… but does it matter?
Ever since the ACTC Championship was first created, nearly 40 years ago, the three MCC events have been classed as Bonus Rounds, acknowledging that they have a very different character (and scoring system) to the typical One-Day ACTC Championship trial. The two styles of event also attract somewhat different demographics: at one extreme are the MCC Stalwarts, who compete regularly in MCC events but never in One-Day events; at the other extreme are the hard-core One-Day triallers who chase the ACTC Championship but never enter MCC events; and in the middle are those who compete in both types of events.
Although the overlap (i.e., those who compete in both types of event) has always been smaller than most people think, there has been a noticeable decline, over the last ten years, in the number of ACTC Championship-chasers entering MCC events. Until 2011, the Top Ten (those who finished in the Top Five of either the Wheelspin or the Crackington) scored points in (on average) 75% of the available MCC events each year (10 competitors x 3 MCC events = 30 available events). By 2019, the last year when there was a full Championship calendar, this figure had dropped to 25%, having declined steadily since 2011.
It will be another year before we can see if the change to the scoring system for Bonus Rounds (voted through at the ACTC Council Meeting in August this year) has any effect in reversing this decline but, perhaps, a more pertinent question is “Does it matter?”. I would argue that it does. If the MCC events are to maintain the prestige that they’ve acquired over the last 120 years, then it’s important that they continue to attract the very best competitors. So … why have so many top triallers deserted the MCC over the last ten years, and what can be done to reverse this trend?