Matthews Auto Salvage Car Trial

8 Jul 2023

Last held in 2018, The Matthews Auto Salvage Car Trial returns to the C&A Motor Club calendar.

  • MAS 2023 winner


We thank Matthews Auto Salvage for the continued generous support and Lee Matthews and family for their hard work in putting the event on.

Many thanks to Lee Matthews for this report on the Matthews Auto Salvage Car Trial 2023. Full results are available below.

This year saw Caernarvonshire & Anglesey Motor Club return to organising Car Trials after a 5-year break. It was decided to host a small club event first, just to see if we still had all the equipment, marshals, competitors and even… “Did we remember how to put one on?”.
So, we started off modestly with a summer midweek evening affair at our old venue, Rhuddlan Bach Farm on the Isle of Anglesey, in June, aimed at the local Clubman competitors. This boasted 24 entries on the night, running 2 timed tests and 3 normal climb tests, and turned out to be a really fun event.
It was apparent that after blowing the dust off the club store shed much of the Trials equipment would need replacing or replenishing. With this done we were ready to put on an event for the National Car Trials competitors, who come from all over the UK, and which was to be held just two weeks later.

By 09:30am on Saturday 8th July twenty drivers had signed-on for our Matthews Auto Salvage Car Trial, being a round of the BTRDA and ANWCC championships. The number of championship entries was reasonable considering we are a long way from the regular circus of trialling, and hosting on a Saturday was not the best idea in hindsight as many of our helper’s work Saturday mornings.
Our biggest concern in the planning stage was who was going to marshal the planned seven test sites. It doesn’t sound hard to get seven people to volunteer to marshal at a simple Car Trial from a club boasting hundreds of members, but there are many other distractions these days, other motorsport interests, work, family life and hobbies, to name but a few. So, I personally want to thank the marshals, Gruff & Karen, Paul who was supposed to be painting his house, Tex who was meant to be at a running event, John who should have been working (no time off for the self-employed) and my wife Yvonne who got roped into buying, collecting and arranging the awards, organising tea & things for the dinner break, and then at the last minute having to marshal Test 7 when there was just no-one else left. Oh, and not forgetting Duncan, the Steward ……… “Don’t Panic Mr. Mannering!”
Digressing a bit here, but please bear with me. Some films have famous lines, such as “I’ll be back” (Terminator). For those of you who have watched it, one of my favourite quotes from the film Shakespeare In Love is when Will is having a very bad day, everything is going wrong, and he is told by the theatre owner in a very positive tone “Don’t worry, everything will turn out fine in the end”, to which Shakespeare in desperation questions “How will it?”. The owner responds with a shrug of the shoulders, “I don’t know. It just does”. I seem to envisage that scene a lot these days. But somehow, by the 9:45am divers briefing “everything was looking fine’. By 10am we had all the cars lined up at the 7 tests and we were ready to go.

Then, as if by magic the rain came. Doh! Not a lot really, and it only lasted about fifteen minutes, but it was just enough to wet the grass’ appetite and made the hills very slippery. It hadn’t rained for ages and the tests were initially set out on a bone-dry surface, so some of the less experienced drivers were struggling to get halfway up the hills now, although a few of the top drivers were getting to the tops of the steep climbs. Drivers on the first run at the timed tests were 20% slower on the wet grass compared to half an hour later when it dried out.
Despite the initial damp spell, at the end of Round 1 there were six drivers still in single digit penalties, with Kevin Roberts in his blue Mazda MX5 automatic in the lead on a solitary point. For Round 2 the tests remained the same, but much drier now as the sun had come out and the light breeze was blow-drying the field. Kevin let the lead slip from his grasp as he knocked a rear tyre off the rim on one of the timed tests, then again on the next. If fact it took three blowouts and a maximum for Osian with whom he was sharing the car before they decided to increase the tyre pressures.
This meant at the lunch break after two rounds Aled Charles had taken over the lead on 3 marks in the red automatic MX5, 1 mark ahead of Nigal Jones who was sharing that car. In the Front Wheel Drive class Garry Preston and Rupert North had cleared most of the Hills, but Rupert was slightly quicker than Garry on the timed tests, so at the half-way break Rupert was on 5 marks and Garry on 7.

The Hills were tweaked during the lunch break, to be a tad more challenging on the bone-dry surface. In fact, dust was becoming an issue in the afternoon as some drivers tried to dig their way to Australia at fail points. By the end of Round 3 the dry conditions suited the RWD cars and they cleared most of the Hills. Nigal beat Aled on one of the timed tests, meaning they were level pegging on 5 marks with one round left to go. In fact, Rupert North should have joined the 5 marks club, but he made a rare misjudgement at the one gate on Test 5. He was now on 6 total. Could be costly!
Final round. We had gone from coats to jumpers to t-shirts, and now sun cream! Even the newcomers to the sport were climbing out the top of the hills now, although even the experts had to work hard at it to be able to punch the sky in joy. Nothing like the sound of a ZERO after a tough fight to get there. Very rewarding. The main incident on Round 4 was something catastrophic breaking on the Fiesta Mk6 of Elis Matthews and Iwan Evans upon landing after the Dukes of Hazard yump on Test 1. We suspect the diff exited its casing.
Rupert North meanwhile had cleaned the final round with zero penalties. Nigal, Kevin and Aled had all cleared the hills, but all dropped 1 mark on a timed test. This left a remarkable three-way tie for the win on just 6 marks total. The number of zero’s and furthest cleanest were required to separate the three.

