Classic Trial Magazine Issue 32 Spring 2020

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ISSUE 32 • UK: £6.99



1970 SSDT







Trial Magazine • Welcome

CONTACT Online: Telephone: 01663 749163 Email: Address: 48 Albion Road, New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK22 3EX United Kingdom THE TEAM Co-Managing Directors John Hulme & Charles Benhamou Executive Director Philippe Benhamou Editor John Hulme

(NUJ No: 949620)

Editorial Staff Cyrille Barthe, Jean Caillou, Phil Disney, Nick Shield, Matthew Heppleston, Heath Brindley and John Moffat. Photographers Barry Robinson, Malcolm Carling, John Shirt Snr, Colin Bullock, Cyrille Barthe, Eric Kitchen, Alan Vines, Toon van de Vliet, Mauri/Fontsere Collection and the Giulio Mauri Copyright, The Nick Nicholls Collection at Mortons Archive, Don Morley, Motorcycle News and Brian Holder. Proof reading Jane Hulme and Davina Brooks Commercial Manager John Hulme Design and Production Dean Cook The Magazine Production Company Printing: Buxtons Press Distribution: Warners Group Publications © 2020 CJ Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication, but neither CJ Publishing Ltd or the editor can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Publishers. Trial Magazine is published by: CJ Publishing Limited, registered in England Number: 5947718. Trial Magazine: ISSN: 1753-0040. 4

1980 FIM World Championship Trial Great Britain, Ruby Rocks • Photo credit: Alan Vines Front Cover: 1980 Mick Andrews (320cc Majesty) • Photo credit: Alan Vines

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Trial Magazine• Welcome
















Jim Sandiford Greeves InMotion 20 Years WASP Trials

Peter Zeh CZ Stig Karlson

CLASSIC COMPETITION 64 1970 Scottish Six Days






Ralph Venables


Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

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News • The world of Classic Trials



Yes, you have read the heading correct: that American Bernie Schreiber is a successful entrant at the 2020 Pre-65 Scottish. The 1979 FIM World Trials Champion and 1982 Scottish Six Days Trial winner will ride a machine loaned to him by Martin Murphy. A strong supporter of all things motorcycle trials, Martin made a similar arrangement for his local Kinlochleven & District MCC at the Leven Valley Two-Day Trial in September 2019, and Bernie had so much fun he made the decision to enter the Pre-65 Scottish. He will compete on a 350cc Triumph Twin, adding to the flavour of the event, and we are sure the spectators will turn out to see and hear the combination of man and machine. To find a full list of successful applicants and all the latest news for the 2020 Pre-65 Scottish please go to the club’s website: www.

CAROLE NASH INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE SHOW The entries opened for the ‘Fantic Edition’ Inverness and District Motor Cycle Club Ltd event on the 1st February 2020, and such is the popularity of this trial that they are now probably over-subscribed. Once again, the two-day event will take place over the weekend of the 13th & 14th June on the superb Alvie Estate Kincraig, Kingussie PH21 1NE. The thememachine manufacturer for 2020 is the Italian Fantic brand. One man very pivotal of the red machine’s development through the model range was this year’s guest of honour Jaime Subira from Spain. Expect to see a good turnout of some other ‘Star’ names on the Fantic machines in action at the event as they have proved very popular and successful on the classic trials scene. Of course, it is nice to see the Fantics in action, but remember the event is open to the other manufacturers as well. For more information on this event please go to the club’s excellent website:

If you have enjoyed this show before, then why not attend the 40th Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show on April 25th & 26th at Stafford County Showground. Stuart Graham, a winner on both two and four wheels, has enjoyed a successful and unusual racing career and will share his stories in front of a live audience. Despite bringing a 1940s theme to the event in homage to the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2020, the show will remain a core classic-bike enthusiast weekend. There will be thousands of classic motorcycles to see, a huge indoor and outdoor autojumble and more than 900 traders in attendance, all forming an important part of the show. The Bonham’s auction will be as spectacular as ever, with exciting news about everything on offer coming soon. Advance tickets are on sale now: Book now and save 20% on the gate price.


New to Classic Trial Magazine: we have introduced these superb quality drawstring gym bags which are ideal to carry a set of waterproofs, for example, just in case it rains when you have your summer kit on or to carry that gym kit for the workout. The bag packs away easily in to a small pocket. Also, at the request of readers, we can now supply these highquality protective binders to keep your Classic Trial Magazine collection safe, to enjoy time after time. The binders hold 12 copies / three years of the magazine (magazines not included). Both products, not to forget a 12-month magazine subscription (see page 24-25), make for great birthday gifts for any trials enthusiast and are available to order from our international website. Order yours now:



We are aware a number of photos we or our contributors own are appearing on social media with no prior written permission. We would ask that you please respect copyright and encourage you to contact us for permission. Simply drop us a line: 01663 749163 or email:

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine





Telephone 4 1 4 0 4 8 4 3 3 01

parts Yamaha T Y parts Honda trials T250 parts Kawasaki K cessories c a ls ia r t ic Class rail shocks T & X M , o r u ls, End Classic Tria and kits s t e k c o r p s Chains, & TT parts Yamaha XT parts Yamaha DT anuals Workshop m

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Trials Guru • John Moffat


BULTACO BUILD It’s good to build up contacts in the motorcycle trade, and to keep useful motorcycle parts on the shelf, as you never know when you may require them. Words and photo: John Moffat


any years ago, when Bultaco ruled the trials world, Martin Lampkin had a special 370 long-stroke motor fitted in his factory Sherpa. It was a machine that never went into series production for the trials-buying public, most likely because Lampkin had an aggressive all-action style and the large-displacement 363cc motor was a fearsome beast to tame! I always wondered if it was a factory motor or one built especially for him by the Comerfords ‘spanner magician’ known as Reg May. I also recall a big-bore Bultaco that appeared at the Scottish Motorcycle Show, in the MacLennan Galleries, in Glasgow around March 1979 that, at one time, had been in the capable hands of Mick Bowers. I never found out who built the motor for that machine either, but it quickly changed hands and went off the radar, never to be seen or heard of ever again. Looking through some photographs got me thinking; what about building a 370 Sherpa? After all, it would be a pretty unique machine to have and to have some fun with! I instigated a conversation with three-time 8

“Vesty’ is a passionate enthusiast for the Bultaco brand, and his knowledge is second to none; he willingly gave me some tips and pointers.” World Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen, who I knew had built a 370 and attached a sidecar to it some years ago. ‘Vesty’ is a passionate enthusiast for the Bultaco brand, and his knowledge is second to none; he willingly gave me some tips and pointers. I started by unearthing a 1977 model 199 frame that I had bought with other Bultaco parts some years ago from a Scottish trials rider Murdo MacPhail and sourced a long-stroke Alpina motor from the USA as it has the 64mm crank. A brand new Alpina 350 barrel and cylinder head came from InMotion in Surrey, a 199A swinging arm and other bits and pieces that I already had in stock were put to one side and marked up ‘370’ with a marker pen. The boys at InMotion also sourced a brand new Mahle 85mm piston for the project. The 85mm piston, coupled with a 64mm crank, gives an

actual displacement of 363cc, similar to the Pursang and Frontera models, hence the ‘370’ moniker. It will breathe through a Dellorto PHBH28BS carburettor from Eurocarb coupled to a large-capacity air-box which I had sourced on eBay some time ago, fitted with the 340-style air filter. Soon I had all the necessary components to hand including an alloy tank, that was in quite good shape, which was despatched to Bike Paints in Fife who I have used for all my tank repairs and refinishing since 1994. They did not disappoint either, by producing an excellent finish with a design like that of Lampkin’s 1975 World Championship winning machine. This is only the first part of the story. Coming soon, part two. Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Paddock • Caught on camera





