Monday, 24 October 2005


After another very enjoyable and surprisingly tough event, I was pleased to see quite a large FWD class tackle the event. The one thing that became very obvious was how disadvantage we are in class 1, The hill in question which I was observing was Mineview in which the FWD's where required to start with there driving wheel's on the hill. None off the cars moved off the start line then along come's the other classes who are allowed to start 10 feet back on the track. Doesnt seem fair.
Too add more insult the penultimate hill New Langlys, class 1 had to get there driven wheels out of the section to go clear and the remainder of the classes came up 10 feet short to claim a clean.
The new blood in our sport need some help to keep them going, not spinning on the start lines.  Number's are dwindling.


  1. After doing the Exmoor clouds the week previous ,  the Tamar trial ran well to time but
    seemed to have  lost its bite. Gone
    are the restarts which require skill to clear, (angel steps ,mine view ,park
    impossible ect )replaced with tyre limits which removes the skill of setting
    tyre pressure to clear a restart or clear a rough section without a puncture. Tyre
    pressure limits usually benefit heavy cars,also greatly increase wear on
    sections and tyres which are two things we can do without. Please bring back
    the old Tamar.

  2. I agree with Adrian on this.  I went to watch on several sections which I remebered from a few years ago, only to find that there was no restarts.  Mineview and Angel Steps would have been a real challenge with restarts on, but instead were fairly straight forward for the higher classes.

  3. Dave,   Thanks for posting this message as it has prompted me to put fingers to keyboard about something that's been exercising me for a while now i.e. the whole question of differential start lines.  I have not been able to understand the rationale for a different start lines for class 1 (or class 2 in some cases) when I have come accross them.    To start with, I must now have done between twenty and thirty trials in class 4 where you have been in class 1.  Of those I believe that there has only been one trial where I have had a better overall score than you.  In a significant number you, Mike and others in class 1 have had the advantage of a better run at the hill than me and others.  You also have instances where FWD is a distinct advantage over RWD e.g. on very muddy starts where I struggle to get direction and you are pulled through.  This is to say nothing of a HUGE power advantage that you have over many.    You use last Sunday's Tamar as a vehicle for your comments - I struggled to see the logic of those comments when the results of the Tamar dropped through my letter box this morning and I saw how well you had done.  You certainly flew up Zig Zag when cars in all other classes struggled to get round either the first or second bend.  The Allen last year is another case in point.  It seems to me that the answer to a complaint about the configuration of a car is ultimately to change to another class - not that your results would seem to point to this solution being necessary for you.   While on this subject, the same principle surely applies to those who complain about sections that have deep ruts and catch their diffs.  This clearly applies particularly to class 3 and we have lost at least one excellent section as a result of these complaints (the great gully section in Lanow on the Camel Classic).  People who compete in cars with low slung diffs must be aware of the potential hazards that they face and understand the risks they run of grounding out.  They also know very well that they have the huge benefit of very powerful engines (and diffs that will generally handle that power) that will get them up the "power hills" that a class 4 car will always struggle on.   I choose to compete in a particular car in a particular class for a variety of reasons - and I live with both the positives and negatives of that decision.  It seems to me that there are both positives and negatives for every class and that drivers should choose which works best for them, understanding where they might gain or lose advantage.  This seems to me to make far more sense than trying to gain advantage by having one set of rules for one and another for the rest.   Notwithstanding all the above I totally agree with comments from others about tyre pressures and restarts.  See you next week in Cardinham Woods which will be a great trial - not least because we will all start from the same line and there wont be tyre pressure limits!   Hope I haven't totally alientated the whole of class 1 and those in class 3 who don't drive German cars!   Pete    

  4. I did find myself a little confused by Dave's two statements of "a large FWD class" and later "numbers are dwindling", a bit of a contradiction there.
    In many trials classes 1&2 do have preferential starts and quite often they are the only classes that do not have either tyre pressure restrictions or restarts.  Every organiser puts on the trial that they think the competitors want or need.   They make their own judgement as to what restrictions or assistance each class requires to make a balance.   The most experienced organisers use a combination of the tools at their disposal.   The hardest job that every organiser faces is finding sections that will provide a challenge in the face of ever improving vehicles.  Competitors seem to want to use the same sections which they know and love, yet build vehicles that make these same sections no longer challenging.   The only way to balance these two contradictions is to restrict the vehicles.  This means restarts, tyre pressure limits and variable start lines.  Not all at once and preferably not with the competitor's foreknowledge.   I don't think any form of blanket limit works unless the terrain used for the trial is all the same - such as is the case with a single venue event.   I have to laugh when people say that tyre pressure restrictions take away a skill.  It may be true, but its not that great a skill and its sacrifice is necessary for the long term good of the sport.   Climbing sections with difficult corners without the driven wheels being pointed in the right direction by the steering wheel - now that’s a skill!.   And as for the idea that harder tyres do more damage than soft….    The Tamar organisers are not competitors who are out every weekend seeing what happens in other parts of the country, but they put on a trial that they think is right whilst being prepared to listen and interpret criticism.   At least they have put in the not inconsiderable effort required to put an event together and give the competitors their fun.    I asked Mr Dommett and his brother if they would help with rescuing the Hardy - they do after all live not far away.   They turned me down.   Nuf Said.

