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Summer Trial

New Rescheduled Date

Congratulations to everyone who took part in and completed the HERO Summer Trial 2020


The overall winners of the Summer Trial 2020 are:

1. David and Edward Liddell – Triumph TR4

2. Piers Barclay and Nicholas Harries - Triumph TR3

3. Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane - BMW 323i


Rally Report

Summer Trial starts from Telford

Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane (BMW 323i) lead from Per and Peter Neville’s Volvo 144

HERO-ERA’s 3rd event since motor sport resumed adapts to tighter COVID-19 rules

41 cars started from Telford this afternoon to tackle four regularities and three tests comprising Leg 1 of the (late!) Summer Trial amidst the tightest COVID-19 precautions seen yet on a regularity road rally, as HERO-ERA organisers adapted to the latest Motorsport UK regulations.

HERO-ERA Competition Director and Clerk of the Course for the Summer Trial, Guy Woodcock and his team have ensured increased mask use, temperature checks with track and tracing methods in cooperation with the HQ hotel, are all in stringent use. Similarly, COVID-19 hospitality regulations in the Telford Iron Bridge Holiday Inn are being adhered to, whilst at the same time hotel management have proclaimed their gratitude for the business in these lean times for the hospitality industry.

Guy Woodcock has had to balance safety for all with trying to ensure there is a challenging and competitive rally for the crews who include a Swede and a German. Leg 1 has proved that the HERO-ERA’s first UK multi day event of the year has lived up to Summer Trial expectations as the first two cars are separated by just six seconds with the third placed crew of David and Edward Liddell’s quick TR4 seven seconds behind the Volvo 144 of Per and Peter Neville. The ever competitive team of Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane have been mighty today and take a well earned lead into the tougher 2nd Leg on Saturday in their innocent looking but quick BMW 323i rally car.

The overall route took the rally cars clockwise around Shrewsbury before returning to Telford via a new test venue. The second regularity of the day was also the second longest of the event leading teams north towards Oswestry, but even that was dwarfed by regularity three which had no less than six timing points for crews not just to try and find but also clock in on their second!

Classic motorcycle racer Mike Farrall has made it three HERO-ERA events on the trot since he returned his 1936 Jaguar SS to the road in time for the Novice Trial. Although he missed one event as he was on holiday with his family in France, fellow Goodwood motorcycle winning rider Charlie Williams made a welcome return to the hot seat. Mike definitely has the rally bug now but when Charlie was asked if this meant a complete switch from two to four wheels he said; “ No way! I enjoy this sport but bike racing is the best, I’m not giving that up!”

Charlie and Mike ended up towards the bottom of the time sheets after what seems to be a major navigational error when they were spotted way off route. They were just ahead of the other superb Jaguar of Peter and Janet Fletcher who were running their beautiful green 1954 XK120 in full Drop Head Coupe mode.

Peter; “Since we got the car over from the USA I have spent five years rebuilding her down to the last nut and bolt.” Given the nature of the loose surfaces on some of the tests and the gleaming condition of the car would he be preserving the sheen? “ No there will be no holding back, it’s got to be driven hard, after all Jaguars were successful rally cars in the fifties” With that the Ian Appleyard fan sped off.

Stephen Owens, navigated by Nick Bloxham in their Porsche 911 SWB is one of three expert crews fighting in their own class but not eligible for overall awards. Stephen has been impressed with the work put into ensuring the rally is actually taking place considering the restrictions due to the pandemic. “Please pass on my major congratulations to everyone concerned at HERO-ERA for adapting and still being able to put on a rally like this in these difficult times – well done.!”

Victoria Coward and Leonie Harter have returned for their second ever rally since the Novice Trial in August in their MGB GT. Victoria; “I have got the rally bug, once you start it’s difficult not to want to go again.” Navigator Leonie Harter was not so forthcoming as she had her head down studying the road book inside the MG before the start. “I am a bit stressed out at the moment!” Victoria promised to calm her down as the rally got under way. The crew were 31st overall at the end of the day.

Stephen Hardwick has competed in every event this year that the HERO-ERA team have managed to organise against the odds. He started with a class win in the New Zealand Classic and since he has entered each of the three subsequent events in three different cars with three different navigators!

