The Edinburgh Trial

The Edinburgh Trial was the first of the club's big three trials. Starting out from London in 1904, motorcyclists had just 24 hours to reach Edinburgh.

After only a couple of years this became too easy. The challenge stepped up a notch, to travel from London to Edinburgh and back in 48 hours.

This is all before the first world war. Tarmac had been patented in 1902 and the land speed record stood at 91mph in 1904. Later that year, a train became the first vehicle to exceed 100mph. Two months later the legendary Gordon Bennet was the first car driver to exceed 100mph. After that, cars were then allowed to enter and the die was cast.

116 years later the Edinburgh Trial is still a worthy sporting challenge to the hardy motorcyclist or car driver.

The event has held a fearsome reputation, which has mellowed in recent years, with organisers striving to achieve a gold medal in every class. This almost happened in 2019 with just class 7 left empty handed.

Today the route takes in the glorious Peak District National Park, as well as parts of Staffordshire and Cheshire.

This year the challenge will be slightly different. The daytime format means fewer sections and a shorter route, but be assured that classic sections are included. Although the event includes many of the regular daytime venues, the routes are certainly different on quite a few.

Competitors start and finish near historic Buxton, visiting four hills used pre-war. These include the evocative Litton Slack (first used in 1924), the challenging Corkscrew (early 1930s), Priestcliffe and Calton (1933).

If they are challenging today, what must they have been like almost 100 years ago when brakes on all four wheels were rare!

2020's trial will start and finish at the Duke of York Pomeroy on the A515 just south of Buxton. The event includes a route of just under 100 miles, over 70 of which are on near deserted minor roads that crisscross the Peak District, with outstanding views.

Setting off from the Duke of York, competitors will head east towards the White Peak for six sections before returning to the start for lunch. Afterwards competitors head west to Cheshire and Staffordshire before returning via the horrors of Excelsior and its rockery to finish from 3pm.

Class O and large adventure bikes will set off first, followed by the remaining motorcycles and classes 1to 8.

All distances on the route cards have been verified using the Rally Tripmeter app, which we encourage everyone (especially car crews) to use, as it simplifies navigation tremendously.

Preserving the historical link, four sections were originally used pre-war. Some are regulars, but the last time one section was used was in 1961.
By continuing their use we contribute to preserving their status as historically important, not just to the trial, but to the area.

Careful planning means that failures on the hills allow competitors to simply reverse off the section into one of several turning points. We hope to incorporate new deviations and formats at other regular venues to maintain the challenge.

Importantly, minimising failures where competitors can become stuck or fall from machines is a high priority to minimise social contact. Some sections will be re-graded and amended to remove the roughest parts.

The club is indebted to the local community in the Derbyshire peak district who welcome us so warmly each year, as well as the legions of volunteers who turn out to support by marshalling and observing. We also make use of the generosity of local landowners and tenant farmers with two new venues available to us.

We advise competitors to read the route card closely. Prepare well in advance and you will have a cracking day's sport. We’ve chosen some super roads with outstanding views and booked the weather!

Enter to compete in the Edinburgh Trial

Volunteer at the event

2014 Edinburgh Trial in an Austin 7 RTC

2014 Edinburgh Trial from a BMW 318iS