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Dirt tb bike ke CLASSIC


ISSUE Fifty one

Summer 2019


Haigh’s Hot One

Superb Velocette

Super Suzi Laporte Tribute

Best B t iin Sh Show

Stunning Matador

Pre-65 Scottish

N51 2019 US$15.99 Aus$14.99 NZ$18.99 UK£5.50




Technically speaking Technospeak crops up in many aspects of our lives.


y column this issue was going to be about the insides of a Montesa 200 engine, which belongs to a relative of mine who was a bit good on a trials bike in the Fifties (he’s got the rest of the bike as well but that’s not in too bad a condition compared with the engine). Then, just as I was finely crafting the words, in popped an email from John Dickinson with his column attached. Having seen a photo of it, John also mentioned the Montesa, mainly because he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Now, John is actually a mechanic, whereas I’m not, and I’m sure the technical jargon which peppered his email is official language for use when a qualified craftsman is presented with something suffering the attentions of non-qualified people. Technical jargon is perfectly logical and understandable to those within the circle where it’s used but at best it's amusing and at worst unintelligible to those who aren't. For instance, joining in on a conversation on technical terms between a number of motorcycle magazine colleagues, I chucked “I once saw a lad get a pig in a manhole…” into the mix. The expressions were priceless and had that been the era of camera phones then the internet would have been swamped. One colleague who, like me, had some experience of the construction industry, was shocked for a different reason to the non-construction based listeners. He knew the ‘pig’ referred to a course of bricks that don’t line up. I suppose we’re all guilty of using jargon, especially when talking to others in the

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❝Joining in on a conversation on technical

terms between a number of motorcycle magazine colleagues, I chucked 'I once saw a lad get a pig in a manhole…' into the mix.❞

same circle of interest or job and there will be few people reading this who wouldn’t understand such abbreviations as ‘bhp’ ‘ohv’ or ‘ohc’ to give three examples. Nor would ‘stroker’ for two-stroke engine or ‘thumper’ for big four-stroke single engines cause any raised eyebrows for those of us involved with older motorcycles – even those who share our lives, if not the passion for older dirt bikes, find themselves understanding more than they realised they did. However, it was just as well we were all grown men when I capitulated and took the bottom end to an engineering mate who is also a Montesa enthusiast. Having beaten all my attempts to remove it and exhausted my small supply of cog and sprocket pullers, common sense kicked in and expert help was sought before damage was done. At the engineering works there were other phrases and words in use, words which described how unusable the sprocket was. Not only that but it soon became obvious there was no way I could have removed it. Once words such as ‘heat’ and ‘gas bottle’ came in to play the task became big league. Still the pesky little blighter refused to budge… what I did know was the sprocket is keyed onto the shaft, what I didn’t know was the shaft is tapered. What none of us knew until we set to with an angle grinder and cut it off, was the key had sheared and allowed the sprocket to spin on the shaft which had friction welded the thing in place. Once the angle grinder had done its work this became obvious. At least the sprocket issue was relatively

easy to resolve, the piston not so… it seems everything other than a piston is available, but without a piston there is no point attempting anything else. Mixing and matching parts from a variety of sources isn’t unusual in our world and a whole range of new technical language comes into play when this is attempted. In the case of British four-strokes, sorting alternative pistons isn’t difficult or at least not too difficult. There’s the bore in the barrel which is effectively a tube the piston slides in. It can be bored out a little if, say, a piston of the right diameter isn’t available but there’s one close to it. I’m not talking about official oversizes here as these are often listed in handbooks for various machines, what I’m speaking about is a different model from the same maker or a different maker altogether. When doing this, technical terms such as ‘liner wall thickness’ and ‘deck height’ come into play. Generally speaking, a liner can cope with a little extra bored from it and if the deck height – the dimension from the gudgeon pin to the piston crown – isn’t quite right, the length of the barrel can be adjusted. Of these two procedures the former will work on a two-stroke but the latter isn’t so easy. A visit to the recent Stafford show didn't throw up any pistons but I did come away with a good deal of information so it was well worth the trip as always.