Stephen; “You know about the first car, the Volvo, that’s in the body shop after our little off in the Novice Trial and then unbelievably the Falcon broke a disc on the way back from the HERO Challenge Two, I reckon it was all the stick my son in law Ashley Bennett gave it on that rally!” Stephen has brought his South African rally winning Datsun 240Z to the Summer Trial plus a new navigator, an old friend David Moyle to navigate for him. David is on his first ever event; “Stephen has been asking me for the last three years to have a go. Although my boys have competed in MotoX and I’ve spent a lot of time up and down the country with motorsport events, this is my first ever rally.” 13th place at the end of the day is a great result for David on his first rally.

Adding a real touch of internationality to the rally are the German/Swedish pairing of Guido Fiebes and Per Jonsson. Guido’s regular rally Porsche was taken back to Germany for preparation but it all went very wrong as the technician in charge crashed his car and now it’s in bits. The solution for the last two rallies has been to hire a Triumph TR4a from HERO Arrive and Drive scheme, so how did Guido feel that has worked? “I am very happy with the preparation of the car and the service we have received, it’s the second time we have run this car, so we like it.” Guido was asked what the language of communication was inside the rally car? “ German, Per is fluent, his wife is German so it is almost perfect but he is quite a character.” Per responded; “I prefer having the one car as you get to know it so well but the Triumph is good as a back up.” Shouldn’t a Swede be in a Saab like his Swedish rally heroes? “Oh yes like Eric Carlsson, I met him once, what a man or Per Eklund, both drove Saabs but the TR will do the job.” The EU crew were 35rd overall.

A more exotic entry is car 44 the 1978 TVR Taimar of father and son Simon and William Garrett. Certainly a rare sight on stage or road rallies, but Simon and William have brought other exotic cars to the rally roads before; Simon, “Well the TVR is a bit of UK exotica and we have just finished rebuilding the engine, but previously we have run a semi lightweight Jaguar E-Type on this rally!” How did son William think they might get on?  “I think it’s the tests where I have to hold back a bit, I was a bit over eager last time!” The TVR team were 36th overall and 8th in class on the 1st Leg.

Up towards the front and in flying form, 10th in their Mini Cooper S were Amanda Johnson and Andy Ballantyne. Amanda was clearly enjoying the test at the Rednal Karting site which included a second loop taking the cars onto a loose gravel road to the finish; “It was great, especially as we could go round and do it for a second time when you went from tarmac to the loose, and it was very loose!”

Andy; “ Amanda did very well but we lost a lot of time when we met a 38 ton articulated truck!”

Tracy and John King were equally held up by traffic in their Triumph Dolomite Sprint, the mid field group seemed to get the bulk of the baulks. John;” We were on zero, zero, zero then we met three different school coaches! For all that Tracy loved the tests of the kart track; “ It was great, thrilling, just like my stock car days.” The King team were still an impressive 11th overall.

James and Archie Holt showed an impressive turn of speed on the tests in their BMW 325i, at one point they were the fastest by two seconds, James heard to say; “so long as we are quicker than that TVR!” The Holts finished the day 15th just behind a returning Andy Simpson with champion navigator Roger Bricknell alongside him in the Austin Mini Clubman GT.

Car 36 the Saab 96 V4 of Robert Hendy and Michael Joyce also had traffic hold ups,; “just about everything” said Michael, including a driver who just stopped in the middle of the road with all the doors open and his hazards on as he then decided to reverse into a drive!” The Saab crew were thought to be retired at the kart track having finished their laps but were parked with the bonnet up. “No we’re letting it cool down” said Robert, “We were having a ball out there.” Considering the crew are newbies they finished an impressive 16th overall in a car Per Jonsson should have been driving!

The final action of the day was at a new test venue on broken tarmac and loose gravel. Robert Robinson and Clare Grove were impressive in the Rover 2000TC as they chucked the Rover about as Roger Clark would have done in his early days as a works Rover driver!

