The Gregory

20121020_01

Josh Moss in PPP 387 on the 2012 Ebworth Trial.
Photograph by Dave Cook

This post (originally a page on this website) is the result of a trials-related “London Bus Syndrome” – most of us had never heard of the Gregory until along came two of them.

3 November 2007. The first item was in John Aley’s MCC News of the Week.

Then there’s the Gregory. It seems there was more than one of these and one, with a Ford V8 engine was rebuilt to a very high degree about 20 years ago. The question arose because this one, which is described as a Dellow like car with a V8 engine, is being rebuilt by the son of Les Leston – a name which will be familiar to many as the first purveyor of Go Faster goodies from his shop in Holborn.

10 November 2007. This prompted a response in the following News of the Week.

More on the Gregory: Thanks to Arthur Vowden for contributing this: During the 1980s a Gregory Trials Special was campaigned in MCC and Southwest ACTC events by John Clarkson of Camelford. It was a Dellow lookalike but with a square nose front and cycle wings. It was Ford 10 based with the transverse spring front suspension. The engine and gearbox were Ford 1500cc pre-crossflow (Added later – originally 1172), its registration number was PPP 387. John advertised it for sale in the September issue of Wheelspin. By coincidence the same day as the newsletter came through I had read a 1955 copy of Motor Sport and in it were pictures of the MGCC Chiltern Trial, one of the pictures was of C.O. Gregory driving a Ford 10 based Dellow look-a-like special with a square nose and cycle wings, its registration number being PPP 259. Barrie Kirton has sent a press cutting from Classic & Sportscar of November 1990 in which there’s a letter from John Clarkson in which he suggests that 6 of these were built, but does this include the V8 engined monster?

13 November 2007. I received this email from Colin Gwyer, who is not an MCC member, out of the blue.

I have aquired a Gregory 1952 which over the years has seen many modifications and once I have done a few things to it will get trialing again. Do you have any information on how many were built etc. because it seems a bit of a rare motor?

20 November 2007. Followed-up by a further email from Colin a week later.

I bought the Gregory PPP 387 from Graham Price who did a few events in it including the ’06 Clee Hills as shown on the results page of your website. Also on your site is an entry for the Derbyshire trial of 1966 with a Gregory, don’t know if it is the same car. I have the old buff log book and some photos taken over the years that show the changes made to such items as the front wings. The car at the moment is at work while I find time to get some MOT items sorted.

14 December 2007. I then had a flurry of emails from Nigel Brown, who’d discovered this photograph …

20071214_01

… and pointed me in the direction of this listing for the results of the H&H Auction at The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, on 4th October 2000, although we cannot be sure that the photograph above is of the car being auctioned – it could be the “other” V8.

Lot : 54 : 1951 GREGORY V8 SPECIAL SPORTS

Estimate: SOLD for £5250
Mileage: 0800
Colour: GREEN
Trim Colour: SILVER
Chassis No: BM1002
Engine No: E71/7252129
Registration No: OKX 276
CC: 30 HP
M.O.T: 19.6.2001

This rare car was built by Bob Gregory in 1951 behind his father’s pub, the ‘Shaggy Calf’ in Slough. Bob had previously worked at Lotus and James Boothby Motors, who both built race and hillclimb specials, and when JBM collapsed Bob went on to build eleven 1172cc Ford engined specials and two V8’s, the first on a pre-war Ford chassis and the second, this one, around an entirely purpose built tubular space frame chassis.

Although used as daily transport and for holidays it was mainly for competition in auto-cross and trials events. In 1961 it competed at the Firle hillclimb, driven by John Kirby who finished only 0.70 of a second behind the legendary Jim Tiller in the Allard. Since being discovered in the mid 80’s in Devon it has been restored to its former glory, a photographic record is included, and reunited with its original registration number.

The large history file also contains letters from his younger brother and photographs of other Gregory cars as well as magazine articles. Interestingly it is registered, both on the buff logbook and the V5 as a Gregory, and not a Ford, special and this is an exiting road going sportscar and a relatively inexpensive candidate, in the Allard mould, for many hillclimbs and trials such as Land’s End and Exeter.

