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WINDY HILL TEAM SAFARI

 

Windy Hill never fails to live up to its name, and this month was no exception to the rule.  During marking out on Saturday the weather was quite pleasant, and the ground wasn’t nearly as boggy as I expected after the recent heavy rains we've had, Which is perhaps as well, because I was using a LWB Diesel instead of my own chariot which was firmly in dry dock thanks to the Hill Rally.  Contrary to my expectations the LWB never got fast once, even with its semi bald road tyres on, and I traversed the whole of the field, including several trips up the local imitation Congo.

 

Any hills had to be taken with a rush, the engine screaming against the governor in 2nd gear low box at the bottom of the hill and sounding more like an asthmatic GAP at the top of the hill as it chugged out doing all of 500 rpm, it made an interesting change from the SWB though, and it was lighter on the pocket I Sunday morning had 28 competitors ready to tackle the 11 sections (9 of which were completely impossible, and 2 of which were virtually impossible) this entry included 4 teams from the Yorkshire R.O.C. and one jeep, plus of course Cliff Robert's mobile budgie cage, made up of a mini engine and wheels, Triumph Herald diffs, 2 old bed spreads and 5 gallon of black paint liberally applied with a beezum brush....but it does work!(if you're wondering where all the exotic machinery came from, Windy Hill is the one event every year where we let any make or kind of off road vehicle take part).

 

Getting 11 marshalls to stand out in the open is difficult enough at the best of times, but when the heavens are chucking marble sized lumps of ice at you it gets a damn sight harder, it also shows up one of the disadvantages of having a bald bonce, it feels like someone tattooing your head with ice picks. Against all of natures tantrums we finally set the teams off on their first run, those in the open motors had a nice covering of ice to give them a festive look!.

To avoid exclusion each team had to be back within 1 ½ hours of setting off, having got all 3 vehicles through as many of the recovery sections as possible, apart from the overall fail time, speed only came into the reckoning if 2 teams had cleared all the sections.

 

The field was soon filled with rushing, mud slinging motors, with the occasional cloud of smoke as one of  the old oil burners was 'given the gun' to get out of some particularly nasty bog. I've often wondered what passing motorists on the M62 think when they see all the furious activity on the hill side, even a passing police patrol car stopped to have a blimp at the proceedings, (it wasn’t until later that I found out why. Apparently we had the local bobby entered in one of the teams, hows that for being well in?)

 

It wasn't long before a certain person called Sair. (of pick up thi’ musket and scram fame), had inverted  himself, or rather his team mate had inverted him, in 3 feet of glorious mud'. It's a hard way to learn that you never snatch pull a bogged motor sideways'. (See centre section for picture)

 

The YROC teams were giving it all they had and disprove ing many long held ideas that they don't know much about mud, any time I saw them they were up to their bobble hats in it', (and if you don't believe me have a look at the centre section again). Section 3 was an absolute belter, the only way in was to drop down a vertical 4 foot step and end up buried up to your wing mirrors in Shhh..... you know what. Those who had played this silly game before knew to hook the rope on before doing the Brian Phelps into the mire the others had to wade in and dig down through the yuk to fix the rope. Who says ignorance is bliss'.

 

Only half the teams managed to return before their time was up but rather than exclude them they were allowed to compete in the afternoon albeit with a hefty penalty. To ease things along a bit in the afternoon 3  of the sections were pulled up and the time limit dropped to 1 Hour for the remaining 13 teams, 3 teams having dropped out. Clive Roberts tripped up in his, in his, in his ..... well what (you call it? and fell on his side, he sneezed and it went on its wheels again)

 

There was one particular series 1 entered that looked like a refugee from an African Safari park, resplendent in its zebra striped livery. I know I should have known better but I couldn't resist it so I asked him if the fancy décor symbolised anything in particular. His reply was almost inaudible as he was wrenched out of the hole which he had been resting in for all of 10 minutes, "Yes" he said, gritting his teeth, "Panic!!"

