Trials Events Database

As many of you will know, ACTC Chairman Dave Haizelden and ACTC Website Supremo James Shallcross have been updating the Events section of the ACTC Website to include one-page-per-year going right back to the start of the ACTC Championship in 1984, and earlier. Each page lists the dates, where known, of both the Championship and non-Championship events, and the intention is to publish as many of the Results Sheets as can be dug-out of competitors’ garages, lofts, and storage boxes.

The Coronavirus Lockdown has provided a good excuse for competitors to spend their time doing that digging-out and the number of Results Sheets available on the ACTC Website is now truly remarkable.

As well as providing Dave and James with a lot of the dates, and some of the results sheets, I have been working on a parallel exercise and can now publish my Trials Events Database. As ever, this is work-in-progress and I will be republishing the printout on a regular basis.

I have also updated, and republished, all the events pages on this website – see the pull-down menu under ‘The When’ above – but I have had to remove the spreadsheets which listed which sections were used for which year of each event. I have added so much information to these spreadsheets over the last few months that they have become far too large for sensible publication. As an example, the spreadsheets for each of the three MCC events now list 100+ sections over 100+ years – that’s a big spreadsheet!

What’s been going on behind the scenes?

Regular visitors will know that there have been no updates to this site since late September, but that does not mean that nothing’s been happening behind the scenes. I was about to embark on a major update to the Trials Sections Database but decided to change my priorities. I have, over the last three months, been creating spreadsheets for all the major trials, listing exactly which sections were used for each year. This is an expansion of the information which I published for the Cotswold Clouds Trial back in February and I now have comprehensive records going back into the mid 1990s for all the current ACTC Championship events. Non-Championship events will be included in the New Year.

So, with that exercise nearly complete, I can return to updating the Trials Sections Database confident in the knowledge the ‘First Use’ and ‘Last Use’ dates will be more accurate than they were in the past.

Where is it? – #4

So where, exactly, is the section known as Doverhay, used for the Brighton & Hove Motor Club’s Brighton-Beer Trial in 1933, and for the MCC’s Lands End Trial (generally for motorcycles only) from 1932 to 1957 (and maybe later)?

Is it:

  • Doverhay Road (USRN: 43786546), shown on the map above as a red line?
  • Bridleway WL19/17, shown on the map above as a green line?
  • Footpath WL19/16, shown on the map above as a blue line?
  • … or somewhere else in this area?

I’ve read lots of previous reports, including extensive correspondence in the MCC News of the Week back in May 2010, but nothing has been accurate enough to distinguish between the three tracks I list above. Can anyone help?

Update 26 September 2019 18:30:

Simon Woodall posted a short piece, with a link to this post, in the MCC News of the Week 21.09.2019, and this generated responses from four MCC members, so my thanks to Neil Browne, Colin Butchers, Martyn Halliday, and Rick Howell. Piecing-together information from all four, I’m now pretty certain that the line of the section is along none of the coloured lines in the above map, although it’s closest to the Red Line.

The current best-guess is that it is a track not shown on the current OS maps (but clearly visible on the 1903 and 1949 maps and, I’m told, on the ground), which deviates from Doverhay Road (the Red Line) around OS GR SS 8879 4602 and rejoins it higher-up, around OS GR SS 8866 4566, after passing through the right-left hairpin bends which feature in the period photographs along the way. The top of Doverhay Road, where it rejoins the tarmaced ‘yellow’ road high-up on Ley Hill, certainly matches the description in the MG Magazine article linked here, whereas the top of the bridleway (Green Line) does not. Look at this point (around OS GR SS 8838 4508) on Google Street View and you can clearly see the village of Porlock and the mountains of Wales as described by H E Symons in the MG Magazine.

So … what we need now is to find a route card with more detail than the ones I have seen, which merely record the turn off the (current) A39 and assume that the drivers and riders know their way from there to the section!

… later the same day …

Neil Browne has sent me a copy of the route card for the 1957 Lands End Trial, which clearly states that competitors should turn Right at the fork in the ‘yellow’ roads as they exit the village towards the section, so another piece in the puzzle pointing towards the best-guess route above, and not the ‘Green Line’ bridleway route.

Trials Sections Database

I have made some minor changes to the Trials Sections Database page and published an updated printout from the Database – all 32 pages and 1150+ sections of it. Those familiar with this ridiculously ambitious project will notice few changes to the published data, although this is now displayed in a new format. I still have a LOT of information to add, and there are still a large number of inconsistencies to be ironed-out but, step-by-step, is slowly getting-there.

Update 6 September 2019 09:00:

Minor updates to both page and printout.

Where is it? – #3

 I’ve had this photo for a long time and, indeed, published it some years ago on a previous version of this website, but I must confess that I’ve lost my note of the original source (Nigel Brown? John Salter?) and some of the key information (such as who?). Whatever, it is an HRG and is, I believe, on the 195o Lands End Trial. The question is where?

I had lengthy, but ultimately inconclusive, email exchanges with both Nigel and John about this photo back in September 2011. I have a note that the 1950 Lands End sections were, in alphabetical order: Barton Steep (ST), Beggars Roost, Doveyhay (m/c only), Hookway, Southernwood, Station Lane (Hill), Stoney Street, and Yealscombe; but the Motor Sport report also mentions Ashwell so I wonder if my list is correct?

We eliminated all except Hookway based on our knowledge of the others, but couldn’t match the photo with the section known as Hookway and used by the Silverton Motor Club for their Exe Valley Trial up to 1998 (Silverton used the track west-to-east with the section start at https://bit.ly/348MSPe).

So … does anyone know where this is? Or can anyone at least confirm that No.102 was an HRG in 1950, which might help to confirm the year and, therefore, the ‘long list’ of sections to choose from?

Update 26 September 2019 18:00:

Well … it is the 1950 Lands End Trial, and it is D.C.S.Bassett in an 1100cc HRG on Lyn Hill near Barbrook in North Devon (the list of 1950 sections, above, is obviously incomplete). Lyn Hill starts on the B3234 at OS GR SS 7196 4859 and heads south east to end at OS GR SS 7245 4827. It is clearly shown as an ORPA on the current OS Maps. Lyn Hill was used for the Lands End Trial in 1949 and 1950 only and, according to my source, the bridge over the West Lyn River was washed-away in the infamous 1952 Lynmouth Flood and was subsequently rebuilt as a non-vehicle bridge. Which explains why the hill was never used again. The pillars and gates are still, apparently, in situ on the sharp left-hand hairpin bend clearly shown on the OS maps.

If you view the B3234 on Google Street View, heading uphill towards Barbrook, you can clearly see the bridge in the valley on the left-hand side just uphill from the Olde Cottage Inne.

Update 18 February 2020 12:00:

I’ve just received the above photo from Jo Goodman (of the Goodman family who own the wonderful Barbrook Filling Station, well-known to all who’ve done the Lands End Trial). I think this is final and conclusive proof that the photo of the HRG is most definitely on Lyn Hill, as described above. Are those really the same gates as were there 70 years ago? They certainly look identical!