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SUNNY VALE   (Comp Safari??).

 

Better late than never, as the saying goes, and

I do hope it applies to this report. To the best

of my recollection Sunny Vale was way back in

1977, December to be precise, and this two thirds

done report has laid on my desk since before

Christmas, the trouble is that now my memory is

letting me down when it comes to the last third;

Ah well here goes......

Well I said this event was something completely

different, what I hadn't realised was just how

different. Things didn't exactly go as planned

but I'm sure that NEXT time everything will go

like clockwork.

Time ran out, catering facilities ran out,

daylight ran out in fact everything except

enthusiasm ran out; Entries we had in plenty,

20 standards, 14 specials and one Range Rover,

2 entries from the YROC and one spectator from

the L&C, namely Derek Montford who wished he'd

entered.

The motors were split into standards and

specials classes, then names drawn to see who

would compete against who. Two at a time on the

track, set number of laps and then using the

winners for the next heat and so on, finally

working down to the final to get a first and

second in each class. There was also to be run

off to get the 1st and 2nd overall but this had

to be modified to a run off between the standard

class winner and the specials class winner. At

the very end was the 'Donkey Derby" for all those

brave enough and fit enough for a mass thrash

round the track.

For those who didn't go the track is a local

stock car track, maybe not up to the standard of

Belle Vue but a very interesting kidney shape

and a surface something akin to the wife's

custard, ie. smooth in places lumpy in others

and consistently sticky;

Geoff Dyer was first to hit the dirt when he

rolled his eighty in the first heat while trying

to take  a fast short cut up the inside banking,

the rest I leave to your imagination; (Actually

Malcolm Foreman has given me a great photo of

Geoff on 2 wheels just before he bites the dust,

unfortunately it  isn't quite sharp enough  to

reproduce in BB, sorry Geoff)

Eddy Benthan had everyone in hysterics by his

fanatical attempts to destroy himself and his

eighty by doing the wall of death right round

the top of the bottom banking, at first everyone

thought that he was out of control but it soon

became plain that he'd decided that it was the

fastest way round the corner;

It certainly made the spectators stand well

back but it must have been a bit like banging

your head against the wall, nice when you stop!!

These mark you, were only the standards, the

real loonies were yet to come. The first specials

heat saw Andy Gott 'blind driving' when his

modified front end came up, wings, bonnet grille,

everything; he carried on driving with one hand

while holding the front down with the other, it

was a battle he finally lost.

As I've already described the track surface

was really gooey, the bottom corner, having a

concrete surface was particularly bad and several

Landies did graceful twirls a la Generation Game

before coming to rest on the banking;

Having watched the specials heats at Sunny

Vale I've decided that the word 'Specials' is

too liberally applied to motors in our club, the

only thing special about the majority of them is

the way they manage to lose 50% of their components

and still keep running;

Cliff roberts in his 2¼ Diesel was slaughtering

the opposition, first to go under was George

Carruthers also in a diesel but then Cliff started

on the petrol engined motors, last to be defeated

by diesel smoke was Carl Amos, leaving Cliff

Roberts and Donald Cole to fight it out for the

final.

Back in the specials class Raymond Sagar in

his V-8 Series 11 drew David Harrison in his

Range Rover. This promised to be a good match,

both drivers are experienced, both engines the

same but there the similarity ends, the odds

must be in favour of the Range Rover with the

better suspension, brakes etc. Raymond however

didn't think so. During their heat, the lead changed twice but despite Raymond doing the top

corner on 2 wheels and a wing mirror he was just

pipped at the post by the Range Rover.

David Harrison eventually went out to John

Lister's superb driving, leaving John and Ted

Hartley both in V-8 Lightweights to battle out

the final.

From my perch on the banking, (I was beaten by

a YROC member; blush, choke, mumble..,.) it was

obvious that John Lister was going to take some

beating he was sideways through the corners and

never (well nearly never) out of control, Ted

put up a tremendous fight throwing it about with

gay abandon but John held the lead throughout

the final to win by a quarter of a lap.

The standards final was no less exciting, Cliff

had proved that he could eat petrols for break-

fast but Donald was on his best ever form and '

try as he might Cliff just couldn't catch him,

it was close but Donald won.

