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2012 HRCR Autumn Leaves - 4th Nov


The 10th anniversary running of the Autumn Leaves tour was to bring the 2012 season of HRCR-listed events to a close. Under the guidance of Paul Loveridge - Clerk of the Course, Peter Ball - Secretary and their team, a route of more than 100 miles had been planned, spanning some of the best roads that England and Wales have on offer. 

The start venue of Drybridge House in Monmouth is very suitable, offering good parking, plus superb bacon sandwiches - what more do we need to start the day? Sadly the weather gods were not at their
best, but the rain had subsided by the time Car 1 left the start. Mark and Julie Highfield, driving the very smart yellow Morgan, were the first retirements of the day, the clutch slave cylinder failing whilst they were in the queue for the time control. Not to be put off, some fluid was added to the offending item and they returned home for another car so they could join the other entrants for the finish meal. 

Leaving Monmouth in a north-westerly direction, the route soon left the houses behind and joined the yellow roads, before crossing onto Map 161. We passed through Skenfrith and Kentchurch to the petrol station at Allensmore. Some of the roads to here had been just like driving on ice - the recent weather having deposited copious amounts of leaves and pine needles on the road surface. Just past the filling station, Joan and David Wiiliamson were spotted at the road side, taking photographs of the passing cars. 

An anti-clockwise loop of roads past the Whitfield Estate brought the route to Ewyas Harold and onto Rowlestone Court for the first break of the day. Sadly, by the time the later numbers had arrived - we being one of those - the cakes had run out, but, as the sun had now appeared, an alternative home-made ice-cream was very welcome. The views from the café across the valley were stunning. 

Rest over, it was back to the roads via Longtown and the Olchon Valley. These roads were just perfect for the tour - virtually traffic free and a test for both members of the crew to keep on the organisers’ route. At New Forest, the route turned south-east along the Gospel Pass and then the Vale of Ewyas. We stopped along this part of the route to take photographs of the snow-capped hills - is it winter or autumn? Next came Capel-y-ffin with yet more views of snow, before reaching the second rest halt at Llanthony Priory. 

After the 30-minute break here, the route continued in the direction of Llanvihangel Crucorney and Cross Ash. Skirting Skenfrith for the second time today, we crossed back onto Map 162 and headed for Llangarron. North of Goodrich, a sneaky yellow slot left must have caused some problems for the crews without a Brantz Meter. This road was now taking us into the depths of the Forest of Dean. Even without the sunshine that had by now left us, the larch and beech trees in full autumn colour were a delight to see. Passing through Cannop and Parkend brought us to the final control at the Speech House Hotel to be presented with our finishers’ awards. Within a very short time, the staff had us seated in the marquee and we were served with a very good 3-course meal. 

A big thank you to Paul and his team for putting on a very fitting tour to end the HRCR 2012 Clayton Classics-sponsored Scenic Tours. Roll on 2013! Just one little complaint: the excellent road book gave all we needed for the day, including directions to set us on the right route for home, but no details of where was the nearest car wash was! 

It is now time for Dippy to go into hibernation for a few months and receive some TLC. We have had a fantastic year on the tour scene, entering 12 UK events and also 3 in Europe. They are great days out and a wonderful way of making new friends. Check out the websites and for the 2013 listings –or why not visit the HRCR Open Day at The Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon on Saturday 12th January 2013

Sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in editing our report.
Dippy photographs courtesy of Kevin Baldwin 

Car 54 Hilary and Mike Stratton plus a very dirty Dippy