Mark Lillington and Lesley Sibley had to reverse just before the stop line with a boulder lodged in their left front suspension, the backward motion plus an energetic official helped to dislodge the big rock leaving the team 18th overall in their MGB.

Robert and Julie Clifton are in an immaculate Porsche 944 instead of their usual Vauxhall Viva Magnum, they made a small error negotiating their way back onto the main runway but pulled that back to finish 23nd overall.

David and Melanie Roberts were 17th overall in their Porsche 911 Carrera, going well on the last test until they had to stop briefly at the far end of the course. David was seen to shake his head at the finish, clearly frustrated.

Piers Barclay and Nicolas Harries were a really impressive 8th overall in their absolutely stunning Triumph TR3, the car goes superbly and looks like it has just come off the Hampton Court Concours show ground! It would surely need a clean after the last dusty test…….

Leg 1 of the Summer Trial is designed to ease crews into the event with a relatively easy start. That means the scenics and contours of day two are bound to take crews to new heights, it should be a different and more challenging day.

Summer Trial Leg 2 - The Liddells grab the lead in their TR4

Stunning scenery the backdrop to great battle for podium positions

Late summer weather and great rally roads with costly hold ups for some

It proved to be a long hot, yet late summers day in Shropshire as the contours closed up sending hopes high only for some timing aspirations only to drop lower as traffic held back ambition. The teams only needed to look skywards on regularity seven over the picturesque valley of the high Long Mynd Range to see gliders gently swirling low overhead for a calming effect!

With the action taking place over eight regularities, Wenlock Edge, Ludlow, Clun forest and the South Shropshire Hills provided the stunning scenic back drop for the Summer Trial battle for podiums and class wins. Most competitors were travelling over great roads they had never seen before.

The pre event PR team had again done a great job as many householders were ready with cameras or taken up vantage points perched on their chairs as groups waved and cheered the cars past. The occupants of one beautiful Shropshire house had adorned the high front wall with classic car murals with one of the enthusiastic band dressed in thirties driving garb including cloth helmet and goggles! One farmer with his wife commented as the Saab of Robert Hendy and Michael Joyce cruised by; ‘Pat Moss had one of them, that shows how old I am doesn’t it!’ The farmer was typical of the sort of support the rally met along the road on day two of the Summer Trial.

Popular overnight leaders Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane in their BMW 325i stumbled then tumbled today as Mike explained; “It had been gong really well then we came across this road laying machine, and like a few other cars we just has to roll back to let it through so that was at least twenty seconds gone as we dropped down the order.” The great news at the end of Leg 2 was that Angus and Mike had fought back to third and the final podium position by night fall.

Whilst regularity seven was over the most beautiful section of Leg 2 across the scenic Long Mynd Range, it also had a sting in it’s winding tarmac tail as the glorious weather brought out some tourists who were doing what they do, gazing and unconsciously blocking passage of others at the same time. David and Edward Liddell, the new leaders in their TR4 despite some hold ups explained; Edward; “There was an estate car just sitting in the middle, it wouldn’t move over at all, I think we lost around 96 seconds, other cars further up the queue must have lost many minutes!”

David Liddell and his son Edward have been competitive from the start, lurking in the podium positions but today they pounced. David; “Yesterday was very difficult, quite strenuous at times we got through it without any major problems but today has gone very well.” Edward; ”We’ve also had the luck today which other cars haven’t had unfortunately, but obviously it’s good for us. It has been quite a battle, the Nevilles who were second overnight dropped time, we think they were off route, then the BMW 325i had been leading and now it’s back in close proximity!” David; “Yes the car maybe looking good and sounding good but it’s very oily and a bit cloudy when we stop but we can’t see where it’s coming from. We don’t think it’s a problem as we don’t seem to be using oil, it’s probably just old age!

Moving up from third at lunch to an impressive second place overall is the superb Triumph TR3 of Nicholas Harries who navigates in his own machine, allowing Piers Barclay the privilege of driving the immaculate 1957 car. “Nicholas owns the car, I am just very fortunate to be allowed to drive and thrash it every now and then!” Said Piers.

