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A Novice Trial 2024– the event begins with a full turn out as training begins

A Novice Trial 2024– the event begins with a full turn out as training begins

54 crews from seven different countries including as far away as China, the USA and New Zealand all arrived before the due start time for training, some no doubt making sure they were in the right time zone first!

Many of the massed ranks of international attendees have never been rallying or touched the sport of historic regularity rallying before, so they were keen to soak up as much information as possible.

Clerk of the Course Andy Pullan and Deputy Clerk of the Course Andy Darlington were ready to deliver some basic training to the enthusiastic crews who all turned up before time and were ready in their seats waiting, in the HERO-ERA showroom converted to classroom, ready to listen and learn about basic navigation which they will put into practice over the course of the A Novice Trial weekend.

The showroom is normally the home to 22 Arrive and Drive HERO-ERA rally hire cars, however, the team didn’t have to clear as many out of the showroom this time to prepare for training as 12 were already out and on hire for this event!

HERO-ERA Chairman Tomas De Vargas Machuca was absolutely delighted with the turnout as he made his introduction;

“Good Evening to all of you and welcome to Bicester Heritage which is rapidly becoming the heart of motoring in the United Kingdom and further afield. Thank you very much for confirming your enthusiasm with us by joining us this evening.

“We've actually got crews from seven different countries, from as far afield as the United States and New Zealand. This event has become the launch platform for a lot of adventurers who start on the A Novice Trial and some end up on the almighty Peking to Paris Motoring Challenge or other events across the globe that we organize. It’s good that you want to learn the right way which is learning the basics early on.

“A bit like golf in trying to get your swing right early on, but not like I did as it took me 35 years to figure out what a regularity was! Andy Pullan, our Clerk of the Course was formally a navigator extraordinaire who was pitched from the competition side to events organisation so we make sure you have the best teacher in historic rally events possible. Andy Darlington, who will be acting as Deputy Clerk with the Course is an experienced competitor and organiser and he will be assisting Andy Pullan to impart the knowledge.

“This is the Novice Trial so there are no wrong answers or the wrong questions. Feel free to really go into the depths of your curiosity of how this motorsport format works. And hopefully you'll enjoy yourself and come out the other end stronger. We may well then see you in some crazy locations in some crazy part of the world. Welcome again on behalf of all of us at HERO-ERA.”

Two crews to emerge from the first session of navigation training gave their thoughts:

Aoife Dreelan:

“I think some of that sank in, I'll have to see when I put it into practice, but I think it's really good to get the classroom teaching in and then go out and instead of just jumping straight in!

“I am in a Bugatti Type 37 with my father, it will be very windy, I won't be able to see much, but my sister may have a better view than me as she is in a bit of an easier car, she's in an Austin Healey.

“I'm hoping to learn the basics, I don't know maybe in the future I can do some of the other rallies, maybe the Peking to Paris like my dad! This is my first time in any form of rally so I am really looking forward to it because I've seen my father on the Badawï one and the Sahara rally. I just think it's incredible. So I want to learn what they're learning, maybe we can sign up for The Pearl of India, so maybe I can get myself on that one!”

David and Matthew LeBlanc (USA)

David; “It’s been a long flight from Arizona but we think it will be worth it!”

Matthew; “We've done some racing, but we felt that this would be an interesting way to get into the vintage rallying. You know, we've seen the Peking to Paris and we both thought, how do we get into that world? And now we're here and this is our entry into that world, hopefully.”

David; “So we have a neighbour in Arizona and he has done it a few times, he was good, a really good help and resource.”

Matthew; “ We found tonight very helpful, a bit confusing at times, but they seem to be able to get you back on track with the instructions, but it was more than we expected it to be. It was more complicated than what we had originally thought it would be, but I'm all for it. I mean, that's why we're here!”

David; “The long distance stuff is our goal. I know we have to start at the most basic level but we don’t  really have this stuff in the US too much. So again, this is another reason for coming here to find the way to do it.”

Matthew; “We probably will come back to Europe and do a couple of three day events. Unfortunately, the only ones close to us, like the rallies in South America, are too long and hard. I'd love do it. Unfortunately that'd be a little aggressive for us early on.”

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