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SYKE MOOR COMPETITIVE THING

Slowly, a small feeling of guilt crept over me as I read the June edition of Bottom Box. I hadn't even written the report about the Syke Moor do, never mind about the promises made to our Honourable Editor about posting it off. A sudden thought overtook me though, no need to feel any shame, the June edition of Bottom Box arrived in June! Only just, it was the 30th. Other thoughts slowly drifted along, as they tend to when last night's beer cans still stare at you, dented and sticky. What does it matter, any report that gets into BH's filing system seems to take a season or so to emerge so a delay of a couple of weeks at this end won't make any difference at all. Perhaps he works 4 months in advance of everyone else, and not only is July's edition of Bottom Box written, but August's, September's and October's is as well! All he has to do then is to find the one with the least number of printable pages and insert the new copy, easy really ....Brian Hartley with nothing to say! My!

It's a funny bit of land at Syke Moor, tracks lead everywhere, you can't go more than 20 yards without coming across some little junction. All these tracks and we can use every single one of them! A little hint into the true nature of these tracks was when myself and another Rochdale Mafia booze loving 4 wheeler got together and made the first recce of the  land, one of us stopped to splash the old boots. The other carried on, it took 20 minutes to find each other again! It's worse than Hampton Court Maze, (if you have been there you'll realise that doesn't mean too much - but it is!) there's more dead ends, small vertical workings and swamps than anything else, finding a route without having to recross your own tracks was like playing Mastermind with a row of holes missing. The course turned out to be as promised, 1.7 miles of OUCH!!. As a Competitive Safari it was one hell of a trial and as a trial it was one hell of a Comp Safari. Your arms ached, your shoulders were bruised, your guts were churned and your mo

 was tested, (spill-proof petrol caps need a re-appraisal for Catterick) for some it was even painful to walk for a few days afterwards, but it was fun and hard work, with 5 laps and everyone to count, if you finished you deserved  a prize. There were 26 entries and with 9 trophies to be shared out it meant that a third of the competitors had to win something. 6 motors retired from the Comp Safari/Trial for various reasons, mainly due to roll overs and perhaps the roughness of the ground bringing the probability of damage ever closer. After the event was over we counted up how many roll overs there were. We got to 12 and they are only the ones that four of us could recall

 To the best of my knowledge there was very little damage and all who drove to the event drove home again, even the '3 wheels on my waggon' motor was able to reconstruct another wheel out of the pieces before the gyppos got him. The site itself is a long disused quarry owned by Lord Rochdale (we've got one, even though he does live in New Zealand), and was split into two parts connected by a single one-way track. This track itself was a problem with right angled turns surrounded by quarry working with right angled drops. They made people keep to the track though!. If you didn’t, the alternative was to go out and buy a new Land Rover afterwards. (That little aberration in the computations all of the trophies were thrown out at people. Then, of course came the team recovery, with the lowest entry fee in recently recorded Pennine history. 7 teams entered and there were 3 sets of trophies to take home. The only problem was where to lay the damn thing out, it was sort of pushed on the organisers running one.

We thought that there would be problems though, thousands of hills! This certainly was criticism of the site (not from competitors though!) with certain safety features somewhat lacking. Mistakes made at the start of the course or at the bottom of the recovery hill could have been a problem!

It was only 40 feet down to the bottom though. Not a lot when you looked  round at some of the drops. We had spent quite a few hours looking for a site to hold the team recovery, plenty of hills, but what's on top? On top of the best there was a bog, the next had a point like Appollo’s Nosecone after that they came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, run a 3 man recovery  so they've got enough ropes to recover? There are too many danger feats to run that hill again, two motors toppled over trying to short cut the corner to the bottom of the hill and if any motor entered without the hand brake working it was a certain way to commit Hari-Kari. (That reminds me, did you notice our chairman there?). The two teams with rolled motors were instructed to retire after they had received outside assistance to rig their motors, which invalidates their efforts. The weather proved unkind well and the heavens opened with a true Lancashire ferocity just as one team had set off. As it turned out they were the lucky ones, wrapped up in a truck cab as the air turned damp all around them, by the time they had finished their run it had stopped!