Nicholas; “Of course, but there is a reason for that, if you look very closely at the rear of the car there is a dent as I backed the car into a post at Pier’s house when I was picking him up yesterday, and that was before the rally had even started!” Was Nicholas worried at all about the immaculate car being thrown around on the rough surfaces of a test? “It’s a bit like a gun dog, it’s referred to as a working dog, this is a working car, it’s going to get a few knocks and that’s what it’s for. It’s a tough little thing really!” And to drive it? Piers; “It’s small, light, responsive. I am very lucky that Nicholas enjoys the navigating as I enjoy the driving.”

Nicholas; “ The rally gods have been kind to us so far, we have had a few delays such as with the odd horse box but we have been able to make up the time so we are waiting for the massive thing to go wrong which will inevitably happen.” Piers; The driving roads have been quite bumpy and tricky with some of the sharp hairpins and steep hills making it difficult to keep the time up. Otherwise it is beautiful, the landscape is fantastic. The highlight for me though are the tests.”

The pair are hopeful of staying in the top ten but as Nicholas added; “ We would be quite disappointed if we dropped down the rankings at this stage.”

Clare and Peter Nedin are father and daughter but they are also a rally family. Clare has enjoyed her rallying and learned a lot of lessons from Peter who is famous in the rally world not least for organising more Le Jogs than anyone. So why has the ace organiser become an entrant? Peter; “I can’t get away from it, it’s in my blood. As soon as events were back on the calendar I thought you have to do something”. Clare;” Oh and Clare, can we use your car? (Austin Healey Lenham Sprite) Normally I’m driving but it’s going OK, the first thing Dad taught me was to get the route right, that’s what we’ve done so far. It’s snug in there, I wouldn’t want to do a longer endurance event in the Sprite with lots of maps, I think I’d elbow the driver all the time.”

Peter; “ I have really been enjoying the event, I take my hat off to everybody for finding the routes, the marshals, the incredible organization under the current restrictions, we’ve been welcomed everywhere but for me it’s great to be back in a car competing.” The Nedins are 19th overall.

John and Tracy King are lying 12th overall in their Triumph Dolomite Sprint. The pair have made their way up from novices over the last year to the intermediate stage, their education included throwing themselves into the deep end on the Three Leggs of Man in 2019. John’s Dolomite Sprint is in great condition, he is always cleaning it! John; “If you clean the car it looks after you!”

Tracy feels that they are now making real progress in the sport, “We are learning to recover a lot quicker, getting into the timing points much better. We are really pleased, John has put a lot of work in and then he helps me as I have struggled a bit but I’m really enjoying it now. It’s all starting to come together which is nice.”

John; There are more rallies planned, we are on the HERO Challenge Three in a couple of weeks time, maybe the Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo and the Scottish Malts next year, so considering it was going to be such a busy year, then the disease came along, we are now just so happy to be out rallying again.”

Robert and Julie Clifton had to switch from their regular Vauxhall Viva Magnum when it ‘broke’ as Julie said. “We realised we needed a car quickly and we had bought this Porsche 944 for Le Jog but it was standard, that was Monday, but RPS turned it around really quickly and we are pretty happy with it, so we’ve called him Dirk.” Robert; “We wanted a gentleman’s rally car, something a little less aggressive where it’s easier to talk inside, what’s more I am really enjoying driving it!” The Cliftons were lying 16th at the end of Leg 2.

Amanda Johnson and Andy Ballantyne are 14th overall in the Mini Cooper S, Amanda is clearly enjoying the rally; “It has been going well, great scenery, lovely weather and a great navigator, just a few little gearbox issues so we can’t complain. I really enjoyed the tests yesterday, especially when we went off the tarmac onto the rough, it wasn’t really what I expected, there was lots a gravel and we nearly ended up in a log pile.”. Andy; “ We are just having a problem selecting low gears at the moment, we are trying to nurse her a little bit and just get her round really. It’s been a cracking route, enough to keep you on your toes, really good speeds as well.”

