After its absence in 2018, the Clee Hills Trial returned this year and as ever it did not disappoint. Held in the Shropshire countryside the Clee Hills trial is a popular event that often draws in a wide array of cars from all different classes. Once again, I partnered up with my Dad to take on the Trial in our VW buggy.
Our first section of the day, known as Castle Hill was slightly different by comparison to previous years. This time it featured a diversion up a steep bank which proved to be challenging. At first, we thought we’d ran too far wide and were heading for a collision with a tree, but a good boost of power and some substantial bouncing helped us over the diversion and on to the top of the section. Section 2 was an easy, stress-free climb. It was rocky and had a slightly steeper part towards the end, but it caused us no problems and we cleared the stage.
We continued on to a wooded area where we would take on three different sections. Our efforts would be made harder by high tyre pressures of 16 psi. Priors Holt four was our next section and featured our first restart of the day. The run up the restart was positive, and we appeared to have good traction. Our positioning at the restart was good, but as we went to set off again the car seemed to bog down with minimal wheel spin. Strangely the car did move forwards and we were feeling hopeful, however, the power simply wasn’t great enough to move off the restart. We were handed 6 points and reversed back out of the section.
Priors Holt six was another section that we successfully completed. Although there we some tricky parts along the way, the car maintained good traction and we cleared the stage with no issues. We then moved on to Priors Holt 1. This was a very steep climb that required a lot of speed and plenty of momentum. The car performed well here even though we did pick up some points. Our speed was good, but the surface of the section was too much for our tyres. As we drew near to the end of the section the rock became very slippery and even though the wheels were spinning, we started to roll back giving us four points and a total score of ten.
Flounders Folly was the next hill in our way. Luckily, we were allowed to choose our own tyre pressures, so we decided to drop them to a risky, 4 psi. This might seem rather low, but in the world of classic trials deflated tyres give better traction when taking on muddy sections. This particular hill proved to be challenging, even with the benefit of low tyre pressures. We set off with good pace but ran wide on the first corner. We then overcorrected and slid over to the other bank and lost too much momentum. Some traction was gained through some heavy bouncing on my part, however, we ended up with seven points.
After a poor run on what was a challenging section, we moved on to Meadowlark Wood. This section had a tyre pressure limit of 12 psi. We set of well and had good traction, but the further we climbed the thicker the mud got, and when I say mud it was more like clay. We scored two points, however, our teamwork was unquestionable. Myself and my Dad were both bouncing around in the car trying to gain more traction. If we hadn’t have done such antics, we could have been handed more points.
Section 9 known as The Jenny Wind was another difficult climb. Again, we weren’t helped by the ever-present tyre pressure limits, and this time we would have to negotiate the hill with our tyres at a whopping 18 psi. Due to the high tyre pressures we only managed a score of 8 which lessened our chances of a high position in our class.
Our luck had certainly run out after we had completed section 10 of the trial. Although we were able to run on 4 psi the car simply didn’t have the traction, therefore nine points were added to our overall score.
The next stage was a more entertaining climb. For Easthope 1 we had to run on 12 psi which would not be easy for what was an infamously difficult section. We set off with as much pace as possible and had could traction for the first part if the hill. As we reached the ‘7’ maker we started to lose grip and the wheels were spinning furiously. In an attempt to move further forward I was moving the car from side to side and was jumping up and down in my seat. At one stage both of us were jumping up and down. We didn’t clear the section, but our impeccable efforts gave us a smaller score of 5 points.
Major’s Leap would be the final section of the day. The hill was very steep and at the very bottom there was what can only be described as mud bath. Although we launched forwards well the mud was simply too thick, and we hadn’t got the traction so scored 9 points.
This was a difficult trial in the circumstances. The tyre pressures were higher than previous years making our chances of clearing a section much harder and the muddier hills proved to be more demanding. In the end we came 5th in class which was a good result considering we scored highly on some of the sections. Let’s hope we can achieve more success as we take on more trials in 2019!