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CATTERICK '79

 

I don't intend trying to do a complete report of Catterick as I would probably only sell it short. You get a very lopsided view of the whole event when you're part of the organising team. It had without doubt the best atmosphere of any Catterick so far and the whole of the organising  committee were agreed that it was the easiest Catterick yet to run, whether that means we're getting better or you're getting better I don't really know, but what I do know is that we had a LOT of help from our members before, during and after the event. To them a heartfelt thank you.

 

This year's event was the most heavily over subscribed ever, the moral for next year should be plain enough for everyone. Some of the facts and  figures that arose from Catterick make interesting reading. Out of the total of 218 vehicles that were scrutineered, 72 failed with 113 faults. The main part of these failures were due to throttle springs (lack of), steering (play in) and tank guards!! Of the 72 failures 71 were later passed after repairs, leaving only one poor soul out in the cold. There were 215 outfits on the field and something in the region of 2,000 gallons of Sh*t, was removed from the sewage tanks (Women's beat the men's 2 to 1!) Trial scores ranged from 4 to 134 and times on the Comp Safari varied, 48 minutes to 6 hours. Cans of beer sold ran into 800 and trophies presented were over 50. The committee numbered 9 and Hospital cases only one (kitchen accident ie. manky grub!) Over 700 stakes were positioned and one unexploded smoke bomb was set off when Dave Frear made the mistake of passing his 'find' to me, who promptly pulled the pin to demonstrate how it worked and even more promptly slung it when it went off (the moral to that story should be plain to all, it's just a pity I don't practise what I preach!)

 

The best fact of all however is that Catterick '80 is already nailed on! We attracted our usual Nationwide range of entries, who put up a very high class display of off-road driving, the biggest shock of all being the Royal Air Force Motor Sports Association single entry wiping the floor with the civvies in the 2 1/4 standard class in the Comp Safari, an event usually dominated by the PLRC! Next year it might be the Navy!

 

The Team Recovery had its fair share of hilarity as various entries lost parts of their vehicles, tow hooks, prop shafts etc, and the Army tried new bull dozing tactics and lost.

 

The 15 trials sections produced only one upset when Dave Rae did one particular section the opposite way to everyone else and ended up on his passenger side. The Army proved they were getting better yet again and miraculously the weather remained fine throughout. The Comp Safari, as always, attracted a lot of spectators, who were treated to more spills and thrills than ever before on the longest course ever at Catterick, 21 miles in total, the pace was hot and the competition intense with a large number of non-finishers. Phillip Beever and John Lister have been alternating with one another for top placings with their V8 Lightweights for over a year now. Catterick was Phillip's downfall when he inverted his motor, despite this he fought back to a 3rd in class and the fastest single run of the day.

 

Other inversions, collisions and tree fellings were undertaken by Raymond and Dave Sagar, Alan Panter, Paul Dewhirst, Jim Miles,Geoff Dyer and Viv Waterman keeping the Armies tradition going. . . .notice their all Pennine members bar one???? These are the lads who used to break Tonka's when they were kids!!

 

It does I'm afraid seem a very meagre offering after such a great event, -but those of you who were there know what it was like and the rest of you should get a fair idea from this report, I hope!

 

We are once again indebted to BAMA for their support and enthusiasm and

of course our appreciation goes to the members of the other ARC clubs who came along to compete against us, here's to next year and the 5th anniversary of Catterick.

 

RALLYE DES CIMES

The French seem to have a system for destroying potential competitors for their rallies before it even starts. First they present The French Customs - A form of water torture involving a long wait while lorry drivers pass through, then they inform you that you MUST wait for 5 hours until your Inspector arrives!. Secondly there comes the French drivers launching themselves at the afore mentioned teams wagon. After this and a drive of 600 M we arrived at Licque Atherey, in S.W. France, on the Thursday morning 40 hours after we had set out

 

Perhaps at this point I should name the intrepid explorers who had set forth from the land of P.L.R.C. Our leader and sponsor (I have to say that, he employs me!) David Simmonite. John Wright, (I didn't even see them fighting), Brian Claburn, (who I understand is notorious at P.L.R.C.) and last, but not least, Russell Ridley, (our strength and two wheel Don Quixote) We were also aided and abetted by various members of the  A.W.D.C., all of whose names I didn't catch, but one in particular, Alvin Smith, which is synonymous with Strange Rover, kept cropping up.

