On Saturday 3rd April, the MCC were fortunate with Lockdown 3 ending just in time for the 'Experimental Pop-Up Trial' to take place. The primary aim of the trial was to test all those paperless and electronic systems that most clubs have been rapidly putting in place over the last year, and to check that all our Covid procedures work in a real event, before being rolled out on any of our Schedule 4 events (where we can have over 300 competitors, so any problem is a big problem!).
The event was a one-day Classic Trial with 24 motorbikes, 2 outfits and 8 cars (without passengers due to the regulations at the time), so car drivers had to navigate by a hard mounted sat nav or phone. The routes were sent out in all manner of formats from the traditional Route Card instructions to gpx and hml files to what3word points.
There were some well-known sections from the Land's End Trial, plus some unknown to the competitors, being run in a tie up with Minehead Motor Club and Launceston Motor Club. Overall 11 observed sections and one special test spread over a 135 mile route.
Some of the highlights were going up Edbrooke Lane and Slade Lane, both used in the Experts Trial of 1934, and Angel Steps, the formidable climb at Marystow that claimed the most victims. A cold start in the dark Exe Valley soon warmed up as the sun shone throughout the rest of the day, and an enjoyable return to motorsport was had by competitors, marshals and officials alike, for many of us after a whole year without!
Overall awards are still being worked out, but a clean run for Dave Craddock on his Yamaha TTR600 took the overall win with a clean run, closely followed by a couple of other bikes who cleaned the sections but had a slower time on the special test.
We also welcomed several first timers and guests from the TRF, and feedback suggests people are keen for more and this format of event could be a good stepping stone to introducing people to our tougher Long Distance Trials that can last for up to 24 hours running through the night.
We're happy to say that the event ran in a completely Covid-safe way, and all our systems appear to have done the job as intended, so hopefully this paves the way for a full calendar of Classic Trials throughout the rest of the year.
For more information, see the Motor Cycling Club website and feel free to get in touch: https://www.themotorcyclingclub.org.uk/