5th September 2005 : National Driving Championships

All through the summer the light trade and private driving winners at the big shows have been qualifying for the National Driving Championships, sponsored by Osborne Refrigerators, held at Burghley on 4 September. Rangehill Rainbows End (Jimmy) had qualified at the BDS Championships at Smiths Lawn and at the New Forest Show. We drove up the day before the show and stabled Jimmy at super livery stables near the showground. Tens of thousands were at Burghley for the three day event and so we made an early start and had a relaxed morning in the sunshine with Sally Barlow and family who had driven up in the morning with the milk float. The ring was large but hard, slippery and bumpy and all the horses in the two wheeled light trade class were slightly cautious. There were anxious moments as the judge, Mr W Vine, took what seemed for ever to inspect every detail of our harness and fittings. He even looked at the notebook kept by the milkmaid which listed details of deliveries around Aberystywth in 1938 when milk was 4d a pint! Jimmy won his class and within an hour he was back in the ring for the National Light Trade Championship against some quality four wheeled vehicles including the Champion of the last two years. Jimmy did not put a foot wrong, a great tribute to the driving by Sally in a difficult ring, and we all leapt in the air when the loudspeaker announced that Jimmy was the National Supreme Light Trade Champion of the UK for 2005. Afterwards we had a long picnic lunch in the sunshine with champagne (for the non drivers) and relived every moment of the class over and over again. Showing is hard work, has many disappointments but Burghley on Sunday was as good as it gets!