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TWINSHOCK AND EVO ACTION FROM HAWKSTONE LEGENDS

DIIRTb bike CLASSIC

#46 6

ISSUE Forty-six

CARLSBAD SBAD KING

Spring 2018

PURE GOLD BSA s MX heavyweight BSA’s

FEET-UP LEGENDS GOV132

MX ace G Gerrit it Wolsink W l i k Talks at Telford

An hour with

ALF HAGON

& 187BLF

PLUS

TALKING TECHNICALL:

PRODUCTS › stuff for you USING GASKET GOO › keeping oil in A REBUILD RESTARTED › Triumph-ant return

YAMAHA YZ250 // KAWASAKI KX125 // 325 SHERPA PROFILED // DIRT TALK // SWM 370


IN BALANCE

Bright sparks Powered or driven by electricity, the difference is in the detail.

A

nyone who has taken note of the electric bike scene can’t fail to have noticed how far it has advanced over the past few years, from an interesting novelty to a more serious contender. With several manufacturers now fielding full-sized adult machines in the world championship series it shows the seriousness with which electrically driven vehicles are now being viewed. I say ‘electrically driven’ on purpose as arguably all petrol vehicles are electrically powered. Don’t believe me? Take the spark plug cap off your bike and try kicking it into life. Electricity as a motive power has been around a long time, perhaps some readers will recall the trials demos at Earls Court motorcycle shows and Olympia before that. Several special machines were built to resemble then current models and here at CDB HQ our archive holds images of James, Francis-Barnett and BSA-based motorcycles in action on a 20yd long trials course. Showgoers could line up and pay a nominal fee to charity and have a go at indoor trials riding. The scant information about these machines shows they were effectively based on a very large battery, probably from a wagon or some such, allied to a starter motor from the same sort of vehicle. The 20yd long course was about as far as was possible to travel before the bikes needed plugging in. I seem to recall the sessions were 20mins long every couple of hours, though memory may be lacking on that one. Intrigued by this subject I did a little more research and happened across a feature

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in The MotorCycle of September 28, 1932. Regular contributor ‘Carbon’ penned a feature entitled ‘Why are there no electric scooters?’ Reading his words of 80 years ago it was clear the motorcycle world had the same concerns about electrically driven machines then as it does today. These concerns are battery life, charge duration, charging time, battery weight and so on, the advantages being touted were remarkably similar as those today, being no noise, no exhaust pollution and very few mechanical parts, and ‘Carbon’ felt such a vehicle would do a lot to combat the antimotorcycling prejudices of certain parts of society – yes, even then we were reviled… He went on to address the problems of storage batteries and would they, in 1932, be up to the job? He offered as proof the successful climb of Porlock Hill in Somerset by a battery-driven three-wheeler. Porlock Hill is notable, even in 2018, as the UK’s steepest A-road and 80 years ago a successful climb of it would be some feat. He went on to explain the battery was a 36v behemoth weighing in at 245lb with a further 45lb of electric motor doing the driving. It was claimed at the time the vehicle had a range of 65 miles on one charge. Okay, so far all very amusing but had the electric vehicles received as much development as petrol ones the situation may well be different. In reality the motorcycles we use in classic, twinshock or whatever class you ride in are not that different from the vintage period… petrol goes in one end, something makes a bang and poisonous gas comes out the other end, in between the vehicle moves forward. Maybe

now we have more gears rather than single speeds and a clutch to help control things rather than direct drive but, hold on wasn’t the Mecateco Caroline Sandiford arranged for me to try at the Dirt Bike Show also equipped with a gearbox and a clutch? It is human nature to avoid development unless there is a need for it, and rest assured manufacturers are focusing on developing alternative technology and the concerns highlighted in 1932 are being addressed. If you doubt this or raise an eyebrow then consider battery power tools which are now universally used in my former industry. I recall a lad I worked with turning up on site one day with a battery screwdriver, in shape and size rather like the medium-sized grease guns in motorcycle tool kits. We all gathered round as he set to and fitted a hinge to a door, in went the first screw, we clapped, the second screw went in slower, we nodded, the third screw went half way in and the battery was flat. We laughed secure in the knowledge such things would never replace our spiral ratchet screwdrivers. These days, battery tools last for hours and charge in moments. There was a need for it to happen, so clever people did the work. The same will happen with electric vehicles and there will be a time when such things will be self-charging as the need grows, so ways to reduce size and costs will be found. In the meantime I’m going down to my workshop to see if I can figure out why the little blue spark at the end of the electrode on the plug in my Bulto has stopped appearing.

