What are 4×4 trials?

Trials or Trialling is a form of competitive event. These Events often consist of deferent categories to allow all forms of competitors to compete from complete novices to experienced competitions. There are also different levels of trials depending on the vehicle, for example standard vehicle to specialist trial trucks or challenge trucks.

Many clubs do trials as a fun event to allow there members to meet up and have a fun day offroading but with the added bonus of a bit of competition thrown in. Keep an eye on our events section, forum and facebook page for upcoming trials.

The Tracks

Auto trials take place over several staked (marked out) courses called “zones”. Zones can vary in length, obstacles, and difficulty. The idea is to get from the start of the zone, get round the marked out track between the staked out points and get to the end on the zone with the least amount of penalties. without notion of time or speed. Under the supervision of certified auditors, each competitor performs, in turn, crossing the area trial and is sentenced points corresponding penalty to its driver errors, based on the scale provided for in Regulation.


The zones are composed of gates, often 2 stakes in the ground or makes on trees in which you drive between. These are labelled and possibly numbered, each materialized by two flexible rods, mark out one or more routes within zones and must be completed only once, in ascending order of the numbers (if dialling). The labelling is always on the left post of the door, indicating its direction of flow. Many zones are used for both novice and experienced drivers, but often have different routes through the zone. Gates are often colour coded to indicate the path, for example the standard trail colouring is :



Young Yellow
Series Green
Improved series Yellow
Super Series Blue
Maxi Series Red
Buggy Black
Proto Red

These may differ depending on what markers are available to the organiser at the time.


Penalties vary from trail to trail and even from zone to zone. The standard penalty if for touching a stake, knocking over a stake or for missing a stake (gate) altogether. You also receive penalties for not completing a course. Other rules may apply for example you may receive a penalty for every time you have to reverse or go backwards, and even for every time you or your co driver exits the vehicle. These can differ for event to even and zone to zone. Please check before / when attending but the standard pointing system is as follow:

Basic scale

Large Scale Vehicles


0 pts 0 pts Without fail
1 pt 1 pt Judgment of increase or decrease, or change over instead of 5 seconds to 3 minutes in the whole area. In the same area, all judgments of progression recorded accumulate penalty points in time as well as, to a maximum timing of 3 minutes.
1 pt 1 pt Stalled Engine
2 pts 1 pt Reverse, no tolerance back, cancels obstructed immediately preceding except large vehicle.
2 pts 2 pts Presence, unauthorized, a competitor in a zone during the course of a vehicle.
3 pts 3 pts Contact the pilot or co-pilot with the ground.
4 pts 2 pts Contact the vehicle, driver or co-driver with a peg or rubalise.
11 pts 11 pts Piquet crashed.
15 pts 15 pts Failure: Non-crossing the area (winching, foreign aid).Refusal zone, exit zone. Passage above or below the barrier tape (vehicle or crew). Obstructed than 3 minutes in the same zone. Enter, maneuver or backward in another class door. Exceeding 11 points. Voluntary development of the area by the pilot or copilot. Overlapping stake. Voluntary withholding a post or barrier tape.

An increase of 2 points through door where the vehicle is not entered, will be added to the 15 points of failure. Penalties are listed by the Commissioners on the score sheet at the end of each zone. Any tie will be decided according to the number of zero crossings they have obtained.

Is it a race?

Trials are not about speed and more about technique and driver ability to read the track / surface and control the vehicle. How ever zones often have a time limit on them and competitors may be timed through a zone. So trials are not a race but making good time in a zone is something to remember. This may differ from event to event.

Who is the winner?

The winning vehicle is the team with the least amount of penalty points. In the event of a draw/tie the winner is often chosen from the total time to complete all the zones, ie the fastest team. So even through trials are not a race it is wise to be mindful of your times.

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