The eventual winners had to be decided by having a re-run between  teams Moore/Dewhirst and Bradbury/Smith, both of them having first  times of 3min 10secs. The Dewhirst/Moore team  managed to improve the  time to 2min 42secs, whilst team 2 dropped to 3min 12secs, mainly due to  rope under wheel problems. It was interesting to watch the team recovery  with a hill that you couldn't get a run at. Perhaps this is a leveller between  standards and specials at this type of event, some sort of gate at the bottom of the recovery hill and you have a choice of getting a 10 sec penalty if  you don't stop in the gate or no penalty if you do or even call it a 'rope  up area'. All it will do is help equalise the advantage got from a special  when the two types of motor are meant to be starting equally then it can only be fair. The Competitive Safari results were interesting as well with  only a 10 second gap between the fastest special and the fastest 2 litre, the 2-1/4 standards coming more or less in the middle. The fastest time of  the day was set up by Ted Hartley who returned a time of 4min 16sec  despite the number of re-runs he had to undergo. This report was totally biased in favour of the organisers and any complaint received from the  competitors was totally ignored. In fact the only complaint received was  one that came through the grape vine at work a couple of days afterwards.

The area of land is used by the Greater Manchester Plod Force for off road driver training and I was having a chat to the guy who does the instruction (he owns that bit of land, just like J.J. owns M62!). "Any problems?" he  asked. "Well, it took me about an hour to shift them walls that were there across the tracks". Those of you who went will know what I mean, a line of stone, one piece high placed across the track wherever there was any doubt about the line of the course. Yes, well I hadn't moved them, I've got to have that. It was funny though, the other complaint that had reached me through the grape vine was that the instructor was complaining that the ground had cut up so roughly that he got stuck! I sent word back through the grape vine that if a 2 litre Series 1 with bald 6.50s could get through then surely a Range Rover which has, by now, been slowly modified for the job, should be able to get through unless of course the driver was suspect.

 Nothing more was said. We're running it again next year.

                                                          Dicky Day

 

THE 1980 NATIONAL RALLY

The 1980 National Rally found Team Pennine trucking off to the depths of S.E. England. Generally it was a good turn out from the club although the Rochdale Mafia were conspicuous by their absence, otherwise we we’re all present but not necessarily correct.

It was a long trip down and my motor was definitely not keen. Mind you it was only finished the night before, as usual, and it can hardly be an ideal way to run it in. The trip was worth it if only to see the look of horror on the Chauffeurs' faces as they saw a gnarled and twisted galvanised bumper looming large in the rear view mirror as me and big Norm carved our way through the posh suburbs of Ascot and Bagshot. We managed to get through Windsor and past the Safari Park without big Norm getting captured. And after yet another overhaul we arrived at Blackwool Farm find a first class camp site and even an escort to our site, set beautifully in the Sussex woodlands. (The woods didn't seem so beautiful after one or two trials sections though)

It was obvious the S.R.O.C. had put a lot of hard work into the site with tree felling etc., and even road building that I'm sure Sir Alfred McAlpine would have been proud of.  We were soon sorted out and settled in and went off to find the training tent to get some training done for the first day's competition.

Saturday dawned, it was a nice, fine day and we were all looking forward to the Team Recovery, Winch Recovery, Gymkhana, Clay Pigeon Shoot and last, but by no means least, the Concours. Not forgetting the Kids' Bike Trial. Today was the day it was all supposed to happen, some events did and some events didn't, notably the Team Recovery.

So what did happen I hear you all say? Well the Gymkhana followed the usual format and seemed to run well, the only grumble seemed to be that there wasn't enough for the passengers to do, which, looking at one or two passengers, wasn't a bad thing. Better not give Big Norm any more stick or he will come and chop me in half, 'cos he does Karate. He specialises in chopping heads in half with bricks. Pennine collected one or two honours here.

The Winch Recovery was a simple exerciseirv dragging a rather large lump of firewood along a course and back again, any was won by ace lumberjacks Hartley, Haigh and Millington, who collected The Fairey Trophy for Pennine using a Turner Winch. I'm sure if Fairey found out that this keeps happening they'd change the rules, or nick their pot back.

The Clay Pigeon Shoot, which was a new idea, seemed to go down well with the Country Gentlemen amongst us. Although I was relieved to find out that Pennine had not managed to raise a team. The result was a win for the Southern with Cumbria coming in second and the Lanes and Cheshire came third once they had found out which end you had to point.  I shouldn't say things like that about people who have shot guns or I might find it painful sitting down at the next Lanes and Cheshire do that I attend.

Next on to the Kids Bike Trial which I understand was a runaway success and hopefully gave the Kids an opportunity to get in on the act and show us their skill without tearing round the campsite destroying anything that gets in the way. Lee Leacock scored a success for PENNINE in this event and I dread to think what the young man who can ride his bike on one wheel for 93 feet will do when he gets hold of his Dad's Land Rover  on a Comp Safari. He'll need wings not wheels.

