The Midlands Driving Trials Group’s Club Championship and Black Tie & Wellies Party brought the season to a close in style. Held at Catton Park, South Derbyshire, the club championship venue is one of the best, being a National and World Championship course.
During the daytime all effort was concentrated on winning and Saturday evening was no different! With the traditional Black Tie & Wellies Party held in the marquee many of the 100-plus competitors and supporters took part in the ‘Wacky Waistcoat’ competition. Having won this novel form of entertainment two years running, Rosemary and Ian Wall were invited to judge the waistcoats; their decision was met with popular acclaim as Geoff Kirby stepped up to accept his prize. A special prize went to Cath Jacobs and her family, who made interesting use of cleaning materials – J-cloths, sponges and rubber gloves, all in blue. The Children’s Prize went to joint winners, Rhea Auton, Megan Wheeldon, Ian Potter and Harry Jacob.
The other highlight of the evening was the splendid Hog Roast supplied by Kate’s Kitchen – the club’s resident caterers – and Dorothy’s puddings, all homemade by Dorothy Ward, co-host of the club’s event at Tutbury. Left-over meat was auctioned off in his own inimitable style by Mike Fallowell, his methods raising as many laughs as bids. The whole evening rounded off with a disco, those with the best stamina staying to the end.
However zombie-like anyone felt on Sunday morning, it was not evident as the marathon and obstacles were attacked with gusto – particularly Obstacle 2 which was sponsored by NorthernPlan who generously awarded vouchers to the quickest in each class – despite the weather turning unexpectedly wet making for slippery conditions and somewhat damp competitors (and stewards). Several competitors wore blue in support of fund-raising for Prostate Cancer.
The cones course the previous day had sorted the men from the boys with only three double clears; Lorraine Davies (Intermediate), Anne Chambers (Tandem) and, of course, the Flying Hamsters – Julie Wedgebury’s famous Shetlands. In the well supported Open Horse class Carol Pawson was holding on to her lead thanks to the best dressage score overall (40.0) but Tracy Robson had closed the gap with the nearest to a cones double clear, just 1.5 time penalties. However, Carol was not going to give up her lead and won the marathon to take the class from Tracy with Geoff Kirby earning a well deserved third place.
Multiples were well represented with five each in the Pairs and Tandems and six in the Teams. Competitors here included Mark Broadbent who had made the long trip up from Devon to give his coaching team a taste of driving trials and Karen Bassett who was trying out a new leader. The class was won by Julie Wedgebury thanks to her zero cones score and second place in the marathon while Julia Liles, who led both dressage and marathon, was rueing her 24.0 penalties in the cones which left her in second.
Anne Chambers was another to make the most of her zero cones score and, after winning the marathon in the Tandems, finished third overall to Claudia Bunn in second and Sue Mayes in first. Sue and her husband Derrick had travelled up from Berkshire, the latter taking third in the Pairs after a slightly disastrous cones phase. This class was headed by David Wheeldon with Chris Jamieson, taking a rest from driving her team, in second.
The Open Pony class was won by Angela Flanagan with Dawn Tebbett having to settle for second place after a good run of wins and Elisabeth Greensmith in third. Recently crowned Novice Horse National Champion, Teresa Macleod headed the combined Novice class with Karen Bassett’s protégée, Garry Picken in second.
Other winners to go home celebrating were Cath Jacobs in the Pre-Novice after Marion Lovelace incurred 20 penalties for a corrected course in the final obstacle, Lorraine Davies (Intermediate) and Linda Wiggin who headed the popular Newcomers and Small Ponies class. Cath also won the Bennington Trophy for Best Turned Out in the Standing Presentation.
The Paul Tointon Team Trophy was won by ‘The Borrowers’ (Julia Lilies, Angela Flanagan, Teresa Macleod and Mick Ward) with ‘By The Road’ in second, ‘Youth + Experience’ in third and ‘The Dark Horses’ who did not live up to their name in fourth.
Rosettes were generously sponsored by Equi-Box Ltd (a new online feed and equipment store). George and Peggy Spencer kindly sponsored rosettes for the winning grooms.
All members of the club are invited to attend the AGM on Sunday 27 November when Championship Trophies and League rosettes will be presented.
Full results can be found on: www.mdtg.co.uk