…These days battery tools last for hours and charge in moments because there was a need for it to happen, so clever people did the work.…

Copyright Mortons Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

Tim Britton

The Professional Publishers Association Member

Independent publishers since 1885


Contents 03 In Balance

Battery power takes charge as our editor points out this electric lark isn’t such a new idea after all.

06 News, views and reviews If it’s happening, going to happen or happened, then this is where we try and squeeze it in…

16 You need… …a YZ250L in your shed, yes, you do. You may not realise it but this Yamaha is what you’re waiting for.

18 You also need… …a Kawasaki KX125C1 in your shed, and it will do more than simply keep the Yam company.

22 Super Profile We have an in-depth look at the 325 Sherpa, Bultaco’s answer to those who wanted more… more… and yet more.

41 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 to secure a great deal.

52 Dicko’s view

The elder statesman of trials journalism broaches the ‘what’s the best bike’ subject... that’s brave!

61 ’cross words Someone else being brave is Ian Berry who champions the riding style of one rider over another and says who’s most stylish.

62 Masterclass Want to improve your skills? Ask a master. We try life on three wheels.

72 Dirt Talk What’re you talking about in the CDB world? All sorts of things as it happens, bring it on we say.

82 Moto memories An ISDT checkpoint is often a frantic place as riders hurtle in, desperate to keep on time. In 1975 however, there was time to peruse the Rokon.

Features 10 Pure Gold At one time, to win in scrambling, a rider had to invest in the gold standard, BSA’s gold standard that is the Gold Star.

27 That was the year when… … Yamaha invited the press along to its MX launch in 1978. Pete Kelly turns back the clock to review the day for us.

34 On top of the world Are there two more iconic trials bikes than Sammy Miller’s Ariel and Gordon Jackson’s AJS?

66 An hour with… … the legend Alf Hagon. We sit down with the forward thinker and try to keep up as he talks about bikes, bike sport and howling over an airfield on a v-twin JAP.

76 Chef’s Special We meet Philippe Vanderwalle, a man with passions for cooking, enduro and for SWM – we look at the latter two.


Events

Technical

54 Hawkstone legends

44 Rebuilding to use

Is there a more legendary place for MX than Hawkstone Park in Shropshire? We say no there’s not... and John McCrink went along to Hawkstone Legends for us.

The time has come, the need is there, the realisation that wheeling a bike from shed to shed is a whole lot easier than carrying it in boxes.

48 Dirt Products Got something to help the off-road world go faster, keep their feet up longer or remain more on time in an enduro? Tell us, we could well put it in this bit.

50 Tech Talk All old bikes leak oil, it’s their charm… er no, they don’t have to, and with the help of Loctite we show you how top stop them dripping.

On the cover Our guest for the Classic Dirt Bike Show at Telford International Centre Gerrit Wolsink. Nick Nicholls caught the Dutchman in action on his works Suzuki at Dodington Park in Gloucestershire in 1974's British MX GP.

On the contents page

Out in the wild west of Wales with Philippe Vandewalle’s 370 SWM. It wasn’t always this dry on the Old Knobblies Trail Challenge, but it was good fun in a great part of the world.


News 6

DIRTNews

Tis the season of goodwill ...and of a fantastic show Little kids may get themselves all excited for Christmas... but the equivalent for we off-roaders is undoubtably ‘Telford’, or ‘Wrighty’s Show’... If you’re speedy, and your copy of CDB has arrived in supertimely fashion, you may still be able to get there this weekend (February 17/18), otherwise it’s one to mark in the diary for next year, bright and early. The Classic Dirt Bike Show backed by Hagon Shocks (to give it its official title) is quite simply the biggest collection of dirt bike orientated stuff in Europe. Every discipline is represented so it doesn’t matter if you’re a feet-up fan, an enduro enthusiast