 The Concours was also in progress throughout the day and some excellent motors were on display. There were also some strange beasts on display as well near the Concourse Rover Proto-Types, including one which was supposed to float on balloons, blown up off the exhaust. Talking of proto-types I hope that you all caught a look at the six by six V8 on Tomorrows World 12.6.80. Very nice. I bet Brian Hartley's trouser knees are worn out trying to persuade Rovers to lend him one. I noted that despite all the modifications and new specifications the Rover Boffins have not managed to come up with a solution to the problem of magnetic trees.

Those were the events for Saturday, now to the non-event - the Team Recovery. The Team Recovery caused that many protests and boycotts that you would have thought the Southern had just sent an Invasion Force into Afghanistan.

All the aggro basically centred around the use of 'closed' towing which were specified in the Regs. A lot of people questioned this and decided that it was yet another change of rules which meant more expensive modifications and withdrew on those grounds. Then those who wished to persevere were told that if they hung a D-Shackle over their tow balls it would pass for a closed hitch. Well this converted a safe motor into a lethal one, and I was having thoughts of D-Shackles breaking, slipping etc and flying through the air. Anyway about 7 teams finally decided have a do at the event which was basically a water filled hole, surrounded by sticks and yet another new rule appeared, touch a stick and add 10 seconds to your time with a 1 minute penalty for more than two sticks, all the fuss over towing hitches I was even more horror struck to see established regulations being ignored and motors were competing without mesh screens, even windscreens, no helmets, and no extinguishers. All combined with a general lack of enthusiasm for the 'Hole' resulted in event becoming a farce and not even a comedy at that.

 "Dear A.R.C. please can we get the regs sorted out and adhered to throughout all the member clubs, so that people's efforts organising an event like this are not wasted.

 One good idea that emerged was to allow the first team and the fastest five to go again, fastest time to count. Pity it didn't work out due to the small entry. Teams who put up an abysmal first run got another, by which time they had got some idea of how to carry on. Theoretically, this idea should put a keener edge on the competition and perhaps eliminate some of the luck which is involved in this event.

The eventual result was a win for Bill Leacock and his German friend. By the way, if a copy of this finishes up in Deutschland, many thanks for the films you brought. A pity we couldn't transport the Safari landscape from the film to Blackwool Farm or the Team Recovery might have been something like right. Anyway, I'm fed up of writing about this event and I'm sure there’s plenty of people who would rather forget it, I think it was best summed up by George Beever whose verdict was 'I think I'd rather have gone to Windy Hill and had a right do'. Rock on George!

Saturday evening brought us a disco in the barn and a sheep roast. Lamb butties were selling well despite the rip-off price of 50p. I think as far as National Discos go it was a very restrained affair. But I think a good time was had by all. I think the queue at the bar managed to keep everybody sober as by the time you got served you'd forgotten how to drink!.

Sunday brought us the trial which was a very well organised event ran smoothly all day. The sections were well laid out and wide sticks provided equal opportunity for all motors, from a special 80" to a road going 11 A. Well done Southern.

The more difficult parts of the section were usually towards the end of the section which is always good, especially if you are a novice. It isn't very heartening to be picking up tens all the time. This backfired on one section though, it had an impossible water hole with a steep climb out, all for one very optimistic point and most people just poked a hub through and stopped, which I thought was the best thing to do really. The only other problems were the big sticks with the leaves on top which one or two people couldn't resist testing to make sure that they are just as hard as they are up North, and they were.

 The tractors positioned on some sections hardly inspired confidence for your attempt, but proved largely useless for recovery with the exception of a four wheel drive monster. I would like to thank the tractor drivers and the farmer for the use of them. I think that they enjoyed it as much as we did, especially the one who pulled my posh, newly rebuilt motor onto its side, who incidentally I would not like to thank. I think that everybody was happy with the day except Keith Schofield, who got a broken spring towards the end of the day which cost him his place.

The day was finished off with another sheep roast and a band playing live music in the barn. They were hardly playing and I think only just living. Their music worked wonders at keeping the queue short at the bar. They finally took pity on us and disappeared leaving the hard core drunkards and the “daren't go backs to the caravan till I've had another” Brigade. Anyway, after time had been called for about the thirtieth time we all departed as gracefully as possible to prepare ourselves for the Competitive Safari.

