Databases updated

I have just published updates to both the Trials Events Database and the Trials Sections Database. The Events Database now lists over 1400 events, and the Sections Database nearly 1500 event/section combinations, with my normal caveat that both are still very much work-in-progress.

Although only a small number of new event/section combinations have been added to the Sections Database since the last update, there is a lot of previously ‘unknown’ information now added to those sections which are shown. Certainly, anyone working to a previous version should download the latest version.

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.