Major's Memorial Trial 2005, Eastnor Deer Park

Hosted the the Midland Rover Owners Club


Ian and I had decided sometime time ago to go to the Majors as it was an event we had not been to before. The team from the club usually consisted of Matt Hewitt, Mark Ambler and Mark Furnell, who have been trailing at this event for ‘experienced CCV drivers’ for a few years now. However, this year the team was to be a bit different. This year was the 35th year of the competition and the 7th year as the Majors Memorial Trial.

Ian got a call from Mark A on Thursday evening, saying that Mark F had cut his hand (in fact he had had a bit of a nasty argument with a grinder and he had come off worse) and was unable to drive. Either me or Ian was to be promoted from passenger to driver. The Majors is a team event, and to take part, there must be 3 drivers (but there was no pressure!). With the event being publicised as ‘not recommended for the inexperienced’, and no guarantee of the wise words of at least an experienced passenger, I bottled it and Ian got the job. Hence, I got promoted to article writer!

So on the weekend of 16th September, we were collected by Tricia and Matthew, and chauffeured, in a very laden discovery, up to Eastnor. Having had a slight detour around the deer park first, we arrived at the right site and were greeted by very friendly Midlands members. We then pitched up in the field and despite bringing everything but the kitchen sink, we ate in the dark due to the absence of a light. Matt arrived, and not in hot pursuit, was Mark A. We were treated to a spectacular display of fireworks, quite possibly courtesy of a very nice couple getting married at the Castle! By this time it was very (very) cold, and so we went to bed….only for Ian to get even colder. Mind you, I don’t think he would have slept much thinking about the next two days ahead… pressure though!

Bright and not so breezy in the morning, me and Ian went off in search of an unsuspecting person to passenger him, and came upon Gary Friend, very bleary eyed having just emerged from his tent (we weren’t really waiting outside for him to come out!). He must have still been half asleep and missed the part about Ian never having done a CCV before and agreed to help out for the Saturday. With us all signed on, we headed out for the Ridgeway for the day, where we were to do sections 1 to 10.

Matt managed to get himself well and truly stuck after completing the first section by driving into a deep gully in an effort to get off the main track. Ian also managed to ding the wing and break the front light and indicator, again on the first section. The rest of the day passed without any major incident, apart from Mark driving us pretty hard into a tree! There were some tight and tricky sections on the Ridgeway and it took a while for Ian to get used to Matt’s motor, but as he settled into the driving, his confidence grew and he finished the day on 53. Mark ended the day on 48 and Matt on a very respectable 27. It had been hard work on the first day, and when Malcolm Whitbread returned from Bronsil to say he had finished the day on 12 (and someone else on 6!), we felt a little disheartened at the scores. Gary must have enjoyed himself though, and was up for passengering Ian for a second day. Matthew (despite being a complete novice to the trailing game), was up for passengering Matt, and so got prepared to sign on in the wee small hours of the morning.

We were all entertained late afternoon by two planes doing acrobatics and making pictures with smoke that resembled a certain part of the anatomy, but everyone said it was supposed to be a love heart. We managed to eat in the daylight Saturday evening, but with another chilly evening, and an early start in the morning, we went to bed. Ian got to have a warmer night by sleeping in the lorry with Mark (need to keep the team drivers on top form!).

Up and off for 8am, we were over on Bronsil for our second day of trailing and sections 11 to 20. Matthew had been given his brief on ‘don’t hold onto the door, keep your elbows in, if you go over’………etc, much to his concern and thinking that ‘it couldn’t happen to me’! We had heard, though, that someone had managed to barrel roll on one of the sections on Bronsil, so there were a few twitchy bits among some of us! Even though I tried to sabotage Matt’s motor by throwing a rock down the hill at his radiator, everyone was on good form, and the sections were a lot more forgiving, with the drivers managing to get much lower scores and even some clears! (yes, even Ian got some clears and Gary made sure everyone knew about it!). Despite this, section 15 proved to be hard work with lots of exposed roots catching people out. Mark managed to get round the tricky 8/7 gate, although we did nearly loose it on it’s side at one point. Matt and Matthew were not, however, so lucky, and ended up tipping over on the side. They were quickly recovered back onto four wheels and after lots of revving, several sheets of loo roll and plenty of smoke, were set for the next section. Mark F arrived in time to watch the last couple of sections and give the team a wave with his non-slinged arm! The day ended with Matt on 13, Ian on 27 and Mark on 19. The overall team score was 187, placing the HBRO team 36 out of 44 teams.

The event was very well organised, with plenty of marshals who kept everything running. Even when there were vehicles to be recovered, no one was kept waiting long for their turn. So thanks to Midland, who put on a great weekend, all the marshals for keeping things going, Tricia for ferrying me and Ian up to Eastnor and back (and providing the mobile lunch), Ian, for making up the team, Mark for putting up with me passengering him and Matt for taking away our rubbish!! It was a fab weekend, and we will definitely be doing again next year, only perhaps we will have to have another HBRO team by then…….!

The Team: Sam Parker, Mark Ambler, Gary Freind, Ian Parker, Matt Hewiit & Matthew Brooker.

Pictures from the event:



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