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Crash Box & Classic Car Club - May Day Tour 6th May

CRASH BOX & CLASSIC CAR CLUB MAY DAY RUN 2013

Welcome to our report on CBCCC’s May Day Run, organised by Nick and Jill Jones. The start venue for this run was the lorry park on the northbound side of the M5 services at Exeter - at last a run starting close to home!

The park was an ideal spot for the 23 entrants to assemble, sign on and collect the paperwork. We had played a small part in helping Nick and Jill with the pre-event work on this run and had been asked to run about 15 minutes ahead of the first car. This was just as a final route check to make sure the council had not closed any roads for maintenance, especially as a lot of winter repair work had been happening on parts of the route.

On checking the paperwork, we found that Nick had chosen to use a descriptive route method, rather than the norm of tulip format on these runs - quite a nice change! Coupled with this were two sets of photographs - 10 for each leg - that were to be identified en route and the relevant code letter recorded on the check sheet. This is a good method of keeping the entrants on the organiser’s route that is widely used on European tours. To get the entrants into the swing of looking for clue photographs, Nick had kindly filled in the first one that could be seen from the car park.

Leaving the Services, we passed under the M5 and were soon in the lanes and heading for Clyst St. Mary and then Clyst Honiton - with all eyes peeled for those elusive photographs. We next passed the north side of Exeter Airport, that had been a grass field for club flying until 1937, when a sealed surface runway was constructed which helped it play an important part in World War 2. Next came the large new town of Cranbook - which is still under construction - and is rumoured will have 3000 new homes when completed.

Joining the old A30 road, we headed north-east and a number of the clue photos had now been spotted - all going well so far! A sneaky little slot left under the new A30 took the route through the village of Feniton and onto Colestocks. Prior to crossing the main A373, we had been asked to erect a sign, warning crews of a large pothole at Instruction 26 - this was one the Council had not yet got round to repairing! This showed the care that Nick had put into preparing the route and protecting these classic cars.

Climbing from the A373, there was a superb tree-lined road that gave some stunning views, with the sunlight passing through the new spring leaves. After Hembury Fort, the crews had a choice of attempting a very tight hairpin left junction followed by quite a narrow road, or of taking a more direct route to the coffee halt. This again showed the care that had been taken in selecting the route, which was suitable for both large and small cars. Dippy coped well with the hairpin bend and the subsequent clockwise loop of roads round Dunkerswell Airfield was fantastic. The alternative routes joined up again at the airfield, where the first leg ended. This was a perfect place to take a break at the Aviator Coffee Bar, enjoy the refreshments and watch

the small planes taking off and landing as well as other airborne activities. So far, we had found 8 of the 10 clues in the first half, so we were quite pleased with ourselves!

Leaving Dunkerswell behind, the route went due north and onto map 181 and through Hemyock to the Blackdown Hills. There were more stunning views to be had here as the route followed a high ridge to the east. After crossing the M5 came the large village of Bradford on Tone and we now realised that, if you had found a picture clue, you must keep your focus - as sneaky Nick had sometimes put two quite close together! By-passing the towns of Milverton and Wiveliscombe, the route continued in a northerly direction past the Combe Sydenham Country Park to Monksilver. Along this section of route, spring had really arrived - with daffodils, wild garlic and primroses adorning the roadside banks.

At Fair Cross there was another choice of route to be had. For those entrants who wanted a shorter route, they could turn left at the cross and go directly to the finish at Ralegh’s Cross. For us, it was a turn right for an anti-clockwise loop of about 10 miles, going to the seaside town of Watchet. This loop did not have any picture clues, so more time could be taken admiring the views. From Watchet, a westerly run took us to Blue Anchor, with exceptional views across the bay and the sea beyond to Minehead. A run along the seafront at Blue Anchor and then we turned south to leave the sea behind.

There was a short pause at the railway crossing at the outskirts of the town to wait for the preserved steam-hauled train to pass. Next came Carhampton, to join the A39 to Washford and then a right turn onto the yellow road past Cleeve Abbey, which brought us back to Fair Cross to rejoin the other route. The B3190 now took us through Sticklepath to the finish at Ralegh’s Cross Inn - again another very interesting road to finish the run.

The Inn offered a very good range of foods to suit all tastes at very reasonable prices. We had managed to score another 8 of the 10 clues for the second half - this could have been 9 if we had had our wits about us - as the first clue could have been seen in the area of the Aviator Coffee Bar car park! Mental note when next entering a Jones’ run - more care needed! Sadly, this was not enough of a grand total to put us ‘on the podium’ and take home a prize. However, thanks to Nick and Jill for putting on a very interesting and different tour. The paperwork and rest halts were first class.

Our sincere thanks once again to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in editing our report.

Thanks also for the photographs from Adam Twose, Steve Day and Nick Jones.