Beach race

High five


Lads and dads



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Caught on camera • Paddock

Low side

Over and out

Pretty boy

Thumbs up


Trials Guru

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020




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Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

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Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

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International • 1980 FIM WTC



My life in motorcycle trials has spanned some superb times, including the definitive ‘David and Goliath’ moment with both man and machines. Starting out as a motor vehicle mechanics apprenticeship at a local car dealership, John Shirt Snr would move into a world of self-employment in 1970. On Saturday the 16th February 1980 his rider Mick Andrews would win the FIM World Trials Championship round in Great Britain on his own creation, the Majesty Yamaha; it was the ‘Majesty Moment’. Words: John Hulme and Alan Wright • Pictures: Alan Vines, Vic Sandercock and Mike Naish


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

1980 FIM WTC • International

Ulf Karlson (Montesa-SWE): Having won the opening FIM World round, the Hurst Cup, in Ireland and with his second place in Great Britain Ulf was at the head of the points table. Boasting 27 points from the two rounds, he held a nine-point advantage over Rob Shepherd. He and some of the foreign riders had contested selected UK Championship rounds to adjust to the climate in the early part of the year.


he path to the ‘Majesty Moment’ had not been an easy one for John. On leaving school, John Shirt Snr served his apprenticeship with the Kennings Motor Group based in the Peak District area. Cars were now a passion, and applying his ideas, he started to modify them; with it came the experience of learning all the time. Wanting to increase his income, he moved to the local mushroom farm where he was involved in the servicing and maintenance of the large forklift truck fleet. Following in the footsteps of his father, who was a local self-employed builder, John moved into some property on Stable Lane in 1970 where his father was based. As a motor mechanic, he would offer his services and would soon be putting in many working hours to provide for his wife Margaret and young family; he would always be on hand taking on a multitude of mechanical and bodywork, with no job ever too big, or too small.

Rob Shepherd (Honda-GBR): In this Honda sponsored event ‘Shep’ had a good strong ride to support his second position in the opening round in Ireland to maintain his championship challenge on the four-stroke machine.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa-GBR): The Spanish competition department at Montesa had built a small number of special machines for its factory supported riders including Rathmell. They featured flat-plate footrest mounting areas and a lower top-tube to reduce the seat height, amongst other modifications to make the machine narrower and slimmer.

Manuel Soler (Bultaco-ESP): Looking very calm and in control, he would be one of a few victims to the closure of the gates at Bultaco as production of the machines became difficult. By mid-season he would be Montesa mounted.


International • 1980 FIM WTC

“Mick Andrews would start to build ‘Works Replica’ machines with a 320cc conversion on them” MAJESTY: MICK ANDREWS JOHN EDWARD SHIRT TRIALS YAMAHA

Yrjo Vesterinen (Montesa-FIN): There was just one thing on the mind of ‘Vesty’, and that was winning back the FIM World title Bernie Schreiber had denied him in 1979. The move to the Montesa brand in anticipation of expected problems at the Bultaco factory had proved correct. He had travelled early to England with his Bedford van towing a caravan to take in some practice to familiarise himself with the early-season riding conditions.


It was as a teenager with a love for motorcycles that John first became introduced to Ron Hulme, the father of the editor of this publication, who helped him to prepare a BSA Bantam for trials use. He then enjoyed both trials and scrambling on DOT machinery before work took over. The workshop at Stable Lane, Buxton, would always be lit up in the early ’70s with John burning much midnight oil as the reputation for his high standard of work soon became well known. During this period he also started to polish aluminium handlebars for the newly formed Renthal Company based nearby at Bollington. John’s wife, Margaret, would collect boxes of the handlebars, John would polish them, and she would return them, all for six pence per product! After a brief period racing a speedway motorcycle, (the less said of this, the better), he returned to his first love of riding a second-hand Ossa MAR 250cc in trials in 1975. During his days scrambling on the DOT, he had come into contact with Mick Andrews and his father Tom during his early days, and they had always kept in touch. He followed Mick’s move to Yamaha in 1973 with much interest, and he would call into Stable Lane to show John his progress with the TY models he was developing. When Mick won the 1976 Bemrose Trial on the 360cc, he convinced Shirt to swop the ageing Ossa for a production Yamaha TY 250cc.

The new machine was purchased in January 1977, and the Yamaha adventure had begun. During the year ‘Shirty’ started to modify the production TY model and make the parts available to the buying public. He started with the removal of the oil tank, feed and pump setup for the two-stroke oil, which in turn allowed the new slimline cover to be fitted, which he had manufactured and supplied. A heavyweight chain conversion kit came next, which was soon followed by the repositioning of the rear suspension dampers to improve the handling. In April 1978, Andrews moved from Holland to live permanently in the UK to return to his first love, Ossa. The Yamaha-modified parts began to sell well, and soon the press revealed that Mick Andrews would start to build ‘Works Replica’ machines with a 320cc conversion on them. That work would be carried out in Buxton, with John Shirt instrumental in the project. Andrews gave Shirt his modified 320cc cylinder barrel that had not worked as expected and, using his mechanical knowledge and engineering expertise, he fitted it to his own modified TY 250cc with very encouraging results. Soon the full-frame modifications would begin, and the Majesty as a motorcycle would arrive. Yamaha was taking note of John’s work and in early 1979, encouraged by Mick, he was allowed to display the new Majesty on the official Yamaha importer’s stand, Mitsui, at the annual Racing and Sporting Show in London.

John Reynolds (Beamish Suzuki-GBR): It was a tough day for ‘JR’. Prior to the event he had his arm in a plaster cast, having suffered a heavy fall at the opening round in Ireland one week earlier causing tendon damage. The cast was cut off on Friday and he was happy with his points-scoring seventh position.

Bernie Schreiber (Bultaco-USA): Looking very uncomfortable with his foot down, the defending FIM World Champion was another rider who had arrived earlier in the UK to acclimatise to the early-season cold, wet, weather conditions.


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine




International • 1980 FIM WTC

Jaime Subira (Fantic-ESP): Proving that the smaller-capacity machines could be competitive in the world championship hazards ‘Suby’ scored Italian manufacturer Fantic their first ever FIM World Championship points on the 156cc two-stroke model.


With both himself and Mick Andrews on the stand, the interest in the Majesty was incredible; this new machine was the talk of the trials world. In December it was showtime once again, and Yamaha Competition Manager, Robert Jackson, invited John to display both the new 200cc and 320cc Majesty models on the official Yamaha –Mitsui stand. In a conversation between Robert with John, he also hinted that Yamaha/Mitsui would have a top trials rider in action on the Majesty in 1980. The project design engineer from Yamaha Amsterdam, Mr Tanaka, also talked of the possibility of a new machine at a later stage. Little did they know at the time that this would arrive in 1983 with the mono-shock Yamaha!

Eddy Lejeune (Honda-BEL): This single point was very rewarding for the young spectacle-wearing Lejeune. Practising mid-week in Belgium before the UK world round the gearbox had broken on the four-stroke Honda. A hectic trip across the English Channel to Yorkshire and Rob Shepherd’s home for the replacement parts was needed to repair the Honda.


