THE EDINBURGH TRIAL
It's not in Edinburgh!
1 & 2 October 2021
Main / O / R
Cars / Motorcycles / Sidecars
Lichfield Rugby Club, Cooke Fields, Tamworth Road
The Duke of York, Pomeroy, Derbyshire
Open first week of July
It’s not in Edinburgh!
Experience sunrise as you navigate your way round picturesque Derbyshire villages and take on some of the counties famous scrambles.
This friendly roadbook event is often lined by locals, spectators and photographers. Bring your best smile if you want to end up in the local press!
The Edinburgh Trial was the first of the club’s big three trials. Starting out from central London in 1904 motor cyclists had just 24 hours to reach Edinburgh city centre.
Whilst officials took the night train to keep ahead of the pioneers on their motor cycles, they faced a 400-mile challenge following the great North Road to Harrogate. They then criss crossed the dales and fells of Northern England, onwards through the Scottish Borders before racing into Edinburgh. This a decade before The Great War, when tarmac had only been patented in 1902, Orville Wright had not yet flown a powered aircraft and the Taj Mahal hadn’t even opened!
Despite these hardships the MCC only took a couple of years before claiming that London to Edinburgh was too easy, so doubled the length and made it London to Edinburgh and back to London, in 48 hours. After that cars were then allowed to enter, and the die was cast.
Many years later the Edinburgh trial is still a worthy sporting challenge to the hardy motorcyclist or car driver. In 1967 the MCC amalgamated the popular Derbyshire trials weekend and the MCC Sporting trial with the Edinburgh run.
Today the route takes in the glorious Peak District National Park, as well as parts of Staffordshire and Cheshire. The deserted minor roads and outstanding views across the White and Dark Peaks in the National Park set the trial apart from all others.
The modern day event has a unique place in motorsport history. The 185-mile route that starts and finishes near historic Buxton sees competitors visit four hills used pre-war, including the evocative Litton Slack first used in 1924 and the challenging Corkscrew from the early 1930s. From 1933, Priestcliffe and Calton are included. If they are challenging enough today, what must have been like almost 100 years ago when brakes on all four wheels were rare?!
We are as ever indebted to the local community and authorities in and around the Peak District who welcome us so warmly each year, and to the legions of volunteers who turn out to support the event by marshalling.
Competitors depart the warmth and hospitality of Lichfield rugby clubs clubhouse just before midnight and head almost due North via quiet back roads and byways en-route to a time control north of Ashbourne. This route gives competitors the opportunity to check over their vehicles and familiarise themselves with the club’s written method of navigation.
The first section (Haven Hill) is barely two miles from the control and is a fair introduction to the event, with only the end-of-section floodlights and quiet instruction of our marshals interrupting the still of the night.
Soon competitors will enter the Peak District proper, where dry stone walls and ominous dark hills flank the route. The second section (Cliff Quarry) is a twisting test with a restart that can catch competitors out if they’re not properly aligned – placement is everything!
Middleton Moor, Hay Dale and other sections and timed tests litter the route before Calton round off the night sections just a few miles short of the Duke of York at Pomeroy, where dawn (and a cooked breakfast) greet competitors. This rest stop is a good opportunity to chat with fellow competitors and inspect the diverse selection of vehicles that the Edinburgh attracts.
With a full stomach (and the benefit of daylight) competitors navigate North west on a new route via new sections. The steepness of this section This is a prelude for competitors attempting the subsequent Corkscrew – a spectacular twisting stone hill road which is usually off-limits to all but pedestrians and horse riders. After the thrill (and spectators) of Corkscrew competitors make their way to Macclesfield forest and its steep dales and deep fords and desolate moorland tops.
A scenic drive across the Wye Valley takes competitors to one of the most memorable sections of the Trial – Litton Slack. Now a footpath, we’ve used this section since 1931 and its continued use is with both gracious permission of local authorities and the work of our local volunteer team who maintain the slippery climb both before and after the event. Few four-wheeled vehicles manage to make the climb in any given trial and many motorcyclists will also fail to demonstrate the combination of traction and momentum required to successfully clean the section.
The sections of Booth Farm, Hollinsclough and Hob Hay take competitors through some of the most scenic parts of the National Park, where green dales sit in the shadow of steep, rocky hills aside the River Dove. Soon after comes Excelsior – a rocky section with an unforgiving, slippery restart located on one of its many bends. Spectators love it!
The final sections of Clough Mine and Dudwood and Old Hall are famed for being muddy, what with being held on private land rather than on the stony green lanes that sustain many of the event’s other sections. Medal hopes are often lost in the last ninety minutes of the event, so competitors must remain resolute if they wish to keep a clean sheet – which includes no failure on the final observed test of speed.