Sporting Trials Car Club
Sporting Car Trials are a development of Production Car Trials (PCT's), and differ by virtue of both terrain used and the highly specialised nature of the cars. The vehicles are purpose-made two-seaters with rear- wheel -and use standard road tyres. The venues used offer a more arduous terrain than those used by PCTs, the sections climbed by Sporting Trials cars are often too steep or slippy even to walk up. The object in Sporting Trials is to drive the car through a section marked by a series of 13 gates, without either touching the posts or stopping forward motion. The difficulty appears when you consider that these sections are laid out over some very difficult and hilly terrain.
All the cars have what is known as fiddle brakes, which operate on the rear wheels independently, to control wheelspin (limited slip differentials or torque limiting divices are banned) or to facilitate extremely tight turns (the cars can almost turn within their own length). These controls allow the cars to manoeuvre up some incredibly steep hills. Most cars nowadays utilise a lightweight alloy engine of no more than 1650cc, with Honda units tending to dominate the sport with 8v Acclaim specification or more recently 12v Shuttle or 16v Civic variants. Gearing is probably the most difficulty to meet, with ratios as low as 20:1 used to allow easy progress through a section as speed isn't the essential but being able to 'trickle' along is. The differential or final drive must be free and uninterrupted and is checked during scrutineering, so inventive 'torsen' or 'Quaiffe' differentials are banned. It is the final drive assembly in cars, which takes the most strain as spinning one wheel puts the planet gears under extreme pressures. Sporting Trials has its own terminology to describe the various approaches to driving that are required. 'Trickling' is when the car is driven slowly at very low engine revs, to try and prevent the driving wheels from breaking traction with the ground. 'blasting' is used to get the cars through muddy conditions and involves accelerating the car to full revs in as high a gear as possible to generate wheelspin, which keeps the treads of the tyres clear to cut through to find the greater grip. The passenger will generally be 'Bouncing' while the car is 'blasting', that throwing his weight up and down on the rear of the car to help generate grip. During 'trickling' the passenger moves, within the car, to balance out cambers and attempts to keep all wheels on the ground, maximising grip. The object is to 'clean' the section, by losing no penalties. It is a highly competitive sport offering great fun, where the skill of the driver is more important than the ability of the car. In NI the Sporting Drivers' Car Club organises a 13-round Championship running from October through to April each year. The sport originally started in Northern Ireland under the auspices of the Armagh Motor Club, with the STCC forming a dedicated Trials Club in 1975.