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Summer Trial 2022


24th-26th June 2022

Summer Trial 2022
Winners: Constant Busch/Najib Nakad (Volvo Amazon)
Photograph: HERO-ERA/Blue Passion

Organiser: HERO-ERA

Date: 24th-26th June 2022

Clerk of the Course: George Mullins

Route: 375 Miles (13 Regularities, 9 Tests)

Base: Grantham

Starters: 71

The annual three day Summer Trial moved to a new base for 2022, with the event having its head quarters at the Belton Woods Hotel, just north of Grantham.

Seventy-one crews left the start at 14:00 on Friday afternoon, with competitive motoring opening with a test at the Ancaster Karting Track. James Holt/Chris Matthews were fastest in their BMW 325ii. This was the first of six fastest times from the Trial’s nine tests; a performance that earned Holt the Test Pilot Award at the Finish.

Regularity 1/1 started near Boothby Graffoe, wound its way via Bassingham, to finish outside Brant Broughton; it had three timing points. Three crews got three zeroes over the section; these were Andy Simpson/Roger Bricknell (Mini 1275GT), Anthony Cohen/James Cohen (Triumph TR5) and Alistair Leckie/Matt Outhwaite (Saab 900 Turbo). The latter crew, the 2021 HERO Challenge Champions, were hoping for a top result, however, the Saab proved under powered and too large to compete with their class rivals on the tests. They were to finish in ninth place, although Outhwaite won the Clock Watchers Award for the least penalties picked up on the event’s 13 regularities.

Tim Green/Mel Green were struggled through the opening sections as their Mini Cooper S was suffering from a number of problems, including a lack of brakes, from the off. With the help of the sweeps, they managed to get the car sorted at the first coffee break at Dry Doddington.

By the time the car was fixed, they were 16 minutes late leaving for the allocated start of Regularity 2, they thus picked up a maximum one minute penalty at the first timing point, although this was reduced to 15 seconds thanks to the Joker system, where the largest lateness penalty is reduced to 15 seconds.

Two more regularities were split by a second visit to the Ancaster karting track. By the time crews arrived back at Belton Woods, Paul O Kane/Henry Carr (Mercedes 280 SL) were leading. They were three seconds ahead of James Young/Steve Young (Datsun 240Z) and Rod Hanson/Clare Grove (MG Maestro).

There were four Masters crews competing, although they were not eligible for overall awards. This class was led by Stephen Owens/Ian Canavan ((Porsche 356B), who were seven seconds in front of Noel Kelly/Pete Johnson (MG B Roadster).

The route for Day Two took crews north and east towards the Lincolnshire Wolds. The first regularity of the day started near Bardney and ran, via three timing points to Langton by Wargby. There was a short non-competitive before the second regularity, which finished just before the morning coffee halt at Donington on Bain.

At this point it was a Mercedes 1-2; Kane/Carr still headed the field, with 2020 Novice Trial winners, Jonathan Shepherd/Kay Shepherd (Mercedes Benz 300E) two seconds behind in second place. Hanson/Grove were in third.

After a short regularity that finished near Alford, crews arrived at the Aviation Museum at East Kirkby, the home of a Lancaster bomber. The airfield as the site if six tests. Three were tackled before a lunch halt, the remainder followed straight afterwards.

By the break Kane/Carr had extended their lead to eight seconds; a massive lead in what was proving to be a tight contest. Lee Clarke/Max Clarke (Triumph TR4) had put in the best performance over the third regularity and this had helped them to move up to second place. Appearing in the leading positions for the first time were Constant Busch/Najib Nakad (Volvo Amazon), who were now third.

The best performance of the morning was achieved by London Lisboa winners, Dick Baines/Harry Baines; they picked up just 15 seconds of penalties. However, their event was spoilt by their Mini Cooper continually cutting out. They finished the event in 22nd place.

The first two tests after the lunch break were exactly the same as the first two before lunch, however, the third had a different layout and this caught out a number of crews; 26 were awarded wrong tests. Most significantly Kane/Carr were one of the cars involved and they dropped from first to tenth.

Two regularities to the east of Horncatle and another near Sleaford completed the full day’s competition.

Initially it seemed that Lee Clarke/Max Clarke were the leaders at the final MTC of the day, however they were adjudged to have failed to stop astride a timing line at one control and this added ten seconds to their score. This meant that Constant Busch/Najib Nakad now led by three seconds from the Triumph duo.

Rod Hanson/Clare Grove held on to third, but were only a second ahead of Malcolm Dunderdale/Anita Wickins (Mercedes Benz 280CE). They in turn were just a second in front of Tim Green/Mel Green, who were recovering from their first day mechanical issues.

In the Masters Class the performance of the day had come from Paul Bloxidge/Oli Waldock (Triumph TR4); they had dropped ten seconds less than any of their category rivals during the day and were now just two seconds behind Stephen Owens/Ian Canavan.

Sunday saw the finale of the event with four regularities to the south west of Grantham, the route venturing out of Lincolnshire briefly and into Leicestershire.

By the coffee halt, which was taken in Wymondham, Busch/Nakad had extended their lead to ten seconds and it was now Green/Green that led the chase. As others moved up and down the leader board, Hanson/Grove remained in third place.

Many crews complained about being held up by either cyclists or Dog Show traffic attending an event at Belvoir Castle. Worst affected were Dunderdale/Wickins who got stuck behind a large group of cyclists who refused to allow their Mercedes to pass. They dropped from fourth to seventh as a result.

Two long regularities, with, in total, nine timing points lay between the coffee halt and the Finish. Busch/Nakad sailed through them and finished the event 11 seconds ahead of the field. This had only been their second event together; the pair having had a baptism of fire by entering the 2021 Rally of the Tests as their first rally.

To their own surprise, Rod Hanson/Clare Grove finally moved out of third and secured the runner up spot, their best ever result. Nigel Woof/Sally Woof (Volvo PV544), who had been in the top ten throughout the event, came in to take the final podium place.

Tim Green/Mel Green dropped a total of 20 seconds at the final two timing points and, in the tight competition, this caused them to fall to fourth in the final standings. Dunderdale/Wickins recovered from their earlier delay and to take fifth and a class win.

The Masters Class was won by Paul Bloxidge/Oli Waldock; they charged through the final two days, to move from fourth, and last, in class to win by 11 seconds.