The Championship calendar kicked off with our first Sprint of the year at Castle Combe. Similar to last year, 7 contenders made their way to Castle Combe. Our 2016 Championship winner, Andrew Bisping, attended the event in his newly acquired OMS and with the help of fellow competitor Rob Thompson produced a great time, taking longer to get in and out of the car, than time spent on the circuit. Alison Lock also attended the first sprint of the year in a new car, namely ‘Mr Green’. David Ashurst in his Mazda MX5 having just joined the championship was the first to take to the track and put in a great time. On the Tuesday following the sprint, we were informed that Eifion Jones, a sponsor of the Trident Championship had sadly passed away on Monday (26th March). Many competitors attended Eifion’s funeral, demonstrating how popular he was.
April saw a double header at Wiscombe for the first of the Hillclimbs, with 16 contenders there for both days, with many championship contenders leaving with Personal Bests, 1st in Class and Mike Hall, John Phelps and Andrew Bisping setting new target times for 2019. Unfortunately, Mark Jago in his Dutton Melos collided with the bank and put pay to his second day of competing. Antony Bailey also had a moment/mishap during his first practice, but managed to fix the car and proceeded to do timed runs. Due to Alison experiencing some issues with ‘Mr Green’ after Castle Combe, her sturdy British Leyland Mini namely ‘Shelley’ was brought out for retirement and ventured up the hill without any mishaps.
Llandow on the 12th May, saw 14 contenders sprint around the circuit, once again a few PB’s and 1st in class for some of the competitors. Rebekah Edwards in her newly refurbished VW Lupo (namely Dora), had an engine issue (water housing exploded on start line) but fortunately her pit crew were able to head back to base and get a replacement fitting, getting her back out on track and securing a 1st in class at the end of the day. Great team effort once again.
A busy June started with a double header at Pembrey (2nd & 3rd June), using the original track layout on both days. A few PB’s were achieved and some 1st in class wins. Out of the 16 Championship contenders that entered both days, 5 drivers set new target times for 2019. Unfortunately, last year’s Championship Winner Martyn Ferris experienced some misfire issues with his Renault 5, and along with fellow competitors tried desperately to resolve the issues but were unable to find the source of the problem, so had to call it day, resulting in him having to retire the car and withdrawing from the Sunday event.
Having had a weekend off after Pembrey, the Trident Championship took the Brecon Hills. A week later than usual, we made our way to Epynt for a double header (ie 16th & 17th June) and a slightly shorter layout. Due to reduction in length it meant that no targets times were set, so we started from scratch on the first day. On the Saturday we had a total of 19 competitors make their way up the hill (with one making a quick pit stop in an open ditch [Dora] !, but fortunately nothing too drastic and a quick dust down once off the recovery lorry and it was back to normal). The Championship welcomed two new drivers, in the form of Owen Evan and John Morgan double driving their Peugeot 206. A reduced number on Sunday (ie. 17 drivers), due to a clash with Shelsely Walsh. Two drivers chose to mix up the weekend and made their way over to Worcester to one of oldest motorsport venues in the world, being joined by two fellow Championship competitors, so a total of 4 competed at Shelsley, with 3 out of the 4 setting new target times 2019. A total of 21 competitors competed on Father’s Day making it one of our most popular weekends to date for the Trident Championship, celebrating a few PB’s and Birthday’s along the way.
Unfortunately, the Llandow Sprint event (on the 14th July) was cancel, due to BARC Wales being unable to secure some of the vital personnel and services to stage the event. So, the next event after Epynt/Shelsley was to be Castle Combe for the Dick May Sprint on the 28th July, where a small selection of drivers took to the Wiltshire Circuit on a very popular an oversubscribed event. Rob Thomason in his Renault Clio and Alison Lock in her British Leyland Mini managed to set new target times for 2019 having beaten times set, with Garry Morgan in his Chevette setting a new target time.
Nine drivers ventured north to Curborough for the The Figure of Eight layout, but unfortunately only eight drivers managed to complete the timed run, with Andrew Bisping in his OMS having wishbone issues, resulting in an early finish for him.
The August Bank Holiday consisted of a double header at Loton Park Hillclimb for 11 drivers, with it being the first time for many of them. A mixture of weather kept the drivers on their toes (along with the Deer happily grazing and walking by), with Saturday being a warm dry day, and Sunday completely opposite, cold and wet, a mixture of times were achieved on the weekend.
