Bulldog Trophy

September 2004

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With the usual amount of foreboding I intend being somewhat nepotistic and letting my daughter do a (not 'the' just 'a') write up of the Bulldog from her younger perspective, having got away with it once before it seems a reasonable thing to do... however I intend having my say as well so with the mark of a true gentleman I shall of course let the lady go first. Click the link for pictures of the event.

Club Off Road's Bulldog Trophy 2004 with BF Goodrich Tyres

The following account is by, in her words, one of the up and coming, younger, and therefore less forgetful Redcoats, my daughter. Other than having some inside knowledge through her domestic arrangements it is all her own views and not necessarily, indeed most likely NOT those of the management;

Guess who? That's right ladies and gents I'm back, your very own spy in the head red house. I'm here, not only for your entertainment, but to report on the 2004 Bulldog Trophy, that as you should all know took place on the 25/26th September. As one of the biggest events on the off road calendar, weeks of preparation and hours of sheer hard work (not by me though!) went into creating this year's weekend of competitive chaos, and as usual it paid off. As said in the entry form the land wasn't as tough as previous Bulldogs' but the scenes were stunning and, the fight for top dog was as fierce as ever.

One underlying theme seemed to run through everything, pray for dry weather otherwise we're up all kinds of creek with no paddle. Luckily it was a clear night with a bright moon when I arrived so no need to be talking to the Big Guy upstairs yet. To make the beginning of the day more interesting the 32 teams of two vehicles were split up. It was a bit like Land Rovers without leaks, tyres without mud or Brian without baldness, somehow morally wrong but it made the start of the event a lot more entertaining. While one half of the team completed the prologue to determine the starting order for the day, the other half were sent to go wait at the start line for their team-mates.
Once the team reunions had taken place and the starting order had been decided, each team was set off at thirty second intervals to find three punches. Once they had done this they had to come back to control a.k.a. the white trailer with me in it (no comments about trailer trash please) to have these verified. If they were correct the teams could start on a set of colour coded, paired punches. For each pair of punches they correctly found they could be issued with a section sticker that would allow them to complete a task section dotted around the site. That was the theory behind day one certainly but in practice it was a bit different.
Technology was the first problem. The laptops and fancy GPS systems installed in some of the motors were telling their operators that the place they were at should contain a punch. Lets just say the CoR GPS's probably needed another fifty pence in the slot and the competitors need to stop being such smart asses! The second problem was, in actual fact problems. The downside with GPS is that it can't figure out cryptic clues for grid references so collecting the paired punches became a hard task for you all. After marking sixty-four punch cards I can personally say that they were rubbish. Plenty of teams were getting half or no marks for their paired punches and in the process not getting those precious section tickets either! For future reference don't take your frustration out on the poor girl who has to mark the sheets, it's not me who can't find the right punches. Also, I think you owe an apology to all those poor marshals on sections that only saw two teams the entire day! What else are they supposed to do if they can't laugh at you guys messing up?

Noon came and went and teams passed through control like bats out of hell, slowly, trying to track down those innocent looking punches… Eventually the official CoR clock said it was 5.30 and the day event was finished. Tired troops retreated to the reserve lines at the campsite for soup and jacket potatoes. There was time to repent, recover and repair for the looming night section. As dusk drew in the fearless (literally) entrants lined up ready to be lead to the hillside that would compromise the night do. Once at the top of a grassy hill the teams were once more split and corralled into separate fields. Their task was to spend half an hour in their side of the field and find the punches with a small strip of reflective tape on, after half an hour they would be let back at one another to complete the other side of the hill. There were ten punches available on the night section, even if some little tinkers managed to convince us otherwise, and many teams did in fact get all the punches available. The sky was clear and the moon was full and bright, but was rather outshone by some of the air-raid lamps atop vehicles! The night was interesting to say the least, I got to bumble around on the CoR quad, unusually though it's green not red. Many of the entrants had fun as well, one of the toughest decisions seems to have been whether four wheels on the ground was necessary though. However at the end of the night everyone was back on those wheels and wombling back to base camp, points in the bag.

