|Grass Gymkhana - 4 August 2019|The
forecast was thunder storms, but the grey skies quickly turned to blue,
with the sun pushing through, as we started our fun in the sun at
Rumbling Bridge near Kinross. Some new tests gave regulars a chance to
try out new maneuvers. The overnight rain made the grass nice and slippy so a few 180 and 360 turns were to be expected.
Crews gathering at the start
on was followed by a cup of coffee and some pastries we brought along
to refresh those who had driven a bit since leaving home. Before
setting off on the first test we walked the field just to acquaint
ourselves with the new layout. The grass was wet following heavy
overnight rain and quite long as the cows were yet to be let loose,
which would have 'cropped' it down a bit. This would make things
crew Jim and Norma Watson from Carnock near Dunfermline arrived
in Norma's 1968 Riley Elf. and first out the blocks on the 'moving the
water' test. Similar to last years egg and spoon test, this time the
driver had to carry a tumbler full of water to the far end of the
course,avoiding the route canes, whilst spilling as little as possible.
We measured what was left in the tumbler at the end, before the driver
reversed back to the start, again keeping to the route, avoiding the
route canes, and repeating the test with a tumbler refill. Sounds a
piece of cake, but the field was not mirror smooth and the slightest
undulation would throw the tumbler into the air. The trick was to go
fast, but not so fast the water went up in the air, whilst at the same
time the driver using their right arm as a swinging damper. A bit
like the swinging arm dampers on the rear of my MG Midget. Reversing
was also tricky. Do you look over your shoulder or reverse on the
mirrors. Choices choices.
managed fine on the our lap but reversed round the wrong side of a cane
on the reverse to the start. Time to change drivers and Jim took to the
wheel. Now modern car seat adjustments are either all electric and
usually allow fore and aft, plus squab height to be changed. Back in
the sixties such niceties were unusual. Norma being a bit vertically
challenged has her seat fully forward and a block under the rear corner
s to raise the squab. Jim removed the block at the rear, to prevent
banging his head on the roof, then after nearly breaking a knee cap,
slid the seat back to find the optimum position.
second on a test allows the errors of the first run to be sorted, and
perhaps Jim's longer arms enabled him to keep the tumbler 'floating'
while the car bounced over the grass. A quick 45 degree twist in the
seat to see out the back window solved keeping the car on the right
route reversing to the start. A welcome rest after the excitement
allowed Bob Stubbs and Colin Mann, from Carnock an Dollar to bring
their 2008 Ford Fiesta on to the line.
Colin Mann took first run
at the test, with the bigger wheels on the Fiesta helping to maintain
grip on the still damp grass. He had to take care as the suspension
looked a bit tighter than the standard car, and with a 2 litre power
unit had plenty grunt to make short time of the test. Using the mirrors
for the return run seemed to help, one for the others to take note of.
The crew swapped places and Bob drove in similar style, again
using the mirrors for the reverse run.
Riley Elf crew had moved on to the 'hillclimb' attempting to reach the
top using the marked route without taking out any of the canes. This
would be tricky for the Elf with small wheels on dam slippy grass.
Norma had a run but trying to take it slow and steady simply ended up
spinning the front wheels. Jim decided he would tackle this one with a
bit of 'gusto', reversing well back and winding the car up for a rapid
run. All was going well until the course took a turn on the uphill.
Once off the straight the wheels once again let go and slipped.
Stubbs in the Fiesta followed the elf, trying to plot the best approach
to the course. The big wide wheels seemed to be helping, with progress
better than the Elf. That turn half way up got Bob as well though and
eventually the front wheels grip let go.
Niven from Glasgow tried the 'Piggy in the Middle' test where fellow
member Rona Paterson stood on the ex WRC Rally wheel, provided by
organiser George Shand, with a rope joining her to Tom in his 2005 MGF.
The idea was to do two circuits around the wheel, as quick as possible,
keeping the rope tight, not letting go, and not pulling Rona off the
wheel in the middle!
up on this test was Norma Watson who had more success here than on the
hillclimb. This time Jim held on in the centre. Jim also managed to put
in a good time on his turn, with Norma holding the rope.
Paterson joined the fun in his Mazda MX5, starting with the 'moving the
water'. I had watched the others so knew what to do, but knowing and
doing are completely different things. Not a bad run if I say so
myself, but the damp grass
with a sequential gearbox was fun. I also headed for the
hillclimb but again the auto sequential coupled with wide wheels didn't
seem to work too well. Several tries, including going so far back
the others thought I had left the field, in order to get up some
momentum, faired little better but higher than some before friction
gave way. Perhaps I should try ice racing next time!
Rona still in the middle, Jim Paterson took a turn going in circles on
this test. I impressed myself as the tail tried to break away into a
slide round the centre wheel. Good time but not a winning one, though
it was fun on a slide.
Bob and Colin in the Fiesta had a go
going round in circles, each giving it a bit of 'welly', while not
pulling 'centre man' off the wheel.
We had all had a turn or
two at the morning tests so time for a short break. more coffee, tea,
sandwiches and pastries to replenish our energy levels for the
skies were now clearing and the sunshine breaking through as we
attempted the 'blindfold slalom'. Here the driver is blindfolded and
the co-driver has to guide the driver through the canes of the slalom,
returning to the start by way of a short hillclimb. It looks
easy when you can see, but with a mask on it all goes to pot!
all had a go with the little Elf having real trouble getting up
the last slope to the finish line. The Fiesta too found it tricky, both
needing a little hand to give them a bit of forward movement.
final test was between the canes. From the start line we tell the
finish marshal how wide apart the canes should be, then drive up to and
through them. The marshal measures the free space each side from the
car widest point. Tom Niven had a bright if not in the rules idea, tell
the marshal when your only 10 feet from the finish! nice one Tom.
Watson was not to be outdone on the hillclimb and tried in the Elf to
do the climb in reverse. This actually did improve the grip, though not
enough to reach the top, but farthest of any of the other cars.
of the day was Norma and Jim Watson, collecting the bottle of bubbly to
celebrate their fun in a field. Everyone enjoyed their day and
some of us retired to Powmill milk bar for a cup of coffee and a piece
of cake. Well timed as the clouds were gathering again, and soon the
Lookout for the club final tour of the season The Clyde Valley Rally.
|Published 6 August 2019|