This made the results so far, 1st Standard.

Donald Cole 2 1/4 Lightweight.

2nd Standard. Cliff Roberts 2 1/4 S/ll Diesel

1st Special, John Lister V-8 Lightweight.

2nd Special. Ted Hartley V-8 Lightweight.

As I've already mentioned there should have

been a run off for overall position, but as time

was short John and Donald were put in together

to get the overall winner. This just had to be

the race of the day. In my personal opinion, John

and Donald are two of the finest most consistent

Land Rover drivers in the whole of England and

both of them have been competing each other for

longer than I care to admit to. On the face of it

Donald had no real chance against the V-8 unless

he made a mistake, well during the ten laps the

lead changed no fewer than 4 times, and both of

them were driving on the limit. In the end

Donald won and I know that John would be the

first to say that it was an epic bit of driving

Standards rool yet again OK; (You may have

noticed in last BB that Donalds Lightweight is

up for sale so that’s a bit loss oppo from now

on; )

I would also like to point out that very

sportingly both of them agreed that because of

the circumstances they would only receive points

for the driver of the year award on their class

wins and not on the overall positions which keeps

it fair for everyone,

By this time the light was failing fast and

I felt sure that no-one would want to attempt

the 'Donkey Derby' in those conditions....... not

a bit of it;

They were parked up like Panzers waiting for

the order to attack, and so in virtually nil

visibility they lined up 6 at a time in 3 heats

to see who could survive to be 'Donkey Derby'

champion.  What a sight they made hurtling round

in semi darkness some with lights and some with

none. In the first heat Eddy Benthan kept up his

loony image by bumping a nice straight Range

Rover in order to get it to move....it didn't;

Brian Illingworth spluttered round on 3 cylinders

while ex stock car driver David Sagar took the

lead after giving Eddy a touch of 'bumper' to

clear the way.

I honestly couldn't see who was in the final,

the only way of keeping tabs on half of them was

by the flames coming out of the exhaust. After

what seemed a lifetime it was the final lap of the

final and surprise, surprise, who was first over

the line but John Lister with Russell Ridley in

second place and Dave Rae in third.

 

 

''  POXY POCKSTONES '78 (The Battle of Pockstones Moor 1078)

Sunday morning dawned all too early with the

last of the New Year's festivities having only

just finished a mere couple of hours beforeup

at Middleham in the frozen wastes of North York-

shire.

The horrible truth slowly began to sink in

that this was the morning to be up bright and

early ready to battle with Poxy Pockstones once

again, the first of our events for the New Year.

My still vivid memories of last years assault

flashed through my numbed brain and had it not

been for the call of nature and being told that

my porridge was nearly cold, I could well have

chickened out and stayed in bed all day, just to

be safe.

I was obviously not alone in my scepticism,

for on arrival at the Stonehouse Inn there was

only our Hon. Chairman Neil and myself who were

brave enough to turn up on behalf of the Committee

ready to do battle with the inevitable revenge

crazed farmers wives out for a lynching and the

disillusioned members who claim they were never

told what Pockstones was really like.

Still with a good turnout of 40 vehicles which

must add up to  around 100 members and friends

in body, things were beginning to look up.

Malcolm and Elaine Foreman had bravely brought.

the Club shop along and were doing a roaring

trade when I arrived. They must have been having

a January sale, but what was that I heard about

Sunday trading? I almost expected to see Mr. Jiffy

there as well as he'd have done a roaring trade

in hot soup and butties.                        

A quick check of all the assembled motors for   

towing equipment, ropes and tyres confirmed my

fears that this year would be no different  from     

the rest. Lumps of chain knotted around dumb irons,

granny's garter tow ropes and super slick 600 ' s

were all present and correct and didn't overwhelm

me with enthusiasm

Neither did my own set of Dunlop RK-003's     

(an thats the tread depth in mm) Look too hot    

either. Now that   was my excuse for not coming

this year, but too late so, let battle commence.