With the Spanish trials industry in financial trouble, Mick Andrews was dropped by Ossa so devoted all his time to the Majesty project. On the eve of the British World round in Devon in February, Mick Andrews signed a contract to ride in selected World rounds, the Scottish Six Days, the Scott and British Championship with Mitsui, the UK Yamaha importers. John had built Mick a new Majesty machine using the converted TY frame as a base point, which featured the footrests positioned ½” further back and an aluminium Fresco silencer which Shirt had for offered for sale as a replacement Majesty part for the production silencer. The ‘Majesty Moment’ was about to arrive just 24 hours later.

Martin Lampkin (Bultaco-GBR): Another rider uncertain of his future with Bultaco, he was disappointed to finish outside of the points in 13th position.

Mike Skinner (Montesa-GBR): A strong 14th position was just reward for his efforts. Keen to impress in the world championship series he would have his Sandiford-supported Montesa Cota 349 stolen one week later in Belgium.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

1980 FIM WTC • International

Charles Coutard (SWM-FRA): Despite a stron g financial investment in the development of the Italian machines, they had only been rewarded with one World round win in Italy in 1979 from Coutard. Yellow was the new SWM colour after its early years in red and white.

Jean Nic Culson (Montesa-BEL): A strong contingent of more than ten riders had travelled over from Belgium for the World round.


It was very much a year of upheaval in the trials world as the well-documented downfall of the once-mighty manufacturer of trials motorcycles in Spain was, sadly, in free-fall. The years of the once-dominant Bultaco team was over as many riders had not received financial rewards that were owed from 1979 and had moved to other manufacturers. The first FIM World Trials Champion from 1975, Martin Lampkin, remained with Bultaco before making the move to SWM in May at the Scottish Six Days Trial. Finland’s Yrjo Vesterinen, the three-time winner of the World Series for Bultaco from 1976–1978 and runner-up in 1979, had moved to Montesa. By the close of the year, the 1979 World Champion from America, Bernie Schreiber,

Danilio Galeazzi (SWM-ITA): Italy and SWM had a new trials-riding star with Danilio, he would win the Italian championship from 1980 to 1983.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

had departed Bultaco for Italian manufacturer Italjet, and Spain’s first-ever FIM World round winner in 1979, Manuel Soler, would also move from Bultaco to Montesa.It’s also interesting to note that Spanish rider Jaime Subira had moved from Montesa to Fantic. At round one in Ireland, the Hurst Cup, it was ‘Super Swede’, Ulf Karlson, who had taken the Montesa to the win followed home by Rob Shepherd (Honda-GBR) and Yrjo Vesterinen (Bultaco-FIN). The majority of the fancied top ten riders for the championship had finished in the points as Cumbrianbased Chris Myers caused the biggest upset, coming home in seventh position.

Bernard Cordonnier (Bultaco-BEL): One of the tallest trials riders in the world championship.

Timo Ryysy (Bultaco-FIN): Wanting to follow in the footsteps of his hero Yrjo Vesterinen, this young Finnish rider started his career in the world championship on SWM where he had scored a shock third-place finish riding in his ‘home’ round in 1978. He moved to Bultaco for 1980.


International • 1980 FIM WTC

Josep Jo (Montesa-ESP): As many riders fell foul to the time limit and were ultimately excluded, this young Spanish rider finished with 46 minutes in hand.


When you think of Devon, in the south of the country, you think of cream, but when the 1980 FIM World Trials Championship arrived there on the 16th February, there was no cream. Sponsored by Honda, the start field at Bickington, Newton Abbot, was a mud bath after heavy overnight rain made for challenging conditions for the organising West of England Motor Club. The sun came out on the day, but a cloud was cast over the event as it closed, with 26 of the 80-rider entry excluded for finishing outside of the time allowance. The road-based course would take in 49 hazards over a 30-mile course, taking in some popular

Ray Haslam (Bultaco-GBR): Many of the younger English riders would take in the first three world rounds in Ireland, Great Britain and Belgium for the experience; Ray was one of them in 1980.


Mike Leddy (Beamish Suzuki-GBR): Many times the Welsh Trials Champion, his highlight of a tough day at the event was the single-mark loss on the slippery rock hazard at ‘North End’, which was only equalled by the eventual winner Mick Andrews.

“It was quite early in the day that eventual winner, Mick Andrews, made his intentions clear as he was the best rider through Ruby Rocks…” hazards such as Ruby Rocks, a group of sections still used today. Soon it was obvious that the riders were in for a hard day’s riding as the opening hazards proved very difficult, and the riders started to queue up. It was quite early in the day that eventual winner, Mick Andrews, made his intentions clear as he was the best rider through the Ruby Rocks hazards.

At the finish, the championship leader Ulf Karlson had finished second but he, along with many, complained about the severity of the hazards consisting mainly of slippery rocks and mud. The day belonged to Mick Andrews though and the ‘Majesty Moment’; he had done John Shirt Snr proud and he returned home to his Buxton base a very happy man. The success was very short-lived, though.

David Hooke (Moto Gori-GBR): A green clone of the SWM machines this Italian manufacturer had come onto the trials scene in early 1980. They were imported into the UK by Jim Jones, based at Holmes Chapel in Cheshire.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

International • 1980 FIM WTC

John Metcalfe (Miller-GBR): In an ambitious project Sammy Miller had started work on producing his own Miller trials model using the Italian Hiro engine. John was his contracted rider to help to develop the machine in the tough environment of the World rounds.


On the Monday, Mick Andrews called in at Stable Lane in Buxton, the home of the Majesty Yamaha project. The 320cc Majesty was washed and worked on to prepare it for the next World round in Belgium on the Sunday. Mick had a quick practice session on the machine with some of his French friends, including Charles Coutard, and Spain’s Ossa rider, Joaquin Abad and deemed himself very happy with it. Shirty once again washed it and ran his spanners over it, and a new pair of tyres were fitted. He also gave a hand to Coutard and

Gilles Burgat (SWM-FRA): This young French rider was totally dedicated to the sport and was slowly making his way into the FIM World Championship points. He was one of the many riders excluded for exceeding the time limit in the event.


Marland Whaley (Montesa-USA): Along with Bernie Schreiber, the tall blond American had made the move to be based in Europe to further his trials career. After running out of fuel he was classed as the last official finisher. He had moved to Europe riding the four-stroke Honda in 1977 before moving to Montesa in 1978. After finishing the world championship in ninth position in 1979 he would return home to the USA before the season closed in 1980.

Abad to prepare their machines in his workshop. Mick usually carried his machine on the rack across the back of his Citroen BX but on this occasion he borrowed a three-machine trailer from John Shirt. Along with Joaquin Abad’s Ossa, and Mick’s Majesty Yamaha, the third place on the trailer would be taken up by Mike Skinner’s Sandifordsponsored Montesa for the road trip to Belgium. They travelled to Belgium on Friday, arriving at Verviers and the Grand Hotel on Saturday afternoon. At some point, during the early hours of

Sunday morning, all the machines were stolen. The thieves had unhitched the trailer and simply driven off with the machines! Mick’s Majesty was unique in the fact that he was testing some new parts, and the Ossa of Abad’s was a factory special; both these machines would have been very difficult to dispose of, although Skinner’s Montesa was a standard Cota 349. Despite help from the European Police authorities, the machines disappeared forever; had they been stolen to order by a rival manufacturer? We will never know.

