The 8th Major's Memorial Trial 2006, Eastnor Deer Park
|Hosted the the Midland Rover Owners Club|
I can’t really believe that it has been a whole year since I last wrote an article about the Major’s. How time has flown. But the time had come round again for us to make the pilgrimage to Eastnor Deer Park for this annual event run by the Midlands Rover Owners Club. So on Friday 15th September, we loaded the car and made our way to Trisha and Matthews in Midgham. We were once again without children, so had been offered to stay with Trisha and Matthew in their van. We left early afternoon, but despite our fairly early arrival in Ledbury, the site was already quite full.
Parking was the first problem, with the van being on a bit of a slope. However, this was not a problem for Matthew, who chopped up a pallet we found laying around and wedged up the front of the van. We were joined later by Matt who had made his way down in his mobile sauna, and Mark A even managed to arrive in the daylight. Mark F and Claire turned up a bit later, and Roy and Sally were bringing up the late arrivals. Motors unloaded, signing on complete and scrutineering passed, the fire was lit and beers consumed.
Saturday morning saw us all up bright and early ready for the 8am start. Except for Trisha and Matthew who could not get out of bed at such an unearthly hour. We all lined up in our groups and were taken to the Ridgeway for the first 10 sections to be completed that day. The Ridgeway is generally sections run on tracks through the trees (quite literally sometimes, especially if you take the wrong turn!) and in places the course runs between some very tight spots. But the team got off to a good start with Matt on 2, Mark F on 0 and Mark A on 0. It certainly helps to put you in the right frame of mind to start the day on a low score. However, before Mark and I got onto the line to start section 2, we were tipped off to a tyre losing pressure rather rapidly. However, we managed to do the section, score 1, and then be escorted back to the campsite by the marshal in double quick time, do a swift wheel change and be back in time to do the next section.
We were joined at lunchtime by Trisha and Matthew delivering meals on wheels, and Steve Adams and Jill, who were on a romantic weekend and had just happened to stumble upon a load of Landrovers doing their stuff at Eastnor! (You could have at least put in a pair of boots for Jill, Steve).The rest of the day went well for everyone, except on the final section when Matt heard that familiar twang of a diff breaking. So we all headed back to do some wheeling and dealing and to take Steve up on his offer of getting his hands dirty. The day finished with Mark F on 23, Matt on 53 and Mark A on 12.
What is ideal about the Majors is that the day may start early, but you get to finish early too, so there is plenty of time to chill and chat, so we had another evening of sitting around the fire, drinking beer and eating tea. But before we knew it, time was getting late and so we all headed off to bed. Before settling down for the night, though, there was the small matter of de-bugging the van……!
Sunday, and another early start saw us heading off to Bronsil. A few rumours from the day before about sections 16 and 18 were making a few people twitchy, particular as we started off on section 15. So we were to find out what was in store very soon! The first section started off across some exposed tree roots, and caught a lot of people out, with each of the HBLRO team on 7. We then headed off for section 16. The end of the section finished with gates 3 and 2 positioned across a deep ditch. This meant having to drive nose first into the ditch, and then try to drive out the other side. If you have not done so already, visit the club website, and follow the link to ‘Video Clips’, to see the motors in action. I have to admit, it is the first time I have ever put my hand on the roof to brace myself, as I thought we were going to go end over end! I certainly had the shakes when I got out! Matt made the most impressive job of this section though, with good commentary in the background of his clip. Section 17 was fairly uneventful, with the 7 catching Mark A and Matt out, but with Mark F managing a clear. So we were then off to section 18. When we arrived, it was quite obvious where people had been caught out due to the collection of safety marshals around the gate. Apparently, many had been tipped over on 8 by having to drive through the gates over a side slope. However, Mark F managed to get to the 1 gate without any difficulty, and most of the group either drove through without clipping the cane or just touched it going up the slope. But there is always one, and that one was us. We went just slightly too high, and the next thing we knew, we were on our side. It was a pretty gentle roll, and we were righted very quickly, but still had to remain on section until cleared by the chief scrutineer.
The rest of the day was uneventful for the HBLRO team, with a mixture of scores on each of the sections. On section 12, one of the teams, who were down to their last motor, managed to break their steering rod by snagging it on a tree root going backwards down a slope (good clip of him being recovered on YouTube). However, they did get it fixed so that they could complete the last two sections. The day ended with Mark F on 30, Matt on 61 and Mark A on 49. Overall for the weekend, the total score was 228, with the team being placed 32 out of 44 teams. An improvement of 4 places from last year!
This is the thanks bit at the end again! Thanks to Lyn and Charles Wilkinson of MROC, who were our section scorer and lead marshals for Saturday, and Steve, who stepped in as section scorer for Sunday. All the marshals and organisers, who kept everything running relatively smoothly. To Tricia and Matthew for bed, breakfast (albeit cook your own) and meals on wheels. Sorry for forgetting phones on Sunday and consequently your long walk. We paid for it by having a late lunch! To Mark A for the ride, and Matt on behalf of Ian! To Mark F and Claire, for the keeping the team score from dropping too low! And Roy for marshalling on behalf of HBLRO and Sally for noting all the info ready for me to type up! Cracking weekend………………………..same time, same place next year!
The Team: Mark Furnell & Claire, Matt Hewitt & Ian Parker, Mark Ambler & Sam Parker.