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A Novice Trial 2024 Preview

*Key rally learnings in fun packed event awaiting 45 crews.
*Bob Rutherford Scholarship winner Danielle Pool to start her first HERO-ERA supported rally.
*2024 Peking to Paris crew enter to bring on family rally experience.

A Novice Trial 2024 Preview

A Novice Trial has acquired a reputation for rally fun whilst teaching key rally essentials to keen crews. From the new and young, to experienced rallyists looking to brush up on their skills, a fine balance of classroom and on the road regularity rallying culminates in a half day competitive rally on the final day.

The reputation of the event is such that crews from seven different countries have entered, intent on learning whilst also enjoying rallying on UK country roads. They are from Italy, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA, Ireland and the UK.

15 year old Danielle Pool, the inaugural winner of the Bob Rutherford Historic Scholarship for Young Navigators, will embark on the first of four fully funded HERO-ERA Rallies as part of her prize. In addition, Danielle will attend various courses for rally co-drivers/navigators as part of the Motorsport UK’s Academy programme.

Danielle will navigate her father Darren in a 1960 HERO-ERA Arrive and Drive MGA. The close runner up in the scholarship was Alex Metcalfe who will also be competing on the rally in an MGB with driver Colin Tombs. It will be fascinating to see the outcome between the two Bob Rutherford finalists after the rally competition on Sunday.

In total contrast to the freshers in the field, the podium winning Badawi Trail to the Last Oasis 2023 crew of Irishman Michael Dreelan and UK’s Robert Pybus are entered into A Novice Trial. Their purpose is not so much to practice for their upcoming entry in the 2024 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, but to help bring on Dreelan family members in the sport so they can experience the same joys Michael and Robert derive from their rallying.

Mike Dreelan will drive the undoubted star car on the event, navigated by Aoife Dreelan, his 1927 Bugatti Type 37. His regular navigator, Robert Pybus, will navigate for another Dreelan family member, Niamh, in a 1963 Austin Healey.

The intention of many will be to emerge from the classroom sessions in the HERO-ERA showrooms at their HQ at Bicester Heritage, and after the practical experience of rallying on some fine roads in and around Oxfordshire, with the credentials to compete further up the HERO-ERA ladder.

HERO-ERA Event Manager and Clerk of the Course for A Novice Trial, Andy Pullan explained what he hopes teams will draw from the experience.

“ I hope first of all, most importantly, that everyone will have an enjoyable time. The sport is all about enjoying driving old cars, driving to nice places and enjoying the experience. So that's the that's the number one.

“ I hope that they come away having learned a lot about historic rallying. It can be quite technical, a little bit of a difficult sport to get into at first because there's lots of paperwork around it which makes people think is complicated. But actually when you boil it down to the key elements, and spend some time working through it and then putting it into practice, it's quite accessible. People start to understand how the procedures work.”

A Novice Trial is quite a mix between the classroom, then the practicalities of going out on the road culminating in a half day competitive event. Andy continued to explain how the practical experience really helps.

“The beauty of A Novice Trial is that often when you try and explain a lot of these concepts or get them across on a wordy classroom basis, it’s easy for you to get grey eyes and a little bit weary, whereas out on the road the instructions turn to reality. Actually, when something is explained, it's important to remember it for when they are out on the road and make exactly that mistake. They then think right, ‘I won't do that again, now I understand what they mean!’ That's why A Novice Trial is such a great format, because you learn the concept, and then you get out there and you apply it straight away while the kettle is still boiling.”

Ultimately, HERO-ERA hope to convert some newbies into the sport and to carry on and compete in more events as Andy reiterated the joys of Historic Rallying.

“We hope that they get to enjoy this great sport that we're all part of, it is a great way to see some amazing countries and have a nice bit of competition along the way with some great like minded people. So I hope they really enjoy this event and it leads to more for them.”

As top navigator and winner of many ‘Blue Riband’ HERO-ERA rallies himself, such as the prestigious Flying Scotsman, Andy Pullan takes a keen and practical interest in the young navigators on the way up such as Danielle Pool.

“Danielle has shown great potential and a real keenness to learn and move forward in the sport. And we will give her as much support and knowledge as we can, sharing our experiences on how we do things and explaining any common pitfalls,

“Of course, we've also got Alex Metcalf the close runner up in the Bob Rutherford Historic Rally Scholarship for Young Navigators who did so well in the final ‘Shoot Out’ and in an interview. He is on A Novice Trial and we want to give them both as much knowledge as we can.

“It's all about picking it up and applying yourself. And I think both of them have shown really great abilities, confirming what we saw in the interview process, and then taking what they learned and applying it straightaway in a really quick way, which is you what young people's brains are so good at doing!”

The format of A Novice Trial is designed to explain and demonstrate the skills required for classic car rallying and yet to be a fun and informative. The event is aimed at those new to rallying, or as an introduction to the sport.

The event begins on Friday evening with a seminar covering the basics. Saturday will alternate between theory and then practical to cement the newfound skills

On Sunday there will be a half-day competitive rally to test and try out those key learnings against the clock along the glorious Oxfordshire country roads. With tests forming part of experience, it is hoped that many teams will want to sample adventure rallies with HERO-ERA.  

The action concludes early on Sunday afternoon with an awards ceremony to crown the winners ahead of a buffet lunch.


Preview Film

6 March 2024

A Novice Trial 2024 Preview Film

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