2 June 2010. I receive the following email from Josh Moss, of the well-known Stroud trialling family.

Hi Andrew. I have recently purchased the Gregory from Colin and will be mildly restoring it and then using it in trials. Just thought i would let you know. Josh.

29 November 2010. I stumble upon a page of the Flathead Meltdown website and there, right at the top of the page, is a photograph of Gregory OKX 276 owned and driven at the Shelsley meeting by Nick Leston – see John Aley’s item from New of the Week 3 November 2007 above. This picture confirms that WSV 523 (photograph above) must be the V8 built on a pre-war Ford chassis, as described in the H&H Auction listing, and so, presumably, both V8 Gregorys still exist. But is Josh Moss’s PPP 387 the only survivor of the eleven 1172cc Ford-engined Gregory specials?

Postscript 30 December 2021. The above was written over ten years ago, and Josh Moss campaigned PPP 387 successfully for a number of years. But, when I asked him recently (November 2021) why we hadn’t seen the car for some time, he said that it was “tired and needed a lot of work”.

This Post was originally published on 23 December 2015 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here with minor amendments.

The Guy Fawkes Trial

The Falcon Motor Club’s Guy Fawkes Trial was one of many trials first run in the late 1940s or early 1950s as motorsport was restarting after the Second World War. The Guy Fawkes started off as a “North Chilterns” road trial before moving to the Cotswolds, then back to the Chilterns, ending its “first life” as a single venue classic trial before returning as a PCT from 1996 on.

Although now (2021) fifty years since it last ran as a multi-venue classic trial, the Guy Fawkes has an important place in trials history for two main reasons:

  • During its heyday (1954 to 1965), when it ran as a multiple-start night-and-day event in the Cotswolds, it was the only event of this type apart from the three MCC classics. Indeed, although there have been a few one-off night-and-day events, I think it was the only PostWar, non-MCC, event of this type which ran on a regular basis. This may, of course, have something to do with the fact that John Tucker-Peake, who was a prominent member of both Falcon MC and the MCC, became the main organiser of the Guy Fawkes from 1954.
  • Again, during its heyday, the Guy Fawkes used many sections in the Cotswolds which had been used PreWar, and ‘discovered’ quite few more. Indeed, although many in the Stroud & District Motor Club might disagree, the Cotswold Clouds Trial might not be the classic event that it is today if the Falcon Motor Club had not kept trialling in the Cotswolds alive from the early 1950s into the mid-1960s.

You can read the full Guy Fawkes Story on the Falcon Motor Club’s website.

A brief history of the various formats:

  • 1950 to 1952, and 1953? : One day road event in the Chilterns.
  • 1954 to 1965 : Multiple start long distance event with most observed sections in the Cotswolds.
  • 1966 to 1967 : Not run.
  • 1968 to 1971 : Single start (Oxford) long distance event with most observed sections in the Cotswolds. Cancelled 1969.
  • 1972 to 1980 : Single venue classic trial in various Hertfordshire locations. Cancelled 1973.
  • 1981 to 1995 : Not run.
  • 1996 to date : Production Car Trial at Kensworth, Bedfordshire.

You can see the actual dates (1950 to 1980) of the various events on the Trials Events Database, and the information about the sections used on the Trials Sections Database.

This Post was originally published on 11 May 2020 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here with amendments and additional information.

Classic Sections – Leckhampton

From the JES (Jesus) Jones collection with thanks to Mike Dalby and Bryan Ditchman.

Leckhampton is interesting for two main reasons: it caused a sensation when first used for the 1935 Colmore Cup, as described in detail by Austen May in Wheelspin; and it is right on the outskirts of Cheltenham and probably closer to a major town than any other section that I can think of. But Leckhampton was no easy drive-through, it was (and still is) as steep as Simms or Blue Hills and three or four times as long.

Data
County OS 100km GR Entry GR Start GR Exit
Gloucestershire SO 949189 949189 949186
ROW Status ID Number First used Last used View map?
Footpath Not known 1935? 1938? Click here
History

Leckhampton was used for the 1935, 1937 and 1938 Colmore Trials and one can only assume that the chaos caused in 1935 led the trial organisers to think again in 1936. Everything that really needs to be said about the section is contained in the extract from The Autocar report of the 1935 Colmore as quoted, verbatim, in Austen May’s Wheelspin.

