Grass Autotest – 12th September 2021

Sunday 12th came promising us reasonable weather – certainly until later in the day, and as we arrived at David Marriott’s for another year of hopefully fun, enjoyment and a bit of driving skill, we were hoping the promised light showers would visit somewhere else. 

Frank (Orton) had designed, what looked at first sight, a reasonably straight forward course; but by the time you’d actually processed 6 different routes around the course and you’d factored in the fact that Ian (Martin), the man with the start and stop watch had very specific requirements for the reversing gates, and by the end of the 6th run I was exhausted and no longer thought it looked simple and straight forward!  

For those of you who don’t know, I write this as a total novice as a competitor at these events, despite being a spectator for at least 10 years and a Morgan driver for 27! 

I’d like to say that it was my novice status that helped me take what had there been one, the wooden spoon prize at the bottom of the scores, but sadly that can’t be done, it was Chris Topp’s first attempt too and he came second! 

The day was not without it’s surprises though. The weather did (virtually) stay dry whilst we were competing and we had our picnic lunch in beautiful sunshine and Ian Leviston, the Centre Sec for MSCC Sportsmog, had been able to join us in time for that. 

We were visited by 2 local MSCC members who were not DonMoggers, but who thought they may well join us after watching our antics and chatting to us during the day; 2 of the cars had surprises in store for their drivers and I discovered why Jan (Fileman) was very happy for me to be navigator for Paul. The car mishaps happened to Frank, who’s starter motor started playing up after 1 run, so he gamely took advantage of David’s kind offer of driving one of his cars around the course, and Martin and Nina’s Roadster decided that day, for the first time ever, to have battery trouble. None of the drivers were deterred from competing though and carried on gamely. As for me, my discovery was that when you navigate for Paul you have to hold on for grim death as his right foot has a great affinity with the floor! With Ian, Gerald and Brian marshalling, and Sheila, Linda and Jenny keeping score, once we’d all signed in it was all systems go, and we even roped in Ian Leviston for a job at the end by announcing the results – well the top 3 overall and the top female driver. 

The results were as follows: Overall : 3rd – Richard Davies, 2nd – Chris Topp, 1st – Paul Fileman Female : 1st – Mary Topp.

A great day that despite my position on the score board I thoroughly enjoyed. I have said formal thanks to individuals in my piece about the BBQ we went on to at Richard & Jenny’s, but would like to say thank you to everyone involved again for a brilliant day – especially to David Marriott for the use of his field and to Frank and our marshalls. If you have never had a go, why not join us next year? I’m now kicking myself that it’s taken me 27 years of Morgan driving to give it a go. 

Liz Ellis