Navigation Trials are as much a test of map reading and direction finding skills as they are competition driving. They are a relatively cheap form of Motorsport and are fantastic fun! Each competing car carries two people (the crew) consisting of a driver and a navigator. At the start of the event competitors are given a list of grid references from which they must work out the prescribed route, which can be anything from 96 to 224 kilometers in length. The crew must then travel the route adhering to a strict average speed limit of 48kph for the entire event. Along the route, there are manned time controls where you must check in. Penalties can be gained for various reasons such as arriving early or late at the controls, or for approaching from or departing in the wrong direction. The purpose of the exercise is to complete the entire route, maintaining the average speed and picking up as few penalties as possible. Night Navigation Trials take place under cover of darkness.
It has often been stated that a brilliant navigator in a well driven Morris Minor will succeed where a poor navigator in a fast car will fail. As speed is not the deciding factor of this sport, you may in fact compete in any standard road car.
Click on the image above to see Navigational Trials in action
Type of Vehicles
All standard road going saloons, sports cars, certain "jeep type" saloons that comply with the road traffic regulations are eligible subject to maximum engine capacity of 2000cc. 2 and 4 wheel drive permitted.
Where and When
Night Navigation Trials take place around the country during the Autumn and Winter months from October to March.
Licence Requirements and Starting Age
To drive in Navigation Trials, a rally category "National B" grade licence or higher is required. The minimum age is 17 years and applicants must hold a full Road Traffic Act driving licence. A Medical certificate is not required.
All Drivers in Navigation Trials must be listed on the IRDS (Irish Rally Drivers Scheme) Database. This compulsory insurance provides Third Party Insurance Cover during the course of the event. To join the scheme, competitors must complete a proposal form, which is available on this website or from Motorsport Ireland on request. It is also available to overseas competitors who use a BRDS form and who pay the registration fee of €20 on application. It is important to note that completed proposal forms must be received by Motorsport Ireland a minimum of 14 days before cover is required in order that the applicant may be added to the Database. This Database is available to view on our website and is sent to clubs. The standard rate of cost for this insurance is €20 per event and organisers often include this in the entry fee.
To navigate in Navigation Trials, a rally category "Navigator" grade licence or higher is required. The minimum age is 16 years. A Road Traffic Act driving licence is not required, nor is a Medical Certificate.
In both cases, competitors under 18 years of age require written permission from parents or guardians. A first time licence costs as little as €40 if you are a member of one of our Affiliated Motor Clubs - non-members pay €80.
How to get Started
If you are interested in becoming involved then the first step is to contact Motorsport Ireland, the governing body of the sport, at phone 01-677 5628. Motorsport Ireland issue competition licences and we annually publish a "Yearbook" containing all the rules and regulations for Irish Motorsport. The "Yearbook,in DVD format, is issued free on CD with every competition licence and is also available to purchase in hard copy for €30. A calendar of events is also published on this web site and you can download a licence application form here.
Many clubs also run Navigation Classes. These are highly recommended for newcomers to the sport as they provide invaluable assistance with pre-event and car preparation.
Special Equipment Required
Precision tripmeter, maps, romer, map enlarger/magnifying device (“potti lamp”), digital clocks, red warning triangle, fire extinguisher, tow rope, quick operating jack, extra and bright reverse light integrated with reverse gear selection only. Exact specifications are contained in the current Motorsport Ireland Yearbook.
Bright coloured warm jacket, small food pack, umbrella, torch in case of being lost or stranded. Waterproof boots are also recommended should the crew take a wrong route into a wet muddy boreen.
Outlets for Clothing / Equipment
EARS Motorsport, Muddy Hill, Mallow, Co.Cork (022) 42050
Marks Models, 14 Hawkins Street, Dublin 2. (01) 6715809
Murray Motorsport, Unit 20, Beechlawn Industrial Complex, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 (01) 4500555
PR Reilly Ltd., 221 Howth Road, Killester, Dublin 5 (01) 8336924
Motor Sport News Classifieds
Carsport Magazine Classifieds
Pacenotes Magazine Classifieds
Average Cost of Entry
Fee €70 per event plus IRDS plus Personal Accident Insurance
Officials / Marshalling
One of the best ways to learn all about a particular division of Motorsport is to get involved in the day to day organisation. So if you do not feel ready to compete, or simply would like a sociable, friendly attachment to Navigation Trials, your invaluable help is more than appreciated. Contact anyone involved from the motor clubs around the country and get activated. It could change your whole life and at the same time help others enjoy a great exciting sport held in a responsible controlled environment.