Frightful rumours had been current all day concerning the severity of the last hill, called in the programme Leckhampton and known locally as the Jinny. This hill turned out to be like at least four Simms Hills rolled into one, slippery surface, 1 in 2 1/2 gradient, and tractor were all there. (Note: The tractor, actuating a wire cable, was stationed at the summit for the purpose of hauling up cars unable to climb unassisted, it being quite impossible to manhandle a car to the top.) Yet Simms is in the heart of desolate Dartmoor, while the Jinny is on the very outskirts of the far-flung town of Cheltenham, leading off the main road.

Special permission had been obtained for the use of the hill, which is common land, and reserved as a rule for walkers only. (Note: It formed the base of a now dismantled wire-rope railway to the quarry at its summit.) But the police stopped the first cars from ascending, and were only prevailed upon after some delay to allow proceedings to go on. Even with the short, sharp Simms … there was, in the recent London-Exeter Trial, a long queue of cars waiting. With the immense length of this new terror, Leckhampton … a delay would, in any case, have been inevitable, and apart from the short lane leading to the gradient, there was only one place for the waiting cars – the main Cheltenham-Birdlip road!

Rapidly this road became choked as well with a double line of spectators’ cars. A policeman strove nobly at the entrance to the narrow lane, but he could not be everywhere at once, and for a time complete chaos reigned. Main-road congestion, too, was inevitable with “racers climbing a precipice” so near a populous town …

To add to the difficulties of the situation, or, perhaps, to solve them, the tractor broke down when some twenty-two competitors had tried their ascents, of whom Haden with his MG Midget and Attwood with his Magnette were successful. A massive cog burst asunder, and those who were stuck on the hill – were stuck! A six-wheeled lorry was next reversed down to pull up a car which had stuck, but the caterpillars of this broke under the unequal strain, and the car pulled the lorry down the hill. That finished it. The hill was abandoned, the cars waiting in the lane had to reverse, and the competing cars lined up in the main road went on their way.

In Wheelspin, May reports briefly on the 1937 Colmore when Leckhampton (17 successful climbs) was second only to Juniper (15 successful climbs) in severity. May then comments that in 1938 “Leckhampton seemed to be losing its sting … the hill was conquered by more than twice as many cars as got up Juniper – thirty-four in all.” And that, we can only assume, was that with just three events over four years. Leckhampton is not mentioned in More Wheelspin.

The line of the section is still clearly visible today although the banks which feature in the 1937 photographs have long-ago fallen-in and there are now substantial trees growing on what was the trackbed of the old tramway. Tramway Cottage, at the foot of the section and clearly visible on the right-hand-side of the top two photographs below, has a significant place in local history as the scene of the “Leckhampton Riots”.

Those with an interest in the industrial archeology of the area can read more in the article available from the link below. The trials section follows the line of Middle Incline (B3 on the map on page 44 of the article) and the cleans exit route was along the track marked E3 on the same map. Interestingly, the table on page 43 shows the gradient at 1 in 3.5 but I think this may be an average including the flatish section at the very bottom alongside Tramway Cottage. As the incline was abandoned in 1924, and the whole area acquired by the Council in 1929, I think we can assume that there was some sort of hard, if loose, surface in the late 1930s rather than the deep mud and decades of leaf-mould visible today.

Photographs – Then and Now
Click for larger imageJES (Jesus) Jones (MG TA)
1937 Colmore Cup Trial

From the JES (Jesus) Jones collection
with thanks to Mike Dalby and Bryan Ditchman.
Click for larger imageThe same view today
Photographed on 24 March 2008
by Andrew Brown.
Click for larger imageDickie Green (MG PB)
1937 Colmore Cup Trial

With thanks to Bryan Ditchman.
Click for larger imageThe same view today
Photographed on 24 March 2008
by Andrew Brown.
Visiting Leckhampton

Pass through the Cheltenham suburb of Leckhampton on Leckhampton Road, climbing gently all the way. Shortly after the road steepens sharply, and bears round to the right, turn left into Daisybank Road. Pass the bottom of the section and turn right into the public car park. Retrace your route a few yards to Tramway Cottage and the “Public Footpath” sign pointing up the section.

