19th November 2019

Derwydd Car Trail 2019

Bala and district motor clubs Derwydd event is the first of the two events that make up the first Welsh week, straight after the rescheduled Somerset weekend before, four events back to back! Great fun!

It nearly didn’t happen after the Mathews Auto Salvage trail was cancelled, but thankfully Bala MC stepped in to fill the void and put on both days.

Saturday morning saw an early start and the two and a half hour drive to the venue, the weather was a little mixed but it did manage to stay dry for Saturday.

Bala MC put on some cracking food during the day, a bacon roll in the morning is most welcome and the Lamb burgers at lunch were brilliant.

I have been driving on my own of late without an passenger (bouncer) for while now but after a fellow comperters car failed to work properly before the event started i got a friend for the day and weekend in Ifan “Mike” Roberts a 15 year old who normally shares a Dutton with his dad Kevin “Kev Block”.Driving RWD and FWD are too very different things but i feel he adapted well, especially with the Mini not being the most forgiving of cars to drive. Like many forms of motorsport if there’s a problem with a fellow competitors cars everyone helps out to see if they can get it going again, or as in this case shares a car with them. I do wonder how many different people have had a go in my car over the years?

After the formalities of scrutineering and signing on were sorted out, it was off to the 8 hills for the day which were to be tackled 4 times. Longish wet grass which was to dry out as the day wore on but it would make the first round very tricky.

The hills set out had some tough starts, short run ups into a prolonged climb and some tricky off camber sections to deal with.I was the “first on” which means everyone get to see my mistakes or which line isn’t working, as i trundled round racking up a huge amount of marks dropped i thought it was a disaster! I’ve dropped less on entire events than i did on the first round, 42, but turned out it was actually a good score as the others in class 2 struggled on behind me. The battle in class 1 on 3, was a lot closer with the top 2 contenders in each class separated by 1 mark.

Round 2 fealt a lot better, nice to see the top of some of the sections and halving my round 1 score but a hard charging Gary Preston, my closest rival for the day, had closed up on me by 4 marks. The battle in the other classes was too tight to call with everyone separated by very small amounts.

Lunch break is a good time to catch up with all the news after being spread out over the sections all the tales of woe or success are exchanged. I Was a bit concerned to be losing marks to Gary, if it’s 4 marks a round that puts me behind at the end of the next 2 rounds. Work to be done!!

This point in the event is a good time to reflect on why driving a car up between 26 posts over and over again is a challenging sport, from the outside if you try to explain it to people it seems a little boring,compared to rallying or circuit racing for example, but the competition is still there, and bloody fierce competition too, having to hang onto a 4 mark lead for 16 hills isn’t that easy, it requires concentration and a steady hand. It can all be make or break on every section, one false move and it’s all over. To be honest my results haven’t been much to write home about recently and i wasn’t all that confident i could hang on to slim lead.

So off into round 3 and 4 we went, my  pessimism after lunch was misplaced and i managed to extend my lead over the next 2 rounds instead of watch it disappear.

The hills had been tweaked all day and there was a few squeaky bum moments over some fresh slippery grass but managed to keep it together.

The tight battles in the other classes meant working out who won, was going to be a little tricky , no one was a clear winner…..

Turned out it was me! And by a truly tiny margin of .55% on the index of performance calculation(that’s a whole article by itself!). So narrowly beat class 1’s Henry Kitching to the top spot. Bala had some great awards to present,  handmade wooden maps of Wales on plinths with the award information written on them.

The class winners were Henry Kitching in class 1 beating Trevor Moffat after a day long tussle, and Mark Hoppe in class 3, almost tied on scores with Barrie Parker adpart from a singular 10 on one hill on the third round round.Ifan “Mike” Roberts  won the novice award for his efforts on the day.

A most enjoyable event in a lovely place with lovely people, totally worth the journey.A huge thanks to Bala Motor Club for putting the event on.

Rupert North