Driver Bill motors to title

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SPORTING trials car enthusiast Bill Rhodes has won the NPTCC championship for the sixth time in a decade.

A total of 36 cars competed in the 2011 Northern Phoenix Trials Car Club championship with 16 trials held across the scenic countryside of Cumbria, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. But it was the A class Newton driver, along with passenger Oliver Campbell, his third title-winning partner, who took top spot in their Crossley T80 with an average of 27.6 points, narrowly ahead of runner-up Andrew Woodhead (27.3).

Bill, who beat British champion Ian Bell during the club’s prestigious two-day event in May, said: “It was great beating the British champion but to win this again is fantastic.

“It’s a real achievement; if you win anything in life you’ve done well. It’s an honour to win anything but to win six times out of 10 from 35/40 competitors is not an easy feat.”

Sporting Trials, also known as mudplugging, is a winter sport, and a typical season runs from January to January, with a mid-season summer break between April and September. The vehicles are purpose-built two seaters that compete on arduous terrain featuring steep hills and sharp corners.

Drivers attempt to drive up an incline marked out by 12 poles or gates, starting at the highest at the base of the hill, working backwards to one at the summit.

The skill is to complete each section without hitting any poles, stopping or travelling outside the section boundaries, with the winner being the team who lose the least marks similar in respect to slalom skiing, but in reverse. Each qualifying race sees first place scoop 30 points for a win, reduced to one point for finishing 30th.

Anybody interested in competing, being a passenger or spectating the grassroots motorsport can contact Bill on 07969 368385.