The New R.A.C. Trials-Car Formula



Clubs which organise mud-trials and owners of those freak vehicles which are recognised as the only sort which stand a chance in such contests, will be fully occupied for some time to come with discussion on the new R.A.C. Trials-Car Regulations.

Some time ago the R.A.C. felt that the comic appearance of trials-specials was bringing this section of the sport into disrepute. We doubt if the public really cares a hoot, and now the excuse for fresh R.A.C. legislation is that fresh courses, too easy for existing “specials,” will be possible, that dangerous hazards, introduced to defeat said “specials,” will be obviated and that owners of more normal vehicles may be encouraged to enter—which we doubt, for such recent standard-car trials as have been organised, have met with poor support.

The new rules have been discussed with the B.T.D.A. and other interested parties. They are certainly far-reaching, specifying either standard chassis, of which at least 60 must have been produced, virtually unmodified, or “specials” with wheelbase/engine size of 6 ft. 3 in./850 c.c., 6ft. 6 in./1,350 c.c., 7 ft./ 2,500 c.c. and 7 ft. 6 in./over 2,500 c.c. The last-mentioned must have the centre of the foremost sparking plug hole not more than one fifth the wheelbase aft of the front hubs or one-eighth if no radiator is fitted before the engine. The rear of the seats must not be more than 15 in. behind the rear hubs, nor cushions less than 6 in. below body edges. Overhang shall not exceed one-third of the wheelbase. There are rules specifying proper bonnets and bodywork. Most of those interested will have seen the complete rules, obtainable front the R.A.C., Pall Mall, S.W.1.

So far these rules apply only to trials counting towards the 1953 Championship; other organisers need not comply, although it is hoped they will do so. This does not seem entirely satisfactory, inasmuch as conditions for the Championship may be easier than for those trials still opened to all-comers, which would be rather droll. It would seem better to standardise, although hard on those who possess freak “specials” which will be rendered of no use and consequently no market value.

However, it will be interesting to see which clubs adopt the new ruling and which do not, and what effect the new formula will have on entries and slime-storming ability.

To those who have never watched a trial, may we add our annual recommendation to do so. If you park your car as requested and do not damage adjoining property, the organisers will welcome you.

The best plan is to go to the start half an hour before the trial is due to commence, armed with a 1-in. Ordnance map of the area, when an official will usually indicate the hills and tests for you. You will see much good country on this sort of day out and will be able to spectate at more than one mud “section” if you time your movements accordingly–thus getting in some map reading and cross-country motoring on your own account. This winter Motor Sport will endeavour to give starting times of trials in its Fixtures Panel. Offers of help are often acceptable to the organisers, sometimes from non-members. But remember that marshalling or spectating at trials entails long periods of standing on muddy hills, often under dripping trees. Gum-boots are a necessity and old raincoats, shooting sticks, hot drinks, and the girl-friend’s second-best umbrella are important items of equipment! You have been warned ! Finally, while we do not propose at this stage to take sides for or against the new R.A.C. regulations, we publish below Motor Sport photographs of trials “specials,” taken last season, from which you may form your own opinions as to whether the appearance of such cars would, or would not, benefit from a change.