THE famous End of the Year reliability trial which was held on December 29th and 30th showed no signs of declining popularity, and 272 car entries were received. 27 car teams were nominated. The trial started from Virginia Water, and the first motor-cyclist leaving at one minute past midnight, with car No. 74 the same number of minutes later. The route ran through Stockbridge and Salisbury to Shaftesbury, where there was a check point. Exeter was reached at 5.50, with an hour’s interval refuelling and breakfasting at Deller’s Caf6, and then the serious business of the Trial began. •

Pingle Bridge was the first hill, and proved the undoing of many drivers last year. From a standing start one climbs a leaf-covered slope to a deeply rutted hair-pin bend, then up a steeper slope to another hair-pin, this time to the left. The hill continues to wind through a series of sharp bends with an average gradient of about 1 in 5, and this section, which was last year covered with a thick coating of mud, proved the undoing of many overgeared motor-cars. A further section steep and rutted but otherwise not too difficult leads to the summit.

Cars were timed over a short section which includes the first hair-pin, in order to decide ties in the team awards.

The competitors were then led through Bovey Tracey to Ilsington, where Simms Hill, a newcomer on the Exeter programme, was situated. The gradient of this hill, which is about 1 in 3, makes it a very severe test, and

when the surface has had much rain on it proves almost impossible for motor vehicles. There are two bends on it, the second one sharp but reasonably wide. Pollo.vving the usual route past Countess Weir, competitors entered Lorset, and

were next confronted with Harcornbe Hill. This is a steep ascent with several bends and muddy at the top, so that drivers who were keeping their foot down had to watch out for the stop and restart section. The front wheels had to he brought to

rest within two lines 6 feet apart, and then from a standing start. had to cover 15 yards in seven seconds and finish the climb non-stop. Afeerhay is a long climb overhung with trees, and always seems particularly eerie when climbed by the light of the headlamps. Near the top there is a rocky outcrop which occasionally takes toll of cars which keep too far to the left, but the

general gradient is not steep enough to form a serious obstacle.

Ibberton, the final hill of the trial, has two sharp and narrow left and right hand turns near the start, and if too much speed is lost in negotiating them, the 1 in 4 section which follows is apt to prove too much for an underpowered car. The surface is chalky in character, easy under frosty conditions, but liable to become slippery after heavy rain.

The Trial ended, as in 1933 at the Crown Hotel, Blandford. Proper arrangements had been made for the reception of competitors, and hot meals were available all the afternoon.

Fixtures of the other events organised by the Motor Cycle Club are now available. It will be noticed that owing to the early date of Easter this year, the Land’s End Trial takes place at the end of ‘March, so competitors beware !

London-Land’s End Trial, March 30th and 31st.

London-Edinburgh Trial, May 18th and 19th.

Reliability Trial, July 6th and 7th. Brookla.nds Meeting, September 8th. Sporting Trial, October 13th.

London-Exeter Trial, December 28th and 29th.