David and Melanie Roberts have enjoyed a good day, bringing their Porsche 911 Carrera up to 11th place having dropped way down the order from seventh yesterday when they got stuck behind another car. David;” It has been tough and challenging but very enjoyable, we have encountered very little traffic today and the car has gone well. Maybe we will go for it tomorrow but it just depends if we have a good result we may just want to hang onto it.” And go for it he did on the last regularity of the day, creating a huge splash as he and navigator and wife Melanie powered through a ford. Melanie; “ I didn’t get wet but I was looking at all the photographers on the other side thinking, I hope they get wet!”

Probably the next biggest splash came from the 1936 Jaguar SS of classic motor cycle racers Mike Farrall and Charlie Williams, grinning all the way through the steam as they came out on the other side. Charlie was still smiling at the finish today despite struggling with some of the navigation; “This morning I was feeling more nervous than before any bike race!” 2019 HERO-ERA Champion navigator Roger Bricknell was happily helping Charlie at the lunch halt with some sage tips!

Peter Moore and Angus Rochford are lying 25th overall in their open cockpit 1936 Riley Special, cutting quite a dash in their bear hats. They happily splashed through the ford as fast as they dared. Peter; “It was fantastic in the ford, we didn’t stall! It’s been a good day so well done to Angus as it’s his first time as a navigator, he has done really well.” What did Angus think was the toughest part of the job? “When there are lots of little turns all together and you only have a split second to react to each one, we also have to shout instructions which can be difficult to hear when you have the bear hats on, so I will probably lose my voice by the end of the week.”

Peter; “The car is going really well. The front brakes don’t work but the rears are quite effective. When we are on the tests you can pull the rear brake handle and spin around the cones quite well, it also has a pre selector gearbox so you can change gear quite quickly. I’m looking forward to the tests on the final leg.”

It was sad to see Andy Simpson and Roger Bricknell’s Mini Clubman GT at the end of a tow rope after battery failure when they had just claimed third place.

It was however ironic that it was journalist and photographer Will Broadhead who was towing them as he had sought and received mechanical assistance himself earlier in the day when he slipped his HERO-ERA vehicle into a ditch. Fortunately it was without damage to himself, although the same cannot be said of the battered wing of the Toyota Hillux on which a little sign now reads ‘ Carefully re designed by Will Broadhead’.

Summer Trial Final day, Leg 3 - Shropshire shines on the winners

Father and son David and Edward Liddell feel the warmth on top of the podium

After three days of wonderful competition with fabulous weather each day, Shropshire shone on three winners who waged a great battle across the hills and dales of this beautiful county. After a tense final day comprising four regularities and three tests, father and son David and Edward Liddell triumphed in their TR4, David admitting that it was a relief to finally take the win after all the pressure of three days competition.

After a scare when failing to heed the rules on regularities such as ‘never passing a No Through Road sign, unless otherwise advised’ or Unsuitable for Heavy Goods Vehicle signs which could be misleading, Nicholas Harries and Piers Barclay survived the sign interpretation to score a convincing second place, having been in the thick of battle at the front in all three legs. The only damage to the dusty but otherwise immaculate 1957 TR3 was to the rear when navigator Nichols backed his car into Piers’ home gate post when he went to pick him up for the rally!

Suspected to be beaming through their Beemer coloured face masks at the finish, having fought their way back to the podium, Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane were absolutely full of late summer joys as they lapped up the late afternoon sunshine which bathed their weary but sturdy BMW 323i at the finish. The car, owned from new by the family since 1983, had provided such a great platform of reliability and speed, taking them into the lead at the end of the first day before falling off their perch, stuck behind a road roller.

David and Edward Liddell, Triumph TR4, 1st overall.

David; “We are very pleased, a great weight off the shoulders. The first day was very stressful for us, we hit a lot of traffic so we were very happy to be third. The second day was brilliant losing just 60 seconds stuck behind four rally cars and a slow none competing car, but we took the lead”. Edward; “We nearly missed the correct ‘Heavy Goods Vehicle’ sign on the final regularity, we didn’t quite see it as there was another for Heavy Vehicles, it nearly caught us out but we only lost three seconds. We were both pretty nervous going into that final test, I said if we go round it at ten mile an hour it doesn’t matter because of the lead we thought we had. Then I got it wrong this time whereas Dad got it wrong in the previous test, but we did it!” David; “ It was good to win with my son.”

