were enjoyable and climbed without problems for us, although Normans Hump restart and its top left hand bend needed care and correct positioning. The lower section of Woosten Steep was used for all classes so we missed the challenge of the steep demanding track that was used in the past for classes 6 7 & 8.
Waterloo, Fingle and Streets fell into the category of non rough true classics, they were found to be as good as ever needing to be driven correctly and gave a feeling of satisfaction when the section end was cleared.
The new to the trial sections of Kingswell 1 and 2 had their interest, Kingswell 1 being the first time we had ever parked on a bridge over a major trunk road while waiting in the short queue at the start of the section. Kingswell 2 provided an excursion through a farmyard. Both gave no problems and provided, together with Fingle and Wooston Steep a respite on what was to come later.
Tillerton, Simms, Tipley and Slippery Sam we classified as the rough tough true classics. They were all in top form and as challenging as ever. We were on time at Tillerton where caution was needed on the steep downhill approach to the beginning of the section due to ice on the road. Here we were delayed due to quite a few failures on the section.
Simms as always was the hill of the Trial and from the results only eleven cars managed to clear. I must admit to some trepidation before tackling Simms and its challenging restart and gradient however by taking the right approach with good driving and with the Notchback very well set up by Dean we went clean. The climb of the day, as seen on video courtesy of you tube, must go to Alan and Jane Bee who made a brilliant climb of Simms in their Class two Austin 7
Toorak Hotel, the finish venue, combined with the Riviera Centre for the Dinner/Awards presentation made an excellent end to a very enjoyable, challenging and memorable event. A big thank you must go to Roger and his team and all the marshals involved.