In an event rapidly gaining a reputation for launching the regularity rally careers of the young and older converts alike, this third A Novice Trial has produced an entry list true to its design.
It is also the first HERO-ERA event of the year, and the first as the country moves out of the extended periods of lockdown, and as such should be celebrated.
As HERO-ERA regularity rallying returns with its reboot, the first since it’s highly successful PAAI in December 2020, the youngest ever navigator in a HERO-ERA event is set to break the record as she takes her first competition steps. 13-year-old Natasha Lomas will navigate her father John in the oldest car on the event, a 1936 Riley Sprite.
With winning experience over many years on track with the BTCC in Mazdas and works Peugeots, then scooping the British Historic Rally Championship honours, Patrick Watts will be competing with his wife Pam navigating in their 970 Mini Cooper S. They will use the event to gain experience for their Peking to Paris Motor Challenge adventure in 2022.
The range of competitors eager to learn and kickstart their rally experience either for the first time or to tune their skills, is as broad as the list of cars on the entry. From an Aston Martin DB5 to Fiat 850 Special, they are all in for a great combined experience.
A Novice Trial is designed to walk brand new crews through the process of tackling a classic car rally, with a mixture of classroom and on the road sessions. Beginning with a classroom session on the Friday evening, continuing into scrutineering on the Saturday morning, followed by classroom sessions explaining the basics of tulips and navigation. Saturday afternoon features two road sections, punctuated with further classroom work and a competitive mini rally on the Sunday morning.
Designed to help novice crews into rallying, the event is aimed predominantly at first timers, those who may have taken part in other HERO training seminars and perhaps the odd person along for a refresher. It is also the first HERO-ERA event of the year, and the first as the country moves out of the extended periods of lockdown!
The event is chiefly to foster the interest of the newcomers and fuel their enthusiasm. HERO-ERA’s feeder events are becoming more and more successful, with many crews progressing on to other events, evidenced by the large entry of 45 crews on this year’s rally.
As demonstrated in the five successful events HERO-ERA ran in 2020, their events were run safely, according to all the guidance and codes. The 2021 A Novice Trial will be run strictly to Motorsport UK guidelines to ensure new and established competitors alike are encouraged to return to rallying with the company to be shown that this is a great way to use their historic cars in a safe and exciting manner.
The friendly seminars will cover the basics on Friday. On Saturday there will be alternating practical and theory activity which should help newbies to practice their new found skills.
By Sunday at 0830 the first car will venture out from Bicester Heritage to the North to tackle two regularities, there will also be three tests to experience on the Bicester Heritage site that produced so much drama in December’s PAAI. (Per Ardua Ad Infinitum)
Apart from the Lomas crew of Natasha and John there are several other potential family entries who should be taking to the classroom and roads. Peter and Deborah Godwin will drive their fabulous 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint whilst James and Susan Crossland will be in their glorious Aston Martin DB5.
Together with BTCC family Watt’s 1964 970 Mini Cooper S, the Baines, Becks and Joe will compete in their 1973 Porsche 911. Family Hardwick make a welcome return in their 1971 Alfa Romeo Giulia GT, Samantha driving with Dad navigating. The Gregory’s (1968 MGB C GT), Mutch’s (rivalling them in their own 1968 MG C GT), Bundy’s (In a third 68 MG C GT!), Irvine’s (1969 Fiat 850 Special), Clarke’s (1969 Triumph TR6), Yeoman’s (1971 Volvo P180E), Strauss’s (1967 Saab 96 V4), De Watts (1973 MG B), Beck’s (1973 Porsche 911), Jonsson’s (1977 MG B Arrive and Drive), Mill’s (1976 MG B-GT Coupe), Smith’s ((1979 Ford Escort) and Maidment’s (1983 VW Golf GTi Arrive and Drive), all contribute to making this first event of the year, a real family affair.