WHAT ARE SPORTING TRIALS ALL ABOUT?
Sporting trials are not about speed. The aim of a trial is to drive up a laid out section without stopping.
There are 10 sections, marked with numbered poles, to form a twisty route up a grassy hillside. The numbers go from 12 at the bottom to zero (or clear) at the top. The further a driver gets up a section the lower the score and the driver with the lowest score of the day is the winner.
Each car has a passenger who moves their weight around to get the best possible traction on each wheel. The cars have very low tyre pressures at the rear, which means that the tyres have to be bolted on to the rims so as not to slide off, and motorcycle spoked wheels at the front.
The front wheels have an extreme steering lock. They are also equipped with “fiddle” brakes. These brakes are controlled by individual levers in the cockpit that are connected to the rear left and rear right. This enables a unique kind of skid steer. When used together the steering and brake combined will enable the car to turn in its own length.
The Midland Automobile Club started running Sporting Trials again in the 1970s, at the instigation of Committee Members Peter Blankstone and Bob Dayson, amongst others.
Very few women drive in this branch of motor sport, but Margaret Blankstone was a successful competitor.
Various venues have been used by the Club over the years, and now our trial is held at Shelsley Walsh, which has the great assets of tarmac for parking, toilet facilities and the Stratstone Restaurant.
At one time sporting trials were shown on television, and reported on in the National Press. They are a very specific discipline, requiring different driving skills to anything else, and a notable failure was Stirling Moss!