Rob Edwards (Ossa-GBR): After many years being associated and riding for Montesa, this very popular rider had moved to Ossa with support from Cliff and Roger Holden, the UK importers in 1980. After suffering with poor health for many years Rob sadly passed away in late 2019.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

1980 FIM WTC • International

Dave Thorpe (Bultaco-GBR): Having to take a break from the sport mid-season 1979 to have back surgery, Dave moved back onto a Bultaco for 1980. He made a move to CCM in 1979 but returned the four-stroke machine after the SSDT in May.

John Shirt Snr had tried the sport of Speedway at one point in his early days. He is seen here with his father after testing the Jawa in the early ’70s.


Joan Girbau (Ossa-ESP): Knowing that the new yellow-coloured Ossa ‘Gripper’ model would soon be available, the factory supported riders continued with the ageing green model in the world championship.

RESULTS: 1: Mick Andrews (Majesty Yamaha-GBR) 115.8; 2: Ulf Karlson (Montesa-SWE) 119.2; 3: Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa-GBR) 121.0; 4: Manuel Soler (Bultaco-ESP) 123.0; 5: Rob Shepherd (Honda-GBR) 123.0; 6: Yrjo Vesterinen (Montesa-FIN) 123.8; 7: John Reynolds (Beamish Suzuki-GBR) 125.2; 8: Bernie Schreiber (Bultaco-USA) 125.6; 9: Jaime Subira (Fantic-ESP) 126.4; 10: Eddy Lejeune (Honda-BEL) 133.2; 11: Peter Cartwright (BultacoGBR) 145.0; 12: Jean Marie Lejeune (Montesa-BEL) 151.0; 13: Martin Lampkin (Bultaco-GBR) 155.6; 14: Mike Skinner (Montesa-GBR) 157.0; 15: Nigel Birkett (Montesa-GBR) 159.6; 16: Jean Luc Colson (Montesa-BEL) 160.2; 17: Charles Coutard (SWM-FRA) 161.0; 18: Danilo Galaezzi (SWM-ITA) 162.0; 19: Bernard Cordonnier (Bultaco-BEL) 162; 20: Joaquin Abad (Ossa-ESP) 162.2; 21: Timo Ryysy (Bultaco-FIN) 162.2; 22: Chris Sutton (Montesa-GBR) 163.0; 23: Josep Jo (Montesa-ESP) 166.0; 24: H Claesson (Montesa-SWE) 166.8; 25: B Geebelan (Montesa-ESP) 168.4; 27: Norman Shepherd (Ossa-GBR) 28: Nick Jefferies (Montesa-GBR) 29: Colin Boniface (Bultaco-GBR) 173.4; 31: Chris Clarke (Montesa-GBR) 173.6; 32: Nibs Kellet (Fantic-GBR) 178.0; 33: Mike Leddy (Beamish Suzuki-GBR) 179.4; 34: Ray Haslam (Bultaco-GBR) 180.0; 40: Roger Johns (Ossa-GBR) 186.0; 41: Dave Clinkard (Beamish Suzuki) 189.8; 43: Andy Wright (Montesa-GBR) 195.0; 44: David Hooke (Moto Gori-GBR) 196.4; 45: Howard Jackman (Montesa-GBR) 197.0; 46: Len Hutty (Montesa-GBR) 201.0; 47: Stuart Thompson (Bultaco-GBR) 201.0; 48: Rob Doney (BultacoGBR) 203.4; 51: Barry Roads (Yamaha-GBR) 214.0; 52: John Metcalfe (MillerGBR) 413.8.

MACHINES TOP 25 RESULTS: Montesa: 11; Bultaco: 6; Honda: 2; SWM: 2; Beamish Suzuki: 1; Fantic: 1; Majesty Yamaha 1; Ossa: 1.



On the very early Majesty with the converted frame: John Shirt Snr puts his pride and joy, the 320cc Majesty, through its paces in a local centre trial in early 1979.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

AFTER TWO ROUNDS: 1: Ulf Karlson (Montesa-SWE) 27; 2: Rob Shepherd (Honda-GBR) 18; 3: Mick Andrews (Majesty Yamaha-GBR) 15; 4: Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa-GBR) 15; 5: Yrjo Vesterinen (Montesa-FIN) 15; 6: Bernie Schreiber (Bultaco-USA) 11; 7: Manuel Soler (Bultaco-ESP) 10; 8: Martin Lampkin (Bultaco-GBR) 6; 9: Chris Myers (Bultaco-GBR) 4; 10: John Reynolds (Beamish Suzuki-GBR) 4; 11: Charles Coutard (SWM-FRA) 3; 12: Jaime Subira (Fantic-ESP) 2; 13: Nigel Birkett (Montesa-GBR) 1; 14: Eddy Lejeune (Honda-BEL) 1.



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Lost Gold • Greeves


FOUND IN THE USA Keeping in touch with my motorcycle friends far and wide is made easier with the internet, and when an email from Roy Kerr came up I am was more than happy to reply to it. I had last seen Roy, if my memory serves me correct, at a Telford Off-Road show, I think a few years ago. I knew of Roy as I had seen his name appear as a Scottish Trials Champion and he had also ridden number one at the Scottish Six Days Trial many years ago. Our paths would cross frequently when I was producing Enduro Extreme Magazine Words: John Hulme and Roy Kerr • Pictures: Roy Kerr, Brian Holder, Malcom Carling and Alan Vines

At the 1967 Scottish Six Days Trial, on his way to sixth overall, Jim was also in the Factory team along with Don Smith and Bill Wilkinson, and they won the coveted manufacturers’ team prize for Greeves.


His last ride in the UK on the Greeves was at the early November double header weekend of the Hoad and Perce Simon trials where he won Second Class awards in both events.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Greeves • Lost Gold

“The starting bid was listed at $545, so I added it to my watch list while I did a bit more research to find out if it was what I thought it was. I was able to find images of Jim Sandiford riding the Greeves in a few events; it clearly showed the registration number SOO 22D.” LOST GOLD

Roy Kerr: “I am in the middle of a full strip-down and rebuild of a very early 1968 Bultaco M49 trials model, and was on eBay looking for some parts for the machine when a Greeves Anglian trials appeared in the search results. On looking at the details of the auction, there was mention that the machine in question was an ex-factory one ridden by Jim Sandiford. “Looking at the motorcycle details in the listing there were some very clear images of the Greeves. These images showed clear serial and registration information of the motorcycle and an image of some of its history. The starting bid was listed at $545, so I added it to my watch list while I did a bit more research to find out if it was what I thought it was. I was able to find images of Jim Sandiford riding the Greeves in a few events; it clearly showed the registration number SOO 22D. I also had a chat with the Trials Guru, John Moffat, who did a bit of digging on its history as well”.

On closer inspection this Greeves has shown little deterioration, despite the passing of time.


In contacting the owner, Roy established that he had purchased the motorcycle in 1999 in the UK and shipped it back to California, in the US, where it was kept with a number of other Greeves motorcycles. It turned out that

No doubt, judging by the size of the rear wheel hub, the brake’s stopping power must have been pretty good.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

It’s no wonder that the Spanish manufacturers knew that the time was right to move into the trials market. This cluttered-up engine area shows the antiquated and outdated Villiers engine in the Greeves. You must agree it all looks very agricultural!


