The Roy Fedden Sporting Trial

Sunday 10 November 2019

In the 1930s the club was at the forefront of keeping the sport of trialling alive, running several major events every year. In 1935 came the first running of the Fedden Reliability Trial, named after the distinguished aero engine designer Sir Roy Fedden, who donated a striking trophy of unusual design that is still awarded every year to the winner of this event, which is now a Sporting Car Trial. Here’s the story behind the Fedden Trophy and its patron.

Sporting Trials represent the ultimate development of 2-wheel drive car trials and as motor sports go they are unique. It’s not about speed though: the aim of a trial is to drive as far as you can over a laid-out section without stopping. Each section is marked with poles to form a twisty route up a slippery hillside; sections are sometimes so slippery and steep that you are unable to walk up them. The cars must conform to specific regulations that can be found in section T of the Motorsport UK Competitors’ Year Book.

To help each driver there is a passenger in the car (sometimes called the ‘bouncer’) who moves their weight around to get the best possible traction on each wheel. The further a driver gets up a section the lower the score: the driver with the lowest score of the day is the winner. Julian Fack has written a very helpful guide to getting started in Sporting Trials.

The Fedden Trial takes place every November on Remembrance Sunday, and for many years its home was in the historic Dyrham Wood, just south of junction 18 of the M4. Soon after the 2013 Fedden, however, it became clear that this venue would no longer be available, and there followed several frustrating, and largely fruitless, months of searching by the organisers. Then new member Vickie Tubb, who is also an active member of the AWDC,  brought us news of Old Down Country Park, nr. Thornbury. The organising team quickly checked it out, found it to be suitable, and after much groundwork by several enthusiastic members it was ready for the 2014 Roy Fedden Sporting Car Trial.  The event got a thumbs-up from competitors and organisers alike, so with the kind support of the landowner Mr. L. Riddiford, it looks like its future is secure for a few more years.

Documentary film from the 1970s: Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Detailed competitor information, with Supplementary Regulations and Entry Form, will be published on this website a few weeks before the next event.