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First Annual A.R.C. National Rally

The host club were the Anglian Rover Owners club and the venue was at Leighton Buzzard in sunny Bedfordshire.

Sunny was, I think, the understatement of the year, the glint off my pate could be seen for miles! The Anglian are only a small club and are to be congratulated for the first class event they put on. All the competitions we’re held in the sand quarry area which makes a nice change for all the mud pluggers, the kids thought it was pretty good too! Pennine were of course well represented with over 50 members attending in motors ranging from Bedfords to ERF's, Oh and some Land Rovers as well!

The team recovery was disappointing, due mainly to lack of experience) in marking out these kind of events, but even so it was tackled with gusto and much mud  slinging. (One Pennine member actually chickened out after watching the Simmonites go through, rather than damage his new paint job... Blush Blush!) Ted and Carl got first prize in class 2 and that was our lot in that event. The motley recovery team of Raymond Sagar, George Carruthers and Alan Panter carried off the first prize in the Winch Recovery for the second year on the trot. It's a bit embarrassing for George because the first prize is the Fairey Winches Trophy and his winch is a Tur...ribly popular make.

In the 'Gymkhana, a test of driving skill usually beyond Pennine members we crept off with 3 prizes, the two Hartleys, Ted and Brian got 2nd and 3rd  respectively in the Series 11 class while Donald Cole got a 3rd in the posh class with his Rangey.

The trial, as usual, proved to be our weak event, 3rd series 11 for myself, 1st Special Lightweight for John Lister and 3rd for Ted Hartley. Raymond Sagar got first special Series 11 and Donald Cole lifted 2nd Range Rover. Melonie Simmonite celebrated the suffragette anniversary year by fulfilling one of her ambitions and winning the Lady Driver award in the trial.

The trial was exactly that in more ways than one. Besides being a demanding course it was pure hell for anyone who hadn't got the constitution of a camel,  Lawrence of Arabia had it easy compared with us that day. The marshalls especially deserve a medal for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.  The beer tent damn near collapsed under the onslaught after the trial, some drank to slake their thirsts, others to try and dull the pain of burning backs, bums and bonces!

If the trial is our weak event then of course the Comp Safari is our strong event. Eleven of the sixteen prizes were ours and all three special trophies were Pennines too, all this while providing the spectators with most of the action too.

The course was definitely not for anyone with a heart condition, plenty of opposite cambers, hillside hugging tracks, vertical drops and of course a couple of strategically placed water splashes make sure you didn't have any brakes for most of the way!

To my subsequent embarrassment I was one of many drivers who complained to Colin Cowley (Clerk of the Course) about its severity. As usual it wasn't nearly as bad when you drove it in anger, and in fairness there wasn't anywhere else he could route it, so I apologised later.


Just to emphasise the point, Pennine then went out and set all the fastest times! The course! was ideally suited to standard motors, specials never have liked really rough surfaces, and with the water splashes it was almost a foregone conclusion that most of the specials would have to be towed out....... and they were!


The twisty cantankerous course was too much even for Range Rovers suspension which left Carl Amos, myself and Jonathan Oldfield to take 1st 2nd and 3rd fastest on both runs.

David Sagar did quite a spectacular roll after crossing the finishing line, to use an old, but now rarely used phrase,"He were going that fast....!!". Luckily no real harm was done but Harold Carman, one of the L&C members,was not quite as lucky after doing a forward roll down one of the steep hills, he ended up needing stitches at the local hospital.

The final results were as follows;

1st 21itre Std. David Simmonite.

1st Std 2 1/4 &lst 0/All  Carl Amos

2nd Std 2 1/4 &2nd 0/All  Brian Hartley

3rd Std 2 1/4 &3rd 0/All  Jonathan Oldfield

1st Diesel  George Carruthers

3rd Diesel  Cliff Roberts

2nd In Line Special  Melonie Simmonite

1st V Special Ted Hartley

2nd V Special David Sagar

3rd V Special Raymond Sagar

1st Range Rover Donald Cole

Fastest Range Rover  Donald Cole

Fastest Land Rover   Carl Amos

Fastest (Sorry can'^ say that!) BEST Lady

driver Melonie Simmonite, making the

1978 National a very special one for Melonie.

That was a very rapid round up of the National. Again I will say that it was well run and a credit to the ARC, the weather was pure magic and the atmosphere equal to it, if you didn't go it was your loss I can assure you and it proves yet again that the Pennine has POWER!

