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I was recently very fortunate to stumble on an original copy of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ for 1935 in which there was a 3 page report with images of the Liverpool Motor Club’s ‘Reliance Trial’

The event which had become a classic on the British sports calendar was a reliability trial and not a sporting trial so the skill was sustaining riding for the duration of the event rather than excelling at specific section challenges. in 1935 the event was based at Mold in Flintshire although in its earliest years it had started on Merseyside with competitors travelling into North Wales.

This is the Article as published in ‘the Motor Cycle‘ October 24th 1935

IN spite of a timed restarting test on Allt-y-Bady and a short, rough section that had to be covered at not less than schedule speed, it was impossible to separate the performances of the only two riders who retained clean sheets in last Saturday’s Reliance Trial in North Wales. The two out standing men who were G.E.Rowley (560 A.J.S.) and L.G.Holdsworth (346 New Imperial), and as there was no rule giving preference to the smaller capacity machine, the two stand as joint holders of the ‘Reliance Trophy. Thus a most unusual situation is created, for It seldom happens in open events that the “premier” cannot be placed in one particular direction, especially when two special tests are used in view of possible ties.

Photo - Trials riders find their way up Heartbrak Hill, Glyn Ceiriog during the Reliance Trial 1935

Photo – Trials riders find their way up Heartbreak Hill, Glyn Ceiriog during the Reliance Trial 1935

This year the trial started at Mold instead of at Llangollen, although it finished at the latter place as usual. The change was thought to indicate that something new would be introduced, but the event was much the same as other Reliance Trials, with the hills of the Bady range as the notable obstacles, Heartbreak and Ken’s Cut in particular. Vron, that long grassy slope which seems endless (and surfaceless) on a wet day, proved no stumbling block on this occasion, and Allt-y-Bady, which is slowly reverting to trials calibre after being repaired a few years ago, was used for the timed restart. In spite of the 1 in 3.8 gradient now having a surface “like a heap of dominoes’.’ (as one rider put it), even two-fifties made no bones about standing starts, which is an indication of the improvement in modern engines and the grip of present-day “comp.” tyres. The sidecars, however, were not too happy; they needed all the urge available from a gradient point of view, and yet when their skippers “gave them the gun” it mostly happened that the front wheels caressed the earth lightly and sportively and the outfits slewed round crabwise, and that was that.

There were fifty-one starters, more than half being on 250 c.c. and 350 c.c. machines; there were thirteen sidecars (one being a 350 c.c. outfit), and that leaves only eight 500 c.c. solos and three “over 500,” and one rather inclines to look upon the last-mentioned mainly as being” ‘just over 500 c.c.” to qualify for the award for machines in that category.

The first hill, Oliver Cromwell’s Cemetery, was not far from Mold, and was one of those “bits” new to the Reliance. It is one of those typical farm tracks. that the Cheshire Centre appears to have a particular knack in finding. Gradient is not so bad, but as a lane it is a mere upward tunnel between steep and slimy banks, overgrown with dense and particularIy prickly shrubbery. Colin Edge (499 Rudge) romped up Oliver Cromwell’s Cemetery splendidly, but another local, J. S. Boote (348 Panther), who followed, was the first “that Cromwell knocked abaht a bit,” for after some footing he failed altogether. D. Allen (348 Norton) had something of a fight with the steerage and touched once. A. C. Kelly (549 Triumph sc.) shot lip up at great speed. Then R. W. Huddart (348 Panther) had quite a stormy passage and stopped. G. S. Hadfield (493 Triumph sc.) was as good as Kelly, but R. D. Humber (497 Ariel sc.) was geared much too high, and the engine “died” quite early.

Now the” visitors” arrived in force. Young Billy Tiffen (249 Velocette), standing on the rests, rode through mud, over tree roots, and across rocks with complete certainty. Dennis Mansell (490 Norton sc.) was never in the slightest doubt. Then J. B. Spencer (348 Norton) and P. Wootton (596 Scott) failed, and G. F. Povey (499 B.S.A.), with apparently no room to pass, nevertheless went through feet up-a brilliant bit of riding; Ken Norris (249 Red Panther) had to claim a baulk, however. Bert Perrigo (348 B.S.A.) whizzed up through the mud surely, while A. L. Macdonald (346 New Imperial)” rode steadily and neatly.

Jack Williams (348 Norton), L. G. Holdsworth (346 New Imperial), and G. E. Rowley (560 A.J.S.) made the difficulties fade away, but L. A. Simpson (549 Triumph sc.), whose outfit crabbed broadside, N. Cook (490 Norton sc.), who stopped suddenly low down the hill, and R. C. Cotterell (557 Ariel), who rammed the bank, all demonstrated that the difficulties still existed. Miss Cottle (348 B.S.A.) could not avoid one dab at the ground in the district where she first learned to ride in trials, while Dr. R. L. Galloway (499 Rudge sc.), appearing again in the Reliance after a lapse of years, had bad spin before getting on to the worst part of the hill.

Two Bad Hills

Another derelict lane, Fulbrooke, followed, and at this point P. Wootton (596 Scott) failed and retired, while W. R. Vann (498 Matchless sc.) also had to call it a day, due to clutch trouble, plus a flat tyre. Dr. R. L. Galloway (499 Rudge sc.) also ended his endeavours. Many and varied lanes, grass tracks and slag heaps led to Maes-y-Safn. But the sunshine and’ the gale of wind had dried off most of Maes-y-Safn’s slimy cobble stones, and J. B. Spencer (348 Norton) was the only’ failure, although seven people footed. Hereabouts Harry Perrey (493 Triumph sc.) retired, and was making for Llangollen when he came into collision with a car. Both he and his passenger were taken to Wrexham Hospital, but their injuries were not thought to be serious.

