RTV trials are a step up from TYROs, as more severe terrain may be used and therefore greater skill and experience are required.
An RTV should still be non-body damaging to sensibly prepared & driven production vehicles and all vehicles must be fully road legal, with tax (if applicable), MOT and insurance.
RTV trials are often the “entry” level for new competitors who have perhaps already gained some off-road experience via Green Laning or “Pay & Play” sites.
As for CCVs , RTV trials are run as series of separate, individually assessed, “Sections” – typically between 8 ~ 12 during an event day. Typically only 1 driver drives at a time and each driver takes it in turn to go through a Section before everybody moves to the next Section. An RTV isn't about speed or finishing in the shortest time, it's about careful initial planning and driving the vehicle as needed to get through each “obstacle” to the end of the Section.
Each Section will have a route marked out by 10-12 pairs of numbered canes (each pair is known as a “gate”) - which the driver ideally drives completely through, in order & without stopping, rolling back or touching a cane. The Section’s terrain may be hilly, bumpy, rocky, muddy, sandy, gravely, partially flooded or any combination of all ! Some gates may be hidden by natural features of the land and you're not allowed to cross your own vehicles tracks between gates.
Drivers are allowed to have a “Walk through” as a group before each Section is driven. The drivers (& passengers) use the walk-through to attempt to identify the best route to drive to give the best chance of getting through all gates.
Gate numbering starts at 12 (or 10 - depending on section length) and progress’ upto “1”. If a cane is touched, you receives the score of that gate. If you get your front wheel through a gate without touching either cane and then stop you will get a score of the next pair of gates. If the section is completed without stopping or touching a cane, you'll get a zero or ”Clear” score (and normally a round of applause!).
Long wheelbase vehicles such as Defender 110, Range Rover and Discovery, which normally have a poorer turning circle, are allowed a manoeuvre called a Shunt, whereby you can call "Shunt" loudly before stopping, and then reverse to re-position in order to make a turn. A Shunt is available only once per section – so it’s use needs careful decision.
Competitors are typically divided into separate “Classes” (dependant on their vehicle specification) & Class winners identified by the best (lowest) overall result after adding each drivers individual scores over all of the Sections.
Typical modifications to make a vehicle more competitive for RTV would be the use of mud tyres & for LWB vehicles (Long Wheel Base) a 1.5 ~ 2 inch suspension “lift”. Vehicles on eg. All Terrain tyres or without a suspension lift can take part, but would be less likely to do well