Greeves • Lost Gold

Jim Sandiford The life and times of the 1966/1967 works team 24 THS/B Greeves Anglian Registration no: S00 22D, as ridden by Jim Sandiford and recorded at the time the results from Motor Cycle News. All this documentation arrived hand-written on A4 size plain white paper with the Greeves! Photo credit: Malcolm Carling


the guy was a total Greeves enthusiast! He had ridden SOO 22D in Californian classic trials up until quite recently, but he was not a serious trials rider — purely a social one; more for fun than competition. As luck would have it, Roy ended up as the winning bidder of the Greeves, which was the result he was after and paid the ‘right money’ for the machine. Having known Jim from the days when the family were Montesa dealers, he really wanted the Greeves. He had won his own Scottish Trials Championship in 1980 riding a Sandiford-supplied Montesa Cota 349. He obviously knew Caroline and Martin from his time with Trail Tech Products in the Enduro world and just thought it would be the right thing to do to get the machine and bring it home.

November 16th: Rode the as-yet unregistered 1967 model into fourth position in France at the St Cucufa Trial. He rode the event on the 1966 works machine registration documents. November 23rd: Wins Pennine Trial from Stan Cordingley. November 30th: First Class award British Experts Trial. November 30th: Runner-up St Helens ‘Traders’ Trial from Stan Cordingley. December 7th: First Class award Cotswolds Cup Trial. December 7th: Wins Preston DMCC Christmas Trial. December 14th: Runner-up to Norman Eyre (Bultaco) at the Northern Experts Trial. December 21st: Wins Northern Centre Championship Trial counting towards the Traders Cup from Eric Adcock (DOT) and Stan Cordingley.



In December 1966 Jim Sandiford was the runner-up to Norman Eyre (Bultaco) at the Manchester 17 MCC Northern Experts Trial. Here Jim eyes up the top part of the fearsome Hawk’s Nest hazards.

After winning the auction, and the money changing hands, he had to find a reliable shipping agent to get it from California to Georgia, a real Coast-to-Coast trip we are sure you can imagine. Fortunately, he found a reputable motorcycle shipper and the Greeves is now safe at Roy’s home. As part of the sale agreement with the owner, he sent Roy by UPS a folder containing all the history he had with the SOO 22D Greeves, which is solid evidence of the providence of the motorcycle. To his amazement, the green logbook was in the folder. It had been laminated due to the age

The final piece of the jigsaw is the Greeves registration number: S00 24D. In the pouring rain of the European championship round, held near Sheffield in late 1970, Arthur Lampkin wrestles the Greeves up the swollen rivers; where is that machine now?

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

January 4th: Clinches the North Western Championship with another win. January 11th: Second Class award Vic Brittain Trial. January 18th: Wins the 64 MCC Silver Trophy Trial. January 25th: 3rd behind Norman Eyre (Bultaco) and Dave Rowland (BSA) at the Congleton Club’s Centre Trial. February 8th: Runner-up to Eric Adcock (DOT) at the Bar None MCC Trial. February 15th: First Class award Hurst Cup Trial Northern Ireland. February 22nd: Second Class award St David’s Trial. March 1st: First Class award Victory Trial. March 1st: Wins Accrington DMCC Centre Championship Trial. March 1st: Sixth in Belgium at the Lamborelle Trial. March 8th: Runner-up to Ron Stableford at the Bury Club Sandiford Trophy Trial. March 8th: Second to Bill Wilkinson at the Ilkley Grand National time and observation trial. March 22nd: Wins Bolton Club Spring Trial. March 29th: Eighth Cleveland Sporting Trial. April 5th: First Class award Lomax Trial. April 12th: Leads Derek Lord and Stan Robinson home as the Rochdale Club win the Inter Centre Team Trial. April 12th: Second Thornton Cleverley’s MC Trial. April 19th: First Class award Bemrose Trial. April 26th: Wins North West Centre Ribble Valley Trial.

May 10th: Joint sixth in the Scottish Six Days Trial and, along with Don Smith and Bill Wilkinson, wins the coveted manufacturers’ team prize for Greeves. May 10th: First Class award Alan Trial. May 17th: Jim Sandiford and Bill Wilkinson retire from Red Rose Trial with gearbox failure. May 31st: Competes on S00 22D in the ISDE selection Welsh Three-Day Trial. Wins Gold medal, and with John Pease and Monty Banks Greeves wins the manufacturers’ team award. June 7th: Along with Dave Rowland and Dave Thorpe finishes second Yorkshire Centre Team Trial. June 28th: Selected for the 1967 ISDE Team to ride, representing Great Britain in the Trophy Team. July 12th: Car and Greeves stolen the night before the Allan Jefferies Trial! They were recovered the same night. July 12th: First Class award Allan Jefferies Trial. July 19th: Wins Lancashire MCC Trial. August 2nd: Wins Bury MCC Trial. August 9th: First Class award Dales Trial. August 23rd: Wins Woolridge Cup Trial from Norman Eyre (Bultaco). August 30th: First Class award Clayton Trophy Trial. September 6th: 11th Manx Two Day Trial. September 13th: Wins ‘Battle of Britain’ Thornton Cleverley’s Trial. October 4th: First Class award Mitchell Trial. October 4th: Wins Bolton MCC Traders Trial. October 11th: Retires West of England Trial with a broken gearbox. Repairs it at night to finish third the day after at the Travers Trophy Trial and, with the Wilkinson brothers, win the manufacturers’ team award for Greeves. October 28th: Second Class award Welsh Trophy. November 1st: Runner-up to Sammy Miller (Bultaco) Scott Trial. Greeves wins the manufacturers’ team award with Sandiford, Mick Wilkinson and Derek Adsett. November 8th: Second Class award Hoad Trial. November 8th: Second Class award Perce Simon Trial. November 15th: Fourth position in France at the St Cucufa Trial. November 22nd: Front page Motor Cycle News ‘Sandiford Goes Bultaco’ as Jim Sandiford announces he is not renewing his contract with Greeves.


Lost Gold • Greeves and state of the document. It showed this Greeves model was first registered to Invacar Ltd, Church Rd, Thundersley, which confirmed it as a factory issued model. The date of first registration was November 22nd 1966, which is very spooky because 22nd November was Roy’s birthdate; he’d turned six in 1966! In the folder, there was also a full hand-written list of the history of Jim Sandiford’s time with the Greeves, which you can find documented in this article. It shows that Jim rode it unregistered on 16th November in a trial in France. His first ride on it when it was first registered was on the 23rd November. There were also some images of the machine with Jim riding it in the Welsh Three Day and the Mitchell Trial, and numerous press articles of Jim and the Greeves. Looking very smart and professional, ‘Gentleman’ Jim, in total control of the Greeves, in a local North Western Centre Trial.

One of the sister machines to Jim Sandiford’s was the factory supplied Greeves registration number: S00 23D. This was issued to Bill Wilkinson, seen here in December 1966 at the Manchester 17 MCC Northern Experts Trial riding the Hawk’s Nest hazards. We wonder where it is now.

Yes; the ‘Real Deal’ S00 22D.