Next year the National is to be held on our doorstep at Harewood House, run of course by the YROC, it's an event not to be missed.

Well now you've had the official view of the National here is a members eye view, Michael Chaloners to be precise.

National '78

The week before the National was a hectic one. The landie was OK but we needed a trailer for lugging the. Camping gear and wheels for trialling. After a lot of extra hours work, Thursday night loomed up and saw us packing. Congratulating ourselves that we were all set for an early start on Friday morning to miss all the holiday traffic, we were about to put the cover on the trailer. At that moment Uncle Harry Haigh turned up to baby-sit at his brothers (2 doors away) and promptly told us we needed a roll bar, even with a hard top, to do any trialling. This was confirmed by the Comp Sec so strong words were emitted and the tyres chucked out. The journey down to Heath and Reach was sunny and uneventful. On reaching the site allocated to us, the guy on guard duty told us to park next to a peg and promptly walked off with it. Have you ever tried looking for a hole a peg has come out or so you can park next to it?

On Saturday we watched the Team Recovery for most of the day. The winch recovery seemed far too easy but the team recovery made up for that ten fold. The first 3 Pennine teams came a cropper. Saturday evening saw the trial scrutineering and we were left scratching our heads as Landies without Roll bars were passed. Oh well, may as well try our motor. Minor adjustments on the throttle and we were through, so much for the rollbar. No l44 was ready, except for tyres (we left them at home, remember) Luckily a fellow Pennine member had the possibilty of a loose flywheel and backed out so we pinched his wheels. Ian Bartram signed on as navigator and on Sunday morning off we jolly well went.

The first section proved OK for some but I didn't feel like rolling my safari. Several more sections showed me I didn't have an 8() size for the sticks, Section 12 was a decidedly cunning one but my first clear round and a cheer from the rest of the group, so on to section 13, I had intended to baulk at this but rashly decided to continue. It was a really steep hill and someone said to go down in bottom 2nd, sounded sensible at the time but if ever I see him again!! Halfway down I seemed to be going too fast. The Marshall confirmed this by running well out of the way. The brakes went on and the motor went faster, A 90 degree right turn was next -on the course and with Ian egging me on we made it. Next a 90 degree left which I left too late and crashed through a bush, but I hadn't hit the stick and went on to get my second and last clear round. I'm told that at one time I was on 2 wheels only and it was the most spectacular attempt seen on that hill all day, I'd rather have missed it! Anyway I finished the trial with an aerodynamic (bent) aerial and a few minor scratches which wasn't bad compared to some of the other motors.

Sunday was the Comp Safari and for us the best event even though it was about 2 hours late starting. Up to then events had run fairly well to time and it let the

weekend down. Tramping through the sand dunes to get a decnt vantage point was like a remake of Beau Geste. The course was dry and bumpy and very hard on the motors, including a near vertical descent. The one water section proved fatal for several motors as they cut out and had to be towed away. Others had 'missing' cylinders for quite a while afterwards but the diesels revelled in it. One particular motor, don't know who, tried going through backwards but this ploy failed and he too was towed away. Luckily the only casualty of the day was a roll at the finish and ended in a trip to hospital for stitches.


In all the best National we've been to, the marvellous weather helping greatly. The wife particularly liked the loo's a vast improvement on past events. To finish the holiday off, on Tuesday we went round the local Safari park in Tom Roberts' diesel. The lions must get fed from a diesel Land Rover as they took a disturbing interest in the motor. To crown the day we ended up towing a Range Rover which had broken down in the monkey enclosure.


We finally arrived home on Wednesday evening, tired, dirty and sunburnt but we'd had a marvellous time.

Michael  Chaloner.

Windy Hill Team Safari

What can I say about Windy Hill? It is now one of the classic Pennine events, with a format and venue

Unequalled in the whole of Britain and now in its fourth year.  The weather was absolutely fabulous, Costa del Rochdale makes Majorca look positively bleak, it was even possible to forget the years when it's been thick fog and hailstones as big a gobstoppers have been trying to hammer you into submission. Marking out on the Saturday was a pleasure, myself and Neil Millington reckon, rather modestly, to know every bog and hole on Windy Hill however the sun lulled us into a false sense of security and it wasn't long before we were both stuck.

