The Summer Trial 2023 has concluded, after 343 miles the flag has fallen and the winners crowned, and in the end, it was a triumph for the bright orange Porsche that has led from the start. There would be no last-leg mishaps, no pressure-driven errors, although the pressure itself was on from the start as the toughest regularities of the weekend offered plenty of opportunities to throw it all away.
The chasing pack were pushing hard, Nick Marris and Ian Canavan in the Datsun 240Z posting just 20 seconds of penalties on the last four regularities of the event, Ian himself a Master’s level navigator and with plenty of experience of winning trophies. Their 20 seconds was equaled by the Baines, Father Dick and son Harry, who were just three seconds back from the Datsun and pushing hard to overhaul the deficit. The day featured no tests, a fact that Dick was happy about after the diminutive Mini had been struggling for grip on the slick asphalt of the kart circuits.
97 miles was the day’s total distance, on a loop of Lincolnshire’s more southerly farms and villages, on a day when the sun was an almost constant companion, after being so absent from this summer event so far. There was still some water on the roads though, particularly in an entertaining ford on the first regularity of the day that was plenty slippery on the ascent out of it, and offered a moment of peril for anyone who might take to the water a little too exuberantly.
Nobody told Paul O’Kane that though, as he plunged the orange 911 into the water’s depths with great aplomb, clearly confident in the way the day was going. This kind of confidence is evident when things are going well, and they had been ever since the first day. It’s easy to back off sometimes when trying to protect a lead, and for a driver who was trying to win his first-ever event, Paul could have been forgiven for being a little more tentative. But with experienced navigator Tullie by his side, he clearly felt comfortable, and rightly so when the pair posted 16 seconds of penalty on the day, bettering the two closest chasers behind them and securing their win by 18 seconds.