Having left one woodland park, competitors made their way south to another at Wiscombe Park in Devon for the second visit of the year. Both Saturday and Sunday were dry days with many competitors setting new PB. Unfortunately, Garry Morgan in his Chevette could not complete a timed run on Sunday due to a head gasket issue, having to retire the car after his first practice. Lyndon in his Puma kept to the track both on the way up and on the way down, however for a brief moment it looked as though Paul Meadows would try Lyndon’s driving line from 2017, on his way up the hill (after the first left hander just beyond the tree) veering down towards the river.
With only 4 events left to go, it was all to play for. Many of the competitors having now completed 9 rounds and more, so drop scores were now starting to come into play.
Not deterred by the weather predictions for a full day of rain, 5 drivers make their way to MIRA test centre at Nuneaton, where they took to the Handling & Stability Circuit. Due to a small entry list, drivers were awarded a third time run, giving value for money on one of the country’s best tarmac surface (which consists of Delugrip RSM surface). Catering was taken to another level, Barrista Coffee, homemade croissants filled with bacon, not forgetting some homemade brownies. The handling and stability circuit is particularly appropriate for tyre and chassis development, and pushing vehicles to their handling limit and this is precisely what many of the Trident Championship member did, resulting in some new Target times for 2019 once again.
The last of the double headers was to be at Shelsey Walsh. The last hillclimb of the season and hugely popular with competitors, always oversubscribed. 9 contenders found themselves parked next to one another in the Historic/tight garage shelters. Saturday proved to be very productive day as many of the contenders achieved and surpassed their target times. Unfortunately, Sunday proved to be challenging day for Ben Burggraaf, having achieved an impressive time of 32.89 on Saturday, and determined to put in a similar time on the Sunday, he found that his stunning Elise S2 collided with bank, damaging the front driver’s side of the car, putting pay to his timed runs. Fortunately, with the assistance of many drivers in the paddock area, he managed to get the car temporarily fixed in order to drive home back to Cardiff.
So it was down to the last event on the Calendar to decide on the Trident Championship Winner, namely Rob Thomson and Paul Meadows. The Curborough 2 lap was to determine who should be the overall winner for 2018.
We were informed on the morning of the event that a dear friend to many of the Championship drivers had passed away the day before, namely Huw Jones. Huw was a familiar sight to many at events such as Llandow, Pembrey, Epynt, Llys Y Fran, to name a few, as a MSA Scrutineer. Huw had taken up the MSA role in 1996 and had competed himself in a BL Mini, so as a mark of respect a few words were made at the drivers briefing, and during the morning session a MacMillan Coffee morning was arranged in the paddock with a total of £325 raised (which will be donated in memory of all those loved ones lost to Cancer).
Rob Thomson managed to achieve his target time during his first timed run securing 21 points, with the pressure placed on Paul Meadows to do the same, unfortunately Paul missed the target by just under a second, leaving it all to play for on the 2nd time run, and even though Paul managed to improve his time on his 2nd run, he did not exceed the target time by a second, resulting in Rob Thomson winning the Trident Championship. Unfortunately, due a collision between another Modified Renault Clio Cup and the bank by the finishing line, oil was dispensed on the track, and after Marshals trying their hardest to clean the track, it was deemed to be unsafe to continue on with the remaining 2nd timed runs and the event was abended, resulting in only the first timed runs awarded to all competitors being taken into account for class wins.
So the standing of the Trident Engineering Sprint & Hillclimb Championship 2018 in association with Dryslwyn Haulage is as follows :-
1st Overall Winner - Rob Thomson (Renault Clio 172 Cup)
2nd Overall - Paul Meadows (Renault Clio)
3rd Overall - Garry M Morgan (Vauxhall Chevette HSR)
Lady Winner - Alison Lock (British Leyland Mini)
Class Winners -
Lyndon Evans (Ford Puma)
Rebekah Edwards (VW Lupo)
Graeme Procter (Fiat Abarth 500)
Gordon Hick (Ford Focus RS)
Anthony Shearman (Caterham 310R)
Lloyd Bettinson (Peugoet 106)
Charlotte Phelps (Westfield Megabusa)
Andrew Bisping (OMS)
Gary Morgan (Peugeot 206 GTi)
David Ashurst (Mazda MX5)
Championship update Results uploaded after Round 19. Click Here to view
Championship update Results uploaded after Round 18. Click Here to view
Championship update Results uploaded after Round 16. Click Here to view
Championship update Results uploaded after Round 14. Click Here to view
Championship update Results uploaded after Round 13. Click Here to view
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