ANZ Cup Saturday 11th August Wandin 2 back
Saturday 11th August will be remembered as a milestone event for trialing in Australia as it marked the first time that an overseas team have visited our shores to take part in what is now the second challenge for this cup. The inaugural event taking place two years ago near Taranaki, New Zealand.
It was quite a sight to see 25 entrants and their cars lined up in the pit area for the pre event scrutineering and best presented vehicle judging. Much interest focused around the immaculately turned out New Zealand cars, all designed and built by Sidco Engineering (Sidney Hirst). These cars had to be seen to be believed, basically near road registrable - infact one even had lights (the Kiwis have held night trials in the recent past). Peter Sortwell cast a critical eye over the gathered machinery and subsequently declared Kiwi visitor Warwick Landers car the fitting recipient of the best presented award, with also a special mention to Peter Hill for such a well turned out and polished vehicle.
There was a little apprehension and scepticism from the Aussie contingent about how these shiny things would handle our rough muddy sections until Murray Bridger fired up first and effortlessly cleared the first section for 10 points closely followed by Sidney Hirst, Joe Fulton and Steve Bridger both producing similar results. Now this was a real worry for the Aussies as the first section was designed very closely to one of the more difficult sections used in the Dale Shaw Trial. Out of the Australian team, Steve Mason was the only one who could muscle and coerce his vehicle through for a similar result. (Was this when we heard our first "Bugger "of the event?).
John Cox and his band of officials had the cars staged and through each section in about 30 minutes, which is not a bad effort for 25 cars and the ensuing ropework required in the deep mud. Each section was walked prior to the drive through, but with 25 cars traversing in rapid succession, it was amazing and sometimes dismaying to witness the sections apparently change so much whilst sitting in the car in the staging areas. What was a good plan during the walk though sometimes didn't come off during the drive!
During the morning we trialed at the bottom of the hill, with sections built around the natural spring and drainage channels, most predicting the Kiwis would find this "Aussie Stuff" quite hard going. Not so however as they stuck to their game plan of slow controlled driving, only sticking the boot in at the most critical points. And then there was Steve Mason and Craig Hansen.
Leading our own game plan of rev it till it stops and then rev it some more, Steve and Craig certainly had the mud flying and entertained the large crowd which had turned out to support the event. It was interesting watching the two styles being applied with varying results, but despite this difference in technique by lunchtime Steve and Sidney Hirst had only dropped one point and the Aussies and Kiwis were within a few points of each other. The battle for the trophy was on!
Watered, refreshed and ready, the next few sections featured some hillclimbing around the side of the dam. Again the Kiwis stuck to their game plan and the Aussies to theirs as we lined up for section 7 which was a climb up some bracken and blackberries, down a steep incline and then up another steep clay embankment. Its at this point that the Aussies started talking more than a passing interest in the Sidco designed cars. Its true to report that they made this section look easy, by comparison we had varying degrees of success but it was hard work all the same.
The next two sections were set on the banks of the large dam, with navigation taking place over bare clay. Once wet, this proved quite a challenge and it was the luck of the draw as to how much the sections deteriorated when you drove through. Section 9 in particular had a tricky sweep up the dam wall and at first all wheels were able to be kept dry, by the 25th car through, there was much ropework pulling sinking cars out of the water.
As we entered our final section of the day, the ANZ Cup still couldn't be declared and the outright individual winner was also very much in contention with Steve Mason leading the pointscore by one point from Sidney Hirst, plus Grant Cambell heading Geoff Taylor by one point for 3rd spot.
Shortly into this section we heard our second "Bugger" of the day. Well, it was a liberal interpretation of "Bugger" anyway. The mid point of the section was both slippy and off camber which caught out Peter Hill and earned him a rolling pin for his efforts. Daughter Stephanie was passengering alongside Peter for their visit to the upside club and was heard to say something similar to the above as Peter added this unwanted trophy to his cabinet.
Those that got past this point of the section hung around the 8 and 9 peg where the combination of impossible incline and glistening clay proved their nemesis. With this final section came what was considered one of the days highlights. Sidney Hirst somehow achieved the impossible and with seemingly little effort drove through the section for a 10 point to achieve an outright individual win from a very hard trying and terrific effort by Steve Mason. Grant rounded out the top three in this closely fought event.
Down in the pit area our honorary scorer Dot Moyle was frantically adding up teams' points (top 4 point scorers from each team) and it was finally declared that Australia had won the ANZ Cup by a small margin of 8 points. Its at this time we heard the third and final "Bugger" of the day, but unlike the other two times, there was a distinctive New Zealand twang to it!
After the trial a large contingent from both teams washed off the mud and adjourned to the Oasis Youth Camp (the Kiwi Team billet) for a riotous evening of food, beverage and tall stories. The food was excellent value at $15.00 a head for as much as you can eat - 3 courses and I'm sure will be a venue to consider for future club activities.