South West Centre Kimber Classic Trial
THE Kimber Classic Trial is an annual event organised by the South West Centre, which year on year attracts a strong turnout of Triple-M cars. Back when these cars were built, competing in trials was the most popular form of motorsport undertaken by the owners. The Kimber Classic Trial has stayed true to its roots and even links together many hills and sections which were used in pre-war trials.
The Kimber Classic Trial starts and finishes at the Lanes Hotel in West Coker, near Yeovil, where there is also a well attended dinner held afterwards. This event attracts a strong Dutch entry every year (well, they have no hills of their own) setting a fine example to us all by driving their cars to and from the event!
The route of the trial covers some 80 to 100 miles and takes in 12 special sections, mostly hills, but with the odd timed special test thrown in for good measure. Section one, Windmill Hill, which looks simple enough, is anything but, with the morning dew still on the grass.
After last year’s absolutely awful weather, this year we had sunshine nearly all day; this, coupled with the heavy rain of previous weeks softening the ground, was kinder to transmissions, with the majority of competitors tackling the sections successfully before reaching the lunch stop.
Suitably refreshed, it’s off to what for many is the most challenging hill of the day, ‘Batcombe’, just outside Wells. After Batcombe comes a favourite of photographers and locals alike, ‘Alham Splash’. This section is basically a ford, which though sometimes quite deep, would be fairly straightforward if it were not timed. Thus your day can be won or lost (should that be sunk?) here, and all variety of electrical waterproofing can be seen.
There is an irony on the next hill, ‘The Honeycliff’, usually straight forward, the exit certainly isn’t, with seemingly miles of level, but very muddy track. As usual, lots of us got stuck – meaning the crew behind have to assist. Stout footwear and a strong push is required, but it all adds to the fun. However, everyone eventually emerged from the track with a tale to tell.
The only other major hazard awaiting crews in the latter sections is the girls from Bruton school, who have recognised the earning potential from MG drivers and their crews. They set up a cake stall at the start of one of the final sections, which leaves you heavier and your wallet lighter. Crews trickle back to the finish (some via the carwash) and have a few hours before gathering in the hotel bar to swap stories of the day!
1st Overall: George Ward (PA) Kimber Trophy
1st Class 2: Richard Jenkins (N Type)
2nd Class 2: Mike Linward (J2)
3rd Class 2: Jeremy Hawke (J2)
Team Award: ‘The Grumpies’ – Jenkins, Linward and Hawke
Words: Jeremy Hawke
Photos: Cathelijne Spoelstra