Trials Sections Database

Trials Sections Database printout (PDF) (22/04/2016)

Note (22 April 2016): The printout above shows work-in-progress as I start a major update to the Database, although some of the information is still seriously out-of-date. To try and clear the huge backlog of un-entered data I’ve decided to work backwards in time from the latest events, rather than (as previously) forward in time from the last-entered events. This means that the “Last use” dates may appear inconsistent (2016 for some events, but up to ten years old for other events) until I’ve cleared the backlog. I’ve also tidied-up a lot of the Public Information and updated the key below.


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 compiled 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 (April 2016) holds over 1150 records. Approximately: 650 of the records list ‘current’ use (i.e. since 2000); 450 are listed as ‘abandoned’ for a variety of reasons, by far the most common of which is that the road is now tarmaced and in everyday use; and the remaining 50 have one of the other use status categories (see below).

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.

Public information
  • Section name : I’ve generally entered the names as they appear on the programme, route card, or results sheets, of the events which 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.
  • First use : “?” 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. Where sections are still in current use, but have a history which pre-dates the current event, I display the date of first known use by any event. For example: Tin Pan Alley is shown as first used in 1937 (for the MGCC’s Abingdon Trial if I recall correctly) although it has been in current use for Stroud’s Mechanics Trial only since 2003.
  • Last use : “?” after a year means that I know the section was used in that year, but I don’t know if it has been used since. Note: Some of the more recent “Last use” dates are not current and the section may have been used since the year shown (database updates take time!).
  • Use Status :
    –  Abandoned : Means that 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.
    –  Current : Means used sometime since 2000 and not known to be “Abandoned”.
    –  Not known : Generally means that the section has been used sometime in the last twenty years but I am not sure whether the section has been abandoned, or is merely dormant.
    –  >>> : appears against a small number of sections which were in regular use until the demise of the trial noted, and have not been used since.
  • Club : If applicable, 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 : If applicable, 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”.
  • Location :
    –  Full OS GR known : What it says, generally including some or all of the Confidential information.
    –  * : 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.
    –  ! : after the location means that I think there may be multiple entries for the same section, but I’m still checking.
    –  Approx GR known : Generally means that I have identified the OS 1km grid square but not the actual 6-figure OS GR. 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 generally 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.
    –  Check **** route card : What it says, generally to confirm that the information I have entered is correct. Mostly used for recent trials.
Confidential information

The Database also holds information which is known to those in the trialling world but which I choose not to make available on a public website, mainly because too many of ‘our’ sections on public highways are being trashed by irresponsible use of 4x4s. This information is available, on request, to those with a genuine interest in the history of classic trials. Please Contact Me if you would like further information.

  • Full 6-figure OS Grid Reference, including OS Landranger (1:50,000) Map number and/or National Grid 100km grid square.
  • The points of entry from, and exit to, the surfaced road network (coloured roads on the OS Landranger series).
  • The rights of way status, identification number, and Parish.
  • Any further notes and points of interest.

Page updated : 22 April 2016