Road Taxed Vehicle – Trial

For detailed regulations see Association of Land Rover Club ‘Green Book’ or visit ALRC website: www.alrc.co.uk This version of vehicle trial is without doubt the most popular in any club and frequently sees the highest attendance levels. As the name suggests, vehicles must be fully road legal, taxed and insured. Seat belts are necessary if factory-fitted or lab belts on older vehicles. The only modifications required are substantial front and rear recovery points to assist in the extraction of the vehicle should it become stuck. A towball mounted at each end is common practice and you need a fire extinguisher and tow rope. Each vehicle is required to undergo an examination by the event ‘scrutineer’ before the competition to ensure its validity and safety. This is an important yet informal procedure that rarely sees a vehicle fail. A scrutineer (who is a club official) carefully checks the mechanical condition of the vehicle looking for items that could potentially break and risk the safety of vehicle occupants or spectators. Minor problems such as loose wheel bearings are noted and the entrant is advised to effect repair before the next competitive event. A major structural defect will be failed and the entrant forbidden to compete with that vehicle. This situation is extremely rare, however, since the vehicles are mostly driven to the trials on public roads and are often used daily by their owners. Validity checks ensure that the vehicle is, as far as practicably possible, ‘standard’ with bumpers in-situ etc. The rules here are complex, but generally the vehicle needs to be as close to factory-built as possible, with permitted minor modifications. An obvious infringement would be replacing the standard 3.5L V8 Rover engine with a bigger unit manufactured by another company. Validity is designed to keep the competition on a ‘level playground’ and to prevent wealthy competitors from building unbeatable machines using high performance/non-standard parts. The competition is arranged around a series of 12 sections – each section comprises 12 gates. The gates are formed by vertical bamboo canes marked with white numbered tops on the right and red on the left. The idea is to drive the section from gate 12 to gate one in the correct order and in the direction indicated by the cane tops — hopefully without stopping or hitting any of the gates. Only one vehicle attempts a section at a time. Successful navigation from start to finish scores a ‘clear’ or zero points. A failure on the section, such as stopping or hitting a cane scores points depending upon the gate reached. For example, a failure between gate seven and six will score the next gate, ie, six, since gate seven was passed but gate six not reached. Hitting gate seven will score that gate. The winning competitor at the end of the day is the person who has competed on all the sections and has ended with the lowest total score. In theory, a competition sheet showing ‘all-clears’, or a score of zero, is possible, but this is rare and usually indicates a course designed with few challenges.

Getting Started

Typical costs involved: Cost
Any road taxed and insured Land Rover vehicle (most common are Defender 90, 110 and Discovery 1 models) £1,000 – £20,000
Mud terrain tyres £500
Differential, steering and fuel tank guards £200
Fire extinguisher 1.75 litre AFFF £45
Tow rope, 25mm, fibre or nylon with shackles or hooks to clip to towing eyes £35
Entrance fee per trial, per person £15
Visitor wishing to compete £20

It is quite possible to purchase a roadworthy Disco for around the £1,000 mark and I can promise, it’s the most fun you can have while keeping your clothes on!

And to give you an idea of the sort of terrain covered in an RTV trial take a look at the following video of a trial;