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CATTERICK 78 (From a PLRC Committee view.)

 

Catterick '78 started just after Catterick '77 in much the same way as the previous year's event, i.e. all the committee swore they'd never do it again, ever!

Of course, at the post Catterick Meeting, Catterick '79 was discussed and debated .......Catterick is safe again (Isn't Catterick a bit of a mouthful after you've said it 7 times in one paragraph?)

 

Organisation and plans were well under way whenthe Army dropped their latest secret weapon which rocked the committee without even a bang to speak of ......... Catterick was booked for our weekend and Chairman Millington, diplomatic as ever, immediately put this info on the secret list andset off for talks with Captain Edwards.

 

Slowly better news emerged, we could have the training area, well most of it.Then we could have all of it-within the red boundary on a funny little army camp that appeared (after close scrutiny, it became apparent that this was all of it);no way, however, could we have Gandate Camp itself, Hon. Chairman then donned his Super Salesman coat and proceeded to 'sell' the new look Catterick to the committee, who, suitably-carried away, then 'sold' it to everyone else (Thank Heaven it all worked out OK!).

 

This did mean, however, that all our facilities - water, buildings, electric, toilets etc. had been wiped out in one move along with all the costings that the entry fees had been based on. At every meeting 90% of the talk centered around effluent, toilets and water ... usually in that order! Every site meeting we had it managed to rain, on the day the only water we had to worry about was the drinking water.

The first of the equipment was delivered to Catterick on the Wednesday night and it continued to roll up for the next two days. Generators, flood lights, pumps, tanks, toilet units, marquees, wagons, bowsers and last, but not least, PEOPLE'. George Cook, the Pennine plumber, spent more hours working on the toilets than he does in his normal week. Allan Haigh did his own God-like act by bringing light to Pennine darkness and generating life where there had been none, Colin Hove spent a day of his holiday (?) trucking across Lancashire in search of some errant timing equipment, then did a 13 and 14 hour day with the rest of us placing sticks and pumping water. Mick Burdett, scourge of the loose screws and wobbly wheel nuts, scrutineering anything that moved. Halcola Foreran flogging gear like there was going to be a shortage, then going out and taking more snaps than Kodak could cope with. Michael Challoner and Russell Robinson filling in ruts across the Comp. Safari course at midnight, the 2 RAF lads, Hike Ahem and Mr. Pickles, who tramped the whole of the Comp. Safari course knocking pegs in (approx, 450 sticks in total) with as. David Lister, camp milkman, without whom the cornflakes would have crumbled. Captain Beveridge and W.O. lan Price who slaked parched Pennine palates; Tom Roberts for fetching equipment. Glovers of Ripon for supplying the posh, pristine 12 seater which toured round the camp site issuing forth with encouragements to get up out of bed, and was regularly doused with water and received with obscene gestures for its troubles'. Tiny Tim and his friend for finding caravan pegs in pitch darkness and generally doing the Tonto bit. The Army medical team for beinq there when needed and giving the other campers a laugh by setting fire to their tent. Rayond Sagar for allowing his wagon to be used as a water bowser.

 

I could go on, but a page will have to suffice. I've deliberately con-centrated on the human side because that is what it's all about really, people coming together to enjoy themselves and wanting to work at it for their own and other people's benefit.

 

Without 'Arry's army of marshalls, no event could have taken place and they never grumbled even when the trial went way over time. Dozens of members of both our own Club and others who were only too willing to lend a hand when asked, and, of course, the competitors who went at it hammer and tongs and generally behaved themselves. If it doesn't make you proud to be a Pennine member, then you just ain't got no soul brother!

 

 

Reflections of Catterick '78

 

I had received all the details of this event from the 'Honk' at the ARC Committee meetings. I made sure the 88 would travel 165 miles to Catterick - not being able to afford transporters etc.

 

Saturday saw the convoy on the road with the caravan safely behind the estate followed by the LR driven by my brother-in-law/navigator. We arrived at Catterick late afternoon to find a hive of activity. As we pulled up at the control caravan, we were met by a fearsome looking individual armed with wooden stakes muttering incantations about Ford cars at a Rover event. The tracks round the site were not exactly suited to a Cortina and caravan and when the aforementioned gentleman, who needs no introduction, especially as the headlights reflected off his pate, told me what to do with the caravan and where the rest of the Staffs and Shrops were sited; I knew I had returned toNorth Yorkshire for another August Bank Holiday.

Two hours on Saturday evening were spent in the queue for  trial scrutineering.

 

Sunday's trial was the usual good event we have come to expect; mind you, the area of land available is such that we travelled approximately 3 miles during the course of the day. During the afternoon we had the Army girls entry turn over but fortunately, due to prompt reaction from marshalls, competitors etc., the crew were removed without injury The Series 111, which I believe was three weeks old, suffered sore damage while being recovered due to rocks etc. At the end of the day, we discovered (to everyone's amazement including their own'. BH) that we were 3rd in class, the experience of last year's event on 600x16 Newcrafts and the resultant publicity hail led me to providing a set of 750's and they proved their worth. After scrutineering for the Comp. Safari, we were able to have a quiet drink or two or three'.

 

Monday arrived with the threat of rain which may have been beneficial in view of the dust, but thankfully the weather was very good. (The Editor/Clerk of the Course has now got bald knee caps off his prayer mat).

 

Three laps of a 5.6 mile circuit with all runs to count can be a daunting prospect to those less adventurous competitors who don't   compete on stage rallies. They breed 'em tough in the PLRC).

