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A Novice Trial 2023 Preview

A Novice Trial 2023 Preview

Clerk of the Course, ‘A Novice Trial’ and HERO-ERA Event Manager, Seren Whyte describes the joint classroom and rally event that could help shape people’s future motorsport plans.

Seren; “We are here at Bicester Heritage where 37 crews are joining us this weekend, some completely new to regularity rallying, and we’re going to teach them all the tips and tricks so they can compete on any HERO-ERA event. This may just change their future sporting plans as some will take up rallying with us.

“Over the next few days, there will be a combination of classroom sessions and then going out onto the roads around Bicester to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom. This will culminate into a mini rally on Sunday, ‘A Novice Trial,’ where they compete against each other to see who is Novice Trial Champion of 2023.

“For me, it’s a pleasure to share the passion and some of the know-how that we have learned in this sport that we absolutely love.

“Crews arrive Friday afternoon for registration and a ‘welcome to HERO-ERA’, learning a little bit about what we do, then we get stuck in straight away with an hour and a half session in the classroom, learning all the basics of navigation. We will go through what happens on an event in detail, what happens beforehand, and the things you should expect when you first arrive at a rally.

“This is for a mixture of people. It’s for anyone, from someone who has no idea what we do, to those that have maybe marshalled before, or have tried an event, but maybe didn’t quite comprehend all the aspects of it. There are some couples who join us to brush up their skills, so it should cover everyone.

“Then they will get a chance to go out on the road and put into practice what they’ve learned. That is that theory.

“So, on Saturday morning, they come with their cars to go through scrutineering and the measured mile distance check. But instead of just being left to do it, we very much guide the competitors through the process so that they receive a really good grounding in those aspects of an event.

“This is so that when they go to their first or next event, they are going to be so much more confident as to how the process is going to work.

“When they go out on the road, they will try all the navigation aspects we spoke about. We do a little mini session after the measured distance in the classroom and we talk about tests and what to expect.

“They drive an hour’s road session to try it all. We also have a walking test on the HERO-ERA HQ terrace, hopefully! It would be better if it was dry, but we can’t do a test competitively at this stage, unless it’s part of an actual rally.

“So, crews go out and try the navigation next. It’s set up in the way we do our route books, they have all the speeds and all the information, but we tell everyone to really concentrate on just the navigation, don’t try and put all the bits in too quickly.

“Then it’s back for lunch after which we introduce timing, because although the timing is what wins a rally, it’s not the most important part of rallying, because as we always say, it is better to be on the right road doing the wrong speed, than being on the wrong road doing the right speed!

“Then they come back, and we have a one-to-one debrief. We speak to everyone individually because, at that point, everyone’s at a different stage of what they’ve understood and what they’ve experienced. Once everyone’s happy, they go home, and prepare themselves for Sunday when they will compete in a mini rally, ‘A Novice Trial.’ It is exactly like one of our other events except that now they are only against the other people they’ve trained with. The rally is just under 100 miles.

“When they come back after the event we debrief and go through the results system, how to put a query in, what you can query on, all that whilst the actual results are being finalised.

“Then the big moment, the results are announced! The winners will gather under the big arch for a photo shoot and prize-giving.

“We have people from all walks, those that have never done a rally before, some who may be brushing up or have been marshalling.

“Whoever they are, we’ve had some fantastic outcomes from ‘A Novice Trial’. Just two years ago we had Matt Outhwaite and Alistair Leckie on their first-ever event and they went on to win the Hero Challenge Championship two years in a row! We’ve had people go on to compete in LeJog, and even The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge!

“They’re using this platform as a springboard and it really is an introductory event, not just to regularity rallying itself, but to us as a family. You get to know who we are, and how we process things. And once you’ve been inducted into the HERO-ERA family, you’re part of it, and feel more at home.”

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