SUMMER 2019 | 3

Regulars 03 In Balance

All walks of life have their own special phrases that are perfectly logical to those in the know but unintelligible to those who are not.

06 News, views and reviews

If it’s happening, going to happen or has happened, then this is where we get it in.


You need…


…you also need…

…a works Royal Enfield in your shed. Difficult to get we know, but Johnny Brittain’s HNP 331 looks just right...

…and to keep it company we say a TLR Transformations Honda TLR would be just right.

22 Super Profile

There were loads of ideas but no money around in the British industry as it staggered to the end. Peter Henshaw looks at an AJS that might have been.

40 Subscribe! Subscribe! Subscribe!


As CDB is subscription only in the UK, you’ve either subscribed, nicked a mate’s copy or seen us at a show. If it’s one of the latter two, subscribe here.

52 Dicko’s view

It seems a photo of the editor’s new charge has inspired the pen of Mr Dickinson to wander into his former world of mechanicking.

59 ’cross words

Rudimentary anti-theft devices, close racing and the joy of success at all levels interests Mr Berry this issue.


Dirt Talk

Letters, opinions, you’re doing it wrong… you’re doing it right… all come in to CDB’s office by post, electronic communications or even the telephone.

82 Moto memories

Can it really be 50 years since a British bike won the SSDT? Yes it is. Here’s our tribute to Bill Wilkinson’s Greeves win.

On the cover By winning the 2019 Pre-65 Scottish, Dan Thorpe’s name joins that of his dad Dave on the Challenge Trophy to become the first father/son winners of the event. Fiona Watson caught Dan on the lower slopes of Pipeline on day one.

4 | Contents


Features 11

Velo fellow

Velocette is not the first make that springs to mind when talking about Pre-65 trials, but Chris Haigh’s MAC has been catching our eye for a while.

27 From the archive

As a team event goes, pitting the might of nations against each other in MX is a good idea… behold! The MX d’Nations 1980!

36 Best in Show

We caught up with Damon Wood, the owner of the Best in Show from Telford 2019… it was sunny.

66 Something a bit special

We’ve featured Clive Bussey’s bikes in the past and they’re always of interest… here’s a 125 Suzuki he’s done.


In the frame

BSA’s unit MX bike of the Sixties had a reasonable chassis, however Eric Cheney felt it needed a better one – we look at a Cheney B44.

Events 54 The Classic MotorCycle Show

Not specifically a dirt bike show, but there was still plenty there for us who like to play in the mud… and yes this year it was muddy.

56 Pre-65 Scottish

The sound of classic trials bikes in Kinlochleven heralds the return of the Pre-65 Scottish to the aluminium smelting township on Loch Leven.


60 The biggest and the best

Yes, the annual ‘Telford Show’, or to give it the correct title the Hagon Shocks sponsored Classic Dirt Bike Show… were you there?

Technical 44 Rebuilding to ride

As time marches slowly in quarterly world we’ve adjusted things and now have three bikes on the go at once.

50 Dirt Products


Got something of interest to the dirt bike world? Let us know and we’ll tell everyone else… we’re like that you see.

SUMMER 2019 | 5


in association with

International Dirt Bike Show on the move Since event organiser Mortons Media Group Ltd announced the change of date and venue for the International Dirt Bike Show, trade continues to pour in, ensuring showgoers will have a jam-packed two days at Stafford County Showground on September 28/29. Latest to sign up is kit, clothing, parts and accessories giant Off Road World. The company’s managing director, Jason Harding, stated: “Off Road World is excited to be attending this year’s Dirt Bike Show at the new venue of Stafford County Showground. Previous years at Stoneleigh Park have been hugely successful for us and we look forward to carrying that on this year and meeting more new customers. Lining up alongside them are Yamaha and Talon Engineering plus wheel builder and exporter Central Wheel Components. The wheel specialist has put its might behind the International Dirt Bike Show