The following day (Sunday) was in a new site and to make things a bit more equal the starting order was reversed. So the leaders after the first day's games were last off while those trailing got a head start. Once again the day would involve pairs of punches and sections, this time however the punches were not hidden in cryptic clues, they were straight up and surprise, surprise almost everyone got full marks for their punch work! Hooray! The day may have gone pear shaped even with the easy grid references if one of the younger, and therefore less forgetful, Redcoats (Martin Jones) hadn't pointed out that the competitors hadn't yet got any punch cards to punch the punches on…watch out, we're rising through the ranks boss…
A few more people decided to test physics and the laws of gravity, remember folks the centre of gravity has to be within the wheelbase for your motor to remain upright. Quite a few teams will be arguing with Isaac over their penalty points on that one. Other's decided that rear axles were optional extras, while some still believe that engines run on fresh air. But having said that, not everyone tries to run their second in command over with a quad (cough, cough, hint, hint…). So the second day came to a close, as the seconds counted down to 3.30 the last team came careering…slowly! around the bend and were pronounced just in time to claim their accumulated points for the day. While the competitors drove, and in some cases limped back to the campsite, the Redcoats got busy pulling in the sections and doing the scoring. Once again the heavens smiled on CoR (there's going to be a payback for all the good weather at some point I'm sure of it.)

The prize-giving was, as usual, funny and really brought out the good side of the off roading clan. Aww, we really are just one big happy family! (With all the murderous backstabbing and rivalry of a real family too!) Mr Playfair senior brought a welcome touch to the proceedings showing that off-roaders can have the support of the landowners indeed thanks go to the whole Playfair family for being so enthusiastic and supportive of the event.
Once again the Bulldog Trophy has broken men, minds (those cryptic clues!) and machines. Notice though that the girls came through it unscathed…
Long may it continue!

Shona Hartley


If it was easy everyone would do it, and they don't, so perhaps it isn't that easy. The job? Running a 4x4 Challenge event.

Two days, one night and over 40 miles off roading on open and often perilously steep hillsides. Thirty one punches, 14 tasks, and innumerable navigational problems make up the challenge that is this, the ninth Bulldog Trophy. The top dogs after all that, Nick Pym, Steve Gaunt (Foers Ibex), Giles Evans, Paul Howes (L/R 90) had double cause for celebration. It was their second consecutive Bulldog triumph. BF Goodrich had equal cause to celebrate, the winning team entered drove to and from the event on the same Mud Terrains habitually used. Just finishing this event is an experience and of the 62 starters all but 6 finished, a testament to them all for their tenacity and commitment. None of the foregoing is bull poop, it's true but let's look behind the statements.

Two days, one night. The weather can be anything but on this occasion it was thankfully dry and quite mild so no real problems on that score. Nevertheless the first day was long and the night short but exceedingly sharp. Day ones navigational problems, which were put in to slow the faster teams down and let the slower teams catch up if they could do a few problem solving exercise's, and also to make what was a fairly open site be a bit more taxing navigationally. There are now motors with GPS systems as big as a lounge telly with real time displays, 3d images of the terrain and two screens with lapse time so the driver can be following the first instructions whilst the navigator gets on with the next set. Just looking at them and the control panel made my head hurt and my eyes cross and the usual irrational desire to reach for the power lead, yank it hard and say. 'There, not so clever now is it?' Actually it is clever and with the right operator it is stunningly efficient BUT it cannot interpret the problems we set in order to find the actual locations you were looking for. To do that you needed a map, an ability to use 6 or 8 figure references and a pair of eyes, once the correct reference has been deduced then technology can certainly come into play BUT it still doesn't know where the fences and usable gates are to start with so once again the human element comes into play. Starting to get the picture?

The site was nowhere near as tough as previous sites and this was flagged up YET... it had the ability, partly because of its apparent gentleness, to lull drivers into a very false sense of security. I prophesied before the event that it had the potential to be one of our more accident prone. It was. 5 rolled motors that I knew about and two rumoured ones not proved and one co driver with a cast on after the event due to a back injury. When is a roll not a roll? When a Redcoat hasn't seen it or so it seems. For the record laid on it's side = roll, dropped in a ditch or similar with 2 wheels waggling in the air but supported by the ditch sides I suppose we could allow as a near miss on a good day. Picture this.