 I was hoping that the previous day's brilliant organisation would continue, but I was to be disappointed. The start was just a matter of shoving your way to the front and off you chugged in your 3 cylinder, 2 litre to find an angry V8 right up your rut in the first 800 yards. The Southern had put a lot of hard work into clearing a course and although it was only 1.3 miles long it was very demanding, requiring 100% concentration to keep pointing in the right direction and keep out of the trees. I only wish that I had had Bill Leacock's graph, a degree in physics and a mini computer to work out my flight path. Personally I don't think that my motor or my brain could have gone any faster, but I might have succeeded in baffling the opposition into going slower. There were plenty of thrills and spills, notable ones being Kevin Taylor's very creditable impression of a Harrier Jump Jet using vertical take off on a subtle little bump just before the finish. John  Lister also managed to disturb a pair of nesting Blackbirds trying to smooth out this little bump. Plenty of other motors had minor detours through the trees and crossed the finish with the bent axles and scars to prove it.

Pennine raked up plenty of pots in the Safari, especially in the 2 1/4 class.  Unfortunately for Cliff Roberts a diesel was found that could push him into second place. But he claims he wasn't trying as he had to get his motor home on its own power.  We believe you Cliff!?

Although I've done a good bit of moaning in this report I thoroughly enjoyed the National and I think we will all remember the good and forget the bad, I hope that my little digs at one or two people will be taken in good heart, that's if they manage to read this without throwing their copy of Bottom Box into the bin. See you all at the 1981 National wherever that may be.

                                                     Heath Smith

 

HEDLEY DRIFT SAFARI Aug 3rd

Last year the North-Eastern All Wheel Drive Club held a rally at Hedley Drift which was attended by only one Pennine member, namely Jonathan Oldfield, that year there were only a dozen or so entries. This year Pennine decided to storm the Northern Territories in style. Two articulated trucks with four Landies on each - courtesy of BH2 and David Eccleston, numerous trailers and a cattle truck. Mr. Oldfield was sufficiently confident to drive his Lightweight up and then drive it home afterwards.

As it was my first lengthy Comp Safari I was extremely nervous and presumably conveyed this to everyone concerned, particularly when Ed didn't turn up with my spare pair of trousers which just happened to t

    my Landie on his Artie, until about 10pm Saturday night. I might add my concern didn't prevent me from disappearing to a 'local' (12 miles away and a pub with about half the Pennine contingent.

Scrutineering was done Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and I was very pleased that not one Pennine vehicle was failed and most strike me as being very well prepared.

The course itself was extremely vicious - about 7 miles of cross gullies, potholes and tree stumps, although some sections were removed after they became impassable.

The start of the Safari seemed very confused after about 5 minutes because part of the wooded section was blocked continually by stuck vehicles including a certain Vauxhall powered Pennine motor, which I understand laid down and went to sleep. Unfortunately for all the 3.0 Litre upwards class this meant that their first run was not allowed and there were a few disgruntled countenances.

The restart began with the Class B motors including a large number of the Pennine entries. Most of the restarts got a clear run, but later on another pile up occured and re-run cards were flowing like confetti or champagne.

This was the point at which I started my second run, (I did 7 miles unaided) but unfortunately poor driving and trees shortened my second run somewhat and I came across a mass pile up at one very steep gully where everybody was talking about giving up and going, not home, but to the pub!

Then when the confusion abated somewhat those that decided to continue began again with yet another section cut out, though not the one which caused the last pile up, and various intrepid explorers set off to the village in search of ale. (I wish that I had gone with them). Kevin Taylor from Huddersfield was sat at the start when I limped in and he had no navigator, so I thought that I might as well get a ride - (to cushion my own incompetence) and he said O.K.

By this time Dave Simmonite had got 5 or 6 runs in but not one was counted, though he must have had a full pack of re-run cards, 3 punctures, no gearbox and a distinct lack of good humour. I don't blame him. B.H. and Jonathan were still bashing round, with B.H. stopped on his first run, (I passed him!!..??) though still continuing to finish 5 runs, which were enough to qualify. Jonathan damaged his motor - I thought that the end of the world was nigh - by laying it on its side (very carefully I might add).

Kevin completed 3 runs before rain stopped play and the time keepers complained about getting their brains wet. An intrepid man-this I thought his fourth run was done on a somewhat flat tyre and was never completed - he still had a re-run card in his pocket, but they wouldn't let him go again. (If I had known I wouldn't have used up my last excuse not to go with him and the resulting loss of face - legs, arms and rheumatoid arthritis). Still there were some happy faces at the end when the prize giving came 'cos Pennine were not at the back of the queue. A.W.D.C. did get 1st and 2nd overall, with a buggy (1st) and the Honey Monster (a 10r/2 inch LWB V8) 2nd. Pennine collected 3rd overall with Kevin Taylor.

There were those who voiced misgivings about the whole (hole) thing including me, but looking back it was a good event and I for one will return next year to do 14 miles unaided.

I would like to thank David Eccleston for his help and transportation,and Brian Slingsby for the food and good company.

                                                    Steve Flatt

 

 

 
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