MCC - 110 years of motorsport
The Motorcycling Club (MCC) is a part of motorcycling you may not have heard about. Founded in 1901, the club is probably most famous for its three major 'reliability tests', the Exeter, Lands End and Edinburgh trails. The essential character of these trails has not changed for a hundred years and entries still number in their hundreds. Here's a little guide to what goes on in an MCC trail.
In essence the three major MCC trails are a test of machinery; which in turn becomes a test of the man. Entrants ride or drive their 2, 3 or 4 wheels machines along a set out route using roads around the country. Along the way are 'sections' and 'observed tests', where the machine and man is tested. Competitors, who are part of a number of different classes (judged on difficulty: A - Expert, B - Intermediate, C - Novice etc), complete this route and all the sections within a time limit and scores are calculated at the end. Riders and drivers who successfully completed the route within the time without incurring too many penalties on sections receive awards (Gold, Silver, and Bronze).
The different sections along the route provide a challenge to riders, drivers and their machines. In essence they are basically an off-road course usually incorporating tough terrain, hills and mud. Penalties are picked up for stops and roll backs for a car and feet down and stops for riders. If you clear a section without incurring any penalties you've got a better chance of getting an award. There are between 14-18 sections on the route of the trail depending on which one you are doing. These sections have been used for years but are often rotated if the land becomes too corroded.
There are a number of observed tests that appear along the route that competitors also have to take part in. These are a mixture of time trails, handling courses and hill starts once again designed to test driver, rider and machine performance.
When they happen
The Edinburgh trail this year has just taken place over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of October. Next up is the Exeter on the 3rd to the 4th of January 2014 and then the Lands End on the 18th and 19th of April 2014.
I've done some of these trails and I can tell you they are an experience like no other. You meet wonderful folk of all ages and see some incredible machines including classic motorbikes, sidecars, three wheelers and trails special cars. There's a real sense of comradely around the competitors which often helps keep you going. These trails are tough granted, as you're riding or driving for around 24 hours on road and off-road, but if you're a true biker you'll relish the challenge. Plus some of the competitors are let's say, a little older than you might expect, but they will put you to shame on the sections so hold judgement until you've tried it.
If you want to get involved you'll need to get an MCC club membership then you can start applying for trails. Rules and regulations can be found on the MCC website.
29.10.13 - Big Ed