 

The organisation of our team was basically put together by John Hilton and his team, who kept service and sanity throughout the rally. Anyway the event itself was run over two days, beginning on Saturday morning at 8 o'clock (Shades of Catterick). The sections were very varied with steep climbs in mud on the 1st and 2nd. David's Landy becoming  unstuck on the 2nd section (or perhaps I should say well and truly stuck!), which was our downfall as regards to a placing in the rally. The 3rd section was a cross between rocks, streams and sharp corners, with some amazing views out of the doors - STRAIGHT DOWN! Sections 5, 6 and 7 were largely grass or rough dry tracks with mud and streams in the-bottom of hollows. Section 4 was impossible due to rain, and  consequently was abandoned. That was basically the first day's racing as dry facts. From the point of view of a co-driver, my attitude was  somewhat different after the 1st section.

 

After half an hour's panic on Saturday morning 'cos the rally had been started half an hour early unknown to us, we collected our Landy and set  off to the start of the first section. On arrival at the start we had to change the rear wheels for chains, and while jacking up the Landy I managed to smash the jack.

 

A great start to the morning when we had a lot of wheel changes ahead. Anyhow we battled on bravely, (8 mins into the rally and all that on tarmac) The first section started off with a rough track including two hairpins, not bad I thought, it'll be easy if it's all like this. Then it opened up into a straight climb with lots of motors slipping and sliding in all directions. We set off up, the engine began to race, and the Landy got slower. Back we went and tried again. Second time lucky I thought. Up on the grass, great stuff, THEN the gearbox crossmember found a rock, rearranged the gears and my brains! With only second gear and a strangely loose stick we bashed on, literally. At the top the other three gears climbed back in and we finished the section in fine style. Then I discovered that we had to change wheels in 6 inches of mud, (with a little pot Jack that the service crew had delivered). Also each wheel  weighed about 4 tons.

 

The road between sections 1 and 2 was more difficult than section 1 had been. Another wheel change, then we set off up what seemed like a typical P.L.R.C. comp safari, until a sharp left hander woke us up and a 1 in 3,  amazingly we stuck to it, with two foot of mud. The spectators shouted Gauche, Gauche! (Left, left, - for those of you who can't understand my spelling) we were up to the doors in it. Even 20 willing Frenchmen and women couldn’t move us. Still with a shovel, Russell, and 11/2 hours graft later we set off again

 

Another grovel in the mud for a wheel change with the jack, then off to section 3 with its spectacular views and vertigo all round. Very rocky, I thought, no need for chains. But David had better ideas, so I wiped the sweat off my brow and continued. Section 3 needed chains and a strong stomach. No fences, holes, or a road between me and eternity! (David hadn't realised until Sunday what it had been like). Then off to lunch, but I couldn't find my stomach, so refrained from eating.

 

The sections in the afternoon were helped along by the sun. The first time sections were grass climbs which, due to the sun, were easy and very fast. Section 3 had to be done twice, it had bits of everything in it, a right good comp course about 3 miles long. Unfortunately only one run was completed due to an Army rolling and getting his head caught between the roll cage and the ground. That was the end of Saturday apart from the food and large quantity of lager that were consumed in a typical Pennine tradition.

 

On Sunday morning we slept in, so no work was done on our somewhat battered and dirty looking Landy. Sunday's sections were dryer and much faster The first being, completed in fine style. On the second section we had to wait 2 hours to start it 'cos the French buggies couldn't get up it and kept blocking the following motors. Colin Cowley and John Hilton had a re-run and arrived at the top shortly after us, having completed what was the most dangerous and hardest section in the whole rally. About half of it was about 6 feet wide and strewn with boulders and dead motors. It wouldn't have been so bad, but the lower end of the track had a 45 degree drop 800 feet or so long on the left hand side. Two more sections were completed before lunch, which when we went for had been cancelled. Ah cest la vie!

 

The last section of the rally was supposed to be the worst. So we chained up all round and waited for our turn. Then they cancelled it as it would have taken too long for all the motors to complete it. So back to the compound for prize giving and the consumption of any booze available. What happened to us at the prize giving and the remainder of the drinking evening is personal to me, save to say that I must have been very eloquent 'cos some poor French Lady driver has agreed to Join the P.L.R.C  and maybe even attend some meetings in this country.

 

Just in conclusion, we did receive a prize, 2 tins of French ham and 1 of pate. I think that they were convinced that we were either mad or very hungry

Steve Flatt

 

 

 

WEAVERS 150

 

Some people want to climb Everest, others want to swim the channel, some people want to win the Weavers 150, several Pennine members fall into the last category, none that I know of into the first two! Pennine seems to have a 'Love, Hate' relationship with Weavers ie. we love to hate it!

 

Last year the Pennine contingent gave the Awfully Wobbly Driven Club a good thrashing at what they like to think is their speciality, 'off road racing'  as it is known South of Watford Gap, this year however things were a bit different!