I did say a quick prayer before we set off

and thankfully the Cortina and lHillman of dubious

vintage didn't come with us after all,

After picking up the stragglers who got lost

before leaving the tarmac road (there were no

ruts to follow) we arrived on the moor and I was

already beginning to break out into a sweat and

tremble. It was at this point I noticed that

our Hon. Chairman Neil, who had been skulking at

the back had disappeared completely. Now I knew

that the Club shop were driving straight round

the road to the pub at the other end (they’re not

daft) but Millington was supposed to be on my

side and anyway I thought I would be safe with

him as he still had his "Official" vehicle stickers on his motor from Catterick '77. The

approach road to Pockstones looked a bit like

Elland Road on a Saturday afternoon with folk

and motors everywhere. All was not well though

as they weren't ours. My God, I thought, its

the Ramblers Club, they've rumbled us and sent

an army this year in "oppo" there seemed to be

hundreds of them.

My mind momentarily flashed back to Salter

Fell '75 when we overtook a party of ramblers

about 50 times, that’s each way, and they were

not mightily pleased about it 'cos they told me

so. As I was almost (but not quite) at the back

of our convoy I had no alternative but to carry

on and join up with the rest ^safety in numbers

etc.).    The first couple of miles were complet

ely clear with no hold-up, no snow and plenty

of mist. Unfortunately the recent thaw had c

cleared all the snow and softened the usually

soft ground into a quagmire. When I caught up

with everyone else I'm pleased to say that our

Hon. Chairman reappeared behind me. He'd been

doing his good deed for the day watching someone

else start their motor which had died. I could

tell Neil wasn't feeling too confident either

in the progress so far, as he actually got out

of his motor and put his wellies on. This was

noticed by several other members and could have

been taken as a bad omen. Things were surely

going to get worse. By this time it was 11.30

am. (half an,hour to opening time) and there

were only three motors through the bad hole. Ted,

Carl and Mervyn. Six other motors were up to their

bonnets in sh......... shockingly deep mud and

the rest had parked up and were having lunch

which was very picturesque. It was at this point

that my brain ceased to function properly and I

really did wish I'd stayed in bed. On the other

hand it could have just been a nightmare to the

sounds of groaning, tearing metal, louder groans

and tearing of hair from the owners and lots of

U.F.O.'s flying through the air, together with

some pretty strong language. I really would

prefer not to talk about it, but for those with

a strong stomach I'll relate the gory details.

In a flash of inspiration someone (no names)

suggested that as there were all the straight

motors at the front having lunch, we'd get some

of the "rickin" motors who know what they're

doing up front instead. In no time at all they

were stuck too: Cliff Roberts, Brian and Dave

Illingworth, Alan Preston, Dicky Day and Barney

Crabtree. Barney managed to winch himself out

of the beck onto hard ground and eventually

recovered the rest, meanwhile snapping both a

shearpin and his winch cable which embedded

itself up Dicky Days front end. At this point all

hell let loose with wings and bumpers falling on

all sides including one towing hitch which

managed about a 100 yd. flight and just missed

Ted Hartley's motor.   Tarmac fell victim to the

same fatelosing his front towball in a snatch

tow followed by his front spring at the next

attempt together with a substantial part of his

shiny bodywork whilst being recovered from a rather

deep trench in his L.WB diesel. His comments on

being recovered, despite the damage were unex-

pected: "Thanks lads, reight do's these safaris".

To which I could only add: 'Rock on Tommy' the

club needs more like you. Trevor Carpenter mean-

while, driving his wife's sort of straight series II

managed to part company with both his (hers)

