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The Throckmorton Challenge

Throckmorton post event report

The Throckmorton Challenge had always promised to be a well-supported event, being the final round in the HRCR Clubman championship and a closed to club event for HERO members, but we had not anticipated that the entry would fill so quickly and that crews would be keen to take up reserve entries.

On the Friday evening two crews waited patiently for the chance to take up a reserve place whilst another who lived fairly local to the venue sat near to a telephone. We were able to offer these reserves drives on the event due to the withdrawal of three crews prior to documentation.

Ninety Nine crews eventually started the Challenge on a brisk but bright autumn morning in October. Showers were expected and heavy rain had been forecast to reach the area by earlier afternoon.

All fifteen tests took place on the airfield, a one-time dispersal site for Vulcan bombers which in its day had some of the longest runways in the country. This meant that five consecutive tests could be run before the crews had to leave the site to tackle the on-road regularities. The format of the day was to be three batches of five tests with four regularities, the final one of these being on site.

Each batch of tests was at the same location on the airfield but increased in complexity and difficulty after each round. The idea being that as crews learned each test an additional element would be added. This format had proved popular with competitors in the past as they have enjoyed the flowing and open nature of these long tests.

The location is intended to be non-car breaking as the runways have relatively smooth tarmac (the site is still designated an airfield and accepts flights). However, two crews suffered very early mechanical issues. Car 1 and car 13 (both Mini’s) failed to get further than one test. Two other Minis’ had failed to start – one with transmission problems and another with a collapsed suspension cone: one failure occurring four miles from the site and the other on the measured mile. The overall size of RAF Pershore is fully appreciated when you realise that the measured mile was on a small section of the site itself.

After the first round of tests, best performances (based on class improvement) in the National B event went to car 8 (Mallagh/Harley), car 31 (Bloxidge/Davies) and car 18 (Kilty/Burkil); whilst honours in the club event went to car 86 (Walker/Toohey), car 52 (Winter/Winter) and car 67 (Lawrence/Tibbs).

Crews returned to the HERO marquee to check in at MC2 before embarking on the first of the regularities, a Tulip Roadbook section in the lanes around Worcestershire. Cars 83 (Owens/Errock), 86 (Walker/Toohey), and 100 (Baker/Baker) sharing the lowest penalties on this section on the club event, whilst car 5 (Warren/Pickering) collected the lowest penalties in the national B event.

All MC’s were located in the HERO marquee, where endless supplies of complimentary tea and coffee were available to all crews.

The second batch of tests saw club honours going to cars 86 (Walker/Toohey), 100 (Baker/Baker) and 52 (Winter/Winter), whilst cars 8 (Mallagah/Harley) and 18 (kilty/Burkhill) shared glory for the National B crews.

Regularity B started from the exit of the Throckmorton site and was the first of two regularities which differed for club and National B crews. Instructions for the club entrants were in the form of the tradition tulips whilst National B competitors had descriptive instructions. Both groups were given this section as a Jogularity. Best performance in the National B event was shared by three crews, cars 5 (Warren/Pickering), 6 (Abel/Dennet), and 31 (Bloxidge/Davies). Car 70 (Blunt/Duck) took honours for the club section on Regularity B, closely followed by cars 84 (Chick/Chick), 86 (Walker/Toohey) and 100 (Baker/Baker).

Crews then returned to Throckmorton for lunch inside the HERO marquee where Mathew Warren (car 16) one of the HRCR championship contenders was forced to retire, handing in his time card at the restart control. Mathew then stayed on to see how his nearest rival performed in order to determine if his championship lead would secure him the trophy.

Lunch was followed by the final batch of tests where best performance of a National B crew was shared by cars 18 and 31 (Kilty/Burkhill & Bloxidge/Davies) whilst the club event saw car 67 (Lawrence/Tibbs) come out on top.

The final off-site regularity (C) differed for the two events in that Club entrants had a tulip roadbook with a Jogularity Section, whilst National B crews had to contend with a descriptive non-Jogularity section with an average speed table. Lowest penalties on the National B event going to car 5 (Warren/Pickering). Car 84 (Chick/Chick) collected zero penalties on the club event.

The final regularity of the day was held on site – a real sting in the tail. Clerk of the Course Peter Nedin had managed to squeeze almost 8km of road section from the runways aprons and access roads around the airfield. Being on private land meant that Timing Points could be located at closer intervals than the two miles allowed on the highway. Crews who completed the section correctly discovered seven timing points. Most crews who had competed on the Throckmorton Challenge in the past looked forward to this section as it is a real test of regularity skills. No-one was disappointed. Best performance of a National B crew went to car 8 ((Mallagh/Harley), whilst car 69 (Sheach/Kiff) took honours for the club event.

As is expected on an event of this nature, the fastest car is not always the winner. Its consistency and overall performance that counts. This was clearly shown by the overall winner of the Club event, car 52 the Imp of Chris and Fred Winter. Honours in the National B event were taken by car 5 the Porsche of Howard Warren and Ryan Pickering.

Thanks to all those who took part. Special thanks to the marshals who spent the day on site running the tests and to the ladies manning the Main Controls. There were always two main controls open simultaneously and on one occasion there were three MC’s open. Everything ran to plan and there were no delays or problems.

The National B results were declared first as the championship contenders were keen to know the result. Subject to confirmation by the HRCR co-ordinator, the results pointed to Mathew Warren having won the championship.

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