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Duncan WelchMarch Hare winner Duncan Welch looks worried on Bingham's Warren, knowing the "impossible" class eight restart is just around the corner.. (Picture by Dave Cook).


Richard ShirleyRichard Shirley's beautiful Dellow Mk1 is original with 1172 Sidevalve and three speed box, so ran in Class 7 (picture by Dave Cook)

Anthony YoungAnthony Young debuted his Aly Special in the 1999 March Hare and choose the 2007 event for his first trial in a Beetle  (picture by Herts VW Club)

The crews lined up at  Watling Street Cafe, just off junction nine of the M1, on 11th March. There were only two non-starters from the 43 entries (coincidently the same number as a NASCAR field) so 41 cars took the start after passing through the scrutiny of John and June Blakeley and Steve Willis.


Byway, long straight climb on loose stones with the left hand rut getting deeper towards the summit, straight run through for all classes.

Michael LeeteThe sun shines on Class Four as Michael Leete's Beetle and Nigel Jones Skoda wait their turn.

John GrovesMarshal Mike Turner signals John Groves away from the start of Nortonstreet Lane. It got very muddy at the top.

The first section, with sponsor Murray MacDonald  in charge, was in superb condition after the recent spell of wet weather, which had made it challenging for a first section, even in the absence of a restart. Almost everyone made it, except the lower slung class 0 cars of Ben Hardcastle (Skoda Favorit) and James McMurray (MG Midget) who struggled with the ruts at the top.


Byway - Short well surfaced climb up a tree lined gully.

With Reg Taylor and Geoff Jackson in charge everyone behaved themselves and cleaned this short little section.


Byway - Water Tower starts straight across the road from Cress Beds. It's a long section, starting with some very muddy ruts, then climbing through a tree lined gully.

Howard BlackwellHoward Blackwell's X90 slipped into the wrong rut and needed a tow. The marshals in the background are at the top of Cress Beds. (Picture by Dave Cook)

John ParsonsThe sun shines on John and Dot Parsons as they tackle Water Tower. Unfortunately they retired after Brickhill. (Picture by Dave Cook)

Once again the challenge of Water Tower was the muddy ruts at the bottom which were avoided by most people and again everyone went clean.


Special Test followed by a sub-divided section on Private Land.

Roger DudleyRoger Dudley posting a fast time on the Kensworth Special Test in his Marlin

Nigel JonesNigel Jones turning through the gate before the final rise.

The first Special Test was nice and simple Start on Line A, go through Line B without stopping and finish astride Line C. Why can't they all be like that? Mike Pearson (Dellow Mk2 Rep) and Brian Colman (Dutton Phaeton) were joint fastest with 11.24 seconds.
 

The observed section started up the stony track before, going down, through the upper gate and sharp right to follow the fence. At the top it was wise to stop and back down the first bit as Colin Sumner found when his Beetle tilted dangerously sideways. It didn't claim many scalps but Ian Nute, Ivan Sharrock and Ben Hardcastle all succumbed to lack of grip on the grassy surface.


Two sections on Private Land, both sub divided.

David ManningDavid Manning spinning to a halt in the bombhole 

Kevin CoplestonKevin Coplestons Singer emerges safely from the bushes on the second section.. (picture by Mike Hayward).

The club were very lucky with the weather. Edlesborough is very sensitive to the rain. Easy when its dry, totally impossible when its wet. For the March Hare it was just right. Both sections were very artificial in nature but were well marked with tape. The first started at the bottom of the hill and wound its way through the bomb hole before trip though the roller coasters at the back of the hill.
 

The bombhole proved a problem for the lower classes, the gradient and a bit of mud making grip a premium. In class two neither Kevin Coplestone (Singer) nor Ivan Sharrock (HRG) could get through but both the Tojans sailed up and went on to clean the section and Steve Potter got through the next one as well. In class three only John Groves was clean and in four Nigel Jones failed. Also in four the Roller Coaster proved to much for Aaron Homewoods Skoda which broke a drive shaft and Aaron had to retire. Yellows and reds had a restart in the roller coaster, this stopped a couple, including Mark Worsfold who dropped two, without which he would have won class eight.
 

The second section at Edlesborough used one of the established routes through the bushes with a restart for all except 0 and 2 at the end. Again most of the entry were clean although both the Suzuki X90's stopped on the first bit. The re-start wasn't friendly to rear engined cars and neither Nigel Jones nor Colin Sumner could get away.


Two sub-divided sections on Private Land.

Mark and Virginia EndleyMark and Virginia Endley from Chipping Norton climb through the trees at the beginning of section 7 in their Liege

Brian ColmanBrian Colman climbing the final rise on Section 7 in his Dutton Phaeton. Brian was one of two competitors to earn a clean sheet, missing the overall win on special test times

Richard IrvineRichard Irvine couldn't coax his Liege off the restart despite the exertions of his passenger!

Ian NuteIan Nute splashing his way through the mud on section 8 in his Suzuki X90

Brickhill pictures by Julian Robinson and Burl Solomons of the Herts VW Club who marshalled the Brickhill sections. Check out their website at http://www.hertsvwclub.org/ where you can find many more pictures.

The Herts VW Club were in charge of two very different sections. Section seven started with a very muddy climb through the trees before a tight hairpin and descent to a sandy restart for classes three to eight and a steep climb to exit the section. The restart wasn't to prove much of a problem, but the earlier muddy part was, for those who didn't give it enough welly, or had limited ground clearance. Those who failed here gave Burl Solmons some work to do with his recovery Land Rover.