Nicholas Harries and Piers Barclay, Triumph TR3, 2nd overall.

Nicholas: “It is more than we expected so we are both very happy with the podium.” Piers; “There were some very tough, could we say cruel regularities today? You had to concentrate totally and we missed a sign which was hidden on the left behind some trees, you had to be further ahead to see it back over your shoulder, that set us back five minutes! But Nicholas is an extraordinary navigator, he got a zero on the next Timing Point, in the circumstances that is fantastic!” Nicholas; “ I always enjoy the navigation but I am very conscious that it’s very suitable navigation for this level but equally aware that there is lots of stuff I still don’t know.”

Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane, BMW 323i, 3rd overall.

Angus; “The Beemer has been brilliant, it’s been in the family since 1983, she has been going really well – she was great on the tests today, any failings are ours not the cars! Mike; “ We made a couple of silly mistakes but we were lucky with horses and traffic we didn’t get caught at all so no excuses there, the mistakes were mine.” Having compared the ‘snakes and ladders’ movement up and down the leader board over the three days Angus continued; “We dropped down to ninth halfway through the second day having lead the first, then back to third at the end of the second leg. It’s been brilliant and all part of the fun, it’s about hitting those time controls right on the regularities. On a three day event like this it’s all about consistency, we came back up which was fantastic.” Mike;” We’ve only been doing it for 18 months, we’ve done a few events so this feels great as we weren’t even expecting a top ten!”

The fourth regularity of the day was a very long one but ended with a bonus for crews being able to compete through private land on the Harcourt Estate owned by sprightly 95 year old Major Hayes who was a competitor in his day. The Major was a very interested spectator as rally cars flashed past the edge of his manor house wall along the loose tracks. Major Hayes; “ Yes I am enjoying watching as I used to compete in motor rallies and hill climbs, I had a Jaguar XK150 which is probably the best car I ever had. It’s great watch them go past – I’m glad I managed to get the pot holes filled in time!

“ I was a member of the Seven Valley Motor Club, they organised the Loton Park Hill Climb and I held the course record until it was open to the general public. I used an Austin and a Rover, I did try it in a Riley, but then I saw the record book of all the times not so long ago at an open day, I wondered why the hell it had been such a slow time, then I remembered it was a 1500!”

The HERO-ERA team passed on their gratitude to Major Hayes for his generous permission to use the estate roads which proved such a highlight for teams.

The tests were also exciting for most crews although one navigator chose to sit a few out as her driver and husband took to the tarmac and loose with a bit too much relish for her liking. Italians Deirdra and Matteo Cidonio who finished 34th overall were trying the sport for the first time in the HERO Arrive and Drive Alfa Romeo GTV 1750. Deirdra; ” It has been great fun, absolutely. It’s been wonderful driving through these beautiful country roads, the weather, the whole experience. I did stand down for a few tests today, my husband goes quite fast and on the first day’s tests I felt slightly uncomfortable, so I left the test driving to him. I prefer watching him from the sidelines!”

Matteo; “The organisation is fantastic, the car is as beautiful to drive as any old style great Alfa. It’s been rebuilt recently with a new gearbox and engine so it’s incredible sharp. We may do some more rallies, (‘possibly’ added Deirdra!) I’d love to do a long one, yesterday we were talking about the Peking to Paris and the Lima to Cape Horn, those would be great!”

In fact the other two HERO Arrive and Drive cars out on the Summer Trial also finished the event. Michael and Ciara Pedley finished a competitive 15th overall in the VW Golf GTi whilst the German/Swedish combination of Guido Fiebes and Per Jonsson came home 35th overall in the TR4A, Guido hiring the car after his regular rally Porsche was damaged in Germany.

There was another Alfa Romeo in the rally, a gorgeous white 1964 Giulia Sprint GT of James and Sarah Darwent. In spite it being her first ever rally, Sarah took to the navigation like a veteran, guiding her husband to finish inside the top ten up until the final leg; James;” We went up a wrong road, we turned too early. We realised we were wrong as we appeared in a farm yard with a milk tanker trying to unload! We tried our best to retrack, eventually getting back on route and then sadly we lost the brakes. Its been a great one, her first event and she as done so well, Sarah is so well organised. Until you have someone in the cabin alongside you, you have no idea how they are going to react or panic but she has been brilliant so maybe a few more rallies to come!”