Luckily Michael Chaloner had come along, to help out and he saved the day. Fifteen sections were laid out, each team starting with a score of 150 points, 2 points for each team member through the section = 6 you then receive 4 points bonus for all clearing that section, ie 6+4=10. Do that 15 times, get back within the time limit of two hours and you end up with zero points, easy eh? Don't you kid yourself, within that two hours you had to do no less than 45 recovery operations under the blazing hot pot of a Lancashire heat wave from really claggy sections laid out by master sadists, all this to be done while wearing molten rubber wellies and, if you're a Yorkshire member, a tickly woollen pompom hat. I've just remembered why I always volunteer to run this event!

As always we threw the event open to any make of make of vehicle. Including an invitation to the Volvo concessionaires who have two demo models of their new unstoppable 4 and 2 wheel drives. ....... only they didn't turn up! What we did get however was a haflinger, a 4wdrive bird cage consisting of various Finland Herald bits plus lots of old bedstead, yards of arc welding and plenty of imagination from Cliff Roberts who built it. Completing this unlikely trio was a 6 wheeled Amphicat complete with motor mower engine and slewing steering, which made the driver look as if he was in an erotic trance as he fiddled with the levers slewing his way across the field. The only other 'foreign' machine was a really tasty and very new looking Jeep Renegade which was a good 10 years younger than 90% of the other entries. Despite dire warnings of the fate awaiting such a pristine machine in the bogs of Windy Hill our two American pals refused to be deterred and off came the hard top.

So with 11 teams of 3 ready for the off we finally unleashed them on Windy Hill. Kamikaze pilots are poufdahs compared with the way some of this hurtle down the hillside into possible oblivion. One of the 'new' looks easy but isn't sections soon had all 3 of last years winners(Team YROC) stuck like flies in a spiders web. After a bit of Pompom scratching Brian Field came up with the solution, they rolled George’s 80 on its side put some clods in the wheel ruts, then rolled it back on its wheels and hey presto mobile again. L&C's team, on their first visit to Windy Hill were obviously enjoying themselves up to their navels in bog and  strapped together like nervous mountain climbers. I was expecting the Jeeps sooper wide tyres to give it plenty of flotation over the soft stuff but it didn't seem to fair any better than the Series II's it was teamed up with, the amphicat however remained unstoppable, it was so light and had so much traction on its little balloon tyres that I think it could have traversed quick sand without any trouble.


The four wheel drive bedstead became two wheel drive very early on and insisted on falling over again, same as last year while a Series 1 and a smart Lightweight fell over two or three times in succession. With all this run of the mill destruction taking place Carl Amos saved his Piece de Resistance for the late afternoon. After jumping out of his lightweight half way up the hill it set off in a downwards direction, despite doing an Olympic standard sprint Carl couldn't catch it finally reached the banking overlooking the stream doing a fair old rate knots, over the banking and a graceful 'Swan Dive' a la the ballet into the river bottom, there was nothing graceful about the damage done the the lightweight though.

Lunchtime came and went with hurried repairs to motors and much collapsing of tired bodies trying to gather the strength for the afternoon. Out of the original 11 teams only 8 started in the afternoon and some of these were running on a wing and a wheel nut. The Jeep, which had been in the thick of it all morning and stayed  unscathed, finally lost its virginity in the afternoon when the bumper parted company from the chassis

Through all this the L&C team just kept plugging away to finish easy overall winners with a staggering zero penalty points (we had been quite sure that it was only possible in theory) and in a total time of 2 hours 10 minutes hard graft which I'm sure Messrs Atkinson, Hoydell and Shaw won't forget in a hurry. Second place went to YROC team of Harrison, Beaumont and Heptonstall with 68 points and a time of 3 hours 8 minutes. Third  place went to another YROC team of George and Andrew Peever and Brian Field. Where were the Pennine Eh?? all those hardened bog trotters beaten to pulp by the combined eighties of the L&C and Yorkshire. What about the Rochdale mafia who are supposed to be the scourge of the Lancashire hills?? Questions will be asked in the Lords about this display I can tell you, the history books will have to be rewritten Wars of the Roses 1978......... this time the other side won!

Now next year we'll have to introduce incentives for our members, like delayed action mines and machine guns!!

Thanks as always to Hadrian Drake for the use of his epic bit of Lancashire moor, and a large thanks to all the marshalls who risked sunstroke to stay by their sections.