 

Not having a crystal ball we weren't to know what was in store for us, apart from the fact that the start time had been altered from 2-Oam in the morning till 5ish (typical Pennine type time that ish on the end) as the Army were playing all night and we scared too many squaddies last year! Pennine on the move is a wonderful sight, Russell Ridley's motor came  down on the back of a Ford wagon that the gypsies had once scrapped, Dave Simmonite's came in comfort and privacy in the back of his horse box with John Lister's lightweight swinging along behind in the trailer. The two Team Wright motors, my own and Jonathan Oldfield's all went by DAF with Graham's 80 perched over thin air on two girders looking for all the world like an impecunious hitch hiker. Prize of the week had to go to Ray Sagar who arrived in a Bedford TK box van. Land Rover parked in the back, card table set up in front of it and his service crew (one of whom was skint by the time he arrived) leaning out of the side door of the box van waving regally to the crowds. The real crunch is that the wagon was only 'on trial' to him so he could give it a road test!

 

Wandering round the start area revealed a marquee full of various 'piccys' of AWDC events including one of last year's Weavers which was printed in a Japanese off road mag, guess whose piccy it was? It was yer actual Team Wrights Rangey leaping out at you complete with idiot proof navigator! Can you imagine Yashimoto coming home in his Suzuki Jimney after a hard day at the vibrator factory, picking up his copy of 'The Rising Off Roader' and seeing Badgett and Wright attacking trees in a chopped up Range Rover. How did we lose the war? he will say, and I've got to agree with him!

 

Land Rover Ltd had brought along their new exhibition caravan, towed by a left hooker V8 LWB, and they were doing a roaring trade giving away V8 badges. Land Rover stickers etc. and that was just to Pennine members! The motors were as always at an AWDC event varied. Cournil were well represented with Monsieur Cournil himself entered in his turbocharged diesel Cournil and the local Batley distributors of Cournil's, Morgan Garages had also obviously learnt a lot of lessons at Sundon Quarry as they had a very nicely prepared LWB Cournil. There were the usual crop of buggies entered, and though I am no lover at all of these machines I have to admit that the ones that have persevered at it seem to now have some very useful machines that are indecently quick. A couple of Champs, Paul Hargreaves LWB V8, a couple of standard Range Rovers, Pat Willis's ugly duckling RR that would look more at home patrolling Belfast and of course the 'flying carrot'. Alvin Smith's much publicised TR7 bodied Range Rover titled the 'Strange Rover' which certainly looks different to say the least, it has been featured in most of the car magazines, so I thought I would give it the seal of approval by including it within these hallowed pages! John Wright was so taken by the idea that he's decided to put a moggy 1,000 body on a Rangey chassis, trouble is he might not be joking!

 

With the start time now somewhere around the 5-30am mark most of us wandered off for some grub (decent ale being impossible to obtain in those far regions!) we were back in time for Keith Gott's drivers briefing which degenerated into a typical Pennine briefing with hecklers and swearing etc, and that was only me! Sometime around 10 minutes after we had gone to bed (it seemed that way anyway) some noisy sod in a Volvo Sugga (Ex Swedish Army staff car) came round sounding like the whole of the Southern region rail repair crew after a night out on Theakstons bitter, at 10 past 5 on a clammy Sunday morning living seems pointless never mind rallying, but with superhuman effort we got up and went out (No, we weren't naked! old trick of the trade ..... go to bed dressed, it makes early mornings more bearable). At around 5-30, Gott the intrepid, set off in his lightweight as course opening car ........ never to return. Weavers 1, Wheelers 0. It was 6-30 before the first motor left the line in a blaze of Quartz Halogen to be followed at one minute intervals by the other 60 odd competitors. The final mileage had been decided at 120, so it was 10 runs at a 12 mile course.

 

There's something a bit unreal about rallying at that time of the morning dawn was just breaking but it wasn't fully light, and in the forest sections especially the lights picked up the last traces of mist still hanging between the trees, making strange shapes as your eyes strained to see the track and interpret what could be seen there, even on the first run we passed a couple of 'resting’ vehicles. It was somewhat peeving to say the least to do 12 miles in good time with no damage whatsoever and then to break a spring not 20 feet from the finish line after falling down an open cast mine that someone inadvertently Ieft on the course, the Gremlins had begun!

