Stewartstown Trial Report

8 December 2012


Despite some notable absentees, eleven drivers and cars arrived at the excellent parking facilities at Norman Ferguson’s yard on Saturday morning. The weather was kind yet again but it had been a different story a few days earlier when heavy rain left the site and access fields extremely wet. Thanks to help from John Keatley, the CoC had set up the usual 5 hills across the compact site.


Hill 1 was a long ‘serpentine’ that finished with a climb up to the top hedge. It was cleaned by the top teams in the first 2 rounds but got increasingly challenging as the day went on and scores ranged from 1 to 11 in round 4!


Hill 2 started with a loop around 2 large trees and following a tricky 180 degree turn near the top hedge, ended with a difficult finish gate with a choice of approaches. This proved to be a contentious set up and despite tweaking by the CoC throughout the day, was not cleaned by anyone.


Hill 3 also comprised twists and turns and was a real trickling challenge that was only mastered eight times in the 4 rounds.


Hill 4 was a fast trickle weave up to a steep finish where blasting was the order of the day.


Hill 5 started at a large tree and following a steady climb to the top hedge returned to the bottom to do it all over again and finish with tricky chicane. Cleaned by many in the early rounds but proved too difficult to conquer as the surface became more slippery later on.


At the end of round 1, there was little between the top Class A drivers but John Keatley held a one point advantage over Simon Gracey with Trevor Aston a further point adrift. David Webster had fitted a new differential since the previous outing and seemed very pleased with his revised final drive ratios. He led Class B with 16, the same score as Class C man Alastair Booth.


At the ‘half time’ break, positions stayed much the same with the exception that a first-rate zero on hill 5 had moved Michael McBratney ahead of Webster. The CoC ‘tweaked’ all the hills and with the weather still dull but dry, the competitors resumed battle with the increasingly difficult surfaces. Scores certainly increased over the 2nd half of the trial and as usual there were some hard luck stories.


John Keatley’s Crossle engine was now sounding distinctly sick and Simon Gracey’s 16 valve Honda engine was consuming large quantities of water. Trevor Aston had sneaked up quietly on both of them and they were all square on 13 points after round 3.


McBratney was now struggling and David Webster regained the lead in Class B. In Class C, there was a close battle between the yellow cars and when Booth slipped up on hill 1, David and Trevor Turkington seized the initiative. They had some impressive climbs throughout the day but apparently the sight of their car crossing the finishing gate on hill 4 whilst pointing at the sky was a scary sight to behold!


With all to play for in Class A, an excellent 2 on hill 3 in the final round proved to be the clincher as Trevor and Andrew Aston prevailed on a total of 21, from John Keatley on 27 and Simon Gracey on 30. But for those engine problems it might have been a different story, but we will never know.


In Class B, David Webster and regular passenger Ewan Peyton took the win whilst the Turkingtons clung on for the Class C spoils.


Afterwards, most of the crews proceeded to ‘Tommy’s Tavern’ for snacks and refreshments courtesy of Trevor and Pamela Turkington whilst the results were compiled.


Thanks to the Turkingtons for their hospitality and Norman Ferguson for use of his site and facilities.



Clive Gracey


Posted by PMcCollum on 20/1/2013; Last updated by PMcCollum on 20/1/2013