front bumper  and rear cross member followed

shortly after, no -doubt , by his wife; This rope

snapping shackle straightening, wing bending,

chassis busting, diff twisting, axle cracking,

drivers : hopping mad,  mad party was by now well

uder way. The number of motors stuck were by

now beginning to outnumber the unstuck by the

second and everyone found their own safe route

further and further from the road and promptly

got stuck in it. Whilst recovering Cliff Roberts,

the last of the Harrogate Heavies, and his

diesel from a deep hole and ditch David and Brian

Illingworth, who were roped together in tandem for

a bit more power for the next snatch, had a rope

break, This unfortunately went straight through

Dave' s windscreen, showering him with glass and

Badly gashing his head. Luckilythere was no

shackle on the rope or things could have been

a lot worse. Neil and another unknown pair of

hands extracted most of the splinters of glass

from his eyes very efficiently, but there was

no question that he still required & trip to

Harrogate Hospital for safety’s sake. The wind-

screen for the record was the standard Triplex

type which we have now proved to be very danger-

ous, but David informs me that the passenger

side screen was laminated safety glass;; A quick

look in my first aid kit before we set off

revealed that a triangular bandage, bottle of

aspirins, tube of cream for insect bites, the

largest box of sticking plasters that Elasto-

plast make and a number of rubber finger thingys

were not going to oe cf the slightest use amongst

all the blood of Daves head. This is

where our stories part as Dave and I made a

quick ten mile dash to Harrogate Hospital. Not

that we needed to have worried because it wasn't

until three hours later, at 4p.m. that he was

seen by a doctor. Then with three stitches in

his forehead, an infection elsewhere and after

several x rays it was confirmed that all the

glass was removed. Maybe we had to wait because

of all the great piles of mud we carted into

the nice clean casualty department. Consequently

we didn't finally leave the hospital until after

6p.m. end missed a fine afternoon so I was later

informed. The afternoon being spent by the rest

of the members having a well earned pint or two

in the Clarendon Arms at Hebden, the last not

arriving until after 2pm. Fortunately the land-

lord, Jim Jones, remembering our late arrivals

and thirst from previous years, had been forewarned,

and had laid in plenty of pies, booze and, more

important, an extension until 4pm. Who says we're

not organised? The landlord even had to fight

his way through a murder trial at the local

court to get an-extension, which I'm sure was

greatly appreciated by all who made it,

It certainly sounded rowdy down the other end

of the phone when Neil phoned the hospital at

4pm to see where we were just before the pub

closed.

Whether any other stories are to be told about

this venture we shall see, but from my point of

view Poxy Poxstones 78 lived up to its name

yet again, and I don t think that there was

even one motor willing to come back over the

moor on the way home, despite the pleas from

Dicky Day.

Dick Schafer took his big white wheels home

before the battle really commenced. Having

seen the fete of Tarmac and others he obviously

didn’t fancy his chances of being winched

through that big ditch with an extra four inches

of wheel and mudguard at each side to get ripped

off. Howard Leahy made a similar retreat after

watching the majority of those present get them-

selves stuck, it looked pretty certain that the

cows definitely wouldn’t get milked if he got

stuck too;

As for Jeeps, well, they just don t go in mud

either and despite a good show our American visitor

with his Renegade finished up to his bonnet top

in mud - just like all the rest.

The lessons to be learned from this battle which

is as close to the Somme as we’ll ever get are

many., Firstly towing hooks and eyes are absol-

utely essential and if you must bolt them on to

the bumper rather then the chassis (standard

towing eyes bolt directly to the chassis) put a

steel plate behind because otherwise, as several

people can testify, the bolts pull straight

through the bumper washers and all, especially

on Series 11 & 111 s. If you don t have towing

hooks and eyes at all, just don t bother coming

for your own and our safety. Secondly buy a

good tow rope and shackles and no-one has any

excuse for being without these as our very own

'Malcolm the shop will sell you one stronger

and cheaper than you 11 get anywhere else. You 11

probably find the long ones more use on Safaris;

Thirdly and more important still, watch out

what s happening around you especially if your

just watching, because ropes, cables, shackles

and vehicles all disintegrate under conditions

like Pockstones and accidents do happen.  We’ve

been lucky so far and want to keep it that way.

Remember also that no-one is covered by any

form of insurance on non-competitive events like

safaris.

Finally if you must bring young children on

safaris and no-one objects to this, do look after

them.  They are your responsibility not ours

and are not capable of looking after themselves

without supervision.

Maybe I will stay in bed next year, but on the

other hand the ramblers turned out to be quite

friendly after ail and that bit of wall we paid

to rebuild last year looks smashing and I hear

that the beer was very good too.

P.S.  I now have it on good authority that the

remainder of our Committee really did chicken

out Ya-Boo.  Just think what they missed?

 

 
 
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