and has booked more space at the event than ever before. Central Wheel Components – considered to be Britain’s leading wheel builder – will be exhibiting its SM Pro Wheel range at the IDBS 2019. The company supplies a huge range of MX wheels across Europe and beyond. Central Wheel’s sister company Wheel House Tyres will also be present, offering a large range of tyres and accessories. More significantly, Central Wheel has chosen Europe’s largest off-road show to showcase and launch brand new products to the off-road world. Director Richard Hoyland said: “We are extremely excited to be able to show a couple of new products and brands; to continue to provide the highest quality and service, with competitive pricing for all things wheel.” To book your trade stand at the show, contact Andy Catton on 01507 529594 or email

Are you passionate about Bultaco? If the answer is yes, then maybe you ought to be in the club… Bultaco Club UK to be precise. Formed by Damon Wood (his Matador was best in show at Telford and is in this issue to further the Bultaco cause) and launched just before Christmas 2018, the idea behind the club is to share knowledge and encourage Bultaconess among enthusiasts of the Spanish marque. Though we’re a dirt bike magazine and naturally concentrate on the off-road side of things, the club is more widely focussed and caters for all Bultacos – yes even those with smooth tyres. To celebrate the launch of the club there is a high quality T-shirt available for £19.95 inc postage, it is available by contacting – which is also the contact you need if you'd like to enquire about joining.

6 | Dirt news

Sammy Miller was on hand for the launch of Bultaco Club UK, he and founder Damon Wood give the thumbs-up.

Though a modern show, there's still our type of bikes there.

in association with

Past masters' parade lap.

Increase in entries for Leven Valley

Toughsheet Twinshock series With two rounds of the Toughsheet National Twinshock MX Championships done and dusted, the series has seen quite an upturn in entries. The series now caters for Twinshocks, Evolution, Super Evos, and Veterans on Modern bikes. Round three is coming up fast, and is being run by the newly formed Nottingham Twinshock Club, at the popular Bevercotes track on Sunday, May 26. Entries are now being taken, and the forms are all on the National Twinshock website The remaining rounds are as follows: ■ May 26 Notts Twinshock Club at Bevercotes. ■ June 16 Lancs Twinshock Club at Astbury, Cheshire. ■ July 27/28 Cumbria Twinshock Club at Howton Court, Pontrilas.

■ August 25/26 Cumbria Twinshock Festival of Legends at Culham, Abingdon, Oxon. This year's Festival of Legends day is on August Bank Holiday Monday, August 26, at a new venue, Culham, and the organisers are still on the lookout for all former British Championship riders, AMCA and Centre Champions. Jack Burnicle is once again MC and invites will be issued shortly. If you wish to attend, and fall into one of the categories, please contact geoff. There will be a massive Legends marquee, with refreshments, where you can meet up with all your old sparring partners, followed by some interviews and the legendary parade laps. Below left: Jack Burnicle interviews Roger Harvey and below, Jack gets the scoop from Freddy Mayes while Alan Clough waits for his turn. Pictures: Andrew Fairclough Photography.

Latest news from the Leven Valley Two Day Trial is the entries have been upped to 250 from an initial 200. So popular has the event been that the organisers were oversubscribed almost on the day the entries opened. The trial will take place in Kinlochleven on September 28/29, 2019 and will be all off-road. There will be one lap each day and the terrain will be typical Highland going. All successful entrants have been notified and all those who were not have also been contacted concerning a reserve list. If anyone has any queries about their entry get in touch via david.dougan71@ Below: Mick Grant waits to be flagged off by 2018 guest Sammy Miller.

