Summer Trial 20-22 June Warren, Tullie, Colton, Carroll and Woodcock
Forty-four vehicles made the start of the HERO Summer Trial 2014 - in a shift away from previous years, the event, last run in 2012, was this year based at the sprawling Celtic Manor Resort, just outside Newport, South Wales, writes Kev Howarth.
The Summer Trial was the third round of both the 2014 HERO Cup for Drivers in association with EFG International and the 2014 Golden Roamer Trophy for navigators in association with The Basic Roamer Company.
The event attracted a strong entry, and even with the East Anglian Classic round of the HRCR taking place on the same weekend, several of that championship’s regulars were in attendance. Favourites for the event were Howard Warren/Iain Tullie in the CHC Partnership Porsche 911. One crew who would keep them on their toes were husband and wife partnership Steve and Julia Bradbury in their TR3, great results on The Scottish Malts, and more recently, The Three Castles meaning they came into this event with confidence.
Several newcomers were seated with experienced hands; Niall Carroll from Chester found himself sat with Cheshire based Charles Colton, a previous winner of the Classic Marathon. Colton’s navigator on that event, Guy Woodcock had persuaded his daughter Claire to sit alongside him, this being her first event ever, Claire reported few nerves and was up for the challenge. Other new to rallying crews included Phillip and Sir George White of event partners Bristol Cars, they campaigned a stunning 1947 Bristol 400, the vehicle being the very first one ever sold.
The first day was a relaxed affair, a gentle run around the lanes of Newport with a link section that split the towns steel works to display the hard working heritage of the area, heading north out of Magor and into the valleys crews skirted Mynydd-Bach and Newchurch before heading back south through Cat’s Ash and into Celtic Manor for the final driving test of the day. Colton and Carroll took the initiative, with just one second separating them and Warren/Tullie. In third overnight were the MGB GT V8 pairing of Peter and Rayna Jackson.
Another beautiful sunrise greeted competitors for the second day, out much earlier this morning, with the route being a lot more demanding. Heading north once again, and briefly nipping into England, competitors made through the maze of high-hedged and twisty, narrow lanes of east Wales before lunch at the outstanding Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir. This Gothic renaissance building has been lovingly restored over the last 10 years and is a feast for not only the eyes, a regularity took the crews away from here and led to another link section that took the Summer Trial through the Elan Valley, the contrast between sweeping moorland and craggy screes a delight in the baking Welsh summer.
Returning back to Celtic Manor over the stunning roads of Epynt, Warren and Tullie had now asserted themselves over Colton/Carroll and the Jacksons had made some errors dropping them into sixth. Rising straight into third from 15th overnight were Paul and Guy Tomlinson making it a Porsche 911 1-2-3.
The final day was upon this year’s Summer Trial, another stunning day in South wales, the dust rising from the first test sited at Celtic Manor Resort, a tight regularity section via the villages of St. Hilary and Saint Brides Major that took in three tests around Llandow Race Circuit in the middle kept the competitors on their toes. The last section of Summer Trial 2014 took in a link section through the industrial Rhondda Valley to finish in the forest drive at Cwmcarn.
A good number of spectators gathered back at Celtic Manor Resort to welcome the competitors back, first over the finish line came the tiny Austin Seven of Seren Whyte and Sean Toohey, despite mechanical issues on the first day, the little Austin made the finish, albeit down the placings.
Warren and Tullie crossed the finish line triumphant, they had maintained their lad from the beginning of day two, keeping second place Colton and Carroll well at bay. Third went to Guy and Claire Woodcock, two novice navigators in the top three, in fourth were Paul Crosby and Devon radio presenter Andy Ballantyne, just three seconds the difference between them and third. In fifth came Steve and Julia Roberts with yet another finish in the awards.