Father and son, Steve and Thomas Robertson take victory in a 1936 MG TB
After three days, 400 miles, 12 Regularities and eight Tests conducted in the glorious Derbyshire Dales, father and son Steve and Thomas Robertson were triumphant in the 2019 Summer Trial. In an event designed to encourage competitor development, Thomas proved that youth and relative inexperience can win whilst Steve showed that a 1936 MG can still show younger cars the way to the podium!
Winner Steve Robertson: “ Yes we managed to keep the younger cars at bay but the trick is to keep the engine spinning. The only issue we had during the three days was the fan flattening the battery in the hot weather. The weather was nice and cool today which helped us. Thomas did a super job, he only got lost once which was great considering his inexperience.”
Thomas Robertson; “ I’m pretty happy, I got a bottle of champagne too which is always nice, but it’s been a lot of fun, I have really enjoyed the challenge.” When asked if he would now take the hot seat permanently alongside his father he replied; “ I’ll leave that decision to my father!” Thomas later received the prestigious Newcomer Rally Award for his great performance.
Second place overall fell to another father and son team, the Yorkshire crew of Julian and Giles Pitts in their glorious 1965 Ford Lotus Cortina.
Giles demonstrated great coolness and calm calculation as he and his father made up for some mistakes, moving up to fourth by this morning then vaulting to second place by the finish. But as Julian explained it wasn’t easy; “The competition was intense, we just both said if we can keep on the right road it will help, then the rest should fall into place. We get on well, we had a great time and the car was tremendous. I have co owned it for around fifteen years, it normally doesn’t let us down, it’s been a brilliant car.”
Giles Pitts was, “relieved” after his efforts helped the family crew to get onto the podium when they thought they had lost time on the final afternoon, but Giles found some aspects quite challenging; “Trying to do the maths and the speed tables when several junctions are approaching is quite difficult, but we got there, and we haven’t fallen out.”
The Anglo Swiss crew of Joanna and Alexander Geigy were really pleased to finish third overall in their 1959 Triumph TR3A after some problems on the second Test of the day. “ The result didn’t come from our earlier experience in the event. Last night we were lying ninth overall, then in the second Test we smashed a cone and both thought that’s it! But that made us relax a bit as the pressure was off, but it actually helped us to get this result, we are both very pleased!”
Joanna; “Yes we had some luck but also it was also down to great teamwork. It was a very enjoyable event, the Derbyshire countryside is beautiful, I really enjoyed going past Chatsworth House, you could see it in the distance. The last time I was in the Derbyshire Dales was when I was on a geography field trip in my third year at school and it rained all week, so this was a whole new experience for me!”
HERO Cup Champion 2018 Paul Bloxidge, just managed to take the Masters Class award navigated by Martyn Taylor in their VW Golf GTi. In a great battle with Paul Dyas and Amy Henchoz’s Volvo Amazon which raged throughout the event, the Volvo team blinked first after leading until the final afternoon, as Paul Dyas explained. “We took a wrong slot on the final Regularity and then made a mistake on the final test”. The intense rivalry between Henchoz and Taylor included Martyn producing Amy’s door panel name identification in her nickname which helped to ratchet up the rivalry, but in the end, they lost the Masters lead by just four seconds. Amy was analytical afterwards: “It was a crisis of confidence.” To rub salt into the wounds Martyn Taylor was awarded ‘Best performance on Regularities.’
There were some further hard earned class awards announced at the prize giving on Sunday afternoon at the Casa Hotel Rally HQ. Class 2 was won by Guy Symons and David Watson who had managed to recover their Riley 1.5 after it boiled over. The Class 5 win was commiseration for Kelvin Bromley and Alan Pettit in their MGB having led the event overall from Day 2 until the final afternoon when as Alan said; “I messed up and we lost a minute” but Kelvin was philosophical, “We missed the win but we enjoyed a great rally!”
To make up for their disappointment on last year’s Summer Trial when their Ferrari blew its’ engine, David and Sally Ward completed their newcomer return after their second ever event on HERO One in March, with a class 7 win and 13th overall.
Andy Simpson and Roger Bricknell climbed back to 6th overall in their Mini Clubman GT winning their class after also leading overall for a period, showing just how competitive this event has been. Another fine performance came from father and son John and Matthew Vincent in their immaculate Alfa Romeo, finishing in the top ten. They climbed 21 places on Day 2 but ‘messed up a bit today’. Young Matthew won a Special Award for ‘Highest Placed Navigator Under 25’ for his efforts.
As part of the HERO policy of encouraging young talent into the sport, there was also an award for Highest Placed Driver Under 25’ which went to Chloe Wood who came all the way from Australia to reward her navigator father with the prize as she expertly drove their Lotus Cortina.
Twenty crews completely new to the sport enjoyed a great three days motorsport, amongst them Michael Goodwin and Mitali Agarwal in their Porsche 911. “In the last couple of regularities we were starting to get it together” said Michael. Mitali concluded; “The navigation and map work was quite hard but we started to learn. Everyone was so helpful, we really enjoyed it so we will be back for more.”
Nick Reeves, Clerk of the Course for the Summer Trial summed up his feelings on the event. “ It was really satisfying to be able to put on such a great event in such beautiful part of the world and enjoy it, coexisting and respecting all the other outdoor pursuits going on at the same time. A big thanks, to our team who PR’d the route and to all our marshals organized by Chris Warboys. Chris Perez was very generous in allowing us to use his estate once again, plus big thanks to all the HERO team who have helped me put on such a great event designed in the spirit of competitive development.”
The Managing Director of HERO Events Patrick Burke who drove in the event navigated by his 12 year old son Henry, was actually practicing what he preaches. Patrick; “ We have a mission to help youth and novices into the sport because we really care, it is the way forward.” The last word has to go to Henry Burke; “Dad was quite good at driving, but what I enjoyed most was going fast on the tests, maybe when I take up the sport I’ll show him how to do it properly.”
Photos by Blue Passion
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