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Lapworth vs Reid in Sporting Trials challenge

The world of Sporting Trials boasted two new recruits on Saturday as David Lapworth and Robert Reid took to the wheel of one of the specialist vehicles during the BTRDA’s 75th Anniversary celebrations at Catton Hall in Derbyshire.

Prodrive Technical Director, Lapworth, and MSA Performance Director, Reid, agreed to the challenge last year after a proposal from Nick Pollitt, Chairman of the MSA’s Trials Committee and Director of the BTRDA. On Saturday, they had to make good on their word.

Assisted by multiple British Sporting Trials champion, Julian Fack, Reid and Lapworth spent a couple of hours in training, familiarising themselves with the specialist equipment and the essential use of the peculiar fiddle brakes – those strange independent rear wheel brakes that allow Sporting Trials cars such agility in the turn.

Despite having worked together for three years and winning the World Rally Championship in 2001 (with some help from Richard Burns and a Subaru Impreza), Reid and Lapworth quickly succumbed to the natural competitive instincts once the challenge proper began.

Reid took an early advantage, but Lapworth came back to level the scores after three of the six hills, as the verbal exchanges intensified. Hills four and five both went Reid’s way, but only just, leaving it all to play for on the final hill.

Reid looked set to achieve a clear run, but misjudged a relatively gentle climb to leave himself stranded half way up the course. Then Lapworth, knowing he needed to go clear to take the crown, set off confidently but a fatal navigation error after the 8 marker saw him take a wrong turn and the test was over.

“I’ve driven plenty of fast cars over the years, but this was something completely different,” enthused Lapworth afterwards. “It’s quite easy to recognise the individual skills required and how they all work, but to put it all together is the tricky bit. I also realised that although it’s happening at quite a slow pace, you still have to be concentrating as hard as if you were doing ten times the speed, in order to respond to the loss of grip or the spinning wheels as soon as possible. But it was great fun and I’m grateful to Nick and Julian and everyone else who put it together for us.”

“We really didn’t know what to expect from Sporting Trials,” admitted Reid after receiving his prize – a BTRDA umbrella – from Nick Pollitt. “It was only a bit of fun, of course, but it was no surprise how competitive it got once we were underway! The day has given me a new found respect for trialling and has reaffirmed once more not only the great depth and diversity that exists throughout British motor sport, but also how accessible and open the sport can be."

29 April 2013