Everyone stayed for the awards presentation, done a little unconventionally as we first gave awards for the Clubman event from two weeks ago. Kevins speech as winner of that event was mercifully short but sweet. Well done, Kevin, who collected the H.W. Roberts Memorial Shield as winner.
Then on to the MAS awards, starting with the winner, as everyone was waiting on tender hooks to see who had won. Take a bow ….. Aled Charles in the red MX5. Well done. Whilst holding the enormous MAS Shield his speech was truly …. short. These Welsh boys let their driving do the talking. The remaining award winners were offered an array of “gifts” that were on display on the table as they were called up. Now you know why we gave 1st in class awards ahead of 2nd, etc. All the marshals were called up too, John Evans from Test 1 deciding he fancied the Tin of Beans for supper, only to find a twenty quid note Sellotaped to the bottom. Some booby prize that one!
Of the other competitors … 2nd Place, and 1st Class C (RWD) went to Nigal Jones who was sharing the winning car, and Rupert North ended 3rd in that very competent little Suzuki Alto, winning Class B (FWD). Despite the close competition at the top there were mini battles all the way through the field. Garry Preston tried very hard all day to keep his Fiat 127 in touch with the Alto but ultimately Rupert was just that little bit quicker on the timed tests. Garry finished 5th overall, 2nd FWD on 10 marks, with Kevin one position higher in 4th on 8 marks. Third in the FWD class and 8th overall was a dark horse. I had to take another look at his results to believe it. Our good friend and all-round nice guy, Mr. Mark Campbell, who is new to car trialing, and only really having a go so that he could teach his daughter, Ela, who is 14 years old, to drive. She finished 20th - very well done. Rounding out the top 10 was Baz Green, baby-sitting young Frankie Talbot who didn’t stop smiling and laughing from the start of Test 1 until she got home. I will include a photo of her official score card that they handed in to us. They collected awards for 1st in the Rally Car Class using their Proton Satria.

Sion Matthews, better known as a rally driver, was consistently quick or quickest on the timed tests, but finished just 1 mark behind Baz to be first loser, as he didn’t get a trophy in 11th spot, whilst Winnie Chen shared his Nissan Micra to collect the First Lady award. She picked the closed envelope award which turned out to be a free entry worth £35. Bet the rest of them wished they had picked that one rather than the bubbly or biscuits. Twelfth was Endaf Davies who claimed to be a novice at the start, until we pointed out his name is engraved on the MAS Shield for winning this event in the past. His 12-year-old son Iwan was riding shotgun in the Ford Ka on his first event and turns out he is just as competitive as his dad, and can’t wait for the next one. Jake Turner won the first Novice award in 13th place while sharing the black Fiesta Mk6 of Jon, who finished 16th. One mark behind Jake was young Sion Griffith in the red Micra Rally car. Sion is no newcomer to trialling, but I think he may have got his girlfriend, Lowri Barnet, hooked now too as she passengered for him.

There were a few drivers who didn’t have a passenger. Having less weight can help I suppose, but having someone moving their weight around, or assisting with “bouncing” can have its advantages too. John Charles was one of these one-member-crew entries in the pretty yellow Liege S. This car was wonderful to watch going. He finished 6th overall on 24 marks and an award for 1st in Class D. Another solo crew was Nick Pollitt in his new Fiat 500 TwinAir, where the 2-cylinder modern car showed great ability at climbing hills and bombing around the timed tests. He received a maximum score on the first timed test which was 12 marks, so a hefty penalty for one test when his total was just 24 from the other 27 tests. This event was set out to be non-damaging to the underbody, so we are very grateful to him for using the car to show it is possible to use a modern car on trials if the venue and organisers set the courses out with this in mind. Another car that was a single occupant drive was Noel Watson in the Golf Mk5 diesel, who used the low-down torque to good effect. I am not sure he touched the throttle pedal at all to climb through most of the hills. He was a lot more cautious on the timed tests than the other cowboys, so collected most of his penalties there, and finished 15th.

Many congratulations to the award winners, but you were all winners in my eyes. From the positive comments and smiles all day, despite all the pre-event worries “everything did turn out fine in the end”.

Lee Matthews – Clerk of the Course.


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List of entries and the results of the MAS Car Trial are now available below.


Final Instructions now available below.

Information and Entries

The MAS Car Trial will be a Clubman event held at Rhuddlan Bach, Brynteg, Anglesey LL78 7JJ. What3words: ///weekend.performs.crackles. (Same entrance as the Quarry). The experienced Lee Matthews is Clerk of the Course.

The Clerk of the Course advises that the Trial fields are relatively smooth and are suitable for standard cars and offer great opportunity for Clubman competition. The venue has good access even for trailers, and we hope to create some challenging tests.
Public road sections will not be used to link sections, as the whole event takes place on private property.

Please note that you will require a Motorsport UK competition licence of minimum RS Clubman grade for the event. The RS Clubman licence is available free of charge from Motorsport UK.
Applications for a Motorsport UK competition licence should be made here: Licence application.
If required, the parental consent form for under 18 year old is available here: Parental Consent Form

If you require membership of C&A Motor Club and you may renew your membership or make a new application here: Become A Member

A copy of the Supplementary Regulations is available below.
Entries open at 18.00 hours on Sunday, 4th June and access to the entry form is here: MAS Trial Entry Form

The photos in the above slideshow are from the May 2018 event.

  • Motorsports UK
  • Association of North Western Car Clubs
  • Welsh Association of Motor Clubs
  • Pentraeth Group