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Wednesday 18 February 2015

Skelton lays down Trials Season ‘marker’ at the Exmoor

Members can now download Provisional Results from the Exmoor Fringe Trial, which took place this past weekend, based at The Anchor Inn in Exebridge, Somerset.
For an event traditionally dogged each year by the worst of the wintry conditions, an unusual dry spell in the lead up to the weekend had the organising team fearing an ‘easy ride’ for Competitors, before a torrential downpour on Friday ensured the next day’s sections would offer a real slippery challenge. Allowing for the expected attrition rate of ten percent at this early stage of the season, 90 crews reported to Event Headquarters at The Anchor Inn bright and early, with similar numbers of volunteer Marshals headed directly to the Hills to heroically manage the day’s competition.

With his years of Clerk of the Course experience, there was little surprise as to the slick organisation of Graham White and his dedicated team of officials, ably supported by young Andy Halstead from The Old Post Office as Secretary to the Meeting. As in recent years, the Trial followed a familiar format of AM and PM hills, based in the Exe Valley north-east of Dulverton in the morning and at Ringcombe/Millbrook and a new hill north of Twitchen in the afternoon, 14 sections in total. After just a few failed attempts, it quickly became apparent that the Milton Rocks section would cause significant logistical problems as cars became stuck so the correct call was made to cancel it early. There were no other casualties to the programme, however, and a full day of challenging motorsport followed.

Amongst the day’s Standard Classes, there were two standout performances. David Rushton blew away the competition in the Short Wheelbase Class in his MG M Type whilst Dennis Bingham put his Ford Model A well on top of the Long Wheelbase Class, ahead of a close duel for second place between Robert Frankcom’s Dodge 129 Fast Four and Roy Newton in another Model A.

Again the overall standings were decided by the more modified machinery on display. A long-time regular Competitor in more modern forms of Trialling, John Fack’s expertise of the discipline finally translated to the Vintage format as he manoeuvred his Ford Model A to a well-deserved Long Wheelbase Class victory and the James Diffey Trophy well ahead of the chasing pack, led by the Chrysler 66 of Jonathan Miller.

The conditions favoured the Short Wheelbase cars, however, as a highly competitive day went down to the wire. The Club’s reigning Trials Champion, Matt Johnston, started his year strongly with yet another Top 3 finish and 1st Class award in the Austin 7 just ahead of a fantastic result by Emma Wall in her own example. Top spot saw two familiar foes lock horns with Donald Skelton and David Golightly each posting scores over 300; it was the former’s Austin 7 who got the better of things, however, triumphant by a single point ahead of the powerful Ford Model T Special, and thus the recipient of the Uglow Cup.

Our thanks go to Graham White and his team for yet another spectacular event. We also thank the event’s other officials for their part on the day and also the many volunteer Marshals, who again gave up their time to oversee the sections. We were inundated with offers of help this year and we are delighted our Trials continue to draw the support of both Club Members and Non-Members alike.

Following the sad passing of Richard Jeanes, Club Member and Exmoor Fringe Secretary for many years, in January following a long battle with cancer, the sum of £112 was collected for St. Margaret’s Hospice, in his memory, whilst £636 was raised for West Anstey Church by the ‘Soup Kitchen’ in Ringcombe.

To download Provisional Results, please visit the Exmoor Trial Event Page (CLICK HERE). A selection of photos from the event is also now available to view in the gallery.


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