These are the simplest events to try, the everyday two-wheel drive hatchback is eminently suitable and very little is required in the way of car preparation. If you have a trailer, you can use a car that is not taxed or MoT’d, but it will be checked before each event to ensure that it is sound, brakes work and items like seats and the battery are securely attached.
Drivers can be as young as 14, those under 18 subject to parental consent and being accompanied by the holder of a full UK driving licence. Two drivers can share the same car, swapping seats to try each section or test in turn. Entry fees are £20 per driver, or £5 for those under 18.
In trials, the object is to attempt to drive uphill through a series of gates on grass or mud. The higher you get, the less penalty points you score; the winner at the end of the day is the driver with the least points. We run one event each year as a ‘taster’ so that non-members can have a go, and have two loan cars subject to early booking and availability. Training is provided by experienced club members at the taster event.
In autotests, the object is to drive around a number of set courses against the clock, with penalties for going the wrong way, hitting marker cones or over-shooting lines. The winner is the driver with the fastest total time. The events we run are production car autotests, usually on flat grass fields instead of the hilly ones used for trials. There are events of this type on tarmac, run jointly with another local club. These tend to be a bit harder on the car and tyres. If the event isn’t a production car autotest, then the minimum driving age is 16 and passengers are not allowed.