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2016 - Classic Harvest Tour

18th September 2016 - The Classic Harvest Tour - “Carry on Touring “

Dippy is out and about again having fun on the Classic Harvest tour to be followed by the Ludlow Tour at the beginning of October. After the body work was completed this Summer Dippy was ready to show off and thankfully, I didn’t make a mistake to let the image down. The event started at the Holiday Inn Reading West and this would be the 13th running of the Tour.

At the drivers briefing it was recommended that we did not attempt the ford that was 9.3 miles from the start of the event. Having Chris Flemington as my driver we decided to follow the recommendation and take an alternative tarmac road around the ford. This was by far the best option as my husband's’ last performance in the ford was to sink Dippy. As Dippy was unable to swim we were very grateful to Joern Schaenzler for his assistance by towing us out. Since that day the tow rope lives under the back seat not in a box in the boot. Lesson well learned!

The route took us in the direction of Wickham, Chilton Foliat and Hungerford. After completing 87 tulips we had a very welcome break at Cobbs Farm Shop. We were now in the area of the Kennet and Avon canal where, should one wish, a trip of 87miles can be made on the canal with no option to make navigational mistakes.

 
After the break we crossed Hungerford Common, which was beautiful with many people out walking enjoying the late summer sun. After 128 tulips we had a different sort of navigation that consisted only of directional lines and mileages. Going through Hampstead Marshall at direction 136 we turned on to Buckingham Road and had a short link to Newbury car park in the Town square for our lunch break. There was a lot of interest in the event from both locals and visitors to Newbury and this can only be good for the sport and indeed to Newbury. Having completed 144 instructions we were ready for a nice lunch break and fix the seat for Chris as he needed a little more leg room. Who would believe you could have so many tulips in only 37miles.

Following the lunch stop we had a short run of 2.3miles to the start of the Jogularity over the North Downs climbing the hills in this area gave us fabulous views, Walbury hill at 974ft the highest point in South East England and Ham Hill. Jogularity gives no tulips just distance and instructions highly concentrated but good fun. After completing 218 instructions we were back to a tulip section, followed by another Jogularity which, after completing 265 instructions, we arrived safely back at the Holiday inn for tea and cakes a wonderful finish.

What a marvellous event Terry and Helen gave us to enjoy. Chris and I were sad for the people who missed it. The event was absolutely the tops.

There were “moments” on this year’s Classic Harvest Tour which 
brought a smile to our faces. At one point on the route Hilary had told me to pull over so that I could help to plot the correct route from one of the handouts which contained what I would describe as cryptic clues! 

Well as I always do what I’m told I pulled over and helped Hilary plot the route. Having done this I was about to continue when I realised we were about to be overtaken by some of the Easylarity cars well it was just like watching a scene in a Carry On film. As they approached the junction, which took the form of a triangle, the first car went left and hesitated the second car went to the right and hesitated the third car did what can best be described as an emergency stop. Now I won’t divulge which cars they were but honestly words cannot do justice to the moment; Hilary and I burst out laughing and then carried on taking what we felt was the correct route, the right side of the triangle for the car which went left!

There were many other similar moments which we enjoyed and this was combined with a fabulous route. Can someone tell me how Terry manages to find such traffic free and picturesque roads for his routes? There was a point at which Terry’s attention to detail enabled him to point out to competitors that there was a nasty pot hole on a corner opposite a farm entrance however in our case this wasn’t a problem as this didn’t affect us – the said pothole was covered by a large John Deere 7280 tractor turning into a farm with its 18 tonne grain trailer so we had no choice but to stop and let him go and by doing so we missed the pothole completely! 

From the participants view point we enjoyed a fabulous route over a wide variety of roads which were well suited to the cars and their crews. I’ve no doubt that on the day following the event Terry and Helen will be going back over the route picking up control boards and making sure everything is left as it was found. This is a lot of very hard work. The detail on the accurate route card and the methodical way in which the route was planned for the entrants was first class and I cannot thank Terry and Helen enough for all their hard work. Sadly they have found that they are no longer enjoying the task and have decided that this year’s Classic Harvest Tour will be their last. When they announced this at the prize giving they were given a standing ovation, for 13 years of very hard work from all the entrants and their team of Marshalls. 

For Terry and Helen it was not just putting on the Event but also encouraging new entrants to take part and then move on to run in for example the HRCR championship. The fact that this year’s winning crew on the Harvest Tour, Andy and Roz Simpson, are also leading their class in the HRCR championship is testimony to Terry for all his skills in teaching and encouraging newcomers to take part in the sport. 

For my part a big thank you to Hilary for entrusting the driving of Dippy to me and allowing me to enjoy taking part in this wonderful event that despite the fact that I apparently didn’t push the choke home fully after the start which accounted for the fast running all day long – sorry Hilary!  Maybe if you can find a replacement event for the Harvest Tour I could be given another chance??

May I also say a very big thankyou to all the Marshalls who managed the controls and all those other tasks which keep the event running smoothly. They all did a sterling job and without them there is no event for us to enjoy so thanks a lot for your magnificent work. 

I hope to see Terry and Helen in the future hopefully enjoying an event or two rather than undertaking the somewhat onerous task of staging such a successful event as the Classic Harvest Tour. 
Dippy, Chris and Hilary
 
PS. Dippy disgraced himself on the way home, in the rain 56miles from home the drivers windscreen wiper including the arm flew off slid down the bonnet to be lost for ever. 

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