CLASSIC RELIABILITY TRIALS
Firstly, the point has to be made that classic trials are not just for classic cars, although many do take part. It is the events that are ‘classic’ not necessarily the vehicles taking part. Indeed virtually any two-wheel drive car can take part, but for the vast majority of these events the vehicles must be taxed and insured for the road, and run on ordinary road tyres. Apart from the “big Three” trials organised by the Motor Cycling Club (but open also to cars), almost all classic trials are of between six and eight hours duration and usually include a road route of between fifty and ninety miles and incorporate between twelve and twenty “observed sections”, almost always on steep and rough tracks, many covered in very slippery mud.
Most events are run under the ACTC umbrella (Association of Classic Trials Clubs). See their website for full details.
HISTORY OF TRIALS
These days there are several different forms of trials, there are “Sporting Trials”, “Classic Reliability Trials” and “Car Trials” (as well as 4×4 trials, and perhaps others as well). The Midland Automobile Club organises both a Sporting Trial and a Classic Reliability Trial each year.
Trials were one of the very earliest forms of motor sport with competitions dating as far back as 1901, and perhaps earlier, and they were tests of reliability and endurance for both machine and rider or driver. Imagine riding a motorcycle, running on solid tyres, and with acetylene lamps, from London to Edinburgh and back in twenty-four hours. Very few, if any, of the roads were tarmac, and there was scarcely a garage to be found.
The solid tyres may well have been an advantage in the very first years of motoring since the Great North Road (the A1) was a sea of iron nails from horses’ hooves since virtually all road transport was horse-drawn at that time. As roads and vehicles improved, the challenge lessened and so the organisers introduced tests such as climbing steep or slippery hills, and the trials routes mostly left the main roads for the quieter and more challenging country lanes.
CLEE HILLS TRIAL
It takes place in south Shropshire taking in tracks on Wenlock Edge and on The Long Mynd. For details click here