Highland Classic 2019 It is likely too late to try and get an entry for the Inverness DMCC Highland Classic Two day Trial on the Alvie estate near Aviemore on June 8/9, as the entries fill up very quickly once they are open and the opening date was February 1, 2019. However, there’s an outside chance someone might drop out and the waiting list moves up a notch. This year, guest of honour will be Bernie Schreiber who will forsake Bultaco blue for SWM

yellow – he was top rider for both factories – as the trial will celebrate the Italian SWM marque. Bernie, so long out of the trials loop, has embraced the sport he was once top of the world at and has lost none of his skill. Still the only American to win a world trials championship, the Californian is also holding a trials school after the event. Go to their Highland Classic Two day Trial facebook page for information.

SUMMER 2019 | 7

in association with

Bultaco Nostalgia

Ekins’ Triumph jumps to new world record A 1962 Triumph 649cc TR6SS ridden by Bud Ekins, the American desert and enduro competitor who performed the famous jump as stunt double for Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, was one of the star lots at Bonhams' Spring Stafford Sale, achieving a world record auction price of £97,750 – over three times its top estimate. This outstandingly original Trophy model, which was the subject of competitive bidding across two continents

and bought by an American bidder, helped Ekins, who was also a friend of Steve McQueen, win a gold medal in the 1962 International Six Days Trial. Ekins – a Triumph dealer – arranged for the factory to prepare the machine and have it taken to the start of the 1962 ISDT ready for him to ride after his filming duties had been completed. The Californian also persuaded move star McQueen to compete in the ISDT two years later.

Bultaco stars Bernie Schreiber, Yrjo Vesterinen and Manuel Soler will be back for 2019 in better weather.

Westmorland Motor Club’s Bultaco Nostalgia Trial which supports the Cancer Care charity, will take place on June 15, 2019, where guest of honour – and former Bultaco star – Bernie Schreiber will be once again riding a Bultaco and showing he’s still got it. New for 2019 is the VIP ride. The Westmorland Motor Club want everybody to have an enjoyable day so you can enter as a VIP. That will allow you to ride the full trial if you wish, ride half the trial or pick and choose sections you wish to ride along the route. Basically, the club want you to enjoy the day, it could be that you’ve haven’t ridden for a few years, or have a show piece that you want to ride but not feel

the pressure of riding all the section as you don’t wish to mark the bike. You choose if you wish to have you punch card marked, the results are private to you, don’t hand the card in, keep it and compare note with you friends It’s a new idea that may appeal and you’re a VIP because you’re at the event doing what you love doing. The other alternative is to ride the easier route, as some sections will be split this year. As we went to press, Oriol Bulto, Ignacio Bulto, Manuel Soler, Javier Cucurella and Jaime Puig were announced as attending. Check the event’s facebook page Bultaco Nostalgia for more information.

Kia charity collection

Bud Ekins in action on the record breaking Triumph.

8 | Dirt news

The Kia twinshock series is going from strength to strength and full entries are the norm, however there’s a bit of extra special news as the organisers have been taking donations for the Teenage Cancer Trust and have already collected £1286 in memory of Dominic Feaks, Nigel Allen’s partner’s son. Dom lost his battle with cancer last June, aged just 21. To raise further funds there will also be a Calendar Girls Charity Calendar photoshoot on

July 20 and all proceeds from the sale of the calendar, trial entry fees and tickets for the evening will be going towards the Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of Dom. Keep an eye out for updates and more information on the Kia Championship website. In the meantime, if you have any questions or you would like to confirm your involvement in the photo shoot, please email Caroline Fleckney at

in association with

Michael Dorricot in action during a round of the trials series.

Rickman gathering in the New Forest The impact made on the Sixties MX scene by Don and Derek Rickman with their Metisse machines is well known and the variations of marks are plenty. There’s models with Triumph engines – unit and pre-unit – Matchless motors, Bultaco engines, Montesa power units and so forth. Though predominately MX, the company did dabble in other areas such as road racing and road bikes. To celebrate the marque there is to be a massive gathering on June 23, 2019 at Sammy Miller’s Museum at Bashley Manor, New Milton in Hampshire from 10am to 4pm. The museum will be open too. It’s hoped to have the biggest display of Rickman machines possible and the judging of the concours will be by Don and Derek themselves. The brothers have also nominated two charities – Hampshire Air Ambulance and Oakhaven Hospice – to be the beneficiaries of fundraising on the day. Want to be involved? Email the organisers at or visit the face book page Rickman Enthusiasts' Day 2019.