Myself and Keith Bettis with a really steep banking and two excellent anchor trees about 30 yards apart (metres if you're metricised). We placed the punches carefully to ensure one tree could be winched up to but the other would need either a rear mounted winch or a snatch block and a partner winching his team mate up backwards to it. No one would be daft enough to drive down the hill. Wrong on the last part, and of course once the first one has done it the others are bound to follow. If in that situation again would we;

A put tape along the top of the banking to make it no go so no can drive it which makes it safer and somewhat fairer for those with shall we say a more circumspect idea on the wall of death technique or;

B leave it as it is because there was a lot of skill and nerve required to drop over that banking, fortune often favours the brave and no one was forced to do it. We don't know the answer either until next time we stand in a similar situation and try and work out what may or may not happen in any given situation.

The night event was split into two areas so it seemed an eminently sensible idea to split the teams to make life harder. The logic was making the individuals more cautious as the first half hour their team mate couldn't cross to help out. Sadly the word cautious didn't appear in any dictionary any Bulldog entrant ever read, so yet another cunning plan came to nought. Want to know how the buggeration factor can hit home. Several teams on one half of the site reported a stake with no punch. Now having put them out myself it was hard to believe that a punch could have 'disappeared' but there were several corroborating sightings in the pitch dark field so obviously one had been nicked. (BH gets a real strop on about double dealing two faced cheats and what fate would befall them if they were caught etc. etc. which amused those who were close enough to witness it). The only option at that point is to say that only 4 punches will count, so those who did find all 5 now have lost one. The reality of the sitaution was more prosaic. No one had cheated but I had lost a stake off the back of the quad during set up. Not only did these eagle eyed entrants find this stray stake lying in the grass it also just happened to be one with a reflective tape on hence the confusion. As Confucious was oft heard to say ..........! or something similar. Please accept my apologies for the combined slur upon your collective characters.


So to day two. Could we get away with the weather again as we moved on to even higher ground? Well apart from one extremely threatening moment when rain could be seen a couple of miles away advancing across the vale then yes we did. Tasks were more the order of the day up at Morebattle, an apt name don't you think? Yet again the deceptive nature of the ground caught out drivers with two topples during the day. Richard Ibberson when the ground opened up and swallowed him, well that's his story and a convincing one it was too, whilst number 13 (Keith Hutchings) is a firm believer in the old saying that success is usually in private but errors are inevitably public. His diagonal, and extremely stately, fall from grace was slap in the middle of a task so no chance of saving face there at all. The wide open spaces provided a wonderful backdrop to this feast of 4x4 and the welocme provided by the whole Playfair family was areal treat and a tonic for the Cor crew. Once again all our thanks should be directed to the ever genial Jim Smith for making the introductions in the first place. The final prize giving was held up due to a large, as in county sized, bull. the real variety not the Red one or the bull that is often heard around our events. One and a bit tons of 4 legged breeding machine looking at me in a disinterested but distinctly non committal way. dressed entirely in red isa not alway a good thing I decided, despite being told on m,any occasions that bulls are colour blind. I went the long way back, sorry for the dealy.

The prize giving was a genial affair due in no small part to Mr Playfair senior, whose lively talk was a joy to hear and his obvious welcome for us and our brand of motorised madness was a welcome change in this age of political correctness.The 2004 Bulldog was different though not everyones boats were floted by it, what can't be denied is that it threw up worthy winners yet again so that says more than words can.


Top Dogs overall winners;
Giles Evans/Paul Howes. Ibex Nick Pym/Steve Gaunt L/R 90. 2255 pts
1st Special
Tony Baskill/Dave Needham. G Wagen. Simon Buck/Matt Cooke. L/R 90. 2140pts
2nd Special
Alan Wormald/Robert Phillipson. Jeep. Richard & Vicky Ibberson. Ibex. 2105 pts
3rd Special
Karl Frost/Dale Frost. L/R 90. Doug Dransfield/Fraser Ellison. L/R 90. 2045 pts
4th Special
Neil Redpath/Patrick Smart. Ibex Andrew Hogg/James Feeney. Ibex. 2040 pts
1st Standard
Dave White/Paul Everett. L/R 90. Matthew Sykes/Tim Frankland. L/R 110. 1790 pts
2nd Standard
Jonathan Wood/Steve Goodard. SJ. Graham Finch/Steve Hawksworth. SJ 1620pts
The Steve Maddison Bulldog Spirit award
Nick Parkes/Anthony Aveyard. L/R 90 Matthew Tate/Mark Roy L/R 90

The following is a list of every entrant, their respective vehicles, their class (Special or Standard) overall score class position for standards and overall position.