  5. round of applause!..very well said!   Clas 4 is the only class with engine/power limits......notwithstanding any apparent advantages of having an engine over the drive wheels up the rear, or even the ability for some to use 15" wheels...   thankfully the rule makers haven't seen fit to limit engines' size, etc, in other classes, but rather have concentrated on things like pressure limits, to offset any other newly-acquired advantages.   this leaves trialling as very much the last bastion of the home-specials builder, (production or otherwise) working without obvious signs of professional support....a rare quality in today's much regulated motor sport!   I admit to being a 'casual trialler' as I do north of the I lack practice.....but have competed mostly in class 4..yet I never feel as though I'm bangin' my head against a brick wall with regards to progress with the motor.   I have nothing but 'admiration' for the results achieved by some in the FWD class.....although the power route doesn't always follow..witness the results achieved by 2CV drivers in the past?   What the 'success' of the FWD people shows is that there CAN be hope for modern(!) FWD cars being competitive. A recent discussion elsewhere raised the point that, to a lay-person, our Trials rules seemed biased AGAINST the use of modern cars? The achievements of FWD competitors surely lays THAT one to rest?   As to certain 'advantages' with start lines, restarts, etc....?   Not EVERY competitor within a class is going to have the driver skills, or 'competitive' vehicle of others.   Is the organiser being fair, if he/she attempts to make life more difficult for the very best competitor, with the result that those of lesser ability/capability achieve nothing more than 'demoralising' performances ?     perhaps there may be a case for allowing those competitors who wish, within a class, to opt for going 'up' a colour, so that they can test their mettle against vehicles in other, more'apparently capable' classes? (we all seem to carry our coloured circles permanently?)

  6. from Adrian booth   I would like to see all class 1 use the same start line ,but anyway I enjoyed the tamar, and thank you to the marshalls and organisers

  7. Response to Pete Barr - could not have worded a posting better or more succinctly if I had spent hours trying! I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. As for Davids post though, I know what he is getting at... not that he has a problem with a challenging start line (just look at his result on the Tamar), but that a lot of new competitors come out now in Class 1 and could easily be put off by not moving off start lines. I know from personal experience that there is nothing more demoralising than spending a day spinning (or stalling) by the 11/12 markers. Finding a balance has got to be hard for the organisers but I believe that each car and each class has its own merits and everyone has a free choice. I do also agree with Adrian very strongly that blanket pressures take away a significant skill within trialling. Unfortunately I also feel the Tamar has lost the bite it once had and that's not a criticism, merely an observation from the last time I competed (which was 2003). I would however like to see the Tamar drop Index of Performance as I believe this is an unfair method of scoring in classic trials where it becomes nearly impossible (and sometimes completely impossible) for an entrant in a low supported class to win the trial outright. I hope the organisers see these comments as valuable feedback and not simply complaints or criticisms. Mine are certainly only meant in a positive way. The Tamar was the first "proper" trial I did at six years old, in the back of a Brasilia in 1979 (an outright win on Index of Performance that day) and is probably more responsible for my interest in trials than any other event. Long may it continue.

  8. Oooops - meant to also add in repsonse to Simons comments - that choosing the right tyre pressures in Class 4 was one of the greatest skills I had to learn when I started trialling. It may not be the case in Class 8 when you have ground clearance and power (as I have also found in Class 6). But when you have a 1285cc engine and big tyres it is a VERY big factor and its a shame for that judgement to be taken away from the sport on certain events, even though I do sympathise with the organisers who are trying to maintain a trial with "bite". Does "you cant please all the people all of the time" spring to mind?  As for it being necessary for the long term good of the sport - thats another long argument and one we have both discussed in length previously!

  9. I thought I might just add my bit !  I travelled 700 miles round trip for the Tamar and had a brilliant time.   As for new comers sitting on start lines and not doing well, when I turned up with my shiny escort my results were terrible, breaking things and everything!!.   Tyre pressures I think there were only 4 sectoins where we went down to the limit because of the DIFF dragging . No problem with that its something Escorts are always up against. Getting the right pressures is also a great skill in class 3 that I am still learning.   If  I was to comment on sections the last hill was a front wheel drive do as it was all twists and turns just like a PCT . It was the only hill I did not like because of the PCT factor. ( probably because I failed first corner by going too slow worrying about hitting markers).   I do not know the tamar of old so can not say too much but this last one was just fine for me, i'll do it again.   P.s.          Thanks Pete for waving us on up Zig Zag I think the breeze from your palm pushed us round the second corner. It was worth the trip just for that.

  10. Pete & Simon   My comments about the start lines are aimed at helping the new commers to our sport who are finding it difficult to move off the start lines. Just by allowing the FWD's  to start with there driving wheels in the same place as yours Pete would be of a great help. My own performance on the tamar would not have changed in any shape or form as I do not usually have to much trouble with the starts, but would have helped the rest of my class who tend to be the new blood to our sport before moving up through the classes.   Six in class 1 was a high turnout but overall the numbers are down for the entire entry, hope thar clears that one Simon. Ps, when you get your beetle going like Aid Marfell's then tell me how dificult class 4 is,  

  11. As simon w  has pointed out I
    was asked if I was interested in organizing the hardy trial ,to which I replied
    I would like to but at the time due to work and restoration  commitments I would not be able to give
    it the time required. NOT because I could not be bothered. I have also  offered to help clear sections if needed
    but have had no response.


    My comments on the tamar were  observation NOT criticism I personally preferred the old
    style tamar with difficult restarts and free tyre pressures. mine view section with
    a restart was a real challenge, now the cars come out the top so fast the
    marshall was having trouble slowing them down as they came blind over the top.


      and so on. The driver that gets it right will  usually finish in front .