 Section Eight had to be re-routed because of a fallen tree. It was a nice long journey around the sandpit with different restarts for the various classes. Unfortunately it wasn't marked very well, causing a problem for some who wrong routed. Sections like this need a fair degree of taping and I am sure Falcon will learn the lesson for next year. The restart for the higher classes meant the end of some clean sheets and Ted Holloway (Enigma Special), Nicholas Cross, Julian Lack and Roger Dudely (Marlins) and the Lieges of Stephen Kenny, Richard Irvine and Mark Endley all dropped six here.


Special test and a Section on Private land, the section was all about a steep bank at the start and a restart for 3 to 8.

Peter ThompsonPeter Thompson in his familiar Opel Kadett on the Ivinghoe Special test (Picture by Dave Cook)

Nicolas Cross and Paul YoungNicolas Cross and Paul Young reach the summit of the Ivinghoe observed section, unfortunately they had to retire soon after

After another straightforward special test came the deceptively difficult section, where the restart on the steep grassy bank was problematical for quite a few of the lower classes. 

Although nobody realised it at the time this Special Test was to decide the winner between the two sheets as Duncan Welsh was three seconds faster than Brain Colman. Unfortunately former March Hare organiser John Parsons didn't make it to Ivinghoe in his type 4 engined buggy. The engine had been loosing a lot of oil and finally nipped up so John had to retire.


Clean/Fail Section on Private land

John GrovesLike father like son. John Groves giving Simons Escort some welly to build speed before the goo near the summit.

A previously un-trialled section, on land owned by Mike Young, builder of the Racecorp driven in the event by Martin Allen. Mike has been taking a trialling sabbatical recently but expect him back on the hills in a Marlin soon.

The section was a long blast on grass, following the hedgerow. Well not so much of a blast for seven and eight who had a deviation and a restart. The hill was in prime condition, very sticky near the summit but well on if you got the throttle control right.


County Road - Clean/Fail

Ian Davis was in charge here and had laid out a restart on the Right Hand Bend. The ruts on this lane made it a bit marginal for Class 0 and both Ben Hardcastle and James McMurray had problems with ground clearance and failed. James was to do well to reach the finish in his MG Midget as it was on three cylinders for part of the event, diagnosed as a crack in the distributor cap, right by one of the contacts. 

Neither Suzuki got away from the restart and neither did Ross Nuten who was really struggling with fuel starvation with his Dellow Mk2.


Clean/fail with restart for 7 & 8. The first of three sections in woods on private land near Potten End.

Michael LeeteMichael Leete back behind the wheel again and about to loose his clean sheet as he takes the left hand turn to Verduns Bank. (Picture by Alan Blackwood).

Neil BrayCapri Racer and Falcon Vice President Neil Bray spinning his V8 Skoda Rapide to a halt on "Verdun's Bank"

The first section in the Binghams complex  contained the notorious "Verdun's bank", which only Duncan Welch climbed last year. The lower part wasn't to bad (it had been eased the day before because of the wet conditions). However, above the cross track it was very sticky. The lower classes had a clean run at it, but none succeeded. Seven and Eight were denied a clean run as they had a restart in the goo. It looked impossible, but it wasn't, as Duncan, Jim Mountain and Brian Colman all came out of the top. Supermen indeed as this was supposed to be the stopper of the event!


Clean/Fail with a restart for classes 3-8.

Ted HollowayTed Holloway burns rubber but can't get the Enigma special off Falcons Folly's tree rooty restart (picture by Mike Hayward).

Martin AllenMartin Allen higher up the hill in his Racecorp (picture by Mike Hayward)

The lower classes had a clear run, with an easier route for Class 0 and only Ian Nute in the Suzuki X90 had problems in the mid reaches where Mike Pearson had cleared the fallen tree the week before. 

Seven and Eight had the infamous restart on the tree route where positioning was everything and caught out 50% of the seven and eights.


Clean/Fail with a restart for Class 8 only

Jim MountainA determined Jim Mountain guns his Dellow Mk1. (picture Dave Cook)

Steve PotterSteve Potter on Binghams Warren which he went on to clean for the second year running. How long before he wins the March Hare outright? (picture by Dave Cook)

The final section in the Binghams complex and the final section of the event was all about a very tight left hander. Most could go straight through, but not class eight who had to restart right on the bend itself. Even without the restart it wasn't so easy for the lower classes and in two to six only Steve Potter succeeded. He cleaned this one last year as well. How long before we have a Trojan winning The March Hare?

Three in class seven were successful Brian Colman, Simon Robson and Martin Allen. Unfortunately Simon and Martin had previously failed Verduns Bank, but his success here earned Brian a clean sheet. The class eight restart was supposed to be a stopper, but neither Mark Worsfold nor Duncan Welch had read the script, got away and around the hairpin. This gave Duncan a clean sheet to tie with Brian Colman on the hills and win the event on Special Test times.


Duncan WelchDuncan Welch and his passenger being presented with their trophies by Secretary of the Meeting David Jackson.

The finish was at The Bull in Redbourn High Street where Margaret Lawson soon worked out the results confirming that the popular Duncan Welch was the overall winner for the second year running.

Click here to view the full results

First published on Classical Gas 2007


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