Two down – five to go The Northern British Bike Championship, one of the UK’s best supported classic championships, got underway with its first round ‘The Poachers Bag’ hosted by Poachers Pre-65 Classic Trials Club at the end of March. Set in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds and starting from Smith’s Farm, the round consisted of a 22-mile lap of farm tracks, B and C roads and 34 observed sections, which really did showcase the trial for the 108 riders who had made the trip. Due to the loss of Biscathorpe Pit for this year’s event, the organisers changed the route and to vary the format increased the number of sections at Smith’s Farm, with a new group at New Wood that increased the opening leg to 12 very varied sections. Riders then followed the regular route of sections at Biscathorpe, Benniworth and back to Smith’s for the last 10 sections. The dry conditions during the run up to the event made for a relatively low scoring event, with all of the Expert class winners returning single figure scores, a fact mirrored by some exceptionally low scoring results on the Clubman classes. Feedback on the day was very positive with a big thumbs-up for the new route for 2019. Closely following the Poachers Bag, Midland Classic hosted their Derbyshire trial, the 2nd round of the Championship and again attracted 106 riders using the streams around the excellent start venue at Uppertown. The route took in lots of the Derbyshire club's favourite venues with again riders returning low scores on the Clubman route, Expert route riders faced a tougher day with only a handful of competitors returning single figure score cards.

SUMMER 2019 | 9

10 | SUMMER 2019


Velo trials test

When building a Pre-65 trials bike, a Velocette engine perhaps isn’t the ďŹ rst which springs to mind as a starting point. Words and pics: Tim Britton

Suspension easily soaks up such things as this.


nyone who has ridden at or been to either the Pre-65 Scottish or our CDB Northern British Bike Championship trials will have seen Chris Haigh’s superb Velocette. In a scene where excellent preparation is the norm, Chris’s bike takes things to a new level and it is a level we should all aspire to. That aside, in the trials world Velocettes aren’t all that common, though thanks to Chris and one or two others in the Huddersfield Falcons club there’s now more of them out there. CDB got the chance to have a close-up look at Chris’s interpretation of a Velo trials bike and for good measure Paul Jackson was persuaded to bring his MOV and MAC along too. The basis of Chris’s bike is one of Paul Jackson’s HT Ariel replica frames, which carries the oil in the frame tubes, thus saving the weight of an oil tank. Weight saving is an important consideration for any trials bike but more so with something using a separate engine and gearbox and a close inspection of this Velocette shows that not only has weight saving been attended to but there’s meticulous attention to detail too. Given Chris’s occupation as an electrical automation engineer it is perhaps understandable attention to detail is second nature to him. Before delving into the bike in depth, I wanted to know how come Velocette power – in this case a 350 MAC – was chosen as his starting point when building this bike. It seems the Swallow family were to blame and early experiences of seeing Velocettes being used by the likes of fellow Huddersfield Falcons club member Bill Swallow made an impression on the young Haigh. Even in the off-road world we know Bill Swallow to be a pretty outstanding racer with nine Classic Manx GP wins to his name, but slightly fewer will know Bill is also a handy trials rider and started in motorcycle sport in the feet-up game. The Swallow influence goes a little further too, as the engine and front forks of this bike originated with Bill.

