Trials is a motorcycle sport based on skill rather than speed. It is probably the cheapest form of motor sport and can be enjoyed by the young and not so young, with our riders ranging from 6 to 80+. A trial consists of ‘Observed Sections’, smaller trials may have 4 laps of ten Sections and larger trials usually having more sections with fewer laps but typically you ride approximately 40 Sections at an event. Trials riders are graded by their ability (age for youth riders) into Expert, Intermediate, Novice, Clubman, Youth A, Youth B, Youth C,  and Youth D. At some events you are also graded by the bikes e.g Twinshock, Pre 65 (pre 1965), British Twinshock, Etc. To cater for a wide range of abilities there is more than one route for a particular section: Hard, Middle & Easy route

Observed Section

Sections are marked with a pairs of markers (‘Gates’) that you have to ride through. For the Hard & Middle route the left hand marker of the gate has the top painted Blue and the right hand marker painted Red. Each section has a ‘Begins Gate’ and an ‘Ends Gate’ normally common to all routes. The Hard Route is marked by white stakes with red and blue tops. (Red on right of section Blue on left) The Middle Route follows the same markers as the HARD route until there is an alternative easier path and this is marked with Yellow markers with red and blue tops. The Easy Route follows the Middle route until there is an alternative easier path marked with White markers with orange tops on both side of the Gate. NB The colour of the markers may vary from one club’s events to another, but there is nearly always three routes. A rider enters the Section when his bike’s Front Wheel Spindle passes through the ‘Begins’ Gate and leaves the section when his bike’s Front Wheel Spindle passes through the ‘Ends’ Gate.

Getting Started

Before you can ride in an ACU trial you will need to complete the following:-

  • Join an ACU affiliated Club(s) in the Centres in which you wish to ride. More information here
  • Apply for Trials Registration/Licence with the ACU, cost £12.00. More information here.
  • Acquire a suitable trials motorcycle which complies with current regulations. We have information on a couple of local dealers here.

On registration with the ACU you will receive an ACU Handbook which outlines all the rules, regulations and other useful information regarding motorcycle sport.


Cambridge Matchless Motorcycle Club trials normally cater for the following classes:-

  • Novice – adult riders who have not won 3 Novice Awards in open trials in any one calendar year.
  • Intermediate – adult rider who has not won the intermediate Championship.
  • Expert – adult rider who has  won the intermediate Championship in one year.
  • Clubman – this class is for riders who have at any time gained expert or intermediate status but do not wish to ride the hard route.
  • Sportsman – For riders who wish to ride the easy route
  • Youth D – Youth age (approx) 6-8yrs riding machines 80cc or electric up to 10 bhp (measured at the rear wheel). Either standard or medium wheels
  • Youth C – Youth age (approx) 9-11yrs riding machines 80cc or electric up to 10 bhp (measured at the rear wheel). Either standard or medium wheels
  • Youth B – Youth age (approx) 12-14yrs riding machines upto 125cc Mono-shock, up to 250cc Twin-shock or electric up to 10 bhp (measured at the rear wheel).
  • Youth A – Youth age (approx) 15-17yrs riding machines up to 125cc Mono-shock, up to 250cc Twin-shock or electric up to 10 bhp (measured at the rear wheel).

NB Newcomers to the sport should ride as Novice not Clubman or Sportsman.

More information is available on the South Midland ACU website here.

Not all clubs run events with all these classes and some have others e.g. over 40, twin shock, pre 65 etc. All types of trials machines are accepted at our events in the above classes.


Normally our trials incorporate three routes.

  • Hard Route – ridden by Expert  and normally Youth A.
  • 50/50 Route – ridden by Intermediates 50% hard route/ 50% middle route
  • Middle Route – Ridden by Novices and Clubmen and normally Youth B.
  • 50/50 Easy Route – ridden by Beginners, Sportsman wanting more challenging route 50% Middle Route/ 50% Easy Route
  • Easy Route – ridden by Beginners, Sportsman and normally Youth C & D

Any rider can with permission of the Clerk of the Course upgrade to ride a harder route and can down grade to an easier route on a non award basis NB At some of our events it is not possible to include an Easy Route.

Permits And Entries

Before a trial can be run it is necessary to obtain a permit from the local centre of the A.C.U. There are six types of permit depending on the status of the event – these are:-

  1. Closed to Club (CC) – This permit allows only members of the organising club to take part. Our Summer Series, Friday evening trials are the only club event run under a CC permit.
  2. Restricted Invitation (RI) – This permit allows members of the organising club plus up to 12 invited clubs to participate. The Meteor Group run most of their events under such a permit. We are not a member of the Meteor Group (mostly London Clubs) so you would need to join a Meteor Group club to ride in such an event.
  3. Limited Entry Permit (LEP) – Open to all clubs in the South Midland Center limited to a maximum of 80 riders. Most of our trials are run under this type of permit.
  4. Open – Open to all ACU affiliated club Members, Our Brian Stonebridge Trial is an Open event.
  5. National Permit (NAT) – Open to all centres.

It is important to read the regulations carefully before filling in the entry form to make sure that you are eligible to ride in that event.

With the exception of the CC evening series, which is entry at the event, regulations and entry forms for all of our trials are published in The Sporting Motorcyclist and available on our website and available to enter on line. See events here. Every effort should be made to enter before the day as it is so much easier for an organizer if the know the number and status of riders before the sections are laid out.

The new style entry forms in The Sporting Motorcyclist are not easy to read or fill in please make sure all relevant boxes are completed, particularly club and class in which you are riding.

Rules of the Sport

All rules and regulations applicable to trials regarding machines, clothing, method of marking, etc. are contained in the ACU Handbook.