Those MCC Trials

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Sir,
As an ex-competitor in MCC Trials may I (rather belatedly) express appreciation of your Editorial of January, 1977. How refreshing it is to read such a well-informed potted history of the MCC Trials but how sad to realise the possible effect of the revised scale of authorisation fees on these classic events. The subsequent report of the “Exeter” and C.R.’s graphic description of his experiences as a competitor in the event brought back many happy memories.

Mr. Delamont’s reply to your Editorial, which you publish this month, whilst being sympathetic towards the MCC with regard to the increased authorisation fees, and which expresses welcome recognition of the fact that MCC Trials are not rallies, contains some statements which I feel are open to challenge.

Regarding annoyance to local residents, surely rallies have caused infinitely more annoyance during the comparatively short period during which they have been prolific than the MCC Trials which have been run over the last 70 years. The RAC’s support for relating authorisation fees to length of route and to the number of competitors seems only half right; obviously the cost of the RAC’s processing of a route is affected by distance only and the number of competitors is quite irrelevant, Incidentally, Mr. Delamont’s reference to the MCC’s “several hundred” competitors is a bit off course; the highest entry limit of any MCC Trial is 350. Three-and-a-half hundreds is hardly “several”!

One does wonder if the powers-that-be, when revising the basis of the authorisation fees, realised that the Land’s End Trial, for example, would suffer an increase of 855% (yes, eight hundred and fifty-five per cent) in the fee.

Mill Hill, London NW7 J.P. Davis

Sir.
How pleased I was to read the reports of the 49th MCC Exeter Trial in the pages of your excellent journal (February issue). I do hope that you will continue to report on these major MCC classics in the future, particularly as the sport is in danger of extinction, reference your January editorial.

Indeed, I started reading Motor Sport, my father’s copy, many years ago and the MCC Trials featured so prominently in its pages. I might add that your coverage of the sport, in those days, whetted my appetite to become a regular MCC competitor when I was old enough. Although I am busily engaged in much amateur motoring sport, as organiser and competitor, including racing a 1959 “Frogeye” Sprite, it is in these long-distance trials where my heart is set the deepest, particularly with the Oliver Special, built in 1949, which seems so appropriate to the occasion. “Sport” is the key word in the MCC. None of the old camaraderie or sportsmanship has been lost over the years, even in the present environment of sponsored commercialised motoring, so called, sport. It would be a sad loss if these events were allowed to die due to the profiteering of the Authorities.

In addition to the MCC trials, there are still a handful of “classic type” trials remaining. The event with which I am closely associated is the Cotswold Clouds Trial, organised by the Stroud & District MC since 1950, which carries on in Gloucestershire where the old Gloucester Trial left off (becoming a sporting trial for very specialised cars on “freak” observed sections). It may gladden your heart to learn that the following traditional sections were included on the 1977 Cotswold Clouds Trial route card : Nailsworth Ladder, Ham Mill, Axe (Old Hollow now tarmacked), Fort, Freriscourt, Saridsford. Mac House and Catswood.

The Land’s End Trial is scheduled, as always, at Easter, April 8/9th. See you there ?

Wooton-Under-Edge, John West

Sir,
What pleasure it gave me and what happy memories were recalled when I read your report of the MCC Exeter Trial! Especially as nearly all the other motoring journals, plus, of course, the daily press, decide to ignore this event these days.

I, too, can remember standing in a tree for several hours awaiting the arrival of the first competitor and watching with awe and admiration how some of the cars managed to make the top of this fearsome hill without the aid of the tractor.

The urge to compete was now so strong that in due course a home-built Austin 7 (plus another gearbox in line) was constructed, and when the great day came to join the long queue at all the hills in such congenial company, whether they be in Ford Populars, Rileys, or the works teams of Morgans. MG, etc., it was quite a thrill. As one steadily moved to the bottom of Simms to await one’s turn, each time letting a little more air out of the rear tyres, as competitor after competitor walked back and remarked that “so-and-so” had just failed, finally my turn came and, foot hard down plus much bouncing, we made the top unaided.

I doubt if your reporter in his Porsche got so much pleasure winning his first class as I did in those early days.

Most old MCC members will agree with me, I think, when I say that my most pleasant memory of the Land’s End was breaching Exmoor in the early morning mist and descending Countisbury, then on to the Roost, here you had to wait your turn while the men with the forks raked the big boulders over, making it the same for everyone.

These trials enabled everyone to have a very enjoyable time, with plenty of time to admire the scenery, and the comradeship was great, meeting the same marshals year after year.

Long may these trials survive, and, you, Mr. Editor, are to be congratulated for keeping us in touch for all these years.

Horsham, E.G. Smith

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