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Citreon on a charge

Breathe in Dave

Gesa on a blinder

Which way now for Z3 crew?

No door mirrors to help

Now where is reverse?

Have we squeezed through?

MX5 holds up the spanner

Resting in the sun

Graham tests his blind skills

Roddie outlines the trial

Z3 crew head for the hill trial

Jenny  wins the champagne

Lots to talk about

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Grass Gymkhana - 6 August 2017
The sun was making its presence felt as, members and friends arrived at Rumbling Bridge, near Kinross for a bit of fun, testing our driving skills in a grass field.

The collection of cars spanned almost a 100 years. Taking oldest, but by no means slowest, was Branislav Sudjic in his 1914 Stutz Speedster. open to all the elements, this fine machine had been driven to the event from home near Pitlochry.  It has been some time since the Stutz has been seen on a club event, but the car did return to its roots in America in 2014, to celebrate the 100th anniversary. Branislav drove all the way from east coast to Los Angeles on the west. Now thats what I call endurance driving.

Gesa Walker arrive din her Mazda MX5, joining my own MX5 which I was going to use on the event. Duncan Massie and Jenny McKay arrived in their 1984 Citreon 2CV, another car that we have seen on previous club events. John Mellon was joined by Paula Mellon in his authentic bright orange 1974 Ford Escort Mk1 RS2000. Would those wide tyres work on damp grass was the big question.

Graham Morris and Cheryl Ann Hanlon arrived in a splendid BMW Z3, another modern wide tyred car, ideal for fast tarmac tracks but soon to be tested in the damp. Will traction control help?

Arriving from Inverness were members and committee members Dave Spence and Roddie Main. Both would help with the marshalling and the scores, though Dave could not resist having a go in his 2002 BMW 325Ci convertible.

Organiser George Shand had set up a few teaser trials for us, with most of the cars being driven over the tests by two drivers. A simple one to start was driving across the field to stop between two canes. The car with the least gap between door/wing mirrors or widest part and canes was the winner. Sounds easy, but the driver had to call the width from the start line to the end marshal. To close and it would touch. Try it over a distance of 50 yards and you'll see its not that easy.

Spanner in the air is a favourite for a Gymkhana, so we had one too. Driving in a circle, keeping a line with a spanner tied half way along tight enough to stop it touching the ground sounds simple. Too tight and the cone holding the centre will topple over and disaster. Too slack and the spanner will dip down to the grass, and disaster again. The trick is all in keeping the right amount of lock on the car to form a s near a perfect circle as possible.

Time for some 'blind' driving. Our 'blind autotest' course had the navigator do all the work. Instructing the driver, who of course is now blindfolded, to drive round cones, into a garage, without touching anything is hard enough, but then to reverse back is pushing self control to the limits. Just as well we were not recording the crew  conversations. Mind you the laughter would probably drown out the crew comments.

An uphill 'trial' was where grip was all important. Tough enough in a straight line, our course twisted and turned all the way up, with a final hairpin taken at a 30 degree angle just to sort the drivers from the day trippers. The 2CV is designed for carrying hay bales on a farm, but front wheel drive on skinny tyres meant lots of wheel spin. However Duncan and Jenny got it under control to reach the top successfully. Gesa Walker in her MX5 did very well too, unlike me who wondered why I ground to a halt at the last and most difficult turn. A quick look to see the handbrake full on was the answer. Must learn to drive sometime!

John and Paula Keeping the spanner off the ground

O, the wide tyred Escort and BMW Z3? The Z3 managed remarkably well, while the Escort did have a few rear wheel spins on the way.  Karcher required to clean it up later.  The Stutz too was pretty good though changing gears is a full time job, which makes a few growls too.

Having had a go at all the trials at least once , we could see the clouds forming and the rain approaching from the west. This is summer in Scotland after all. We decided to retire to the pub, well where else, for a meal and a chat over todays fun. Branislav  and the Stutz headed off quickly home, to keep ahead of the rain. So would I if I had no weather protection should it rain. Jenny McKay collected the overall prize of 'bubbly', for her clean sheet in the itreon 2CV..

Everyone enjoyed this our first Gymkhana event, one we have picked up a few pointers to make it bigger and better for our next attempt. A great way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Published 9 August 2017