The Land's End Trial is so historic and means so much to so many people on different levels. For many, it’s synonymous with family memories. Many are those who have been brought up with an Easter Time motoring trip, and long may that continue.
It’s the time when the smell of mud on hot exhausts wafts between rows of early primroses starting to bloom down the lanes as the queue for a section moves slowly forward. It’s the time when we experience all four weather seasons in one event, too. Lip salve..? Tick. Sun cream..? Tick. Padded waterproofs..? Tick.
For the Club it’s also a massive thing. We recognise that it’s the sort of event that is very often now on peoples ‘bucket list’, and as such there will be a mixture of first timers and experienced competitors in the entry.
This weekend's news is to add some helpful pointers to all those hovering with fingers poised above the keyboard..
For starters, it’s the event with the largest entry.
We’re catering for as many as 400 vehicles which is by a good margin, lots more than our other two trials events.
400 vehicles leaving the start at one minute intervals means at any one point, from the front to the back is almost six hours 45 minutes..! That’s a big span through minor lanes and country roads.
If it takes a minimum of five minutes to clear a section, and that’s quick, then the time for the rest of the trial extends by that amount.
The planning of times is always made by the mythical first vehicle, known as car zero, and the final time at any one point can be extended to such an extent by stoppages, falls and breakdowns etc that we can only give a measured guesstimate for the end.
That end is important though. The final section is the jewel in the trials crown, Bluehills Mine.
Bluehills is on the very cliff edge between the breaking waves of the Atlantic and the steep rocks on the hillside usually covered by grass, or many spectators awaiting your attempt.
Attempting Bluehills in the dark is fraught with risk. Never an easy site to access, have an issue there & you’ll be blinded by blue lights and helicopter downdraft if it’s pitch black.
If you could help us to help you, that would be a good thing. So a few things to consider, then.
We’ve had TukTuks, we’ve had two, three and four wheelers and we’ve even had long distance rally event cars. Spectacular fun they look in the photo’s, too. But ask yourself what are the real possibilities of keeping to schedule with your choice of vehicle..? We all love an underdog and those who try hard, but spare a thought for those in the Hi-Viz who have to sort any problems out.
Anything too long, too heavy or generally wide, ungainly and uncertain may be fun at the start, but by the time you’ve huffed and puffed over several hours, it’s a different matter.
Choose wisely, young Padawan. The event ASR’s (Additional Standing Regulations) are the fall back here for what vehicle and class, and don’t be too surprised if we reject your one-off articulated love bus.
There are no magic potions here. The object of the exercise with prep is that of reliability. As many will tell you, stick a competition number on something and all sorts of strange things happen.
If you’re riding, take minor spares along such as handlebar levers, or leave the clamps ever so slightly loose so that they swivel rather than break.
Cars' main essential is ride height. The better the under car clearance, the less chance there is of grinding to a halt around that first bend. Make sure all fuel lines are safely out of the way of rocks and stones, likewise brake lines and electrical cabling.
Tyres are more than just round and black things. They are essential for ups and downs, so choose some that have as much grip as the regs allow (a maximum of 8mm gaps) and don’t forget that dropping pressures makes a huge difference on wet mud and rocks. Take a good compressor along too. Your passengers will soon get fed up with a foot pump, plus it takes time again. And you need that.
Make sure you’ve got a fluid spill kit and fire extinguisher(s). In fact, do what many do and get the regulation extinguishers but add several of those ‘firestick’ things. When you need one, you NEED one..
Do make sure that you’re not the one that everyone talks about after the event.
May sound daft, but unless you can get out of the open air, the elements can be tough. Motorcyclists know the effects, but it’s still worth catering for. It may be sunny and warm down in Cornwall, but during the night it’s different.
Dehydration can be a subtle issue. The excitement of the event often means you miss those little drinks, and chattering like a mad thing doesn’t help..! Take some fluid with you & make sure you drink at the many stops and event specific cake & cuppa stops.
Food..? Well, it has been said that if you can’t stomach two fry-ups at an MCC event, you’re not trying. There are lots of different things on offer these days. But do eat..!
Take a basic first aid kit with you. Burns from exhausts, splinters and all the myriad of little things that annoy take the enjoyment away.
Finally, just when you think you’ve got it all sorted, something happens to throw it all out of kilter. Have you locked the front door..? Remembered to look after the cat..?
And the moment the event starts, all is forgotten.
We really hope everyone enjoys the event, and if there’s any questions in the meantime email in and we’ll make sure the right person gets it.
We are also looking for more volunteers to join our lovely gang of marshals and observers. If there is an experienced Section Chief in the Hartland area we would love to hear from you as Cutliffe Lane needs you!
Finally… smile. You do this for enjoyment, remember..!