 

I looked round and realized that motors were heading back up the hill to the start line, all except one poor soul who was trying to jack his motor up to change a puncture. Have you ever tried using a jack on a peat bog?

 

The marshall's with nice motors, and a couple of lame Land Rovers were taken out of the field using the old drovers road which runs at the back of the moor, while one of my passengers was taken out by 2 helpers after baling out of the back of the LW Base and cracking his ankle. The sooper tooned all female computer team cracked into action and after a bit of a struggle due to bad organization on my part, they soon had the results out, which were as follows.

 

Thanks to everyone who marshalled and helped to lay the course out especially Stuart Brown, David Lister and 'Tarmac' who comes all the way from Chesterfield to marshall on our events, now that is what I call dedication; Hadrian Drake once again came to the rescue with more of his wonderful land it's no good for farming but great for Land Rovers!

 

Here's an addition to the future events list. It is a Peak and Dukeries LRC event which unfortunately clashes with Kettlewell but for any of you who fancy a more serious competition than ours you may be interested.

 

National Rally (Silver Jubilee no less'.)

 

One of these days I intend doing what I'm always accusing other people of not doing, and that is to take notice of me'. Everytime I use the M5-M6 Motorway, whether driving a car or a truck I always swear I'll avoid the damn thing next time, but, born optimist that I am, I always think when next time comes round that things will be better. This time was no exception, and once again I made a solemn vow to do what I keep saying I'll do, NEXT TIME!

 

After being stuck for 2 sweltering hours. In 3 solid Lanes of traffic. Surrounded by coach loads of whisky toting Scottish football fans en route to Wembley ...... I said it all again. When we finally reached the cause of the big hold up all we found were invisible road works and phantom diggers, as Mike Harding, (Famous Lancastrian wit) once said, "If the world had piles, Birmingham’s the place they'd be I Once off the M6 and on to the duel carriageway part of the M5 things didn't improve as the annual Bank Holiday caravan Grand Prix was in full swing and I reckoned that with 16 foot of 12 year old caravan hooked firmly on the back of the SW base I was a definite non starter for the winners prize!

 

Twelve and a half hours after setting forth from deepest Mirfield we landed at Caradon Hill, site of the 19?? National Rally.

 

Despite the fact that it was 2-30 am we were met at reception, given our envelope containing all the usual bumpf and then shown our site. Lo and behold all the Pennine were at the bottom of the field, out of the way again'. Although we were parked at what seemed like a 45 degree angle I thought sod it It’ll do for tonight so we rolled into bed, promptly fell straight out again and decided to sleep on the floor because it was safer.

 

The morning broke (Snap) with brilliant weather. I stuck a bleary eye through the curtains to see a panoramic vista of fields, moors, hamlets, old tin mines and a little closer to home ie. about 5 feet away no lesser person than Bill Higgins, Lanes and Chesh's honourable scribe. He must have been on jankers, left out on a limb, surrounded by the Pennine, away from the club he loves, it's probably because he doesn't write as good as wot I writ.

 

The first hour was spent levelling the caravan which was a work of art and some not inconsiderable  ingenuity, mining holes for one wheel and quarrying some of the local rock for raising the other. Then, when you finally had everything reasonably level you found you needed a running jump to get in the damn thing. A quick slurp at the corn flakes then a wander round to see who was and wasn't there.

 

The committee were there 'en bloc', all eight of us, Dave Noble Ian Bartrum, Cliff Roberts, Norman Greaves, Syd Jackson, Trevor Carpenter, Dave Stuart,'George Carruthers, Carl Amos, Ted Hartley and anyone I've missed will no doubt tell me about it in no uncertain terms!

