Observed motorcycle trials is a fairly obscure motorsport in the United States, though KTM is trying to change that via the GasGas brand. However, the sport has a much higher profile in Great Britain, and it includes more than just two-wheelers. The 2022 Land’s End Trial has a long history, with the Devon-based event organizers—The Motor Cycling Club—dating back to 1901.
The Motor Cycling Club put on the first Land’s End Trial in 1908. The MCC expanded, running various extended courses—London to Edinburgh; London to Land’s End; London to Exeter. The longest route ran from the northern tip of Scotland to Land’s End. While those would be fun rides now, they were epic adventures over 100 years ago.
The 2022 Land’s End Trial has an unusual approach. The 24-hour event has three different staging locations that head the start in Bridgewater, about 20 miles southwest of Bristol, on April 15.
The starts are in Popham Airfield in Hampshire, Hare Bush Services in Gloucestershire, and Cornwall’s Plusha Services. The run to Bridgewater is held by moonlight, and is an easy 95 miles to confirm that all competitors’ machines are in fine working order.
Breakfast is enjoyed in Bridgewater, and then the competition begins. The first section follows a course to Felons Oak that has been in use since 1955. The next stage to Beggars Roost is enjoying its centennial this year—yes, 100 years. The following seven stages have historic routes and colorful names—Riverton, Sutcombe (1964), Hackmarsh (1934), Crackington, Warleggan (1968), Blue Hills (1936), and Old Stoney. A cooked breakfast is served along the way.
The entire route covers 338 miles, and it’s not designed to be easy—it’s a trial, after all. As the organizers point out, “Traction is often decided by the weather.” Outside assistance is forbidden, though there are fuel stops at petrol stations.
Motorcycles are joined by automobiles, with plenty of vintage machines taking on unimproved roads in the hinterlands of Wales. “The route takes the competitors through other historic areas, and as the sunrises over Bude, some of the trickiest hills will have been completed, testing both man and machine,” the organizers explain.
After the late-night start and breakfast, the Land’s End Trial gets serious as it sends competitors to Blue Hills, which is designed to appeal to spectators. The event concludes at Loggans Moor, Hayle, a stone’s throw from St. Ives Bay.
Motorcycles that take on the 2022 Land’s End Trial range from vintage sidecars to modern dual-sport bikes, along with a dazzling array of vehicles with more wheels.