12 | SUMMER 2019

Above: BTH’s electronic generator works similarly to a magneto as it’s selfgenerating. There’s been a tweak to the electrics though. Below: Plenty of attention to detail has gone into this build. Everywhere you look there is something which suggests ‘now that’s an idea…’

Of 1958 vintage the MAC engine has been fully rebuilt and is reasonably stock inside. “The only serious modification,” says Chris, “is I’ve bored it out to use a Velocette plus 20 piston as the alloy barrel was worn.” He continues with: “the MAC is a decent engine for trials as it’s a tourer not a racer so the cams are pretty much what’s needed for the right performance.” The MAC is quite a tall engine with a 96mm stroke, by comparison the later Viper 350 is more sporty and its 86mm stroke revs easier. Anyway, the MAC is what’s in here and outside the engine is a little more out of the ordinary, originally it would have used a magneto for ignition and it is possible to have magnetos rebuilt but there are also alternatives to use these days. Such an alternative is the BTH electronic magneto which is


VELOCETTE IN TRIALS Velocette suffered from not being a truly major manufacturer with resources to compete in all aspects of sport and couldn’t throw money at every project they wanted to. That said, Carlisle’s Billy Tiffen managed to do a substantial amount of winning in all sorts of events in the Thirties and was still competing on a variety of Velos in the SSDT up to the early Fifties. John Hartle on his works development MSS in the 1964 Velo’s interest in the off-road scene Victory Trial… a trade supported national. took a back seat to their racing until fitness thing and soon had the MSS into the Jim Sheehan did quite well in a late Fifties awards in all manner of local trials plus some ISDT on a 500. A little while after that, road of the bigger ones like the Victory Trial where racer John Hartle was invited to try an MSS our picture of him was taken. Sadly, the based trials bike and explore the possibilities project fizzled out when injury and Hartle’s of producing a machine for sale. Like most tragic accident halted development. CDB racers of the day, Hartle was well aware of the understands the bike still exists… benefits of trials riding as an out of season

Above: A neat little touch is this bit of mesh, stops mud building up on the front of the crankcase and heating things up.

effectively a generator powering a coil – ‘coils’ if you’ve a twin – and it’s fit and forget… except if you’re an electrical engineer by trade. “Yes,” grins Mr Haigh, “the internals are a little different…” Providing the fuel for this tweaked mag to fire is the job of Amal’s Premier carburettor, though at first Chris used a Monobloc but the Concentric Premier is better for this purpose and it’s allowable in the pre-65 scene. There will be a few readers who have already noticed the gearbox isn’t a Velocette one, it is actually a Burman GB trials box and fitted for a number

We were going to say ‘there’s gold in them thar hills…’ but instead we’ll say gold anodised Rockshocks built to rider’s spec will deal with Highland hills.

of reasons. Velocette fitted a clutch inboard of the primary drive which meant this area would always be wider than other makes – not horrendously so but in a sport where the narrower the engine and gearbox is, the better it is for squeezing through narrow gaps , anything which increases width is going to be looked at. As Velocette singles are noted for the narrowness of the engine – which also gives a stiffer crank assembly – replacing the gearbox with a Burman GB unit brings the width in quite a bit. It doesn’t hurt either gears, or trials gears are still easily available for the GB unit. Inside the box the cluster has the biggest sleeve gear it can accommodate and this lowers the ratios on the rest of the cluster giving a more useful spread of cogs for trials work. Fitting the Burman box also meant a narrower primary drive and the smart alloy castings which make up the case are the work of Jim Wigglesworth, or at least the original patterns are and once the raw castings are produced then Chris fettles them into shape, he also modifies his slightly to slim them down even more. Inside the case there is more attention to detail and the NEB clutch has been slimmed a little and the belt drive adds lightness. The NEB is originally a unit designed for the abuse of the speedway world and is okay with the trials world too. All these mods to the gearing and primary drive mean a tiny – for pre-65 – rear sprocket can be fitted so a shorter chain is needed and again a gram or two of weight is saved. Holding the engine and gearbox together are aircraft alloy engine plates which Chris cut out himself. These engine plates bolt the power train into the Jackson frame. As Paul was on hand I asked him about the frames and was expecting them to be of exotic material of some sort. “No, they’re from nowt special, just ordinary CDS tube,” he grins before adding “it’s what I can cope with in my workshop.” The tubing may be pretty ordinary but the workmanship is exemplary – a Jackson Trademark the lads told me. There is more exotic material in the fork yokes which came from  SUMMER 2019 |


Below: There’s plenty of grip on loose surfaces too. Right: You’re right, it’s not a Velo gearbox, Burman’s GB box sits in nicely. Kick-sstart is from a YZ Yamaha, gear lever is Burman.