The route was now mainly in the Llangollen and Ceiriog valleys, or, rather, up and down the hillsides thereof, and after the timed restarting test on the Bady the two worst hills of the day came in the last twelve miles. Ken’s Cut was too wet to be really difficult, the surface slime being washed clear. Only three riders – A. L. Macdonald (346 New Imperial), A. Pearson (247 Matchless) and L. A. Simpson (493 Triumph sc.)-failed, while a few others touched ground here and there. A. Jefferies (493 Triumph) was the star turn.

On Heartbreak Hill, which has a gradient of about 1 in 3½, but is not very difficult as to surface, W. Twiss (348 Norton) and W. T. Tiffen, jun. (249 Velocette) were excellent. L. C. Mansfield (490 Norton BC.) nearly reached the top, his passenger’s acrobatics exciting the Welsh onlookers to exclaim about “the chap in the sidecar,” when, in truth, “in” was the only word that could not be applied! F. E. Thacker’s little Enfield was cunningly urged up the grade, while Tommy Hatch’s 247 c.c. Levis just had enough (and no more) power to make the climb with certainty. Hatch, by the way, has returned from retirement “because trials riding is good for the health”! J. Williams (348 Norton) roared upwards, all revs and power, while Vic Brittain (490 Norton) displayed neither fireworks nor fuss and made a beautiful climb; R. C. Cotterell (557 Ariel) was another to make the climb seem easy.
D. K. Mansell (490 Norton se.) went up at speed and was the only driver to get a “chair” to the top. H. Tozer (490 Norton sc.) burned out a plug on the steepest part; R. J. Flook (499 B.S.A. sc.) bounced very hard, but bounced in vain, while G. S. Hadfield’s huge rear cover on his Triumph outfit needed a lot more power applying to keep the wheels turning. K. Wilson (348 Panther), C. Helm (493 Sunbeam) and L. G. Holdsworth (346 New Imperial) were impressively unspectacular and sure, while G. Rowley (560 A.J.S.) wafted up the slopes as only George can. L. E. Taylor (348 Velocette) was very neat, apart from yards of trailing greenery on his footrests.

Retirements had been fairly heavy, and marks had been lost galore, even though no particular section had failed the entry. The results tell their own story!

Image - Dunlop Tyres advert displaying their product successes at the Reliance Trial 1935

Image – Dunlop Tyres advert displaying their product successes at the Reliance Trial 1935



Reliance Cup (best performance).- G.E. Rowley (560 A.J.S.) and L. G. Holdsworth (346 New Imperial), tied; marks lost, O.

Horsman Cup (best performance in opposite class). – D. K. Manes’ (490 Norton sc.); marks lost, 95.

Butterworth Trophy (best Liyerpool M.C. member). – R. C. Cotterell (557 Ariel); marks lost. 80.

Mogridge – Memorial Cup (best rider who seryed in the Great War. 1914-1918). – Not awarded.

Tornado Cup (best performance by smallest capacity sidecar). – H. Tozer (490 Norton sc.); mark lost, 75.

Welch Cup (best 500 c.c.). – V. N. Brittain (490 Norton); marks lost, 97.

Ward Cup (best 250 c.c.). – K. B. Norris (249 Red Panther); marks lost, 96.

Baxter Memorial Cup (best 350 c.c.). – A E. Perrigo (348 B.S.A.); marks lost, 97.

Braid Cup (best over-500 c.c.). – Not awarded.

Frazer Dachers Cup (best passenger machine over 350 c.c.). – H. J. Flook (499 B.S.A. sc.); marks lost, 90.

Team Prlze. (best nominated team of three). – Norton: J. Williams (348), D. K. Mancell (490 sc.). V. N. Brittain (490); total marks lost. 287.


First-class Awards.-

L. G. Holdsworth (346 Imperial), 0; G. W. Rowley (560 A.J.S.), 0; V. N. Brittain (490 Norton) 97;  A. E. Perrigo. (348 B.S.A.), 97: L. E. Tay!or (348 Velocette),97; R. C. Cotterell (557 ArieJ), 97.


Second-class Awards.-

K. B. Norris (349 Red Panther). 96; G.F. Pokey (499 B.S.A.), 96: J. Williams (348 Norton). 95; D. K. Mansell (490 Norton sc.). 95.


Souvenir Awards.- (all other finishers within time limit)

R. D. Humber (497 Ariel sc.). 91: J. S. Boot. (343 Panther). 57: W. Twiss (348 Norton), 91: G. S. Hadfield (493 Triumph sc.), 72; R. W. Huddart (348 Pantber). 81; L. C. Mansfield (490 Norton sc.). 89; F. E. Thacker (248 Royal Enfield), 92; J. M. Winn (348 Norton), 83; W. T. Tiffen Junr. (249 Velocette). 94; A. L. Macdonald (346 New Imperial), 82; E. Stephens (347 Sunbeam), 82; J. B. Spencer (348 Norton) 27; G. H. P. Williamson (348 Norton), 83; E. Damadian (346 Levis), 86; C. Helm (493 Sunbeam), 86; K. Wilson (348 Panther), 92; A. Pearson (347 Matchless,), 62; K. M. Hurst (247 Levis), 87: L. A. Simpson (493 Triumph sc.), 94; A Jeffries (493 Triumph), 94; H. J. Flook (499 B.S.A sc), 90; M. Gavson (346 New Imperial sc.). 67; R. WiIIiamson (493 Sunbeam), 67; T. L. Hatch (247 Levis), 89; M. J. Wright (348 Norton), 71: Miss M. Cottle (348 B.S.A.), 82; F. V. Chambers (348 Norton), 80; G. Morrison (348 Ariel), 84