The stages themselves also come in many and varied forms, from deep-rutted, muddy climbs through dense, root-riddled forests to near-vertical jaunts up byways covered in loose rocks.

Event organisers will add an additional crumb of difficulty by implementing a ‘restart’. This means driving so far up a section, stopping and then starting again. Restarts are often placed on roots or in swamp-like parts of the hill in a Dick Dastardly-esque ploy to make it even more challenging – of which I was cruelly reminded on my first outing in more than two years recently, with my VW Beetle-based buggy.

Our first climb of the Torbay Trial featured a tricky restart on a leafstricken hill running through some woods. Thankfully, a good bit of clutch control – and some bouncing to gain more traction (a common sight) – got us to the top. We accrued only a small number of points over the next few sections and it wasn’t until the infamous Tipley climb where our luck started to wane.

This time, a restart proved too challenging and, even with lots of wheelspin and bouncing, we gave up in a plume of smoke.

Restarts can often be a dealbreaker on a classic trial, and after our unfortunate efforts on Tipley, we started to rack up points as we ticked off more sections.


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