Roy: “Well, I am not going to go full tilt on the restoration of SOO 22D, but I will tidy it up as I intend to keep it as it is today, as Jim himself would have ridden it. “With time permitting, I plan on taking it to selected events in North America, as my employer, JCB, keeps me a busy lad. “What is ironic about the purchase of the machine is that I found it looking for parts for the first model I am building; the M49 Bultaco. It’s serial number is M4900028, and it was registered as a 1967 machine, sold to its first owner in Los Angeles in 1968. “Jim stopped riding for Greeves and went to Bultaco and an M49 in November 1967! So, I have one machine Jim actually rode, and the other is the make and model he went on to ride after the Greeves. It will be returning to the UK when I move back in the near future. I cannot put a date on it as JCB will tell me when it’s time go back!”


Shooting the rapids at the Mitchell Trial in October on his way to a First Class award.


Roy: “I was relocated over to North America in September of 2017 into the position of JCB Vice President Product Support responsible for Parts & Warehouse operations, Technical and Field service support, Technical Training. It keeps me fairly busy, as you can imagine, and a motorcycle is a way for me to switch off. I’ve also taken an interest in Sporting Clays since moving here, and that really is a good way to switch off from work.”

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine


TONI BOU 13 x FIM X-Trial World Champion (Indoor) 13 x FIM Trial World Champion (Outdoor)

To discover the MICHELIN Trial range visit:

Celebration • In Motion




Building a brand and one to be proud of is hard work, make no mistake; I speak first-hand from what we have achieved with Classic Trial Magazine since 2011. Dave Renham started InMotion 20 years ago off the back of having served an apprenticeship at the once-great sporting dealers Comerfords, who were also the Bultaco UK importers. His name is, and always will be, strongly associated with the once-mighty Spanish machines, but as we move forward into 2020, the name InMotion is now on the lips of so many other twin-shock and air-cooled mono-shock machine names. Dave has extended his business to cover all manufacturers with a superb and readily available inventory of the parts needed to keep them running or for total rebuilds and renovations. The introduction of the popular championship series to cater for these machines keeps him and his staff as busy as ever, as we found out on a recent visit to the busy premises in Egham. Words: John Hulme with Dave Renham Pictures: CTM and Andy Withers (Awsportsphoto)


The order process starts with the phone call or the computer.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

In Motion • Celebration


he story of In Motion takes us back to the demise of the oncemighty manufacturing of motorcycles in Great Britain and the invasion of the Spanish Armada of Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa in the late ’60s. Wind the clock forward to the UK Bultaco importers, Comerfords, and 1978 when Dave Renham started employment with the company. While he was attending college, Dave had worked one day a week on a non-payment basis in the busy workshops before commencing full-time employment with them, a job he held until 1981.


Imagine, as a youngster, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Bultaco FIM World Trials Champions Martin Lampkin, Yrjo Vesterinen and Bernie Schreiber; that was the life of a young Renham. A twelve-month learning period on the day-a-week basis had him shadowing the ex-Barry Sheene mechanic Ken Fletcher. His forté after the Sheene years was KTM machines, and Comerfords were also importers for the Austrian marque. After this period, Dave would be

In this job product knowledge is essential.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

employed full time from 1978–1981 with the great Jock Wilson in charge of his workshop activities. He learned the ins and outs of the two-stroke trials motorcycles under the watchful eye of a certain Reg May, the ‘God’ of Bultaco mechanics until his knowledge of the Spanish machines would become invaluable. During his Comerford years, the workshop was the place to be as he became involved with machines that would be prepared to compete in world championship trials and motocross events. As the working relationship with Reg May grew, so did Dave’s responsibilities, with the fleet of ‘works’ machines for the supported riders. Weekdays were spent rebuilding and preparing machines from the previous weekend’s competition exploits before Wednesday arrived. On that day, both the trials and motocross machines would be tested in readiness to hand over to the supported riders. What’s interesting is that, at the time, he did not realise what a great position he was in. Dave: “The riders were all very different; the Lampkins didn’t visit Comerfords very often, Reg May would go up to visit them periodically as

All orders are hand processed before packaging to ensure the customer receives the correct parts.


In Motion • Celebration

Easy to hand is a key factor in locating parts off the shelf.

“Word would soon circulate the trials world that the man behind the new venture was Dave Renham. ‘Could you supply other twin -shock spares?’ was a constant question, and the answer was always a strong ‘yes!’ ” Martin liked doing much of his own day-today ‘fettling’. Finland’s three-time FIM World Champion Yrjo Vesterinen was accompanied by his brother as his mechanic; they just quietly got on with their own thing, and ‘Vesty’ was always prepared to listen, especially when it was Reg talking. American Bernie Schreiber was very laid-back as he always considered that there was plenty of time and nothing was a panic. I also worked a lot with Bultaco motocross rider Vic Allen who was incredibly fast; testing his Grand Prix machines was exciting, to say the least”.

Always remember to ask if you are looking for hard to find parts.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020


Times were changing at Comerfords, and a move was made to a specialist off-road trials shop Len Savage Motorcycles owned by Derek Cranfield. The duties were very similar to those in his previous employment, but when the business was put up for sale in 1986, it was time for him to go his own way. Dave Renham wanted his own business, and so the selfemployed route was taken, with just his old van and £1,000 in his pocket. One half of Jim Brookman Motorcycles was purchased, and he had his own business!

With what appeared to be a busy and expanding business, he would purchase the other half of the premises before moving a few doors up. Maybe it was too much too soon though, and with the huge pressure of making it all balance, the work-load became too much. He made the tough decision to close the door and sell up. In truth, he was disillusioned with the whole job but, as it turned out, it was a blessing in disguise. With a trade under his belt, he spent a few months as a maintenance fitter as he pondered his future. His saviour would be a move back to the motorcycle industry at CI Sport, the company that grew up from the old Comerfords concern. With excellent knowledge of the off-road scene and acknowledged excellent people skills, he would work in the warranty and customer service department until 1999. The expanding import and distribution company wanted to move to new premises and also to unload the huge Bultaco spares inventory they had inherited from Comerfords. Dave struck a deal between John Comerford, who still owned the Bultaco spares, and CI Sport. Now it was a case of what to do with the Bultaco spares!


The current premises at Egham were purchased in 2000, and with the huge Bultaco spares inventory Bultaco UK was born. Over the following years, this matured into In Motion. Word would soon circulate the trials world that the man behind the new venture was Dave Renham. ‘Could you supply other twin-shock spares?’ was a constant question, and the answer was always a strong ‘yes!’ As the trials business grew to include the new

OZO rear shock absorbers have been a recent addition to the expanding parts range.


Celebration • In Motion

To show-case what parts and products are available in the ‘Flesh’ InMotion can be found with a huge display on sale at the Classic Off-Road Show at Telford.

era of air-cooled mono-shock machine spares, they have also expanded into the twin-shock Motocross and Enduro world. As we have already touched on, Dave gained so much knowledge in this area when working with the many-times British Champion Vic Allen on the Pursang models from Bultaco to the KTM range. The turnover of the spare parts was soon quickly exhausting many of the original parts for the older machines, and now the company outsources the manufacture of many parts that are hard to find or obsolete. Dave is happy to acknowledge that many of these parts are supplied from UK manufacturers. As you can imagine, after 20 years the spares inventory has grown year on year. Many readers will not know that

Dave’s favourite twin-shock machine is the 200 Fantic model; he has only ever ridden a Bultaco trials model, a rare 175cc Sherpa T, and that was for a five-week period before he returned to his Fantic 200.



