Experts Trial (MSAC)

History

The Experts Trial was organised by the Mid-Surrey Automobile Club from 1933 until 1938. It used seventeen different sections scattered around Exmoor, so not quite on the organising club’s doorstep. Exmoor has always been prime trialling country and Mid Surrey were not the only club to travel miles to use Exmoor sections – the Brighton and Hove Motor Club’s Brighton-Beer Trial neither starting in Brighton nor finishing in Beer!

The Experts was a prestigious event, as only invited drivers could enter and they had to have achieved considerable trials success in the preceding twelve months before Mid-Surrey AC would send them an invitation. The start of the Experts was always from the market square in Dunster, usually at the civilised hour of 10.30, or even 11.30am, with a short route mileage and fewer observed sections than was normal for “one day” trials in the 1930s.

C.A.N. May reports on several of the Experts Trials in Wheelspin, with detailed descriptions of some of the more memorable sections, and the event has always had a special appeal to MG enthusiasts as so many of the “expert” competitors of the period were MG-mounted. Although a few of the sections may be familiar to those who competed in the Minehead Motor Club’s Exmoor Clouds Trial in the 1980s and 1990s, most are lost to the sport and this page is, I believe, the first time that information about the sections used for the Experts Trial has been made publically available.

I am indebted to Bryan Ditchman and Jonathan Toulmin for providing most of the information and I know that Jonathan, in particular, has a lot more detailed information gleaned from his father’s records. Bryan and Jonathan published two articles in the ACTC magazine “Restart”, in November 2007 and March 2008, detailing the exploits of their “walking trials” on Exmoor looking for sections used for the Experts, Brighton-Beer, and Lands End Trials.

1933

  • Date: 7th October 1933.
  • Start/Finish: Dunster (assumed) / (Not known).
  • Entries: (Not known).
  • Winner: JES Jones (MG).
  • Reported: (No reports found).

1934

  • Date: 3rd November 1934.
  • Start/Finish: Dunster / Exford.
  • Entries: 27 entries.
  • Winner: AB Langley (972cc Singer).
  • Reported: The Light Car, 9th November 1934.

1935

  • Date: 26th October 1935.
  • Start/Finish: Dunster / Exford.
  • Entries: (Not known).
  • Winner: HG Simmons (2litre BMW).
  • Reported: The Light Car, 1st November 1935.

1936

  • Date: 31st October 1936.
  • Start/Finish: Dunster (assumed) / (Not known).
  • Entries: 29 entries, 26 starters.
  • Winner: HK Crawford (MG PB).
  • Reported: The Light Car, 6th and 13th November 1936.
  • Notes: “Non-skid” (e.g. chains) permitted. It was obviously a very wet event. Cowcastle and Yealscombe were both cancelled, due to deep water; Toulmin and Crawford rescuing Miss Watson from her Frazer-Nash BMW which had been almost submerged in the swollen River Barle.

1937

  • Date: 30th October 1937.
  • Start/Finish: Dunster / Blackmore Gate.
  • Entries: 31 entries, 30 starters, 22 finishers.
  • Winner(s): AG Imhof (MG T) and JM Toulmin (MG T) [tie].
  • Reported: The Light Car, 5th November 1937.
  • Notes: Colley, Kersham, and Yealscombe were all cancelled; Yealscombe probably before the start of the event, Colley (after Allard – in CLK 5? – overturned) and Kersham during the event.

1938

  • Date: 29th October 1938.
  • Start/Finish: Dunster / Blackmore Gate.
  • Entries: 26 Starters, 22 finishers.
  • Winner: Alf Langley (747cc Austin).
  • Reported: The Light Car, 4th November 1938.
  • Notes: There is a picture of the start at Dunster on the Allard page.

For documents, see the Trials Documents Database.

Sections

printout coming soon …

The numbers in the table show the order in which the sections were run for that year. Cancelled sections – shown as (c) – have been excluded from the numbering.

For more information about the sections, see the Trials Sections Database.

Page updated and republished : 24 December 2015

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