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Grassington Competitive Safari.


8.50 am. news and weather, Sunday 10th December, 1978 (Spot the deliberate mistake folks) 'A few bombs have gone off in Northern Ireland, inflation is rising. Fords only got 6% of the home car market, the Russians are Communist, Jeremy's friend bit his pillow and the weather will be fine until the late afternoon when showers will spread over Northern England.'


With traditional Pennine luck the weather was foul. Low flying- cloud, enveloped, what is usually a magnificent view over the moorland around Grassington.  As it was, maximum visibility was about 25 yards.  Scrutineering, if you could see to find it, was well organised with 55 entrants, 54 entrants arriving on time and the last one receiving a verbal lashing throughout.


The start was delayed for one hour after the initial run round because of the conditions which were trying to simulate the deep end of an Olympic Swimming Pool.  The route had to be altered slightly and more marker sticks put in because you just couldn't see where the next sticks were.


The initial route of the Comp. Safari was decided on, and one of the toughest courses that the Pennine has ever run got under way.  The course was extended to 2 1/4 miles and four laps of this took its toll.  Of the 54 entrants only 12 finished and with 10 prizes to be given out it wasn't that hard to receive a trophy.  It does go to show that the event is not only won on the day, but during the preceding weeks of preparations as well. The course, as I've already said was wet and this caused immense problems with mud sticking to the windscreen, even with 2 speed wipers and a one gallon electric screen wash reservoir all that was required was to 'wrong slot' into the mud and that was it - black out.  My thanks must be given to the spectators who thought that they had left a gap where the course was, from my side of the windscreen the course could have been anywhere and the new gaps which miraculously opened up before playing at 'Get the spectator' were very welcome,  (if you've never tried it - get an 8 year old to throw mud in a solid mess over the windscreen then, if you don't wear glasses, borrow some, and then do the same with the mud and what do you get? - The view after 800 yards of Grassington Safari).  The mud was so bad that over a vehicles length your speed was reduced from 50 mph to 5 mph and if 6.00's or 6.50's were fitted then there was no chance, you were stuck, slowly compressing mud with the chassis.  This proved a problem for following vehicles as there weren't enough marshalls to give an advance warning of the course being blocked by stuck motors, but the only collisions were between moving motors so it couldn't have been that much of a problem really.


By the end of the day various pieces of wreckage littered the ground with my sympathy going to all who entered, but were unable to complete even the first circuit. One of these, Derek Pilling in his standard Ser.1 80 got half way, round the first .lap when a silly hillock knocked the petrol tank off, then, to add insult to injury, someone else used the remainder of his petrol, about 4 gallons, "before he could get "back to reclaim the vital appendage.

Other loose "bits "were tailgates, doors, leaves from springs, drop plates, tow hitches and even sections of gear box.

It was also peculiar why Sam had to rush about asking people if they could carry his 5 litre engine back to the trailer park. I know it was a rough course, but it didn't really - Did it?.

There were plenty spectators who turned up for the day, considering the weather it hardly seemed to be worth it, but there was still a lack of volunteers to Marshall. Marshalls do get a trophy if they've collected enough points over the year. How do they get points? Easy, stand up on the odd Sunday, get a self righteous glow, get yourself counted, sign yourself on, and be a Marshall.


In spite of all the problems, the water, the mist, the Marshalls, the dead motors, the sight of Harry Haigh running through the mist changing the circuit 10 feet in front of you, anyone which would have daunted mere mortals.


The Pennine enjoyed itself and considered the day a total success,

Dicky Day.


P.S. If you didn't spot the deliberate mistake, it wasn't that the Russians are Communist.' Sometime around 2.00 pm. either the cloud lifted or the ground sank and for 14 minutes a view was obtained of the surrounding moors.




Haggate Trial.


Cold Sunday mornings have never been. top of my popularity list and this one was no exception. I wondered how Eskimos managed in such conditions and then realized that they didn't have to, their night is 5 months long, they only have one Sunday morning a Winter to face.


As expected at 9.30 am. when we arrived at Haggate, everything was ready, the terrible trio of Ted Hartley, Paul Dewhirst, and Carl Amos had already laid everything out, I wouldn't have blamed them for sticking the pegs in last years holes, but they had persevered and used a chisel and lump hammer to make the holes in the ground for the sticks to go in.


The snow in the field wasn't as bad as last year, but the road up into' the field was very interesting, to say the least. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people that turn up in open motors or take their door tops off in conditions like these. I'm sure these chaps come from packets marked 'Hardy Perrenial’ whereas I'm more of a 'Tropical Variety protect from the cold' type myself.'


Have you ever stood and watched a field full of people with hooded parka's on? It's like watching 'Close encounters'. AII these stiff legged, faceless monsters, with no hands, that swivel and turn to beam in on noises like demented Daleks.

However, back to reality. Scrutineer in.': was soon under way and 24 entries were quickly signed on. This included the poor devil who had to go and lie in the snow tightening his UJ-bolts!


Considering the petrol situation in Lancashire and the weather situation country wide, the number of spectators and entrants were remarkable.. We even had a Diahatsu and a Stonefield come to see us, (we won't comment on the effort required to get into the field by one of these vehicles)!'


Ten sections'in all, mostly wide, not that it made a lot of difference to the scores, which were all high. One or two found that the snow which looked so 'crisp, deep, and even' contained rocks which effectively magnetised themselves to the undersides of Landies with devastating results.


The snow returned just before lunch making life just a little harder and the sections just a little slippier. It also helped make the convoy down to the local hostelry a lot longer, I think!


Around lunchtime the temperature attempted to crawl above freezing, and failed, and I tried to cheer people up by telling them jokes, and failed.  Luckily Ted, Carl and Paul succeeded in turning a couple of sections round and marking out a Tea-m Recovery. Most of the pub crowd returned in the afternoon looking distinctly rosier than when they went, most of them drove better too!. The afternoons sections were quickly polished off and the Team Recovery was started.


We had'a few laughs here, especially with Raymond Sagar who fell over and played dead in his Series II, his partner Jonathan Oldfield, stuck in the bottom of the recovery hole never knew what had happened, as Raymond was righted and pulling- again within seconds several motors managed to scramble out of the snow hole unaided, by a combination of momentum, lunacy and luck, not to mention the odd flying snowball.


It wasn't a day for hanging about chattering, so the prizes were dished out in super quick time, and people disappeared down the track with thoughts of gas fires and settees flitting before their eyes.  All except the Yeadon crowd who went looking for a pub that opened early!


Great thanks must be given to the Marshalls, who braved a fate worse than a brass monkeys, in order to officiate (They helped too.'), and Victoria Crosses go to Ted Hartley, Carl Amos, and Paul Dewhirst, for devotion to duty. I thought that Paul would have had more sense than to keep getting roped in by T and G every year, (he must like snow.').


Their request for Haggates date to be changed to Summer, was of course denied, again!  There have been a few mutterings that we should do like most other clubs and hibernate in Winter, then run more events in Summer.  What do you think?  Why not write and pass your opinions.


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