Report of the 2022 Autumn Car Trial

9th October 2022

Age Conquers All

The northwest corner of the Mendip Hills slopes steeply down to edge of Bristol at Dundry Hill and the village of Dundry itself commands fine views to Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Severn Crossings beyond.  South West Committee Member, Dave Coppock had found a new venue for the Autumn Car Trial in a field just over the brow of the long winding climb up from Bristol’s outskirts.  The gate to the field was certainly where in the 1950’s many an Austin Seven or asthmatic Ford Pop would pause to let the clouds of steam subside after a first gear slog to the top.  The new venue is an ideal trials field and a worthy replacement for the Pagans Hill events of the past.  The valley has north and south aspects and can be extended to some pretty steep stuff if conditions are suitable.

Fortunately, early October weather proved ideal and the day was dry and still, but rain during the week had left a good greasy top.  South West Comps Sec. Jim Lott and his team had set out four sections.  Three sections on the north side and Hill Four on the south aspect.  Postal strikes and web server problems had hindered publicity for the event, but nonetheless a good quality entry of five Centre members signed on supported by enthusiastic marshals.  Hills 2 and 4 proved to be the stoppers, although all the hills required concentration and some accuracy. 

The field of all MGs broadly divided into old and new.  The new class consisted of Mike Angwin in his MGF, Andy Morris in his faithful MGB and Chris Pelmear in a Midget.  Meanwhile, the old MGs were Frank Vautier driving his TA and Dave Coppock with his TC.  Frank had gallantly driven from west Wales and having got lost in Bristol gave him a journey time of nearly five hours – That’s enthusiasm!

Frank and Dave took turns to passenger for each other and they never stopped chatting and laughing for the whole event.  Both drivers had a good day, with Frank finishing just one point better than Dave on 27 and 28 respectively, thanks to two cleans on Hill 4 late in the day.  Hill 3 did not trouble any of the field although it looked tricky at first sight, and marshal Tony Blake noted all clean sheets.  Simon Lott on Hill four had the biggest numbers to record as in some cases it was difficult to get off the line for the newer MGs.  Meanwhile Mark Withers ran Hill 2 with competitors gradually improving their scores as the day progressed.  Jim Lott manned the pencil on Hill 1 where only Dave and Chris were clean all day.  Andy Morris piloted the MGB with enthusiasm but suffered a few overheating problems.  Mike Angwin’s nemesis proved to be Hill 4 where the wide rubber of the MGF just did not want to get him off the start line.

As it turned out the results were in age order of car with the TA finishing 1st o/a from the TC followed by a class win for the Midget followed by Andy’s rubber bumper MGB and then Mike Angwin’s MGF.  All agreed Jim and team had organised a super days Clubsport, of non-damaging but testing fun.

This is an excellent venue.  We hope to see the Autumn Car Trial at Dundry as a regular feature for the future and I am sure its popularity will only grow.

Chris Pelmear