TRIALS - ESPECIALLY WITH A TROJAN
The correct title, of course, should be Reliability Trials. These reach back into the dawn of motoring. Manufacturers of both cars and motorbikes used trials as a vehicle to show their products to the public. Reliability, economy and the way that they performed were all important factors in the sale of their products. This is something that we take for granted today, modern cars being very reliable and rarely breaking down.
The Trojan car has a long history in the trials world. Those of you who attended the Club film show and social in January will recall solid tyred Utilities driven in a trial in 1924 by Major Woodhouse. The cars were brand new, important publicity being gained for the company.
As the years progressed trialling became as much about enjoying the challenge of man and machine against the organiser. Events were put on by such clubs as the MCC, the oldest of organising clubs. Particularly famous were London to Exeter, London to Land's End and London to Edinburgh. Others like the VSCC and a host of other car clubs ran their own events.
Before the Second World War, Trojans were campaigned by people such as Group Captain Scroggs, Joe Pidgeon and Mr Robbins of HRG fame. Over the ensuing years they have become heroes of mine and I admire their endeavours very much.
Into the 1950s more Trojan Club members took up the mantle as well as Arthur Scroggs and friends. Patricia Stocken in her Utility, put on the road by Arthur Scroggs, and to be campaigned for the next 50 years. Marcus Croome who attempted a Land's End trial on solid tyred wheels and of course our President Derrick Graham who often accompanied Arthur as a navigator.
The late 1960s and 70s saw Chris Piercy flying the Trojan flag, followed by club members Phil Potter, Clive Brown and Steve Williams, and sometimes myself.
The 1980s saw Phil and myself taking on some of the responsibility of looking after Patricia Stocken's car. In return we could use the car in Trials. The early 80s saw us competing regularly. Of course, in those days we drove the car everywhere clocking up many hundreds of miles and occasionally breaking down in places such as deepest Devon. No mobile telephones then of course and no RAC recovery. A telephone call from a box to a friend usually persuaded them to bring the necessary part to fix the car and get home again.
In the 21st century trialling is still very popular. People like John Wilton who is a prolific user of his Trojan and has done many thousands of miles, the Potters including Richard, who is the next generation to carry on, John Brown, Chris Piercy can all be seen out and about doing what we love to do.
Let's hope that there is sufficient interest and enough people to keep going for the next 50 years. You know what they say - 'use it or lose it'. People are always saying how good it is to see the Trojans out being used. It would be a shame not to be there showing the flag.