or an MXer there will be something at the show for you. It could be bits to keep your bike going, a bike to race on, or kits if yours is looking a bit tired... whatever ‘it’ is will be there. Nor is the show restricted to a particular era either as every era from pre-60 to super Evo will be represented. Hagon is in its third year of sponsorship and has been building up to a massive display in this, the company’s diamond jubilee. Yes, 60 years ago Alf Hagon went from being someone who made some bits and pieces to fund his own racing to a major force in the business world. Hagon as a company has

been involved in all sorts of motorcycles – mainly speedway, grass track and sprinting but also MX, trials and road racing have all benefitted from Mr Hagon’s Napkin Engineering. Even better, Alf will be there and interviewed on stage by Jack Burnicle. Speaking of stage time, also being quizzed by Jack will be former British sidecar trials champion Colin Dommett, who also managed to squeeze in an ISDT or three and dabble in scrambling, so will certainly have a tale or three. Another man familiar with several aspects of the sport is Jeff Smith, who is back in the UK to launch his new book and

will be on stage, along with CDB columnist Ian Berry – the man charged with editing the whole project – at various times to chat with Mr Burnicle. Following these inteviewees is Peter Duke. Peter, a former ISDT competitor and off-roader was intended to be a guest last year but unforeseen circumstances meant he had to cancel. So, if you’re reading this before the show, get your act into gear and get down there. If you’re reading this at the show grab us and tell us what you think. If you’re reading this after the show, read about it in issue 47… Visit classicbikeshows.com

‘King’ Gerrit’s a star turn One of the guests at the Hagon sponsored Classic Dirt Bike Show at Telford on February 17/18 is Dutch dentist Gerrit Wolsink. From dentistry to ‘King of Carlsbad’ and giving something back to the sport, the race life of Gerrit Wolsink is likely to be a major draw to the stage area of the Classic Dirt Bike Show at Telford International centre. Wolsink was credited with being in at the start of the long travel suspension advances

when he arrived at the Czech GP in the early 1970s. One of the team mechanics had sussed how to make twinshock rear suspension behave like monoshock, and so the revolution began. That was in his Maico days, as was his first win at the Carlsbad… a track he is quoted as saying he enjoyed a lot. Legend has it, in that peculiar American way, he owned Carlsbad… or to put it a slightly different way, he dominated the event for five years in a row, first

with Maico, then with Suzuki. He just seemed to gel with the event. Again Wolsink is quoted as saying “I liked the Californian people, weather and the track…” In an almost effortless display of riding Wolsink would be deceptively fast and his fitness meant he was as fast at the end as he was at the beginning. Gerrit will not only be on stage with Jack Burnicle each day but will have a chance to entertain the guests at the traditional dinner on Saturday evening.

Editor: Tim Britton cdbeditor@mortons.co.uk 07739 615605

Divisional Advertising Manager: Billy Manning

General queries and back issues 01507 529529 24hr answerphone help@classicmagazines.co.uk www.classicmagazines.co.uk

Columnists: Ian Berry, John Dickinson Contributors: Alan Telford Media, Nick Haskell, John McCrink Photographers: Nick Haskell, Fiona Watson, Nick Nicholls Collection.

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Editorial address PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ.

Subscription Full subscription rates (but see page 41 for offer): (12 months four issues, inc post and packing) – UK £20. Export rates are also available – see page 41 for more details. UK subscriptions are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax. Website www.classicdirtbike.co.uk Overseas distribution Marketforce UK Ltd. 0203 787 9001.

Printed William Gibbons & Sons, Wolverhampton.

