“Not the Night Trial” – 2017
22nd April was the date of this year’s Morgan Three Wheeler Club navigational event – the Four Counties Navigational Challenge – now known throughout the club as “Not the Night Trial”. The course included Edge Hill, shown above in 1929 when The Motor Cycle magazine used it for testing a Morgan JAP Aero. Covering some 70 road miles and a number of tests of knowledge and ability, if not agility, the event was organised by Charles Smith who also manages the club’s Spares Scheme – Mogspares. Nine three wheeler Morgans assembled for the challenge and all completed the course.
From organiser – Charles Smith
Cathy Quinn and Tom Cowley win the Not The Night Trial 22nd April 2017
The competitors arrived in the village of Greens Norton just outside Towcester Northants at 4:00pm and were greeted by the catering team for tea & cake and by Phil Bridge for scrutineering.
At 5:00pm they were given the plotting instructions, which were perhaps a little difficult, but even at this stage it was clear that Cathy Quinn and Tom Cowley were making a very determined attempt to win.
Adrian and Tricia Murray-Leslie was first car off at 6:00pm and set a brisk pace through the evening sunshine and into the night through the lanes of Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. They even managed to keep ahead of the fast running 5 speeder of Chris Nickless and Nick Reynolds. Perhaps the cold was getting to them as they were also first car back to sample the hot soup and sandwiches.
At the first marshalling point the crews found Alistair Rew and Barbara Caroline in Everdon Stubbs woods who were waiting to challenge them to drive as close as possible to a post without touching it. Grahame Joseph and David Spraggett jumped into the lead by getting to within 2cm. The next control, run by Martyn Baylis & Trevor Seymour, was in the picturesque parkland of Fawsley Hall and was won by Howard Joseph & Miles Rowland who clearly knew exactly where they were.
There was then a long run to the Burton Dassett Hills where the first challenge was to avoid the sheep on the road. Waiting for them there was the East Midlands squad led by their G.O. Malcolm Bull to challenge them to 3 tests. The first was the Morgan Three Wheeler Limbo Dance which was won by our Chairman. The next was to drive along 5 bent planks, which was cleared by Gary Caroline & Sam Savage, Chris Nickless & Nick Reynolds and by Stan & Margaret Hewitt. And the final test was for them to estimate how low they were flying, which only Steve & Ian Hughes knew exactly.
At the top of Edge Hill Mike and Jenny Harris were waiting with a quiz. This was again won by Steve and Ian Hughes. Interestingly, Gary Caroline and Sam Savage knew the price of a 5 speeder but not that of a 1929 Aero! Is another car about to be added to one of their collections?
By the time many of them got to control 7 it was getting dark and the marshalling point, run admirably by Tony and Peta Tebby, was difficult to spot especially if you were going fast! However, those who found the control did an excellent job placing all three wheels on small squares of wood.
At the final control the competitors found Barbara Caroline in the Silverstone woods with Howard Chivrall. The challenge was to identify Morgan Three Wheeler parts in bags and Cathy & Tom’s knowledge clearly showed on this one.
It was soon after this that I got a call from Stan and Margaret Howitt who had run out of battery just down the road. Alistair Rew soon found them and helped to them get running again so that they just made it to the finish.
Also on the run were Malcolm Lamb & Bob Derricott who did an excellent job collecting code boards and not surprisingly pub names. I wonder if they took a sample on route, as suddenly they were the last car on the road?
I would like to thank everyone mentioned above and also:
Pete Clews who got me through the ACU application.
Mike Guess and Michael Joseph who provided me with material from their events.
Sheila Dickson, Val Hughes and Bev Underwood who helped with the catering.
Marshals, Chris Dickson, Rob & Tom Morley, Chuck Berry, Paul Baker and Steve & Penny Thompson.
Don Stringer for the photography.
And of course Julia and Alex Smith who helped before and on the day and put up with me while I organised the event.