 

The second and third runs were particularly fraught as the rising sun was slanted straight into your eyes for much of the course, now I know why Jonathan has tinted windows (and I thought it was to match his eyes!) By run 4 the pattern was set with Pat Willis and Alvin Smith fighting for 1st place and myself, Jonathan Oldfield, a brace of Buggies and the Cournil sorting the rest of the places. John Wright never really got into the running as he kept having electrical problems, his rally finally ending when a tree branch tried to skewer his Rangey by going through the windscreen and out through the roof. Raymond Sagar, who we all thought had gone punk when we saw his new phsycedelic paint job required after his epic finishing technique at Catterick, kept up his run of luck at this event (all of it bad) and had to retire with an engine that sounded too much like the tympanic section of the Philharmonic. John Lister and Dave Simmonite both had to retire before the half way mark with transmission problems, I personally retired with a touch of brain fade and about 6 weeks work!

 

A sharp right hander down a steep gully proved to be my undoing when I misjudged everything and did the odd somersault, a couple or rolls and a quick Lord's Prayer, somehow landing back on 4 wheels! Land Rovers are nothing if not tough and the old 2 1/4 barked straight back into life despite the fan imitating a Kenwood mixer in what was left of the radiator. Landies may be tough but not so human beings, so me ‘n ‘Arry decided that  owardice was the better part of valour and trundled back to the car park, itshould have helped boost Kodak's profits this month though!

 

By the 7th run Russell Ridley had finally given up the unequal struggle to replace the bits that were falling off, it wasn't that he couldn't replace them fast enough, he just couldn't find enough of them. This left Jonathan, who was posting consistent times on every run, and Graham Cockell, who was determined to beat the jinx that has had him retiring on every previous Weavers, they were carrying the Pennine's reputation. Alvin Smith was still chasing Pat Willis who has the knack of always rolling where there are plenty spectators to right him again, and the Strange Rover was certainly impressive. Alvin obviously likes both the TR7 and the colour as he entered the RAC in an orange TR8 running at number 157. He was having a good rally till he entered Dalby forest on Sunday night and found myself and Millington on the end of the second stage, we warned him that the woods were full of Pennine Land Rovers just itching to be first to put a 4lb hook on his Triumph!

 

By the 9th run dead motors were being pulled in in convoys of 4 all roped together, and the pace of the remaining competitors was definitely slacking as they concentrated on finishing and hopefully not sustaining permanent injury, to tender nether regions! Even the commentary had dried up and gone off the air (no comment!) At the finish it was Jonathan Oldfield in his Standard Lightweight who upheld Pennine's honour with a first in class (2 to 3 litre) 5th overall,and fastest Land Rover. Graham Cockell was chuffed to finish the event on his third attempt at a creditable 15th overall. Pat Willis was undisputed King of the course with a comfortable first place despite having sat it on its roof for a few minutes on the 5th run, Alvin Smith may only have managed a second, but his motor does look a lot prettier and he kept it all in one piece. Buggies did better than ever before' in this event finishing in the 3rd or 4th mark (I'm not that sure which), which proves my earlier observation that the ones that are still entering are now developed to the point where they are competitive. The Cournil got the trophy for the best prepared vehicle .before the Rally and would undoubtedly have  eceived the Booby prize for 'Wreck of the Rally' had there been such a prize.

As a consolation prize I received my trophy from the Lutbn event, a hundredweight and a half of solid chromed steel in the shape of a flying Cournil!!!

We're an easily pleased bunch in the Pennine and try not to moan too much a small crib there must be. lt may be solid circuit, split digital silicon chip efficient but that is of no comfort when you can't find out your official times never mind your oppo's times, have a look at Catterick next year lads and see how it should be done!

 

Moan over it was as always a tough demanding event and after crowing so much about our success last year it's only right that I eat humble pie this year apart from Jonathan and Graham we were swamped this year although the the winner as always was Weaversdown itself! Thanks were expressed to the Awful Wobbly lads for having us again and with that we loaded the scrap back on the respective wagons and trundled off in a generally Northern direction to the land of Dark Satanic Mills to lick our wounds and repair our motors. ..... Now next year. .... .......!!!

Thanks to Derek Pearson, Keith Gott, Aliperti Bros. Dave Walker and anyone else who helped run the, event. " A reight good do".

 

 

 

RIBBLEHEAD

 

Ribblehead had special problems for me this year as it fell just 1 week after the Weavers 150 where driver fatigue had turned my once noble steed a shadow of its former self. A weeks work with air chisel, many very second panels, and rag top retired over 3 years ago had me ready to co-organise (if be called that) Ribblehead team Safari with Dave Simmonite.