 

I had to go out on the first lap without my navigator who had been unable to borrow a certified helmet. By the second and third laps, we had reorganised parts of the course plus the fact that I remembered parts from last year's event and we finished with what we thought were reasonable times. Then the results showed us to be 6 minutes down on the class winners, i.e. an average of 2 minutes per lap, and we began to appreciate our lack of experience. Still, it was a very good event and it was gratifying to see the increased Army participation and enthusiasm which is all important for the perpetuation of the event , mind you, the organising team looked absolutely knackered and relieved that it was all over for another year. For our part, we loaded the caravan etc.'and retired to the A1/M1 for the return home.

 

On behalf of all those competitors fron Staffs and Shropshire L.R.C., I know that everyone enjoyed the weekend and appreciated all the efforts of the PLRC and will be anxious to return to the North next August Bank Holiday.

Norman Barrett.

 

For those of you not in the 'know', the title Mad Monk of Mirfield has been bestowed upon me by Big Ed of L a C in one of his better newsletters (it had one of my reports in ill) hence, the reference to the Monk in Norman's letter.

You've no idea how much rivalry there is between clubs at this level ..... it's tough at the top!.

 

Last, but not least, in post Catterick letters and comments was a congratulatory note Rob of the Rochdale branch of the PLRC who donated a really smart trophy for the booby prize at the trial; it was the 'Rochdale Flying Brick Award'. All their own work, it was a nicely lacquered (yes, I have spelt it right'.) house brick from the Rochdale Brick Company. Having realised that my personal safety is now in jeopardy for not having mentioned this award in the trial results, I have just searched the score sheets and found that it was awarded to D. Evans with a score of 133 (it took fourteen people's hands to add the score upl). He was more chuffed with his brick than he would have been if he'd been awarded first prize I'm sure'.

 

Your congratulations and your criticisms have been noted, Rochdale, and thanks for the Brick'.

 

Well, I think it's time now to finish the story of this year's 'Rallye Infernale!

 

Servicing was very easy, it worked out that, after two sections, the competitors called back at the start area for servicing. If we had wanted, we could have stayed there all the time but we decided to follow them round the sections, well not actually round the sections as it would be a bit awkward in a 10 ton wagon, but to the ends of the sections, we soon realised how narrow the roads were, and don't Frenchmen make funny noises when they think you are running over their push-bike. Well, it was his fault for laying it down in the grass.

 

A service was due after the St. Claire section; the competitors had to go a long way round and do some neutral sections, wnilst we could go straight down a main road only a few miles back to Hagney-en-Vexin, which meant that we could  watch them round the section and still beat them back. As we had no problems with the motor, all we had to do was check the oil and water, see that nothing was falling off and feed the crew. Those French bread butties take some chewing when you are in a hurry. I think David's jaws were aching more than his anus. After waiting at the end of Chau section for an hour and no motors coming, we decided to investigate, so back through the smallest town with the narrowest streets I have ever seen we went to the start which just happened to be up a narrow track. After half a mile, we spotted the Landy with our dynamic duo crew fast asleep. No problems for us, a buggy was stuck on the track and they were waiting for the Toyota Land Cruiser rescue vehicles recovering it. As there was nowhere to turn round, I had to reverse all the way back down the road.  I asked Melanie to see me safely back into the main road - well it was only drizzling, wasn't it? then she got back in, she was wet through. Have you fallen in a puddle'? said I. “No, it's p—g down” said she. Still, it was dry enough in the cabin

 

Saturday evening was a 'reight do', -the host club had laid on a meal of chicken, carrots, potatoes, genuine petit pois, cheese, peaches etc. and as much wine as we could drink. Needless to say, we all left the dining room a little worse for wear and wobbled up to the town hall to a dance until we found it would cost us about a pound each to get it. When we realised we weren't going to bluff our way in, we decided to go to the pub we had been in on Friday. He was almost ready to close when we arrived with all the  chairs piled up on the tables. We got off to a great start when John sat on a table, leant on one of the chairs and pushed it through a window. The Landlord seemed less worried than us, so we bought him a drink and it worked wonders because we all staggered home about 1.00 a.m.

 

Sunday was a much better day with sun all the way. The sections had dried out alot which meant things ran to time and were easier to follow. Monday dawned to find all asleep (of course). We eventually crawled out and started to load the motors, John Wright's RR in the back of the wagon and David's Froggy basher on the trailer.

 

The trailer mudguard was broken so we had to weld it up before we could set off. We we’re very surprised to see the RR 'hiding in the back of the wagon. Luckily, it was only a friendly visit and we were soon on our way.By swapping drivers, it wasn't such a bad journey back to Calais, even though the roads were last tarmaced in the dark ages, "M1, we love you".

 

We were just driving through a small town when we saw a crowd of men on push-bikes waving and shouting at us, so we stopped to see a man running down the road with the trailer mudguard which had just fallen off. We arrived in Calais with only 10 mins before sailing time, which just gave us tine to get the Garnets signed and Passports stamped.

 

He parked the outfit on the lower deck and were just nosying through a doorway to the engine room when the Chief Engineer arrived and asked us if we would like to look round the engine room. she gratefully accepted and, boy, what engines'. Two huge engines burning crude oil (that's the black stuff that shouts knickers, knickers,knickers) to make steam for two huge turbines that drive through reduction bores from which the prop shafts cone.  I asked what a huge dissel engine in the corner was for, and he said it was one of the four generators, pointing out three more identical monsters each the size of a LWB Landy. It was one of the most interesting half hours I have spent, the voyage was pleasant and the food excellent and on a British Rail boat at that!

 

We left Dover and spent Monday night near Romney Marshes. The pub was an old pirate stronghold, and still is with the price of that Southern stuff they call ale'. We arrived home on Tuesday evening after a first class weekend.

Raymond Sagar.

 

 
 
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