CLASSIC DIRT BIKE (ISBN:978-1-909128-87-3) is published quarterly by Mortons Media Group Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ UK . USA subscriptions are $50 per year from Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. Periodical Postage is paid at Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Postmaster: Send address changes to CLASSIC DIRT BIKE, c/o Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. 715-572-4595 chris@ classicbikebooks.com


7

Highlands going wild for the Montesa Cota To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Montesa’s Cota model in the UK the Inverness and District Motor Cycle Club has dedicated its 2018 Highland Classic to the marque. Edition Montesa Cota will take place on June 9/10 on the Alvie estate close to Aviemore. The event is entirely off road, consists of two laps each day and sections are traditional northern terrain. Entries opened on February 1 and are likely to fill up rapidly as this event is incredibly popular. You don’t have to have a Montesa to ride it but it would interesting to see how many Cotas do enter. As ever, the organisers would be interested in knowing if anyone would like to observe. If you’re up for observing email highlandclassic@outlook.com

Bultaco back for another gathering Following on from the success of 2017’s Bultaco gathering, Westmorland Motor Club is doing it again in 2018. The date to mark down is Saturday, June 16, and it will be at the same venue as last year – which is near Holme Farm at Middleton, near Sedbergh. Coniston Brewing, maker of some fabulous beers, will be sponsoring the event and guest of honour this year will be Alan Lampkin, who can count the SSDT and Scott trials among his victories, plus he has a host of scrambling wins and ISDT medals. Known as ‘Sid’ throughout the trials world, Alan was BSA works

rider for many years before an association with Bultaco came along. Joining Alan will be a good number of other Lampkins including elder brother Arthur – a Bultaco sidecar exponent in the 1970s. There will be a number of other Bultaco notables such as Californian Bernie Schreiber. He was world champion on Bultaco in 1979 and collaborated with Len Weed to produce a book on our sport. Bernie will be fetching some memorabilia along to donate to the raffle, the proceeds of which will go to cancer charities. He has recently been seen out

Book for MacGregor A regular run for classic bikes has been held to commemorate the only official Scottish winner of the Scottish Six days Trial – Bob MacGregor. The run has in the past been of about 130 miles and the organisers tell us this will be the same for 2018. There’s a slightly different route this year though and the run will take in Killiecrankie and Blair Atholl. It’s on Tuesday, May 1, it’ll cost you £16 to enter and the details can be had from Peter Remington at premington2@gmail.com Entries will close a week before the run.

Kendal all set for Classic Scramble New scramble on the block is Westmorland Motor Club’s Kendal Classic Revival Scramble. It’s to be held on August 12 at Westmorland County Showground just off the M6. More details as they come in but CCM is the main sponsor along with Coniston Brewing Company and South Lakes BMW car dealership. The details for the event will be on Westmorland MC’s website www.westmorlandmotorclub.com and its Facebook page.

Alan Lampkin is guest of honour.

Ex-world champ Bernie Schreiber is riding.

on a trials bike at a few events so will likely be pretty near the sharp end of the results.

For more information go to www.westmorlandmotorclub.com or Westmorland facebook page.

Return of Scottish Grand National MX Drumlanrig Castle will play host to the second running of the Scottish Grand National MX over the weekend of July 14/15. Such was the success of the first one last year the castle was delighted to welcome back the Galloway Motorcycle Club for bigger and better things. CDB was there last year and was impressed by the setting, the popularity and the friendliness of the meeting. This year guest of honour will be former world 500cc MX champion Brad Lackey. The Californian was one of a new breed of MX stars in the 1970s who brought colour, tenacity and

flamboyance to the scrambles scene as it morphed into MX. Okay, so there was a little controversy too with these new guys but the racing, the bikes, the development was all at a massive pace and the sport was the better for it. You can relive those days at Drumlanrig. AMD Contract Services will again be supporting the event and classes will be for pre-68, pre-75, twinshocks, under 50s, over 50s and the Scottish Grand national. We’ll have more information as it comes, meantime head to the Galloway Motorcycle Club’s facebook page for the latest scoop.


News 8

Red alert for Easter date

Scottish list full

Latest news from the pre65 Scottish HQ is some fella called Britton who edits a dirt bike magazine (which you may have your hands on now) is to be guest of honour at the 2018 trial. If you’ve not paid your entry fee already you’re too late. The list is full and the event was massively oversubscribed at 314 entries received. The club – Edinburgh and DMC – has published a breakdown of how the entries are balloted and it’s on the club website – www.pre65scottish.com – for all to see. There is also a request from the organisers for anyone interested in observing to contact the observer co-ordinator by emailing observers@pre65scottish.co.uk for which you will receive the undying gratitude of all us riders and a chance to stand out in the Scottish countryside. The pre65 Scottish Trial is on May 4/5 and based in Kinlochleven. Riders are asked to present their machines at the weigh-in on Thursday, May 3.