The Alfa Romeo crew were not alone in losing their way. Clare Grove and Robert Robinson had been as high as fifth in their Rover 2000TC but dramatically dropped to 14th by the finish after a mistake at the same turning as the Darwents. Clare; “Everything started off fine on Leg 3 but we had a nightmare on the first regularity. The turning wasn’t where the trip meter was so we were going round in circles, we ended up having to cut and run to the test otherwise we would have been over our time limit (OTL) and have to retire. There were half a dozen of us going around in circles so we weren’t alone.!” Robert; “It wasn’t so good but at least the Rover has been going really well and we finished.”

Another crew had who been inside the top ten but then struggled, this time with mechanical problems, were Amanda Johnson and Andy Ballantyne in their 1964 Mini Cooper S. Andy takes up the story; “ It’s been a bit dramatic, we lost minutes. We basically lost the gearbox and had to push. Every junction, every car, as we had no reverse, even the tractors coming the other way, every person we met coming the other way we got them to help us push. We got held up by a horse for 15 minutes, we’ve had it all – but still we got it home!”

Amongst the tales of woe and anguish there is the story of the father and son who were shocked to win! Simon and William Garrett in the 1978 TVR Taimar, a rare rally beast, were awarded the Concours d’ Elegance Award for their superbly prepared and turned out Car. Simon; “We were very pleased and surprised to win the award, we were also happy to get a couple of zeros on the regularities, we made progress!” The crew finished 32nd overall.

The experts were out practicing for the bigger events later in the year, the RAC Rally of the Tests and Le Jog, initially lead in this class by Steve and Thomas Robertson in their MGB GT V8, the same team who won the Summer Trial 2019 in their little vintage MG. This time they were out of luck, after drowning out in the ford at the end of Leg 2, the father and son had to make do with 3rd in class.

The winners, and therefore scoring a win on his welcome return to the sport after his injury and leg operation was champion navigator Ian Canavan sitting alongside another champion Paul Bloxidge. Ian; “ I had a lot to live up to after Paul’s grandson Oli became the youngest ever HERO podium sitter at 14 navigating Paul in the HERO Challenge Two. There was just a bit of pressure on my comeback, but at least I managed to chip off a bit of the rust and we got the class win.”

There was a great class 2 win for Peter Moore and Angus Rochford in the 1936 Riley Special, the duo gave it their all on the final test sliding the Riley expertly to 24th overall. Per and Peter Neville were also spectacular in their Volvo 144, some really spirited driving taking them to a fine fifth overall and the win in Class 3 for the under 1800 cc cars. They will however be ruing an off route excursion that undoubtedly cost them a podium.

Equally there was some great navigation and driving by Paul Day and Alan Jones to seventh overall in their red and white MGB. The pair were simply throwing the MG around the test in the cattle market in full blooded slides as they used all the road, they deservedly won Class 4 for the over 1800 cc cars.

It seems you cannot keep Stephen Hardwick away from rallying, he was back for more after outings in the Team Hardwick Volvo with his daughter on the Novice Trial, then the Ford Falcon on the HERO Challenge Two with his son in law Ashley Bennet and on Summer Trail with his old friend David Moyle on his first ever rally, this time in the Datsun 240Z! David was delighted at the finish line back in Telford to be told they had won Class 5!

As ever the organisers and officials lead by Clerk of the Course Guy Woodcock put on a superb event, aided by a wonderful team of marshals. It shows just how much this sport produces a great spirit of camaraderie and cooperation when the winners of the HERO Challenge Two from three weeks ago, Susan Dixon and Darren Everitt turn out to marshal for two days!

Summer Trial 2020 will burn bright in many rally folk’s memory as one of the best three day events for a long while. It had the weather, a challenging and scenic route but most of all it was run safely and efficiently by HERO-ERA. Now it’s all eyes towards Taunton and the final of the HERO Challenge trilogy 2020.

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