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Royal Automobile Club 1000 Mile Trial

Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation

13th-18th July 2015

Winners Photo
Winners: John Abel/Martyn Taylor (Lagonda LG45)
Photograph: HERO/ERA

Organiser: Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation

Date: 13th-18th July 2015

Clerk of the Course: Guy Woodcock

Route: 1,000 Miles + 21 Tests

Countries: England & Wales

Starters: 42

John Abel/Martyn Taylor made it two wins out of two when they repeated last year’s winning success on the second running of revived 1000 Mile Trial. The event is a collaboration between the Royal Automobile Club and HERO and commemorates the original 1000 Mile Trial run by the RAC in 1900. This year’s event was run over six days; starting and finishing at the Royal Automobile Club at Woodcote. In between competitors tackled a route that took them as far north as Derbyshire and also into Wales. There were tests at Bicester Heritage Centre, Shelsley Walsh and Goodwood amongst other places.

At the end of a short day won the eventual winners, running in a Lagonda LG45, shared the lead with Paul Crosby/Andy Pullan, who were competing in HERO Arrive & Drive AC March 16/80 Special. The latter crew having already taken three victories, including the Three Castles Trial, this year. The Whyte sisters in the little Austin Seven Super; they had run out of fuel – the car’s tank only holds three gallons – and when they were offered a top up by another competitor the contents of the container turned out to be water. They were OTL by time they reached Tylney Hall. Urs Mezger/Denise Mezger were also late here as they struggled with electrical in their Morgan 3 Wheeler. Jane Wignall/Kevin Savage had been expected to go well on the event but a myriad of technical problem meant that they had to cut route and seek mechanical assistance.

By the finish of Day Two, which was taken at Coombe Abbey on the outskirts of Coventry, the lead was held by William Medcalf/Dan Harrison. Abel/Taylor had lost the lead after picking up a 10 second penalty for failing to stop astride a timing line at an Intermediate Timing Point. This left them in a three way tie for second place, three seconds off the lead. They shared second with Crosby/Pullan and the Riley Brookland 9hp of Robert Crofton/Fred Bent. Sadly this day saw the retirement of the Mezger’s Morgan as their electrical problems continued.

Medcalf/Harrison maintained their lead on Day Three which finished in Chester. Crosby/Pullan lay in second, two seconds behind, with Abel/Taylor in third a further two seconds back. These three crews were now clear of the field. Unable to make it to the overnight halt was the Alvis of Richard Dresner/Colin Mackenzie; their car suffered a broken shaft.

Day Four took competitors into Wales and proved to be vital for the outcome of the Trial. Medcalf/Harrison were caught out by a timing point on the section around Lake Vyrnwy and picked up a massive 48 second penalty at one control. By the overnight halt at Chateau Impney in Droitwich Abel/Taylor had regained the lead and weren’t to lose it again. John Ruston/Jeremy Haylock were now in second as Crosby/Pullan fell to third after a text maximum early in the day.

Crofton/Bent continued their successful outing. They had dropped to sixth by the end of Day For, this was largely due to failing brakes, which made the descent from the Long Mynd interesting. Unfortunately they encountered dynamo problems on Day Five and had to miss a number of controls. They eventually finished in 12th position.

Day Five saw Abel/Taylor consolidating their lead and interest moved to the battle for the runner up spot. Medcalf/Harrison, thanks partly to excellent test performances which saw them fastest in class on all but two tests, ended Day Five tied in second place with Crosby/Pullan. The matter was decided on the final day. Medcalf/Harrison drew in front after a series of tests at Goodwood but more significantly Crosby/Pullan were delayed by non-competing traffic on the final regularity and dropped 21 seconds at one control.

A final run down the Captain’s Drive at Woodcote, a reverse of the opening test, was followed by a ceremonial finish in front of the Clubhouse, with all but six cars completing the 1000 mile route.