Trials Formats

AWDC Trials Formats for 2018

There are 2 trialling formats currently supported by the AWDC, 5 gate and 10 gate. Our area reps tend to favour a format based upon what their local drivers want to do. Currently North Wales are 5 gate, South Wales are 10 gate and the South is a bit of both. The national championship currently supports both with rounds run side by side on a competition day. So, a little more about each format…

5 Gate Trials


To drive all gates within a section area (usually 5 gates), in numerical order 1-2-3-4-5 and exit the section through the end gate whilst scoring the minimum number of penalty points as possible. The lowest score after all the sections are completed, wins.

Normally each class will use different gates. They may be shared, run in different directions or in different areas altogether. This allows everyone to drive gates suitable for their vehicle. Different class gates will be marked with different colour markers.

Penalty Points

There are different penalties awarded for different offences:

  • 1 point – reverse. If at any point during the section a vehicle reverses or goes in a backward direction (e.g. slipping down a bank). If a vehicle reverses, stops, then continues reversing without moving forward, this is classed as 1 reverse.

It is always worth making the most of your reverses. Don’t just go back a foot, go back 5 feet. It costs the same number of points.

  • 5 points – touch cane. If an active gate is touched by any part of the vehicle at any time, a touch gate penalty is awarded as long as the gate remains standing. If the gate falls over then it progresses to a broken gate – see below. If a cane touches the front of a vehicle and slides all the way down the side without losing contact, this is only 1 touch.

Don’t worry if you touch a gate, it’s not over! Reverse and try again if you think you can clear the gate. It’s worth trying several times and only touching a gate rather than having to break it.

  • 5 points – touch tape. On some sections there will be boundary tape in place. If any part of the vehicle touches this, it’s a 5 point penalty.
  • 25 points – broken cane. If a gate is knocked down or any part of the vehicles goes outside of a cane whilst attempting to pass it, this counts as a broken gate.

Just because a gate it broken, it isn’t necessarily counted as completed. See below for how to complete a gate. A gate must be COMPLETE before going on to the next one.

  • 50 points – This can be awarded for several reasons:
    • Gate not complete – for every gate not completed once a vehicle has ceased driving a section.
    • Section not complete – if for any reason the driver does not complete all gates and exit the section though the end gate.

There are several reasons a section may end before a driver completes it:

  • Driver indicates he/she no longer wishes to continue with that section.
  • Vehicle requires outside assistance.
  • Driver runs out of time. There is a time limit imposed on each section. This is usually 5 minutes but can change if the CoC desires. There is no reward for completing the section faster than another driver.
  • The vehicle touches, or enters (crosses the line), of any gate for the vehicles class (i.e. if it is a prototype car, any other prototype gate) which is not the currently active gate – also known as a closed gate.
  • If any of the boundary tape is broken by the competing vehicle, the section is instantly ended.
  • The marshal feels the driver is driving dangerously.

If any of these reasons cause a driver to stop driving a section, each remaining gate will be scored as a gate not complete, and a section not complete penalty will be scored.

You are allowed to drive through other classes gates, but you will receive the same penalty points for them as yours if you touch or break them.

Completing a gate

To proceed through a section, every gate must be completed in turn, starting with gate 1. If you do not complete a gate and go to the next one, the section will be ended as soon as you cross the line of or touch next gate. This is end of section.

To complete a gate legally you must:

  1. Approach the gate from the correct side. The front-back centreline of the vehicle must be the approaching side of the imaginary line made by the two canes.
  2. Drive the complete vehicle (including all bodywork) through the gate in the correct direction (incurring any penalties for touch canes).

Run at least 1 front wheel through the gate in the correct direction. The tyre must not go over the cane, but inside it. If viewed from above the tyre track would be completely inside the gate. The rest of the vehicle will knock the cane over resulting in a broken cane penalty of 25 points.

  1. The vehicle must proceed away from the gate until it is clear of both canes. At this point the gate is considered complete and it ‘closes’. If the vehicles reverses or slides back through the gate before being clear of it, the gate must be attempted again. Once a cane has been ‘broken’, it can no longer score any further penalties, but the gate must still be completed legally before continuing to the next one. It is possible to break both canes for which two broken cane penalties will be awarded.
  2. Once a gate has closed behind a vehicle (once it’s complete), it may not be entered again. Doing so will result in end of section.

This is something to be careful of if the exit of a gate is steep or tight, as you may want to manoeuvre after passing it. Don’t get stuck between a gate and a hard place!

It is perfectly legal to run a gate over on purpose. You may want to consider this for several reasons. If there is a particularly difficult gate early on, say a gate 2, you may want to save the time of trying to negotiate that gate to use for the three gates after it. In terms of points you’re much better off attempting more gates (25 points per broken one) instead of running out of time and not getting to them (50 points per incomplete gate). This ruling allows you to drive to your and your cars strengths and weaknesses much better. You still must complete all the gates as you go, but you can spend more time on the ones you’re confident with.


Here’s a list of some of the terms used above.

  • Cane – a marker indicating one side of a gate.
  • Gate – a pair of canes adjacent to one another which dictate where a vehicle must travel. These will be marked with a white top on the right-hand gate which will tell you the direction to pass the gate in, and a coloured top indicating class on the left. A number will also be displayed on one of the canes which will tell you what order to drive them in.
  • Start gate – where the section will start from.
  • End gate – where the section ends. This must be completed within the time limit to avoid the section not complete penalty.
  • Active gate – this is the gate the driver should currently be trying to complete.
  • Closed gate – any gate that is for the drivers class that is not the active gate.
  • Tape – marker tape or bunting. Used to mark out boundaries of sections which should not be passed. This could be used for safety or to toughen the section.
  • Time limit – this is the maximum amount of time a car is allowed to be driving on a section. Completing the section faster than another driver offers no reward.

Hopefully things are now as clear as mud!

10 Gate Trials

10 Gate trials are normally considered the more traditional style of trialling. All classes compete on the same sections with progressively more difficult gates. There will sometimes be a split at gate 4/5 to allow a more difficult route for more modified cars.


To complete all the gates in reverse numerical order (10 down to 1) whilst maintaining forward momentum. If any part of the vehicle touches a cane, or it comes to a complete stop, the section is ended, and penalty points awarded. The lowest score after all the sections are completed, wins.

Penalty Points

Penalty points count down as the vehicle proceeds through the section. The further it gets the less penalties are incurred. The gate numbers measure progress. Each pair of canes make up a gate, and where possible they should become progressively more difficult with each gate.

If a vehicle touches any gate, that is the number of points scored for that section. If the driver continues and hit other gates after, these are not scored.

If a vehicle doesn’t hit a gate, but instead ceases forward momentum, the score is the next gate in front of the forward-most hub. i.e., if a front hub has passed the line of gate 5 when the vehicle stops, then a 4 is scored, even though the vehicle may still be in gate 5.

There could also be unmarked gates on sections. These are there to create boundaries and isolate hazards. They are scored the same if touched as any normal gate.

If a vehicle gets a front hub through gate 1 and either stops or continues to drive through without touching anything then they score 0 (clear) for that section.


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