“An excellent low cost way of getting started competing in motor sport”
Car Trials are a low speed test of driving skill and car control, and is one of the cheapest forms of motorsport available. The object of a car trial is to get as far along a course (known as a section) as possible without stopping or hitting a penalty marker.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? But the section is set out on a grassy hillside and can weave, rapidly change direction and even go downhill at times. To add to the difficulty, some or all of the section may be wet, muddy, sandy or even icy! The further along the section you get, the less penalty points you receive, and the person with the least number of points at the end is the winner.
Normally at an event, there will be 4 to 6 different sections which are varied during the day, with each section attempted a number of times. Once the results have been calculated, awards will be presented to the winners.
How to get involved – Competing
If you wish to compete, you will firstly need a car. Trails are open to a wide variety of cars, which are split into classes depending on which wheels are driven and where the engine is. It is not just for people with a “special” car either. There is a class for normal road cars which were first registered on or after the 1st of January 1998, that are unmodified and driven to the event, which means you could drive your normal road car to the event, use it to compete, and then simply drive home at the end!
You will also need to make sure the car complies with the MSA (Motor Sport Association) regulations. These can be accessed online and a link to the regulations is given at the bottom of this guide. There are some very simple steps needed to meet most of the regulations such as making sure your battery is secure, marking your earth lead with yellow tape and clearing out any clutter from the car! You will also need to ensure that your tyres are road legal summer tyres. Each car is scrutineered at the start of each event to check that it complies with the regulations.
You will also need a passenger! All cars must carry a passenger in the front passenger seat. The passenger (known as a “Bouncer”) can help you by bouncing in the seat to help get some grip on the slippery parts of the section. Passengers can be aged 12 and above, so you could bring your son/daughter. It is also allowed to share a car so the bouncer also has a turn at driving while the driver becomes the bouncer. This is known as double driving and is popular amongst competitors. Drivers can be as young as 14 but anyone who does not hold a full RTA driving licence must have a front seat passenger who does, and who is experienced in Car Trials.
To take part in Car Trials as a driver, you need to be a member of a club that is invited to the event and hold a free MSUK Clubmans Licence. By joining West Suffolk Motorsport Club, you will be able to compete in the Car Trials we organise, as well as those of several other Motor Clubs in the local area, and you will also be eligible to score points in the Anglia Motor Sport Club Trials Challenge. There are 10 Car Trials that make up the challenge in locations in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
To Join the club, click here and fill in the membership application form:
Check the events calendar to see when the next event is on.
MSUK Regulations can be found in the “Blue Book” details here
How to get involved – Marshalling
Marshals are an essential part of motorsport as without them events would not be able to run. The best way to get into motorsport and learn about Car Trials is to volunteer to Marshal. Sound scary? Don’t worry, you will be placed with an experienced marshal who will show you the ropes, and when you are comfortable doing so you can start to get involved.
In Car Trials, there are a number of marshalling duties which need to be carried out:
Scrutineer – The scrutineer(s) job is to check each competitor’s car to ensure they meet the standards required under the regulations. This is done before the event starts, although spot checks may be carried out throughout the day.
Chief Marshal – The Chief marshal is in charge of the other marshals and will typically allocate positions for each marshal and give the marshals briefing at the start of the event.
Section Observers – The main marshalling task at a Car Trial is observing on the sections. As each car attempts the section, observers will watch the car to ensure that it takes the correct route, that it does not hit any markers and that it continues to travel forwards without stopping. Once the car stops or hits a penalty marker, the marshal will indicate to the driver that their attempt is over, and will mark the competitors results card with the appropriate score.
Interested? Let us know that you would like to give marshalling a go by filling in the form here, and our chief marshal will contact you:
If you have any questions relating to Car Trials, our club, or anything else motorsport related please let us know. You can do this by e-mailing us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, by sending us a message on Facebook (West Suffolk Motorsport Club) or Twitter, or why not drop in and see us We meet at the Horringer Social Club every Wednesday night at 8.30pm. Check the events calendar to see when the next event is on.