 

Scrutineering and signing on for the team recovery and gymkhana were next on the agenda. The natives were friendly if a little hard to understand, (it comes from all that shouting down tin mines'.) Caradon Hill is one of the highest points in Cornwall at a height of 1,000 feet above sea level this gave wonderful views of the surrounding country but also meant there was an almost constant wind whistling round your Y fronts. The hill was topped by a tall IBA transmitter which we had already been warned not to pinch!

 

After getting scruted (for which there's ho known cure) we ricked off to the. top of the hill to 'the team recovery to see what; was in store for us. In store, was a very deep, tadpole infested water hole, which rumour had it, was actually a 300 foot deep mine shaft and they just wanted someone to plumb it! The whole thing was very shorthand simple, but as too often happens with team recoveries, it was possible to get through without being towed, this of course meant it was just a matter of who was fastest not who was the slickest with recovery. Dave Noble and Norman Greaves both got their feet wet before the end of the day while most of the V-8's were showing their dislike of water by refusing to run properly after each dip.

 

Dave Simmonite and John Lister, entered, but David forgot to,set the automatic pilot with the result that although they had one of the fastest times, the penalties Dave got for going through the bunting instead of round it meant that they were out of the running. It was after watching this that Jim Jobson, chairman of NERO, was heard to remark, "If Pennine lads had brains they'd be unbeatable'." It’s the only sensible thing I' ve ever heard him say!!

 

Somebody forgot to tell L&C that they were supposed to do the team recovery with Land Rovers, so they threw  Derek Montford into the swamp and recovered him instead, I don't know who got the biggest surprise when he disappeared under the water, him or the tadpoles'. Actually I think he was rehearsing for a Daz tele advert.

 

Before going on to the Gymkhana we went to have a quick goggle at the concourse motors. Although it isn't my cup of tea I can still admire the work and obvious enthusiasm which the owners put into these vehicles, especially the older Rover cars which look, feel and even smell of quality.

 

The Gymkhana was, as always, fun. Which is what it's supposed to be, the usual guessing games, wiggle woggle and clover leaf which some people (no names, no pack drill!) take a little too seriously. I didn't get chance to see the winch recovery but as usual Pennine had 2 strong teams fielded. The idea is to recover a scrap car from the bottom of a valley, (it probably got there after being forced off the road by a Land Rover!) and then of course to put it back where it came from.

 

The beer tent finished off the day quite nicely, and was while in this euphoric state that many momentous decisions were taken. It was decided that there was nothing wrong with Range Rovers except the price and there was nothing wrong with the ale except having to buy if. It was also decided that 3 year old Rachel Simmonite's joke, (What do you do you find a rabbit digging holes in your garden? Answer. Take it's spade off it!) was of far better quality than any I've ever come up with!. We emerged from the tent to find a gem; Cornish Hill Fog settling over the camp site, as good as I ever encountered by Sherlock Holmes in 'Hounds Of the Baskervilles'.

 

During the night it persistently rained which carried on right through the day as squally showers. This definite put the dampers on the trial, a 9 section wide stick one in some hilly, interesting kind of terrain. With conditions a bit touchy were I think the trial was better off being a short course.

 

It was a safe one too, no-one managed to fall over during whole 3 days, which must rank as a record during recent Nationals. During the trials Dave Simmonite (again'.) who was entered in his Range Rover, was asked by one of the section marshalls whether or not he had used his shunt on that section, David replied that he had. The marshall however hadn’t seen him and he solemnly told Dave that he should really shout out "Shunt" whenever he took his reverse. Quite naturally Dave decided that in the circumstances he wouldn’t bother', I can't relate much of what happened in the following hours as I was attacked from behind so to speak, by a Cornish Cream tea and spent the next 12 hours reading graffitti on the back of the toilet door!.

 

The weather was still being naughty, occasionally throwing huge dollops of rain down and then a quick flash of sunshine. The Comp Safari on the Monday was a short, rough course with a series of bone jarring switchbacks which made your head feel like a rampant jelly, with plenty of tight corners and steep drops thrown in for good measure.