Easter Monday in Worcestershire traditionally means Red Marley Hill Climb... and this year the date falls on April 2. That’s when the peculiarities of such a competition are tested to the full, with the knockout competition of four riders lined up at the start and a few seconds later the first two across the line go through to the next heat. For the other two... well there’s next year. It’s based on a hill near Great Witley, there’s lots of action, lots of bikes to see, so pop along on Easter Monday. More details are available on www.redmarleyhillclimbclub.com

Twinshock trials ready to get off to flying start Latest news from the Kia-backed National Twinshock Trials Championship series is the first round will be right on the rear wheel of the Classic Dirt Bike Show in February. Since its launch just a few years ago this series has attracted the best in twinshock, Britshock, historic Spanish and air cooled mono trials bikes on to courses up and down the country. No club can run more than two rounds in succession. The series awards will be presented at Telford. The first round will be organised by the Aqueduct club, but at a new venue. Details are at: www.twinshockchampionship.org.uk 2018 organisers 25/2 Aqueduct Classic 25/3 Castleside Trials 22/4 Scunthorpe MCC 20/5 Manchester 17 – NEW club and venue 17/6 Spen Valley Motorcycle Club 22/7 Nene Valley MCC 16/9 Torridge & DMCC – NEW club and venue 21/10 Central Wales Auto 4/11 Hillsborough MCC

Alan Wright in action at Castleside MCC’s round of the Kia series.


9 Photo: Ray Daniel

Mr Smith goes to Telford... As you may have read in previous issues of Classic Dirt Bike, twice world MX champion Jeff Smith has been working on a book about his hectic motorcycling life. If you’ve managed to read this before the event, or visited Telford for the CDB show, you may have managed to see Jeff and his co-writer and our columnist Ian Berry. Jeff is noted as an entertaining and eloquent speaker with a fund of tales from a lifetime of motorcycling, beginning even before his apprenticeship at BSA. Jeff’s motorcycling influence carried on after BSA closed and he went to Can-Am to develop its MX and enduro machines. He was also a leading figure in the North American classic dirt bike scene. We understand a corner of the Lampkin Beta stand is being devoted to Jeff so if you read this in time, pop along, get your copy and have it signed too. The book is available through www.motorsportx.com

New tracks and new club add to NTA season The National Twinshock Association has now issued its dates for the coming year, with a couple of new tracks added to the calendar and a new club stepping up, with the Warsop MXC running at Bevercotes, Ollerton, Notts. As usual there are twinshock classes for everyone, and Evolution classes for 125 and Open bikes, plus a Veterans class for Over 40s on any bike.

Northern power... The presentation for last year’s Northern British Bike Championship was due to be held at the Telford International Centre during the Classic Dirt Bike Show. The Northern British Bike Championship trials are traditional events with a little bit of roadwork, just like trials used to be and CDB has been proud to be associated with the event. We’re title sponsor along with RockOil and join other sponsors for the series RockShocks, Venhill, Trials UK, Audit, Villiers Services and AW Race Engineering in supporting the best of the pre65 scene. Entry forms are out for the first round of the 2018 series, go

Ken Sourbutts in action on his beloved Montesa. Ken is the former spannerman for Bob Wright, and now head honcho for the Lancashire Twinshock Club.

April 1 May 5

Cumbria TSC at Polesworth, Staffs. Cumbria TSC Matt Murphy Memorial at Hawkstone Park. May 27 Warsop MXC at Bevercotes, Ollerton, Notts. June 17 Lancashire TSC – Venue TBC. July 22 Cumbria TSC at The Grange, Tern Hill, Shropshire. September 1-2 Cumbria TSC Festival of Legends at Hawkstone Park. September 22-23 Cumbria TSC at Howton Court, Pontrilas. Bill McKeown tackles the last group in the Stanhope Classic Trial.

to the championship website at www.northernbritish bikechampionship.co.uk or if you receive this before Telford, see the lads at the event.

