Throwback Thursday: 1956 Poole Trophy Trial

#OnThisDay in 1956, we ran the Poole Trophy Trial.  Here’s how it was reported in the February edition of Driving Mirror that year…

Poole Trophy Trial

14th January, 1956


After the thousands of cars which Alf Britton has parked in the course of his car parking duties at Castle Combe, the gathering for the
Poole Trophy must have seemed quite a doddle. However, instead of getting drivers and vehicles smoothly routed, his idea (ably supported by Geoff Drew) was to produce chaos among navigators with corresponding raised tempers from the drivers. In this, it would seem his intentions were successful, for apart from three entrants all the rest suffered varying degrees of heavy penalties. With the many navigational aids which rallyists and others have now developed it’s not a easy task and a certain amount of cunning has to be resorted to, if special tests and tie deciding factors are to be avoided.

It was strange to see Cyril Reed marking route cards. He has always been an ardent competitor on the other side of the fence in the past, but
apparently the renowned Renown is a bit short winded at the moment. Though the required average speed was only about 20 m.p.h. some
competitors reported that they had to drive like the clappers and while others found time in hand they still lost marks from various causes. In
his excitement at one stage of the proceedings, Tommy Tomlinson tells of how he pulled his hand-brake out by the roots, but he still went on
to make the second best performance.

The actual start was from the northern section of the old Filton bypass where in all four tests were undertaken, three for drivers and one for navigators. The regs. informed us that they would only be brought into use in the case of ties on the road section and as it so happened that
use was not required. Nevertheless they probably produced an amount of tenseness which is not the best foot to start on, and in any case some of the efforts were shameful. Only about 25% of the navigators got the right answer and most failed miserably. The drivers had two parking tests and one short average speed run and here Tomlinson and Goldingham were notable while the former’s navigator, Peter Mossman, was one of the few to get his answer correct.

The route itself, with both unmanned and time controls, was a varied one. From the start it ran to Downend and thence to Brislington where a second route card was picked up. From there it went into the Backwell area and then on to Pill with a final leg to the finish at the Salutation
at Henbury.

Two maps more or less covered the route. I say more or less, for if you were not clueful you found yourself running off one of them with a wide detour to get back onto the course again.

The landlord made the ballroom available at the Salutation where all but two of the 26 starters heard the result about four hours after the start of the event. Many were sorry that the all Ladies’ team failed to make the finish to what was one of the best Poole Trophy Trials into which modifications to past experience had been introduced. Edgar Thorne and Michael Marsh proved worthy winners, losing no marks at all in the first section and only one in the second.

#ThrowbackThursday #history #motorsport #trials #mud