It is a steep climb, generally following the left-hand bank which is clearly visible in the PreWar photographs, until it abruptly levels-off at the old quarry workings. Turn sharp right here and follow the very obvious track (the “cleans” route in the 1930s) which descends gently, with a stone wall to your left, until you eventually return to the main Leckhampton Hill road just a few yards up the hill from the turn into Daisybank Road.

This Post was originally published on 30 December 2015 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here without amendment.

Classic Sections – Ibberton

 From the JES (Jesus) Jones collection with thanks to Mike Dalby.

I’d long wondered about the location of the wonderfully atmospheric picture on Page 161 of Bacon but it wasn’t until August 2007 that Bryan Ditchman positively identified it as Ibberton Church Hill. (There is another picture of Ibberton on Page 106 of Bacon.) Shortly after I received the very similar photograph, above, on a CD from Mike Dalby and this was clearly captioned as Ibberton. Then two photographs of Ibberton were published on the Austin Harris website. But the final impetus to create this page came when Jonathan Elliott provided me with the two photographs below, showing just how little the section had changed in the last seventy or eighty years.

Data
County OS 100km GR Entry GR Start GR Exit
Dorset ST 789077 789077 790075
ROW Status ID Number First used Last used View map?
UCR? Not known 1929? 1936? Click here
History

According to Cowbourne, Ibberton was first used for the MCC Exeter Trial in 1929 (which is maybe why Autocar magazine decided on a visit to take the photographs published on the Austin Harris website), then every year until 1934. For these six years it was the final hill, before the trial finished in Shaftesbury (1929, 1930, 1931) or Blandford (1932, 1933, 1934). Remember that in the 1930s the Exeter Trial “about-turned” at Exeter before heading back east to the finish, rather than continuing further south-west as it does now.

Ibberton seems to have fallen out of favour with the MCC from 1935, when Meerhay became the final Exeter section for a few years, although Ibberton was used for other clubs’ events until at least 1936.

Photographs – Then and Now
Click for larger imageJES (Jesus) Jones (MG J2)
1934 Banfield Cup Trial

From the JES (Jesus) Jones collection
with thanks to Mike Dalby.
Click for larger imageThe same view today
Photographed on 18 November 2008
by Jonathan Elliott.
Click to view on the Austin Harris websiteEH Williams (Triumph Super Seven)
1929 Exeter Trial

From the Austin Harris website.
Click for larger imageThe same view today
Photographed on 18 November 2008
by Jonathan Elliott.

This Post was originally published on 30 December 2015 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here without amendment.

Classic Sections – Dane

MG Musketeer team captain MacDermid climbs Dane, probably on the 1937 Wye Cup Trial.
Photograph taken from page 48 of Thomas.

Dane Hill in Kent is hardly a well-known PreWar section, so why does it feature here? Solely because Brunell took some photographs there, in 1937, which have been famously mis-attributed.

Data
County OS 100km GR Entry GR Start GR Exit
Kent TR 176479 176479 174480
ROW Status ID Number First used Last used View map?
Private? 1937? 1937? Click here
Discovering Dane

Enthusiasts had known for many years that the Brunell photographs on page 48 of Thomas, and pages 122 and 156 of Bacon, were not New Mill in Cornwall, as captioned in both books, and were highly unlikely to have been taken on the Lands End Trial as they all showed cars with double-figure entry numbers. (At the time, MCC events generally had over 100 motorcycle entries, and motorcycles always took the lower numbers.) It was clear, from a study of the spectators and the non-competing cars, that they had all been taken on the same event, but which event, and where was the hill?.

Then, in January 2004, I received this email from Colin Butchers:

As I said, I was always doubtful about the “New Mill” pictures. The terrain did not look like Cornwall, the buildings did not look Cornish, and the low numbers ruled out the MCC Trials. Then I was browsing through a pre-war “Light Car” Magazine and came across a report of the 1937 Wye Cup Trial and there was a picture of Dickie Green on the same hill, and it was captioned as “Dane Hill near Canterbury”. Now Kent has a number of Danes and another trials nut, Lewis Elgood, suggested that it could be Dane Farm near to the village of Bladbean in the Elham Valley a few miles south of Canterbury.

