SIMON Mellings conjured up a 24-carat performance to win a prestigious gold medal on the Land’s End to John O’Groats Reliability Trial.

The Ludlow Castle MC?member teamed up with Scottish navigator Richard Crozier to tackle the epic 26-hour adventure covering 1,450 miles through the West Country, Wales, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Scotland.

The event is aimed at vehicles built before 1985 and Mellings wheeled out his trusty Rover 216S for the crew’s first attempt at LEJOG.

The competition began in the grounds of the Land’s End Hotel, Mellings/Crozier finishing joint sixth out of 70 crews. Several regularity sections followed interspersed with tests at venues such as Cornwall College and the Royal Cornwall Showground.

The first main halt was at Chepstow where drivers took a two-hour break. There was no such luxury for the navigators who had to plot the route for the night section through Mid-Wales to the overnight stop at Telford. Mellings excelled on his home patch as the route crossed the Powys-Shropshire border before making its way over the Long Mynd. The pair were one of only two crews who came through without dropping any penalties, rising to third overall.

After only a few hours sleep, day two ventured across country through Staffordshire and Yorkshire to finish in Northumberland. A couple of one-minute penalties, one caused by the car cutting out in a particularly deep ford, saw Mellings/Crozier drop to fifth.

Day three tested the crews as they worked their way across the England-Scotland border, up through the Highlands and some of the most scenic and wild roads in the UK. It was coupled with tests at venues such as the Knockhill Race Circuit and the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum.

Mellings clocked some excellent times on the tests, including fastest overall on the final test at John O’Groats, and the pair finished fourth overall to land one of only three gold medals awarded for setting a consistent standard throughout.