Trials Sections Database

Trials Sections Database printout (PDF) (11-November-2020)

This printout shows work-in-progress. I always have a lot more information that has not yet reached the Database.

Others have written at length about the cars, their drivers, and the events in which they have taken part, but there is very little published information about the roads and tracks over which the competition has taken place. A handful of classic sections have survived from the heyday of trialling in the 1930s and continue to stop cars on classic trials even today, but hundreds more have vanished into obscurity and dozens more threaten to follow them as pressure increases to limit the use of motor vehicles in the countryside.

The Trials Sections Database is a ridiculously ambitious project to list key information about every section ever used for a major classic trial. By “major” I mean: (i) the three main MCC trials and their predecessors; (ii) every trial listed in the three Cowbourne books; (iii) every current ACTC Championship trial and their predecessors; (iv) some additional well-known trials such as the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club’s Fedden Trial and the Falcon Motor Club’s Guy Fawkes Trial.

The information held on the Database is a combination of the ACTC Sections Database, originally started by Jim Templeton and subsequently maintained by the ACTC Rights of Way Officers, and my own research on the locations of historic sections. The information on sections in use today has been collected from the route cards and results sheets for the events which use the sections. The historical information has been collected from a variety of sources.

Each unique combination of Section+Club+Trial has a separate record, so the section information is duplicated if used for more than one event (past or present). The Database currently (July 2020) holds over 1600 records. Approximately: 720 of the records list ‘Current’ use; 380 are listed as ‘Abandoned’; 470 are listed as ‘Historic’; and the remaining 30 have one of the other two use categories. See below for the definitions of Current, Abandoned, and Historic.

I’m always interested in sharing knowledge, particularly on the historic sections, with those who have a common interest. Please Contact Me with all questions and any offers of help.

Key to the printout
  • Section name : I’ve generally entered the names as they appear on the programme, route card, or results sheets, of the events which use, or used, the section. There will be some inconsistency until all the locations have been confirmed. Where different events use the same section, but with completely different names, the records reflect this. Where there are minor spelling inconsistencies (club-to-club, event-to-event, or even year-to-year!), these have been corrected to the most common spelling. It is also common practice for clubs to name sections after a particular area, adding “1” or “2” if more than one section is used in any one year. In most cases it is impossible to locate individual sections accurately from the route card and the “Location” information generally refers to just one of the sections. The others are likely to be very close.
  • County : In almost all cases, “?” is just because I haven’t yet checked. There are very few sections listed where I don’t know which county they’re in.
  • Location :
    –  OS GR known : What it says. * after the location indicates multiple entries for the same section, either because it appears under more than one name, or because it has been used by more than one trial.
    –  OS GR approx : Generally means that I have identified the OS 1km grid square but not the exact location. In a few cases it means that I’ve been given a 6-figure OS GR which I don’t believe is correct.
    –  Not known : What it says, although I sometimes know the county (see above), or even the approximate location, but not with sufficient accuracy to place it in a specific OS 1km grid square.
    –  As routecard(s) : Generally means that I expect to be able to locate the section exactly when I’ve checked the routecard(s) for the event. Mostly used for new sections on recent trials.
  • OS Map Status : How the section is shown on the 1:50,000 of 1:25,000 OS maps. I am currently re-checking a lot of this information, hence the large number shown as ‘?’.
  • Club : The club(s) which currently use the section. A name in brackets denotes the club (and trial) that was the main user of the section before it was “abandoned”.
  • Trial : The trial(s) which currently use the section. A name in brackets denotes the trial (and the organising club) that was the main user of the section before it was “abandoned”.
  • First use : Means the first use for that particular Club/Trial combination. “?” after a year means that I know the section was used in that year but I don’t know if it had been used previously.
  • Last use : Means the last use for that particular Club/Trial combination. “?” after a year means that I know the section was used in that year but I don’t know if it has been used subsequently.
  • Use Status :
    –  Abandoned : I have no record of use since the year stated and I know, or am pretty certain, that the section is unlikely to be used again. Abandoned is only used where the trial (which used the section) is still running.
    –  Current : Used at least once since 2000.
    –  Historic : The section has not been used since before 2000 and, generally, it was used for a trial which is no longer runnng.
    –  >>> : Means “Look in the Notes column”.

Page updated : 11 November 2020