I visited the site – down a gated public road – very, very rural and whilst I felt certain that I had found the right place, nothing seemed to fit. I then checked a pre-war map and realised that the hill itself was a “white road” which does not appear on the current o/s maps. The lane coming down from the top right corner in the photographs is still there and you can see one of the gates (open) just to left of the farm house. This lane then turns left (I think Colin means right. AKB.) at the bottom of the hill and goes up the bottom of the valley through Covert Wood. The trials section branched off at the bottom of the hill and went more or less straight up the other side of the valley to meet another lane, which still exists, near Palmstead. The farm house has been rebuilt as have the farm buildings but they are all more or less in the same position. The trials hill is now fenced off at the bottom but you can clearly see the line of it winding up the hill between low banks and parallel lines of shrubs.

Strangely “Wheelspin” refers to Palmstead but says nothing about Dane (Page 124 in my edition, referring to the Kentish Border Car Club’s November Trial. May describes Palmstead as “straightforward stuff”. AKB.). Palmstead is at the top of the hill and I can find no other likely site, so I wonder whether Dane and Palmstead were one and the same.

This Post was originally published on 30 December 2015 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here without amendment.

ACTC Championship Trials

The ACTC was founded in 1981 and the Championship was started in 1984. Since then it has run every year, although awards were not made for 2001 (as the number of events was reduced by the Foot and Mouth crisis) nor for 2020 (as most events were cancelled due to the Coronavirus crisis). This page lists all the events which have been included in the Championship between 1984 and 2021.

  • Allen (Bristol Motor Club): First run in 1946, and included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 2021.
  • Camel Classic (Camel Vale). First run in 1985, and included in the Championship every year from 1985 to 2021*.
  • Chase Clouds (Shenstone & District). First run in 1985, and included in the Championship every year from 1986 to 1999 although it did not run in 1999.
  • Clee Hills (VWOC and MAC). First run by the VWOC in 1980, although there had been a Hagley & District event with the same name and run in the same area in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was included in the Championship from 1984 to 1993 although it did not run in 1988, 1991, and 1993. It was run as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event, by the MAC, in September 1994. It then returned to the Championship from 1996 to 2021*, although it was not run in 2001, 2015, and 2018.
  • Cotswold Clouds (Stroud & District). First run in 1962, and included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 1989. It then became an ‘ACTC Invite’ event from 1990 to 1999, and returned to the Championship for every year from 2000 to 2021*.
  • Derbyshire Conquest (Sporting Owners Drivers Club). First run as the Conquest in 1977, in the Home Counties, by 1983 it had moved to Derbyshire and become the Derbyshire Conquest. It was included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 1990 but the 1990 event was an organisational disaster and the club were informed that the event would be removed from the Championship for 1991 and replaced by the White Peak (see below). The Derbyshire Conquest never ran again after 1990.
  • Exe Valley (Silverton). First run in 1979 (I think), then as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 1988 and 1989, and was included in the Championship every year from 1990 to 2000. A similar event was run by the Crash Box and Classic Car Club from 2002 onwards (see below).
  • Exe Valley (Crash Box and Classic Car Club). Included in the Championship every year from 2002 to 2007. Also see above.
  • Exmoor (North Devon). Run as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 1988 and 1989, and included in the Championship every year from 1990 to 2021.
  • Exmoor Clouds (Minehead Motor Club). First run in 1973 (I think), and included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 2021.
  • Hardy (Woolbridge). First run as the Vogue Motors Trial in 1971 (I think) it was renamed, first as the Wessex Motors Trial, and then as the Olds Motor Group Trial. The Olds Motor Group Trial was an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 1985 and 1986, and joined the Championship in 1987. The event was renamed, again, as the Hardy and was included in the Championship from 1988 to 2021*, with the following exceptions: in 2005 it was run by the VWOC, not Woolbridge; it was an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 2010 to 2012; it did not run in 2004, 2007, 2009, and 2017.
  • Ilkley Classic (Ilkley & District). Run as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 1994 to 1996, then again in 2004 to 2007, and included in the Championship every year from 2008 to 2014. The Yorkshire Dales (see below) is essentially the same event under a new name and run by another club.
  • Kyrle (Ross & District). First run in 1978 (I think), and included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 2021*.
  • Northern Classic (Fell Side Auto Club). First run as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 2000, then included in the Championship every year from 2001 to 2021*, except 2009 when it was cancelled.
  • Tamar (Launceston & North Cornwall). Included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 2021.
  • Taw and Torridge (Holsworthy). Included in the Championship every year from 1984 to 2021.
  • Torbay (Torbay). First run in 1987, then as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 1988, and included in the Championship from 1989 to 1999 although it did not run in 1990 due to a date change from December (1989) to March (1991). It did not run from 2000 to 2008 inclusive, then has been included in the Championship every year from 2009 to 2021.
  • White Peak (Sheffield & Hallamshire). First run in 1989, then as an ‘ACTC Invite’ event in 1990, and included in the Championship from 1991 to 1997 although it did not run in 1993 and 1997, and I’m not sure about 1994.
  • Yorkshire Dales (Airedale & Pennine): Included in the Championship every year from 2015 to 2021*. See Ilkley Classic (above).