Registrations for the series are now open and filling up fast, and you can get your forms by either emailing geoff.shuttleworth121@outlook.com or from the National Twinshock Association website – nationaltwinshock.co.uk If reading this before Telford, the NTA will have a stand at the CDB Show, where you will be able to chat all things twinshock, and see for yourselves what is coming up.


BSA Gold Star 10

Gold

Standa ard W Words: Tim Britton

P Pics: Tim Britton, Mortons’ archive

Is there a more iconic motorcycle e than BSA’s Gold Star?


T

he motorcycle now referred to as ‘Goldie’ by enthusiasts the world over didn’t spring fully formed from the fertile minds of the BSA comp shop... though the guys in there had more than a hand in creating the legend. For this feature we’re concentrating on the swinging arm version of the Gold Star introduced for 1953 with all the pomp and circumstance one would expect for such a machine in coronation year. Yes there were ‘Goldies’ with swinging arm suspension before that date, and yes they were well known, but this is the

production date and neatly puts Gold Star scrambles bikes into a 10 year bracket as by 1963 the 500cc model was discontinued and the world wanted the unit machines on which Jeff Smith was busily creating another legend. These last machines were the BDB34 500cc models – the 350cc version was discontinued in 1958, though if one approached one’s BSA dealer with cash BSA would, to order, supply a 500cc scrambles model fitted with a 350 engine… but only if the customer specified it. Talk about weird!


BSA Gold Star 12 There’s hardly a rider in the world who hasn’t thought that mounted on a bigger bike they’d be faster, better, more stylish and nearer the front of the pack. To a point BSA played on this, and it was true the easiest way to win a scramble in the 1950s was to be on a BSA Gold Star. In part this was because the bike had benefitted from development by the biggest motorcycle maker in the world, a maker with the resources and talent to produce whatever it wanted – the Honda of its day if you will. Though the factory films of the day are laughably quaint in these days of ultra-clean engineering works and computer controlled robotics, in its day BSA was advanced. Ignore that the workers appear to have storecoats and overalls waterproofed by grease, ignore the flat caps and that almost everyone appears to have a cigarette in their mouths, instead marvel that the factory could work to impressive tolerances and accuracy with hand and basic machine tools. It was in this environment the legend began, but not with a scrambles bike. The gold star which gave the sports 500 its name in the 1930s was awarded for lapping Brooklands race circuit in Surrey at over 100mph. This may seem easy these days but was quite a notable achievement then. The man responsible was Wal Handley, who had been a noted racer but was largely retired by the late 30s. However, he stepped up to the mark and earned the badge which gave BSA the opportunity to launch the 500cc Gold Star model at the 1937 motorcycle show. While a smart machine, it was initially ignored by the speed men thanks to BSA’s image of producing stolid ride-to-work

machines. But those in the off-road world soon found it was a worthy performer, including on the international stage where it gained prestige for the company and UK during the ISDT. Sadly for all concerned the Goldie’s stable mate, one with which it shared a lot of components the M20WD, was to take centre stage for six years. Post Second World War came the trials rigid models, and with sport beginning to hot up BSA wanted to be involved in all aspects. Irishman Bill Nicholson had impressed the factory with a second place to their star man Fred Rist at the Colmore Cup Trial while riding a home built BSA. A further good show in the Victory Trial saw BSA loan Nicholson a new competition Gold

None of your fancy electrickery here... just a well sorted magneto.

inside There’s a lot of bits Gold Star engine.

a BSA

Star on which he won the Hurst Cup Trial in Northern Ireland. BSA suggested he ride in the Cotswold Scramble soon after convincing him he wouldn’t have to ride any faster than he had in the Hurst Cup Trial. Nicholson had a McCandless swinging arm conversion fitted to his own BSA, took it over to Gloucestershire, endured the ridicule of those who knew a rigid rear end was the only way for success in the dirt, and showed them that this was not strictly true by winning both 350 and 500 classes on the same bike.

Classic Dirt Bike Issue 46 Spring 2018  

Classic Dirt Bike Issue 46 Spring 2018 Read more at: https://www.classicdirtbike.co.uk/

Classic Dirt Bike Issue 46 Spring 2018  

Classic Dirt Bike Issue 46 Spring 2018 Read more at: https://www.classicdirtbike.co.uk/