Steve Robinson who routinely works for the Formula 1 industry. So, using Velocette geometry, Steve machined the yokes from aircraft alloy and made them the size to accept Showa fork stanchions. At the bottom end are AMC sliders instead of the more common Norton Roadholder ones. There was a bit of technical talk at this point, the gist of which was the AMC sliders work well and Chris likes them. Mounting the mudguard is to modern style with a clamp around the slider top and extended bolts to a plate and keeps the front end from twisting. Suspension at the rear is handled by a pair of gold anodised Rockshocks from Gary ry y Fleckney. Rockshocks are a popular fitting in the trials world and work very ry y well and can be tailored to the rider’s requirements. Since the 19in rear rim fell out of favour in the Sixties, trials bikes have settled on 4.00in x 18in rear and a 2.75in x 21in front rim with tyres to suit.

There’ss a lot of discussion on tyres and Chris uses IRC with tubes as he prefers a tube. As Michelin don’t seem keen to produce a tubed version of the X11 any more, options are limited in that area. It is apparently possible to use a WM3 rim and a tubeless tyre – with a tube fitted – and a couple of security bolts for events where a tube is specified. There are other options but that’s the state at the moment. Of course the rims need a hub and Chris has the ones Max Heyes makes, they’re to Triumph Cub pattern and Max also produces a cast alloy brake plate for them. A set of stainless steel spokes keeps rim and hub apart.

CHRIS HAIGH Now, let’s tell you a bit about the owner. Chris served his apprenticeship at Siemens and when leaving to set up his own business – CT Systems UK Ltd, – his gaffer said they wanted him to be a Siemens Integrator, which is quite rare and means he’s still associated with Siemens. Trials ridingwise his career started in 1976 with a Dalesman at a Rochdale trial, followed by an event for Huddersfield Falcons at the same ground our test was on. From the Dalesman he went to Ossa and the usual other stuff us trials riders rode in the Seventies and through to the new millennium. When asked “What’s your favourite bike of all time?” He answered “this Velo”.

14 | SUMMER 2019


With the MAC being a tall engine it is a tight squeeze in the frame and an even tighter squeeze to fit the tank over the top of it. Made to Ariel style, the underside of the tank has been sculpted away to allow it to sit low enough on the frame, though there’s still enough room for petrol. Another area where there’s a lot of discussion involves handlebars and controls. There are those – I’m one of them – who like the alloy Amal type as fitting in with the period, while others go for more modern. It’s down to personal preference and Chris uses Domino controls on Renthal alloy handlebars. “I’ve used them for a long time, I like how they feel and when it all goes wrong they seem to be indestructible.” Connecting the controls to what they control is the job of some eye-catching cables. “They’re Venhill’s stainless steel braided outer cable,” says Chris, “cable making is relatively easy to do but the stainless outers push the cost up a bit.” They do look good though. As we looked over Chris’s machine I asked the sort of things we trials riders all want to know about someone else’s bike… the spindles for instance? “Front one is a 15mm Yamaha one and the rear is Montesa 315 alloy one, shortened a bit.” That kick-start isn’t Burman Chris: “No it’s a YZ Yamaha, I broach my own splines on it using a slotting head in a milling machine, the alloy gear lever is a Burman though.” Footrest are aftermarket Raptors, again a popular choice in the pre-65 world. “I’ve used stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, they stay looking good no matter what conditions we throw at them. The rear mudguard side stays are by me as is the air filter box, it’s alloy and anodised and there’s a foam filter in there.”

Top: Not exactly common, a Velocette trials bike. Above: At 96mm the long stroke means a tall engine and a bit of sculpting work under the tank for it to sit neatly… Above right: …see? Below: Scrutineering marks from three Pre-65 Scottish events. This bike gets used.

