GC Matthew Trial, Hayes Coppice

Report by Bretton King

Full Results

"Give the customer what the customer wants and they will be happy customers" is a popular marketing phrase and the Gloster and Cotswold club certainly did that at Hayes Coppice near Monmouth on Sunday, when they hosted the penultimate round of the centre championship. The venue is not for the faint hearted with its big climbs and steep drops so a stern examination was set for the 38 starters that included welcome visitors from the Southern and S.Midland centres.

Just as one finds in school, somebody always seems to excel in a certain subject, and top of the class in "Trials" was Simon Welch yet again. He simply trounced his classmates, dropping nearly a quarter of second placed John Cowley's 49 mark total loss. Simon reeled off lap scores of 1, 2, 2, and 8 to lead from the off. Cowley and Mike Podesta are extremely accomplished riders and they were left vying for second place. Age doesn't count for nothing and Cowley's wise head out-witted Podesta's youthful exuberance to assure him of second. Meanwhile, championship contender Henry Bendall saw his season-long battle with Welch end as Simon's seventh win of the year gave him the Champion's title for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.

The Clubman-Expert coronation was also decided, as a steady fourth place was sufficient to see Bretton King take the crown for 2008. However, the other half of the Cowley double-act, Tony, won on the day ahead of Joe Welch, another member of that family clan by 8 marks, a margin amassed at a consistent 2 marks per lap. Best Intermediate was perilously close as Steve Cook took a single mark win from Graham Doyle after Doyle's last lap dab on number 4 blew his slender lead.

Alternative route students saw familiar names at the top as Glyn Smith held on for 1 mark victory over Andy Perry. Shane Gunn forsook his trusty TYZ Yamaha for the lighter Gas Gas and went on to take third while elder statesman Nick Toms took best Novice yet again whilst chaperoning son Ben, out breaking in a new 320 four-banger Sherco on the super hard expert route. The quality of the alternative class was confirmed by the single mark margins between each place from first to fourth so the clerk of the course (The Welch triumverate) should be commended for providing such a good challenge. Thanks must go to the landowner Sam Wilson for his generosity in opening the venue up and to the observers for their fortitude in such cold conditions too.

  • Standard Route
  • Matthew Trophy, Simon Welch,13 marks lost
  • Runner Up John Cowley 49
  • Third Mike Podesta 58
  • 1st class award Henry Bendall 73
  • Clubman/Expert:
  • Over 40 Tony Cowley 47
  • Youth B Fred Adams 69
  • Inter Steve Cook 71
  • 2nd Inter G.Doyle 72
  • Alternative:
  • Inter Over 40 Glyn Smith 17
  • Novice Over 40 Andy Perry 18
  • Novice Nic Toms 20