Historic Sporting Trials Association









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Sporting Trials: The art of keeping the car between you and the ground whilst maintaining a sense of humour!

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

Despite petrol rationing Trials was the first form of motor sport to be revived after the Second World War, the very first post-war event was run on the 10th September 1945 by Sutton Coldfield and North Birmingham motor club (Sunbac) and attracted fifty cars with eager crews. The cars were a mix of standard production cars to those with varying degrees of modification, M.G.s were very popular being light weight and relatively powerful with the addition of a super charger, at the other extreme were the large engined cars, Allards and V8 Ford specials. The results of the 1946 Fedden Trophy Trial shows that both types of car were successful:-

Fedden Trophy Trial 23rd February 1946

Roy Fedden Trophy: T.C.G.Butler (1287cc Ophelia)
Alexander Duckham Cup: G.L.Burroughes (3622cc Ford Special)
Basil Barber Cup: S.H.Allard (3917cc Allard)
Club Cup: K.Hutchison (3622cc Allard)
Daphne Trophy: A.M.R.Mallock (747cc Austin)
First-class Awards: N.V.Terry (3622cc Ford Special)
L.G.Johnson (1971cc Frazer-Nash B.M.W.)
M.H.Lawson (1496cc H.R.G)
Second-class Awards: K.C.Delingpole (1496cc H.R.G)
G.N.Mansell (1292cc M.G.)

Ford V8 Special, C.A.N.May

Allard, R Threlfall

1947 marked the arrival of the light weight special, Ken Wharton, a garage proprietor and skilled engineer, had previously built lightweight sprint specials. The Full Moon Cup Trial, run by the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club, saw the debut of Ken Wharton's light weight trials special built using an Austin Seven chassis, Ford 10 running gear with the engine sleeved down to 1081c.c., and an Austin Eight rear axle. He won a first class award and was probably responsible for starting the evolution of the bespoke light weight trials car. By late 1947 Ford 10 specials were appearing in ever increasing numbers and won more prizes in the Davis Trophy Trial of September 1947 than any other make.

Concerned at the modifications being made to cars competing in Sporting Trials the RAC published a specification in 1949, this was the first Trials Formula it was updated in 1953 and many cars made to the 1949 formula could no longer compete without further modification. Many specials of the early 1950's were Austin 7 based.

Photo courtesy Geoff Harrison, showing his father's car before the introduction of the engine position rule!

The RAC produced another trials formula in 1953 that finally put an end to some of the more extreme specials. At this time the first of Mike Cannon's specials start to appear. Here is Geoff and Mrs. Newman in an early Cannon in the 1954 RAC Trials Championship.

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

By the end of the 1950's trials specials had completely eliminated production cars from Sporting Trials with Cannons being the dominant marque.

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

In 1960 B. Sayer launched his own special onto the market, it is not known if any sold or if the original car survives but the Aberties certainly looks the business!

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

Cannons were not exactly cheap as this advert from 1963 shows, compare the price to some of the other cars on offer!

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

By the early 1960's there were other specials appearing as this scan from 1962 shows. Cars of particular interest are; HEL46, Lotus VI built for Horace Sinclair-Sweeney in 1953 and now owned by Martyn Halliday, and the rebuilt Cotton2, PPH6.

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

The Roy Fedden Trial of 1964 shows a variety of specials being used including B. Sayer in his Aberties.

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

Here is Horace Sinclair-Sweeney driving Lotus VI in 1953 Gloucester Trial.

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

Mike Lawson competed for many years, he was a friend of Colin Chapman and used his cars, here is rear view of Lotus IV, LMU4, at the 1952 Kentish Border Car Club Sporting Trial at Wrotham. This car was restored by Martyn Halliday and now resides in the Barber Museum in the States

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT

At the same trial is Alastair Baring with his Dellow, NPE797

reproduced with the kind permission of AUTOSPORT


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