 

Each run was of 2 laps, best run to count, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. As always the Pennine had a good turn out for this event, (they don't call us 'Hot Wellies’ for nothing!) 9 entries all with lead boots.

 

Richard Beddall, Chairman of the AWDC no less, and recent instigator of that foul and horrible torture cunningly hidden by the innocent word 'Weaversdown' had turned up with his V8 LWB just for the Comp Safari, (and the AWDC with major event in South Wales at the same time. tut tut Rich

 

Somebody up there mustn’t have thought much to Weaversdown either because poor old Richard never managed to do-more than 500 yards on either run. All our V-8 types had trouble on their first run leaving the way clear for a measly 2 1/4 to have the lead on the first run, they didn't know I had an advantage though, I had Sooperneil our Hon Chairman as passenger, complete with go faster wellies;

 

By the afternoon they all managed to get 8 cylinders chiming again and were back in with a vengeance. Carl Amos tickled  quite a few of the spectators when his door top came loose and stuck out like a wing, he stopped threw his door top in the bushes and then carried on with a lighter lightweight! Nobody other than the Pennine was really in the running and at the end of the 2nd run we had got the first 7 places. Land Rovers all had caravans to tow home!.

 

Well that was it apart from the prize giving, another National (the last!) was over. Up to this point I had nothing but praise for the Devon and Cornwall Land Rover Club, who although very small, newly formed and with limited resources had put on a very good National both friendly and efficient but only what a shambles the prize giving was. Complete and utter chaos which completely took the pleasure out of winning any trophies, however I don't want to detract from the rest of the National

which as I've already said I thoroughly enjoyed, I only managed to get the placings of the Pennine members so I will print those.

 

 

SOIL HILL

 

Damn silly fool didn't know what was going on did he?  It said in BB that it SHOULD be a trial and team recovery- but it wasn’t definite,  I wouldn’t mind, but HE WRITES THE DAMN THING'. There he is Sunday morning, stonking up and down like a bear with a sore head, muttering about tyres:-, crash helmets, organisation and other such things.  Oh Oh, I thought, here we go again, it’s going to be one of THOSE days, any minute now he'll start cursing, sure enough, after muttering about it for minutes, he finally decides at the last second to change ay wheels. Off come my posh radials and on go my boggling-.boots.  By this time the other one (the one who doesn’t swear at me, doesn't set about me with hammers and looks nicer than him) Well, she was getting annoyed about him waiting to the last minute to change my wheels, and she told him so. "That's  definitely torn it" I thought, "he'll be mad now" and he was. I wish she'd wait until he's finished messing with me before she upsets him, however, he tightened my wheel nuts like there was no tomorrow, serves him right though, he trapped his finger in the wheel brace!. My friend next door, the little Renault, he can't understand why I put up with it all.  All he has to do'is take his owner to work and every so often scoot off to. the coast for a quick dip in the briny.  But met well I know I'm a bit butch, but the things I'm expected to do are ridiculous. I've got to take her to work every day, then on a weekend they take me on what they call 'FUN DO'S' I'M supposed to ENJOY being up to my stereo in muddy'water, being driven at ridiculous speeds over ground that "bears me apart bolt by rivet, being hurled at immovable objects, being dragged up impossible hills by supposed 'friends' of mine, and the worst of it all is, if I complain at all, if I as much as mutter a protest or squeal of complaint. Oh the language, the cursing and swearing and gnashing of teeth.,. he goes berserk, totally screwy, ranting and raving and kicking me vitals.