Dave is still very much at the top of his game when it comes to knowledge of the twinshock and air-cooled mono-shock machines. He prides himself on being able to put his hand on many of the parts the customers require; as he says, if it’s in stock, he can sell it, if it’s not he cannot. He constantly searches the world to source new-old-stock parts and sometimes comes up trumps. He recently purchased a wide selection of these types of parts for the Bultaco range from Germany, which was a fantastic find that included some very hard-to-find items. In these situations, he can use the original parts to outsource the manufacture of replacement ones. Over the last few years, the resurgence of the following of the classic trials scene has grown beyond belief, with many new championships appearing around the world. For example, in the UK in recent times, we have seen the Kia series come to life to establish itself as a very competitive series, as well as new events such as the Highland and Leven Valley Two-Day trials. In Europe, the events such as the Costa Brava Two-Day attracts entries over the 400 mark. Dave still runs the business supported by four full-time staff: Peter Bowker, Robin Ball, Chris Cambell and Graham Sandiland who also carry a passion for motorcycles and the products they sell. If you are looking for a good cup of tea, Dave’s father, Eddie, is a regular visitor and a dab-hand at washing dirty trials machines; please form an orderly queue!

Dave always has some interesting machines to display.

Dave on the left with his father Eddie.



From left: Eddie Renham, Robin Ball, Dave Renham, Chris Cambell and Peter Bowker.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine









PRE ‘65



t: 01784 440033



FEBRUARY 15-16, 2020


Early autojumble entry from 9am




Advance tickets on sale now! ADULTS: £14 AGE 15 AND UNDER GO FREE! DINNER TICKET: £33.00

CUSTOMER SERVICES 01507 529529 TRADE ENQUIRIES 01507 529430 Advance tickets close 8.30am Monday, February 10, 2020.




Rare • Wasp


BSA FAMILY Bright yellow tanks are one of the trademarks of Wasp Engineering and one of the most recognisable features of these three classic BSA Wasp trials motorcycles. Built by George Greenland, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, at a glance they can easily be mistaken for each other as each machine has a Wasp frame made largely to 1960s specifications. But, with three different BSA power units are used, a Bantam, C15 and B40. The machines were built with a particular purpose in mind as easy-to-ride trials machines and whether performing alone or in pairs or, rarely, all together, they turn heads and create considerable interest. With Wasp founder Robin RhindTutt’s recent passing in September 2019, it is timely to celebrate one aspect of his quality off-road engineering. Robin began with the renowned grass track and motocross sidecar outfits but by the mid60s solo scramblers were produced for Rob Jordan and Triss Sharp. Article: Andy Withers and AWSportsPhoto • Pictures: Terry Graves, Mike Doolittle, Andy Withers and Colin Bullock



n the ’60s, having fabricated his own trials frame for a Triumph Twin, George Greenland found that his machine started to increase in length as he rode it. It gave him a bit of a ‘sinking feeling’ so he asked Robin if Wasp could build him a trials frame. It was the first Wasp trials frame; it was so good, orders from other riders soon followed.


The distinctive ‘Rhind Tutt Wasp’ badge came along by chance. Top British Sidecar rider, Mike Guildford, who used a Wasp frame, was working with George Sawyer, a motorcycle dealer in Winchester. Sawyer offered to sell Robin’s machines through his dealership and had tank stickers made up with ‘Rhind Tutt Wasp’. Robin took on the name, and it has been used ever since. George Greenland and Robin were close friends through from the mid-sixties – so close, George even impersonated the ‘shy’ Robin on one occasion!

When delivering a new Wasp outfit to the Isle of Man, local radio was there to interview Robin. Still, he introduced George as ‘Robin Rhind-Tutt’, and George gave a whole interview with the audience being none the wiser. They both had a shared passion for solving engineering problems, which brought great success with Robin producing frames and George helping to prepare motors for the highly successful Norton Wasp Sidecar Scrambles outfits. George also campaigned Wasp outfits to five British Enduro Championship titles. While on the 500cc Triumph Twin Wasp with a lighter upgraded frame George rode the Scottish Six Days, the Scott and throughout Europe, but that is a tale for another day! At 87 years young, George still rides Waspframed machines every weekend and has engineered two new machines in the last year. Wasp still produces solo frames for a range of British motorcycles including the Tiger Cub, C15, B40s and Triumph Twins, but the Bantam was a new shared project.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Wasp • Rare

George Greenland in perfect harmony with the BSA Bantam engined Wasp.


The frames are what makes a Wasp, but it’s not just the design, it’s the quality of the finish. In the early days Robin’s work stood out because of the finish, and this has been retained today. The frames are constructed from 4130 chromoly tubing with beautiful precise bronze welding and bright nickel plating to give an unrivalled finish. First made in the mid-1960s, the RT4 framed machines qualify for Pre-65 trials with the only modification being a slight steepening of the steering head angle producing a tighter turning circle to rival any modern machine. Frames are made in batches on-demand at Berwick St James near Salisbury, Wiltshire; recently Triumph Twins are most in demand. The frames are light and well-balanced to produce good handling, while the yellow tanks are surprisingly not compulsory as ‘other colours are available’, but a personal view is the yellow tank is also what makes a wasp.

Your choice; three different BSA power units are used.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020


Rare • Wasp

The BSA C15 in action with Neil Clarke in control, competing in the George Greenland trophy at Butser Limeworks in 2016.

“The sole aim has been to produce functional well-engineered trials machines that work effectively week after week” Article author and Wasp owner Andy Withers on the BSA B40.


As an engineer, George Greenland has crafted these three BSA Wasps and many other Wasp-framed machines with close collaboration with Wasp Engineering. The sole aim has been to produce functional well-engineered trials machines that work effectively week after week. All three machines are not concours and show the traces of their last trial as they are all used regularly. Modest George may disagree with me, but each machine

is a work of art and, when together, they are pretty impressive. Built at different times, each of these machines has many similarities but also differences, each retaining the strengths from the previous version while making further improvements. Two of the three machines compared today, the B40 and Bantam, were projects built in the last 18 months while the C15 was built some time ago and it has a longer pedigree in competition.

Andy Withers: “The B40 has an ex-WD 343cc engine; riding it has been addictive, it’s been ridden in many club trials as well as completing this year’s 80-mile Arbuthnot Trial without missing a beat”.

The frames are constructed from 4130 chromoly tubing, with beautiful precise bronze welding and bright nickel plating which gives an unrivalled finish.


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Rare • Wasp C15 – This BSA C15 Wasp is a favourite to George’s family and friends, but George is claiming it for this year’s Talmag Trophy Trial.

C15 – It’s an ex-works engine which was bought with the engine mountings and frame ‘cut-about’; there is still evidence of an additional hole made by the previous owner to mount the engine, but with a clever repair the front mounting was restored to fit into a standard BSA frame. C15 – A B25 barrel was reshaped with the fins in the ‘C15’ style with a liner to increase the capacity to 285cc. The gearbox ‘camplate’ has been turned upside down to reverse the gear change to one up and three down, making changing up that bit more positive. C15 – One of the features that was updated with the B40 and Bantam was the air box, which George fabricated himself. On the C15 the filter is ‘outward’, facing the rider’s left leg; the problem with this is water and muck hits the rider’s leg and is directed onto the filter.


