There aren’t many places in the UK that HERO-ERA hasn’t travelled extensively, but for the 2022 Summer Trial a new part of the Kingdom will be explored, Lincolnshire. Over three days this ever-popular rally, that is aimed at beginners and often introduces novice crews to the joys of multiday competition, will expose those entered to everything the county has to offer, and there is more to Lincolnshire than meets the eye…
Or perhaps that ought to read less, as whilst the United Kingdom has a motorisation rate of 491 cars per 1000 inhabitants, that’s just shy of 33 million registered passenger cars on the road, Lincolnshire is one of the least densely populated counties in the land and, in our basic maths, that equals roads that aren’t clogged with traffic – perfect for a spot of regularity rallying then!
The real-life feedback from Route Planner and Clerk of the Course, George Mullins, certainly seems to back up the hypothesis, so please, all of you currently Googling counter arguments, put down your anoraks; other search engines are available. It does make sense though, as with nothing really on the other side of it, there isn’t a whole heap of through traffic. George himself has been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roads on offer in the county that is home to a rich aerospace history and contains many current and historic Royal Air Force and USAF bases, including the Officer training college at Cranwell and RAF Conningsby, home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, as well as Typhoon’s.
It’s the tarmac that George is most excited about though, and he describes wide open but quiet roads, that travel down tree lined avenues and well-kept verges in this rural part of the UK. “It’s not the narrow lanes of the West Country or Wales” he says, “But that’s great for rallying as the wider roads lessen the chances of getting held up by oncoming traffic.” He goes on to describe it as an extremely well cared for county, and the archetypal English countryside idyll.
The aviation theme cannot be escaped of course, and there will be tests on one of the largest ex bases left over from the war, complete with Lancaster and Mosquito to spectate over the action. There is also a stop at Bubble Car Museum, well, we are east of the M1, there are bound to be a few typically British eccentric folk!
Bombers and bubbles aside though, the real magic will happen within the field itself, this may be a green graded event, but the field is still filled with talent. This includes the Master’s category, running side by side with the main competition, that has four very experienced crews whom the rest of the field can benchmark their performance against, and no doubt garner a few tips from as well, quite possibly with a charitable donation in the bar during the evenings!
Whilst the Masters sit on their own pedestal, it does not detract from the competition proper, which features a host of capable crews, such as current HERO-ERA Challenge Champions Alistair Leckie and his map-mad mate Matt Outhwaite, say that after a long day of regularities! They’re still to register a win, and many might tip them, but it won’t be easy against the likes of Rod Hanson and Clare Grove, Andy Simpson and Roger Bricknell, Nigel and Sally Woof, London Lisbon 2022 winners Dick and Harry Baines, the list goes on! There are winners and podium placers throughout the categories and a lot of experience within the pairings that will likely keep things interesting through the Lincs Wolds.
If nothing else, it will mean that experience is shared with those that are up and coming which will be music to the ears of the nine crews on the rally who are graduates of the most recent A Novice Trial, HERO-ERA’s training event. Indeed, this is probably one of the most important elements of this rally, as whilst it’s nice to win, this is no Rally of the Tests or LeJog. This is an opportunity for all-comers to enjoy themselves and share experiences, and for those newcomers to be immersed into the historic rallying community.
Take nothing away from the competitive components though, they will certainly be present, but packaged up in a good-natured rally through countryside to match. The Summer Trial will celebrate the enjoyment of using a classic car with purpose, in a part of the world that is preserved in an English Eden, and all within the bubble of the competitor community. We can’t wait, so strap yourself in for take-off as HERO-ERA heads for Bomber County when action commences at 14:00 hours on the 24th of June.