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Motor Sport: Family first as Mark Campbell spots familiar name
2:55pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Sport
As Mark Campbell looked at his newly-won Roderick Gray Trophy, he was taken aback with what he saw, writes Dale Harris.
The 50-year-old from Malton had just arrived home fresh from winning the Richmond Sporting Car Trial event and sat down to study his prize more closely.
Engraved on the list of past winners was the name Norman Coates – the name of Mark’s grandfather who had won the competition 55 years before.
Mark said: “I was thrilled to bits when I saw his name.
“As soon as I saw it I looked through one of his old scrapbooks and sure enough on the last page there was a photo and newspaper clipping with him and his trophies including this one.”
Grandfather Norman was said to be very successful at Sporting Car Trials.
He was at the top of the sport for 10 years and even represented Britain in competitions in France.
Grandson Mark took up the sport five years ago having previously taken part in motorbike trialing. He said of this win: “I have won events before but this obviously stands out because of the history behind it.
“It was a close result in the end as I won by one point so it was very satisfying to win.”
Sporting Car Trials first started in the 1940s and was once a regular feature on the BBC television screens.
Despite losing its popularity over the years, today the sport is still taken seriously with drivers paying up to £30,000 on the cars, which have specialist gearboxes and fiddle brakes.
It takes a great deal of skill to complete the event. Mark explained: “When watching, it looks easy, but it’s actually really difficult.
“I think you have to have a certain amount of natural ability and it takes about five years to get good at it although I’m still learning even now.”
The aim of the competition is to drive through 12 slalom like gates, while travelling up steep woodland hillsides. It’s all about gaining the lowest score with the number of points decreasing with every gate driven through.
The event is not about speed – a car has 12 points added to their overall score if they miss gate 12, and so on. The next competition is being held in Knaresborough on March 10. If anyone wants more information on this or about getting into the sport, they can phone Campbell on 07790 038253.