The number of motor-sporting events first held before the Kaiser War which are still well-supported is not a large one, but the Motor Cycling Club’s Exeter Trial qualifies, being first held in 1910. This year’s Exeter finished at Torquay, but the 300 entrants (95 on bikes, the rest on threeor four-wheelers) were able for old times sake to visit Exeter M5 services for a nourishing breakfast in the early hours of Saturday 7th January.
There were 13 observed sections, including such favourites as Fingle and Simms, both of which came onto the menu in the late 1920s. The former is now quite tame, but Simms was in severe mood, stopping 90% of the entry. One of its conquerers was Keith Roach in his HRG, who went on to win the pre-war class. Gerald Burridge’s PB MG also cleared Simms, on its way to a Bronze award. An MCC departure for 1995 was to classify post-war cars which happen to be identical in design to their pre-war cousins (such as the Ford 10 and TC MG) as pre-war too. Thus the RAC MSA sent its own Chief Executive lamb John Ouenby to the Exeter slaughter in his nicely restored TC. He failed to find the penultimate section Slippery Sam, near Torquay, but kept his blue car much cleaner thereby. Sam ends in a long 18in deep lake of red mud, which is a devil to get off carpets. Winston Teague’s little Austin would have joined the clean-sheet group had it not fallen over down the camber of Fingle. Righting the car took but a moment, but it had to stop to properly accomplish the righting rite.
Class winners were Ian Cundy (VW Golf), Keith Roach (HRG), Dick Bolt (Ford Escort), David Neale (Hillamn Imp), Roger Brooking (MG Midget), Tim Cookman (VW Beetle), Frank Burton (Marlin), and Dudley Sterry (MG 12).