1 Giles Evans/Paul Howes Nick Pym/Steve Gaunt Ibex 250S L/R 100" Spc 2255 1
2 Tony Baskill/David Needham Simon Buck/Matt Cooke Merc G Wagen L/R 90 Spc 2140 2
3 Karl Frost/Dale Frost Doug Dransfield/Fraser Ellison L/R 90 L/R 90 Spc 2045 4
4 Tony Wilson/Phillip Wilson Kristian Nicholson/Alex Bainbridge Jeep Wrangler L/R Discovery Spc 1470 18
5 Neil Redpath/Patrick Smart Andrew Hogg/James Feeney Ibex 250S Ibex 250S Spc 2040 5
6 Paul Wightman/Simon Pearson Jim Marsden/Chris Morris L/R Hybrid S11 L/R 90 200SV Spc 2030 6
7 Mike Drake/Ian Marshall James Robson/Shaun Steele L/R 90 L/R 90 Std 680 6th Std 24
8 Rod Elwood/Keith Garvin Mark Hatton/Nigel Sanger L/R 90 L/R 90 Spc 1710 11
9 Simon Dodd /Jim Smith Rob Whamon /Richard Rattray Suzuki SJ L/R 100" Spc 1670 12
10 Jonathan Wood/Steve Goodard Graham Finch/Steve Hawksworth Suzuki SJ Suzuki SJ Std 1620 2nd Std 15
11 Steve Lloyd/Darren Price Roland Czerny/Ian Holah Merc G Wagen Jeep Wrangler Spc 1945 7
12 Alan Wormald/Robert Phillipson Richard Ibberson/Vicky Ibberson Jeep Wrangler Ibex Spc 2105 3
13 Keith Hutchings/Martin Levington Graham Potter/David Wood L/R 90 Ibex 240S Spc 1325 19
14 James Geldar/Peter Wilson Gary Smith/Paul Booker L/R 90 L/R 90 Hybrid Spc 1945 8
15 Andrew Mosley/Chris Lock Kevin Fearn/Shane Pounder L/R Discovery L/R 90 Spc 970 22
16 DNS
17 Selwyn Wilkin/Mark Saunders Joe Partridge/Zep Fermi Jeep Wrangler Dakar Spc 450 29
18 Craig Langley/Paul Savage John Bagley/Simon Bold Suzuki SJ Suzuki SJ Spc 1665 13
19 Nathan Flinton/Glyn Yates John Sales/Wayne Jolly L/R Discovery L/R 100 Hybrid Spc 0 0
20 Val Roberts/Steve Caveney Jim King/Kevin Hutchinson R/R bobtail R/R bobtail Spc 640 25
21 Phill Birt/Don Mackay Stewart Lawson/Andrew Done Tom Cat L/R 90 Spc 510 27
22 Paul Marsden/Darren Hebb Adrian Martin/Paul Martin L/R 90L/R 90 Std 1525 3rd Std 16
23 Graeme Mackinnon/Eddie Macconachie Rob Kinghorn/Andrew Duthie L/R 90 L/R 90 Spc 230 30
24 Martyn Richardson/Rob Green Simon Vernon/Tony Nicholls L/R 100" L/R 100" Spc 1640 14
25 Ivan Barrett/Emma Barrett Mark Sutton/Janice Prosser L/R 90 L/R hybrid Spc 1810 9
26 Ivor Mathers/Derek Massie Iain Ogilvie/Pete Geddes L/R hybrid L/R 90 Spc 1165 20
27 Simon Hemsley/Dara Shortall Justin Dean / Eddie Hart L/R S11 L/R 90 Spc 630 26
28 Hugh Balfour Paul/Gerry Mills Tom Gilmour/Jonathan Anderson L/R 110 L/R 90 Spc 830 23
29 Dave White/Paul Everett Matthew Sykes/Tim Frankland L/R 90 L/R 110 STD 1790 1st Std 10
30 Nick Parkes/Anthony Aveyard Matthew Tate/Mark Roy L/R 90 L/R 90 STD 1030 5th Std 21
31 Charles Fawcett/Matthew Thornton Richard Fawcett /Gary Lutman L/R 90 L/R 90 STD 1475 4th Std 17
32 Bob Webster/Steven Burton Fraser Wenseth/David Alonzi L/R 90 L/R 88" hybrid Spc 500 28

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