The London to Exeter Trial was first run in 1910 when it attracted 71 riders. During the 1923 trial, the weather was bad, it rained very heavily and ‘the roads, already very bad, were converted into a horrible quagmire’. Motorcycle ownership greatly increased at the beginning of the 1920s and the Exeter Trial proved an attractive ‘outing’ for some new owners. However, many discovered that it was a lot harder than they imagined. If the riders made it to Exeter, and with the extra time to spend there in 1923, some took breakfast at the legendary Dellers Café.

The trial soon added a class for cars. From 1935, it became known as the Exeter Trial and, today is described by the Motor Cycling Club (MCC) as one of their ‘Big 3’ events. Now held in January, the 94th trial starts in Sparkford on January 5th 2024.

The first photo from our collection features another of the MCC’s main events with the rider taking part in the Lands End Trial of 1924 ‘going up Blue Hills Mine’.

Also about 1924, a more local event, the Seven Crosses Hill Climb.

Ten years later, we have a copy of the ‘The Motor Cycle’ which had been reporting news and supporting motorcyclists since 1903.

Front cover of 'The Motorcyle' magazine. It features an illustration of a motorbike, the 'Matchless Sports 500'. The magazine is dated Thursday June 22nd 1933.

‘The Motorcycle’ magazine