THANKS TO… ...Huddersfield Falcons MCC for sorting the use of their regular venue at Horn Hill; John Fortune for instigating the test with an email before Christmas; Chris Haigh for letting me loose on his bike (brave, as he’s seen me ride); Paul Jackson for the chance to try not only the bike he’s prepped for Richard Allen to use in this year’s Pre-65 Scottish, but his 250 too. The day was a ‘Falcons’ benefit really, as multi-Classic Manx GP winner Bill Swallow, a lad with more than a passing connection to Velocette and regular Pre-65 rider Nigel Greenwood – both of whom have held a variety of offices in the club – were on hand for ‘encouragement’ and allowed their bikes to be photographed too. If you’re based in the Huddersfield area, check out the club’s website

On the go

I must admit to having been curious about Chris’s bike for a good while and wanted to see how it went. The short answer is ‘it went very well’ and did everything it was supposed to do. Starting was very easy, there was a bit of trepidation on the owner’s part as fate plays tricks on normally reliable bikes which are generally easy starters – but fate played fair, bringing the engine up to compression, then easing over tdc on the valve lifter and a firm push on the kick-starter with my size 11s had the engine thumping into life. Naturally, as I was there to take pics and get the tale, I wasn’t psyched up to do anything fancy and in any case I don’t like doing that on someone else’s bike this close to the Scottish, but enough was done to show the Velocette was well set up. With Chris being a similar height to me the riding position felt good too. Take up from the modified clutch was excellent and the gear change was sweet, though in our test area there was no need to be further up the ratios than third but I’ve no doubt top gear is good too. Plonking along in bottom there was no juddering at all and when the throttle was cracked open there was enough oomph to flick up a small step without the need for a higher gear. Front and rear suspension soaked up the bumps quite nicely without either topping or bottoming out. Steering too was excellent and there had been a bit of discussion about the trail, or lack of, on one of the other bikes but Chris’s is to Velo spec and seemed okay to me. Dropping off a rocky crag and using the brakes showed how well they were set up. Drum brakes need to be set up carefully if they’re to work at their best and these were spot-on and made me embarrassed to admit the ones on my own bike aren’t so good. All in all, an enjoyable bike to ride which reflects the attention to detail Chris has put in to this his Mk.II Velo. He did say the thought of a 500 MSS engine had been hovering in his mind but right about now the electrical engineer was happy with his MAC. SUMMER 2019 |



…a works Royal Enfield

Speedo binnacle removed to save weight.

We continue our series where the editor dishes out the orders as to what you should have in your shed... which should be pretty full by now if you’ve taken our advice! Words and pics: Tim Britton

Rare works-only single-sided tiny alloy brake drums, not for the general public.

ê Alloy brake casting has a recess for stopping it turning, see also the extended spindle cap nuts to speed wheel removal.

ê State of the art ignition, Lucas’ Wader magneto, reputedly tested in a tank of water at the factory.

Cast from Elektron – a magnesium alloy trade name – and combining lightness with rigidity.

ê Registration number is one of six registrations particular to certain riders in the trials world.


DIRTb bike ke





Forty-eight Autumn 2018


No. 330 October 2018 £4.30 UK Off-sale date 31/10/2018



Running, Riding & Rebuilding Running, Rebuilding Real RealClassi RealC Classic C lassi Motorcycles






£3.60 US$9.99 C$10.99 Aus$8.50 NZ$9.99 PRINTED IN THE UK




001 Cover_OCT.indd 1







65 PRE65 PRE


R 2018 ISSUE 174 „ OCTOBER

N48 2018 US$15.99 Aus$14.99 NZ$18.99 UK£5.50 UK Off-sale date 15/11/18


13/09/2018 10:34:50

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02/08/2018 14:53:55

001 Cover_174.indd 1

03/09/2018 10:18:26




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Classic Dirt Bike - Summer 2019 - Preview  

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