Does anyone know when the 12 > 0 scoring system became the standard for trials?
I’ve posted this question on the HSTA Facebook page quite recently, but am re-posting here, with updates, in the hope of reaching a wider audience.
I know that the concept of sub-dividing sections was introduced in the late 1930s for particularly difficult hills, and I know that this continued into the late 1940s, but there were then generally only 2, 3, or 4 sub-divisions. Other hills were either ‘cleaned’ or ‘failed’, exactly as the MCC still score their trials today. This system applied to most trials, including what we would now consider as Sporting Trials.
Marks ‘gained’ or marks ‘lost’?
The VSCC has used a ‘marks gained’ system since the 1930s and continues to use this system to the present day. Most hills are now scored 0 > 25 so, for example, if there are 12 hills on a trial then the best performance will be a score of 300 (12 x 25). The VSCC has, however, recently increased its maximum score to 35 points for the more difficult hills.
In the early 1950s, both ‘marks gained’ and ‘marks lost’ systems were in parallel use. The January 1953 issue of Motor Sport, reporting on the 1952 Gloucester Trial, notes that the winner scored “47 marks gained”, the next best performance scored “46 marks gained”, and so on. By contrast, the RAC Trials Championship (reported in the same issue of Motor Sport), used a ‘marks lost’ system; the winner is noted as “21 marks lost”, the next best performance as “37 marks lost”, and so on. These differing systems continued for these two events, and others, into 1953 and 1954, and maybe for longer.
(I haven’t yet researched beyond 1954, nor in magazines other than Motor Sport. These are both tasks for the future.)
By 1968, the RAC had standardised on a ‘marks lost’ system, the 12 > 0 scoring system being clearly described in the 1968 Blue Book (the earliest that I have).
So … when, between 1955 and 1968, did 12 > 0 become the standard?