Torrential downpours, flash floods, mist, road closures and mud, marked HERO’s “Summer” Trial which this year was based at Goodwood.
Some 40 cars from all over the UK and Europe battled it on around the roads of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire for the latest running of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation’s famous event that took place from July 12th to 14th in conditions that were reminiscent of the organisation’s Le Jog Reliability Trial which takes place in December between Lands End and John O’Groats.
“At times the conditions were horrendous,” said clerk of the course Peter Nedin, ”Drivers from Europe couldn’t believe it but, in true British spirit, everyone just got on with it and enjoyed themselves.”
Peter Nedin paid special tribute to more than 30 marshals, some employed by the organisation and others from motor clubs across the southeast of England, who stood for hours in the pouring rain to run special sections and make sure that drivers were safe.
He added: “The staff at Goodwood and other venues, including Beaulieu, were fantastic and in the end we only had to cancel one test because of deep water.”
The organisation paid tribute to those several novice drivers who acquitted themselves well despite the terrible conditions.
The winners of the event were Michael Baker (65) and Simon Baker (35) from Bolton. The father and son crew took the first place with an outstanding performance in their 1978 Porsche 911 SC, improving their third position in the Scottish Malts.
Second place went to Cheshiredrivers and friends, Graham Walker (63), owner of a prestige cars selling company that carries his name, and Sean Toohey (25), who works for car parts specialist CES UK, in their 1973 Lotus Elan SI.
The “Team Triumph”, formed by driver Tony Sheach (45), chartered civil engineer from Fleet, and navigator Richard Lambley (48), structural design engineer from Slough, came third in their 1964 Triumph TR4 to repeat a full British podium as it happened in the Scottish Malts, the first HERO competition of the year.
“Thought to be an event mainly for starters, this year’s rally ended up being the toughest Summer Trial we had due to the adverse weather conditions”, said Patrick Burke, Managing Director of HERO.
“At times it came to be as challenging as Le Jog and we were extremely happy to see less experienced crews were up for the challenge”, he added.
After three days of tough weather conditions and classic motoring, the traditional black tie awards dinner took place at the Goodwood House, where former British race and rally driver Jack Sears greeted the winners and handed out the trophies.
HERO’s Arrive & Drive (classic cars available for hire from HERO) present at the event included an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce, Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV, Porsche 911 2.0 SWB, a Jaguar E-Type, a BMW 1602, MG A, MG B, Triumph TR4 and a Triumph TR6.
The Summer Trial was the second qualifying round of the 2012 HERO Cup, which has the startling first prize of a week’s sailing holiday in the Mediterranean aboard the SY Orianda (orianda1937.com).
Tomas de Vargas Machuca, Joint Managing Director of HERO, said: “It was clear that crews had enjoyed themselves and were anticipating the more demanding third event of the year, the HERO Throckmorton Challenge, which will take place on October 13th 2012.”