 

Alan and Anice Seed came to the rescue early on when aforementioned noble steed did the dirty on me somewhere outside Settle, They weren't sure whether or not someone had abandoned a scrap Land Rover at first but eventually recognised it and came to help. It was a good place to break down as were treat to a grandstand view of the steam train Beaumaris Castle forging the Settle/Carlisle line with a load of enthusiasts, took me right back to my Horn by Doblo days it did, still, back to reality, the Northern monsoons had been in fine fettle the previous week and Ribblehead itself was in its finest marshy condition, the hard bits were soft and the soft were ...... softer! After struggling into the field and then both getting stuck on several occasions we eventually laid out most of the sections on foot ... it was easier!

 

The weather had decided to be kind to us for the weekend so we retired from the field early, the Station Inn has had a change for the better in its licensees and we spent an enjoyable evening in the comfort of its room.

 

As always with Ribblehead one of the biggest difficulties was actually entering, the field and if it hadn't been for the winching efforts of Howard Leahy and Peter Hartley/Norman Pomfret the event would never even have got started.

 

We eventually got everyone in the field and while the marshalls were being taken to their respective posts the usual Thou shalts' were intoned to the drivers. Just to make life interesting (and test brain levels again) the. teams were lined up behind one another and set off in waves ie. the 1st member of every team was set off, then 20 seconds later the 2nd member of every team and then the 3rd. I expected everybody waiting for their team mates . . . no way as always, the sight of a start flag dropping is like a red rag to a bull, it instills complete madness and off they all went bucking and rearing like a bunch of sex crazy stallions I'm convinced that its only the start that attracts the spectators to this do, the sight of 40 odd Landies belting over open moors like the hounds of hell is more inspiring than anything the telly has to offer. The idea was to visit the ten sections pick up a token after 3 team members had been through, this had to be done in 5's. The first 5 sections visited and the tokens returned to the start, then out to the remaining 5 sections and back to the start.

 

Of the 14 teams that set off the marshmallow claimed 6 of them, the remaining 8 teams finishing in times ranging from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Of course this isn't the end of the madness at Ribblehead, in the afternoon we send them back out on their own as they should all know their way round the field by then. The afternoon's trophy is the Lister/Simmonite Champion Cross Country driver award and is awarded on an annual basis (if you won it in 1977 could you please let me know so I can have the trophy engraved). This start was even more spectacular as we had all 40 motors side by side, bravely the starter stood in front with his hand raised, as he dropped his hand his muffled screams were drowned by roaring engines as the Landies leapt forward and he scuttled to safety with his wellies in top gear!

 

Many were out after finding a deep hole to rest in only seconds after the start, and from the start line it was interesting to watch the apparent lead change hands. Tom Boydell Junior seemed to have it all wrapped up as he raced back from his final section, but not 100 yards from the finish he was gobbled up by a bog, this left it a tie as Tom Boydell Snr. and Ted Hartley streaked back to the start from opposite ends of the field, Melonie looked set for a 3rd place after John Lister virtually lifted the 80 out of a bog. Everyone was converging on the finish line, at the post it was Tom followed by Ted, Melonie was set for third, when Alan Panter popped up out of nowhere and pipped her in, leaving her for the 4th, such exciting finishes are usually reserved for the Grand National and it was a fitting end to a great day's boggling. After the finish we went  round to bring in the marshals, rescue a few stuck motors and generally clear up the aftermath. We trundled over by the top of the river when someone shouts out  Raymond's in the river. This should be good for a laugh we thought

Ray's fallen in the river, always ready to.laugh at the other chaps misfortune, we ran over to find that he had fallen in, but in his Land Rover! This was pretty good going as it was about 30 feet down the bank into the river, but sure enough there were his tyre tracks wobbling right down the bank and off the edge 2 footinto the river.

 

Luckily like all rivers in that area it was a solid rock bottom, so he had plenty of traction but nowhere to get out (he also had plenty spectators!) I thought at one point he was going to attempt the 10 foot waterfall down to the next part of the river, but somehow he managed to scramble up the  banking. Some people will do anything to make the spectators laugh!

 

With everyone except John Harrison back out of the marshmallow and back on the right side of the river it was trophy time. (John eventually rescued himself after scavenging a steering arm off another motor).

Results.

1st Team. Tom Boydell sen, Tom Boydell jnr and Harold Carman

2nd Team. Ted Hartley, Carl Amos and Paul Dewhirst

3rd Team. Bill Leacock, David James and Geoff Halstead

4th Team. George Carruthers, Alan Panter and John Ashworth

SOLO

1st Tom "Boydell Sen.

2nd Ted Hartley

3rd Alan Panter

4th Melonie Simmonite

Thanks go to our tireless marshalls for keeping the event running and to the competitors for providing us all with so much amusement on what could probably be the last Rover Rampage at Ribblehead.

 

 
 
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