 

All this is beyond my little French friend who reckons I ought to have put him into a brick wall some time ago and had done with it, not that I haven’t thought about it, but I suppose he tries does the lad, and I know he spends more on me than he does on his other woman, AND he thinks more about me 'cos I've heard her complaining about that many a time. If the truths known I quite enjoy being the big Butch type among all these mere saloons. Z-:e and my other mates in the Pennine are feared where ever we go, a lot of them are ex Army types and boy are some of them mean. One of them especially keeps giving us a sneaky swipe, 'horrible coloured thing it is, driven by scrg -.-.-cr-ar- from Bradford, I've still got a scar from the broadside the cheeky devil hit me just 'cos I passed it. I’m feeling a lot better now, we're on our way to Soil hill and he still doesn’t know just what’s in store,

 

Well at last we're there, and it's to be a speed 'un with trials sections'-which is something even I havent’ done before and i’ve been around a bit I can tell you'. The scrutineer was that nice Colin Howe, ooh, he’s a lovely touch, I don't mind him looking at my vitals, of course I passed with flying colours, I always do! No thanks to him though. It was good to tell it was a speed event, he was soon leaning over the bonnet telling everybody how sick my engine is, if only they knew'. He spends hours pratting about trying to get me to go faster, just so I can be like all those flashy trollops with their big ......ENGINES!!  great hussies they are, very fast with me typical of their breed, why he wants me to be like them I'll never know!.

 

Twenty nine of us were to race so there was plenty of oppo, some of the newer lads didn’t fancy it at all so

they went sick straight away, puking oil and smoke out and making horrible death rattles until they una-i-ly got their owners to give up and go home.  It finally came to my turn I always get the butterfly shaking in my carb at the start of a race, it's a good job he doesn’t know I'm as scared a he is, mind you I have been known to wish that I could steer myself then he'd only need to work the pedals, a much safer arrangement all round! 3-2-1- GO... and we're off racing across the rough ground, my  suspenders bobbing up and down like a boy scout on a jamboree'.  We come to the first section, up a steep hill, over the top and drop  straight on my poor nose,  Oooooh dat smarts'.  Hard right, hard left, breath in, and pretend your a lightweight as I squeeze through the last tight pair of sticks. Over the edge and Ouch', he cracks my nose again, off to the left and into the second section. Down into first gear and crawl sneakily through the sticks, stick your tongue out at the marshall as we leave because he never saw me touch that last stick with my bum, and then its'full speed ahead jumping over all the big holes to the 3rd section. Nasty one this all leaning over at 'orrible angles and he knows how I dread falling over .... AGAIN! Damn the bloody fool's made me hit a stick, and there he goes cursing me for having no lock again! I showed him! twisted the steering wheel out of his hand so he banged his thumb!, that'll teach him to blame me!

 

Navigators taken over now and he's pushing me across the back field so fast that I'm imitating a one legged pigeon trying to take off. He soon slows down when he comes to the next section .....it's the one his wife's marshalling, slowly down a nasty cronky bit and then a tight left, he misses it and has to reverse, I can feel the heat from his face, fancy missing a corner on his wife’s section, along a straight track, and then Wheeee!, through a big puddle, hairpin left up the hill and into section 5, a motor was having a snooze here taking things easy while he marshalled. Practice balancing on two wheels round a tight right hander through the wall, into the last section, and then put an extra effort to show off going over the finish line and then its all over!.

 

There were plenty others trying just as hard as I had been and as usual a poxy driver couldn’t stand the pace and he got worse with every run while the others gotbetter with every run. Richard Hobb's ex army lightweight was in a hell of a state. He'd  had it up all night racing round on the Opelwass night rally, and then when the poor thing could barely keep its  eadlamps open, he'd dragged it along to Soil Hill to compete, the brute!

 

Well that what it’s like from my point of view. Perhaps you'll treat a us poor dumb creatures with a bit more respect in future.

 

And so it was time to go home again back to the routine missis ferrying for another week, perhaps it’s not such a bad life being a Land Rover after all, but I really ought to have won something at Soil Hill ... If only I had a better driver!!

Written by S.W. Base.

 

 
 
MSA and ARC club members are welcome to come along and join our events. Phone Mark on 07866 506521 / 01282 703718

 

 

Pennine Land Rover Club, Pennine LRC