2021* means that the event did not run in 2021 due to the Coronavirus crisis.

In addition to the events listed above, the three main MCC trials, the Exeter, the Lands End, and the Edinburgh have all been Bonus Rounds of the Championship from 1984 to 2020.

For an explanation of the Championship Leagues, and the scoring system (including the Bonus Rounds), see the Championship page of the ACTC Website.

This Post was originally published on 12 May 2020 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here with updates and minor amendments.

The MCC Spring Trial

The MCC Spring Trial is, as Simon Woodall says below, “a little scrap of forgotten MCC history”.

In October 2007 Simon Woodall sent me the Results for the 1980 event, with these comments:

This is a little scrap of forgotten MCC history. The Spring Trial ran for two years, 1980 and 1981. The Clerk of Course was Martin Halliday, who was then the MCC General Secretary. The start was at a Café on the A25 north of Guildford, the Finish in Biggin Hill, just yards away from the last hill. It was a cars-only event, it being judged too difficult politically to include bikes. [Bikes were invited in 1981. AKB.] The “hill of the trial” was Westcott, which was long, muddy, and approached over an unmanned level crossing. On the first year the specials were OK, but in 1981 it rained, and Westcott defeated the entire field. You’ll recognise quite a few of the names but I was amused to note that the All Wheel Drive Club award for “most difficult recovery” went to Tom Threlfall, presumably in his Model A Ford.

Results of the First MCC Spring Trial on 9th March 1980.

Shortly afterwards, Martyn Halliday sent me the documentation for the 1981 event with his comments:

At last I have found the paperwork for the old MCC Spring Trial. The comment on the bottom of the results saying this was the last time the event would be run was mainly due to the difficulty getting people to help. I was General Secretary, working full time, and had just purchased a wreck of a cottage that we had to renovate so there was no time. Still, running the trial though the “stockbroker” belt of Surrey without a single complaint gave me satisfaction.

Documentation for the Second MCC Spring Trial on 8th March 1981.

… and finally I received some notes from Arthur Vowden:

Duncan (Welch) wrote a report of the 1980 event which appeared in Triple issue no.18, October 1980. There are also some reports of the 1981 event in Triple issue no.21, October 1981.

This Post was originally published on 11 May 2020 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here with  amendments and additional information.

Really Classic Sections

Back in December 2012 I prepared a list of the ten trials sections in longest continuous (or almost continuous) use for major trials, intending it to be used as one of Michael Leete’s Classical Gas Christmas Quiz questions. As it turned out, Michael found some better questions, but I thought people might be interested in the list anyway.

I’ve re-checked all the “first-use” dates with Cowbourne, so if anyone claims earlier use I’d like proof. There are, for example, lots of claims for earlier use of Nailsworth Ladder as a “test hill” but it doesn’t feature in any major trial until the 1933 Gloucester as far as I can determine.

The use of sections from the PreWar MCC Sporting Trial in the current MCC Edinburgh Trial is hardly surprising, but where would the modern MCC Exeter Trial be without the PreWar Brighton-Beer?

