The Ulster Classic Trial 2014

On the 29th August we held our annual Classic Trial starting from Ballyblack Church just outside of Newtownards. The event attracted 24 entries with a variety of classic cars and drivers on the night with over 50% MG’s which was nice to see for the club.

2014-08-29 19.10.15Scrutiny was quickly and efficiently carried out by George McMillan on arrival and it was into the church for a quick cup of tea provided by the ladies of the church before signing on with Carol and the team. After signing on the drivers briefing was held in the main hall by our Chairman Gordon Buckley and organiser Noel Cochrane and it was off to the cars to get the event started.

Lining up in starting order to exit the church the entered crews were put to the test before even leaving the starting venue. Two gymkhana tests were to be completed in which you would drop points if not done correctly and points mean seconds!! so it’s important to try get these right. The first, a cloth was put on the ground approximately 2-3 meters from the drivers side wheel and the objective is to drive and stop with the wheel on-top of the cloth. You may think this is easy but we don’t like it being too easy so the driver had to do it blindfolded and by the navigators instructions with a point added for not landing on the cloth, getting a 0 for correctly stopping on-top of it. Next up with Joan with two questions to answer, again a point per question wrong and that’s two more seconds you could drop. The two questions were (answers at bottom of report) :

1)      What does the DB in Aston Martin DB7 stand for?

2)      On a single lane carriageway what is the speed limit for a goods vehicle over 7.5 tonnes?

Next, it was off to four production car trials and two grass slaloms in a nearby field, one downhill and one uphill before heading to the first Autotest at the Lead2014-08-29 19.44.28 Mines in Newtownards while the sun lowered in the sky. A large site on the Carrowreagh Road near Dundonald was next up with a nice mixture of sealed and loose surfaces where the crews would face their first test in the dark. The next location was just over a mile from the previous site and would host 6 tests on a mixture of lanes and yards. The last of these 6 was a gymkhana type test were drivers would set off on a given minute and were to travel at an average speed of 10mph up to the first marker were they were to increase the average to 40mph and again back down to 10mph at the next marker to the finish line. Over the set distance and the average speeds the crews would have a set finish time and would need to finish as close to this time as possible. The time was 60 seconds but of course the crews weren’t told this and would be marked down a point for every 5 seconds they were under/over the time. Each car would then drive to Roy Lyttles on the Portaferry Road for a great test with looping pylons, tail throws and nose throws before heading to the last site of the evening just next to the start/finish venue which would host two tests and a gymkhana question. The last question of the night was the following:

3)      What is the typical stopping distance from a speed of 60mph?

A. 53 meters                      B. 73 meters       C. 96 meters

It was back into the church car park and into the hall for refreshments again provided by the ladies from the church before results were called.

The event was won overall by Will Corry in the MG Midget by 4.4 seconds from James Wilson in the Mini. Third overall was David Cochrane 11.2 seconds behind James, again in a Midget from fourth place Richard Earney and John Kelly rounded up the top five.

Our donations for the event went to the Ballyblack Church Building Refurbishment fund for supplying the venue and the ladies for the refreshments before and after the event. We are happy to announce that we raised a sum of £285.

Full Results can be found here.

2014-08-29 19.09.39   2014-08-29 19.09.59



1)      DB stands for David Brown. A little info :

In 1947, a small British automotive manufacturer was up for sale after falling on hard times during the Second World War. After answering a newspaper advertisement, agricultural and engineering entrepreneur Sir David Brown purchased the company for just over £20,500. He set about revitalising the business, focused on producing a car which improved on the ‘Atom’ a prototype constructed in 1939.

2)      A goods vehicle over 7.5 tonnes has a limit of 40mph on a single lane carriageway.

3)      When travelling at 60mph the typical stopping distance is 73 meters

(50mph – 53m, 70mph – 96m)