Post Script.You may have noticed by the side of the Radio Mast a couple of home made crosses implanted in a particularly deep bit of gunge, bearing memorials written in felt tip pen have it on good authority that a Motorway Police Range Rover decided to have a little drive on the moor one night just to relieve the boredom. It wasn't long before he was up to his axles in mud and up to the ears in hot water when his superior found out. Some sarcastic mates decided to erect a cross to commemorate his foolery. Why the second crops you ask? Ah well one night another Range Rover sat on the road to the mast 'On Watch' as they say with a new bobby in who didn't know about the previous incident, being sharp eyed he spots the cross in the pale moonlight and being a keen type he decides to drive over and investigate........................!

Who says bobbies aren't human.

Sunny Vale Rover Race

After the sizzling hot weather we had at Windy Hill I suppose it was too much to ask that we could get the same sort of weather for another event and true to form a dull miserable day set in. A very small entry of ten motors was a bit disappointing, perhaps Sunny Vale  isn't as popular as we thought?? Anyway those that did enter were enthusiastic enough and under the guidance of Melonie and Harry and Lindon  Haigh, we were soon off.

First rounds were two at a time on the kidney shaped stock car track, to run off in heats for the winner of the Standards class. The track was wet with several puddles on the corners which soon had everything nice and greasy, which in turn meant we were soon treated to the sight of Land Rovers pirouetting round the corners,

Same as last year Cliff Roberts in his 2 ¼ diesel was crucifying the petrol opposition without any apparent effort. A bit of panel damage was sustained during hand to hand fighting on the corners Richard Hobbs came off the worst on his encounter with me, while Jonathan Oldfield had a nice scar to show for pushing Graham Cockells 80 about. Cliff Roberts was first in the standard class with myself second. The specials were next on the track, John Lister only needed to do one lap to win his first heat against Russell Ridley whose 6 pot stopped with an almighty bang. In Johns second heat he hadn't gone 6 feet when his layshaft  crunched in an expensive sounding manner. Terrible twins Dave and Raymond Sagar battled their heat out in their respective V8's with Raymond finally getting the upper hand, or is it wheel? Dave Simmonite was in his second heaven with his twin carb 80, while others concentrated on fancy cornering techniques and 'rear end’ drift David just kept hammering round the outside of the track in usual 'rough' it style which paid off though as he won in the Specials class with Raymond Sagar coming second. After a lunch time of hot dogs, sandwiches and crisps, more hot than dog, we finally got started again. The first heat against the Standard and Specials class winners resulted in the Standards in the shape of Cliff Roberts getting their come uppance with Dave Simmonite the winner. Classes were now dropped and the 'overall' heats started with 4 on the track at a time. Phillip Ainsworth, out for  the first time in his joint owned, recently rebuilt Series 1 did a spectacular slide across the top corner, leapt high over the tyre barrier and disappeared from sight to end up firmly wedged against the corrugated metal fence separating the track from the local beck! A position from which he was eventually winched with a great deal of effort by Bill Leacock. Needless to say the joint ownership is somewhat strained at the moment! Later on Jake Wright tried to copy him but obviously chickened out as the best he could manage was to end up perched on top of the tyres like a reluctant fledgling. Russell Ridley ended a fine bit of one wheel driving with a diagonal roll, ending up inverted in the middle of the track, still with a smile on his face. The final for the overall winner was made up of myself, Jonathan Oldfield, Dave Simmonite and Raymond Sagar. That just happens to be 2 standards and 2 specials. I retired after 4 laps when an exhaust valve went for a trip round the engine resulting in the ad in the Gear Change section. David had a return of his chronic illness ie. no pneu in his matics which had him retire too. (At a rough guess I think that’s about the 8th puncture in 4months....I think I prefer my lack of air to his.......Think about it!

That left Raymond and Jonathan in the running and that was the position they finished in, Raymond first overall and Jonathan second.

Not yet satisfied with the day so far there was yet to follow that mad thrash known as the Donkey Derby where anything goes and usually does! I always wonder if there will be anyone daft enough to enter and there invariably is. The two start marshalls Alan and Anise Seed had to be pretty quick on their pins or they were likely to return home with less than they set off with. The hardest bit of the final was yet to come, getting them to stop proved almost impossible, frantic arm and flag waving slowly got them to give in one by one Raymond and David being the last 2 to be convinced that there time was up, that was after 4 extra laps, we were beginning to think that we would have to wait for them running out of petrol! Raymond Sagar had the last say of the day however as he beat David in second place on the Donkey Derby, he not only took a couple of trophies home he also took a pair of the most bent rims I have ever seen, he left Sunny Vale going in 4 directions at once. A short prize giving ceremony and we left Sunny Vale once again, till the next time.



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