The Top Ten
  • Beggar’s Roost
    First use: 1922 MCC Lands End Trial.
    Current use: MCC Lands End Trial.
  • Bluehills Mine (Old Bluehills)
    First use : 1924 MCC Lands End Trial.
    Current use: MCC Lands End Trial (Class 0).
  • Fingle Bridge
    First use: 1929 B&HMC Brighton-Beer Trial. (1932 was first use for MCC Exeter Trial).
    Current use: MCC Exeter Trial.
  • Pepperdon
    First use: 1929 B&HMC Brighton-Beer Trial. (Not used for the MCC Exeter Trial PreWar).
    Current use: MCC Exeter Trial (Class 0).
  • Simms
    First use: 1929 B&HMC Brighton-Beer Trial. (1933 was first use for MCC Exeter Trial).
    Current use: MCC Exeter Trial.
  • Ruses Mill
    First use: 1930 MCC Lands End Trial.
    Current use: MCC Lands End Trial (Class 0).
  • Putwell 1 and Putwell 2
    First use: 1930 MCC Sporting Trial (Not used for the MCC Edinburgh Trial PreWar).
    Last use: 2016 MCC Edinburgh Trial (now downgraded to bridleway and use unlikely to be authorised in the near future).
  • Litton Slack
    First use: 1930 MCC Sporting Trial (Not used for the MCC Edinburgh Trial PreWar).
    Current use: MCC Edinburgh Trial.
  • Waterloo
    First use: 1930 B&HMC Brighton-Beer Trial. (1958 was first use for MCC Exeter Trial).
    Current use: MCC Exeter Trial.
The next three
  • Darracott
    First use: 1933 MCC Lands End Trial (as Gooseham).
    Current use: MCC Lands End Trial.
  • Nailsworth Ladder
    First use: 1933 NWLMC Gloucester Trial.
    Current use: SDMC Cotswold Clouds Trial.
  • Windout
    First use: 1933 B&HMC Brighton-Beer Trial. (1937 was first use for MCC Exeter Trial).
    Current use: MCC Exeter Trial (Class 0).

This Post was originally published on 29 June 2019 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here without amendment.

Famous Test Hills

Climbing steep hills has held a fascination for the motorist since the very early days, as shown by these articles from motoring magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. The links all open new windows with the articles as PDF files.

Some Noted British Test Hills

Article from The Autocar for December 11th, 1920. This makes an interesting comparison with The Autocar article for May 16th 1924. With thanks to Jon Way.

Famous British Test Hills

Article from The Autocar for May 16th, 1924. This makes an interesting comparison with The Autocar article for December 11th 1920. With thanks to Jon Way.

Famous Test Hills

Between July 1933 and May 1934, the “MG Magazine” (the precursor to “Safety Fast”) published a series of articles by H E Symons under the headline Famous British Test Hills. These were followed, in early 1935, by at least two articles titled Famous Test Hills and How To Climb Them. Roger Thomas included text, photographs, and diagrams from both series in his M.G. Trials Cars book but the scans below have been copied, with permission, from the Retro pages of the MMM Register website.

It’s fascinating to reflect that five out of the seven hills have been in almost continuous competitive use for most of the 75+ years since the articles were written. Honister has, of course, been tarmaced for years and Doverhay is one of those almost mythic hills with a reputation which far exceeds its actual use. It was used just once (1933) for cars on the Brighton-Beer and it was always a “motorcycles only” hill on the MCC Lands End Trial (1932 to 1957), the cars going up Grabhurst instead. It’s amazing how a few famous photographs, particularly if they’re of MGs, can distort a hill’s reputation.

Famous British Test Hills

No.1 Litton Slack (July 1933)
No.2 Fingle Bridge (September 1933)
No.3 Doverhay (November 1933)
No.4 – Was there ever a Number 4? It seems unlikely with a magazine published every other month.
No.5 Simms (January 1934)
No.6 Darracott (March 1934)
No.7 Honister Pass (May 1934)

Famous Test Hills and How To Climb Them

No.1 Jenkin’s Chapel (January 1935)
No.2 Litton Slack (March 1935)

Principal Hills in Great Britain

Two pages from a book entitled “A Motoring Encyclopaedia of 1936”. Mike Furse found the original book, photocopied the pages and circulated them to the MCC committee, and Simon Woodall then passed them on to me. A fascinating comparison with the current Trials Sections Database. With thanks to Simon Woodall.

This Post was originally published on 29 December 2015 as a Page on this website and is re-posted here without amendment.

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