The C15 is a favourite to George’s family and friends, but George is claiming it for next year’s Talmag Trophy Trial. Son-in-law, Neil Clarke, was the main rider taking it to Scotland for the Pre-65 Two-Day on a couple of occasions as well as riding it all over the UK and in Europe. George’s last Talmag ride on the C15 a few years ago sticks clearly in his memory. He was mistakenly given a ‘five’ on the first lap for taking the ‘wrong’ route, so he just ‘rode round’ the lunchtime special test. Returning to the same section in the afternoon the observer apologised and said it was a ‘clean’ in the morning he had made an error, so George cleaned the trial but lost out because of the slow special test! 44

The C15 has an ex-works engine, which was bought with the engine mountings and frame ‘cut-about’. There is still evidence of an additional hole made by the previous owner to mount the engine, but with a clever repair, the front mounting was restored to fit into a standard BSA frame. However, to improve the handling the motor, it was transferred to the Wasp frame. A B25 barrel was reshaped with the fins in the ‘C15’ shape with a liner to increase the capacity to 285cc. The gearbox ‘Camplate’ has been turned upside down to reverse the gear change to one up and three down, making changing up that bit more positive. The flange inside at the back of the clutch basket has been removed to allow for an extra clutch plate. The action of the clutch is also improved by extending the clutch release lever and repositioning the cable run, making the clutch action lighter. The front forks are Anglo Italian with standard Matchless bottom halves extended with a seven-centimetre machined collar. The top half and internals are Fantic. Wheels are also Italian, and they raised a few eyebrows in Scotland with a claim that they

weren’t Pre-65! By sharing a picture of a DOT trials bike, it showed that the Grimeca wheels were used in the early ’60s. However, the initial retort from the scrutiniser in Scotland was ‘okay, they’re alright on a DOT!’ Thankfully it was still able to compete. The advantage of these wheels is the drum brakes, which are pretty effective for the era. One of the features that was updated with the B40 and Bantam was the airbox, which George fabricated himself. On the C15 the filter is ‘outward’, facing the rider’s left leg; the problem with this is water, and muck hits the rider’s leg and is directed onto the filter. Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Wasp • Rare

B40 – Very similar to the C15 is the clutch with the additional plate and the extended clutch release lever, making the clutch surprisingly light.

B40 – Andy Withers purchased it when it was complete in November 2018.

B40 – The air box has been modified as on the Bantam, as they have the filter inwardfacing to reduce the spray onto the rider’s leg.

case when used by the army! The gearing needs a bit of modification. The addition of electronic ignition and a decompression lever makes starting easy, rarely taking more than one kick. The clutch is similar to the C15, with the additional plate and the extended clutch release lever making the clutch surprisingly light. The front forks match the C15 with Marzocchi internals. The airbox has been modified on the B40 and subsequently the Bantam as they have the filter inward-facing to reduce the spray off from the rider’s leg. An extensive hand-crafted aluminium chain guard is squeezed between the chain, mudguard and back tyre to give the rider maximum protection.

B40 – The addition of electronic ignition and a decompression lever makes starting easy, rarely taking more than one kick.


After a fortunate conversation with George in 2018 when I got the bug to ride Pre-65 trials in addition to writing and photographing, I was given first refusal on a B40 Wasp he was building. It was too good an opportunity to turn down, so I purchased it when it was completed in November 2018. Essentially, the machine was built from parts George had in the workshop, partly to fund the later Bantam Project. Riding it has been addictive, having taken part in many club trials as well as completing this year’s 80-mile Arbuthnot Trial without missing a beat. The B40 has an ex-WD 343cc engine with standard internals; the motor runs as ‘sweet as a nut’ but has scars of age on the outside. The gearbox has WD internals, and it is geared well for short trial sections, providing superb engine braking. However, for longdistance trials, the top gear only allows for 18mph on the road, which was probably not the Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

Shared passion for solving engineering problems brought great success, with Robin Rhind-Tutt producing frames and George Greenland helping to prepare motors for the highly successful Norton Wasp Sidecar Scrambles outfits. George also campaigned Wasp outfits to five British Enduro Championship Titles.


Rare • Wasp

Bantam – Completed in Spring 2019, this project came to life after George wanted a lighter machine to use in trials in the UK and Europe.

Bantam – A common modification using a Yamaha piston, making it a 185cc, and a new Paul Powell head machined by George as the George Todd heads have been harder and more expensive to source.

Bantam – Precise throttle control matches George’s riding style, as he is very economical with it but expects plenty of acceleration when needed.

Bantam – Far from standard is the rear brake mechanism. The pedal is still on the left, but on an inward-facing pivot which is pushed down instead of forward to get tension on the cable. The cable passes from the left through to the right for the run to the brake drum. A neat and effective solution.


The Bantam project was completed in spring 2019 after George wanted a lighter machine to use in trials in the UK and Europe. A Wasp frame was acquired without the nickel plating because it was only the second Bantam motor known to be fitted in this type of frame. After dropping the main engine block into the frame, it was clear the Wasp single down-tube frame would not accommodate the standard-diameter Bantam exhaust. Some frame constructors reduce the diameter of the exhaust or re-route it over the top of the engine to fit it in. However, George wanted to maintain the diameter to preserve power and to give easy access for maintenance. After consultation with Wasp, the first option was to move the motor to the left or right, but this would have caused problems with sprocket alignment. So, a second option was agreed to use twin downtubes which divided in line with the head with a cross brace to maintain the strength. In some way, this change went against the grain as it changed the clean lines of the 1960s frame and also may not seem original. However, George’s 46


Owner: George Greenland; Engine: BSA C15; Capacity: 285cc; Carburettor: Amal; Ignition: Electronix World; Clutch: BSA; Gearbox: BSA; Forks: Matchless/Fantic; Rear Suspension: Rockshocks; Wheels: Grimeca; Frame: RT4 Wasp.

successful upgraded Wasp Triumph Twinned machine also has a double down-tube to accommodate the motor. Using this solution did allow the exhaust to be routed tightly inside the tubing under the seat to reduce the possibility of exhaust burns. To help accommodate this the clutch cable run is also on the left, making more space for the exhaust. The Bantam motor underwent a common modification using a Yamaha piston, making it 185cc, and a new Paul Powell head machined by George as the George Todd heads have been harder and more expensive to source. The clutch has a common upgrade with Yamaha clutch plates. Riding the Bantam, it ticks over like a metronome at lowest revs but is eager to pick up when opened up for climbs. The precision of response matches George’s riding style, as he is very economical with the throttle but expects plenty of acceleration when needed. The design on this machine aims to make it as easy as possible to ride, hence the use of the Rolls Royce of front forks, REH, along with the rear ‘Rockshocks’ used on all three machines. Standard Grimeca wheels provide the good drum braking as on the C15, but the rear brake mechanism is far from standard. The mechanism used on the C15/B40 is on the left-hand side, with the rear brake pedal lined up directly with the drum arm. However, with the Bantam, there was no room for the straight run, and the brake drum operates on the right-hand side. The pedal is still on the left, but on an inward-facing pivot which is pushed down instead of forward to get tension on the cable. The cable passes from the left through to the right for the run to the brake drum. A neat and effective solution. Once all the mods were made, the machine was dismantled, and the frame returned to Wasp to be nickel-plated. The Bantam has caused a great deal of interest, including from fellow Bantam riders. While at a trial in Europe, Mick Grant suggested a machine swop during practice to see how they performed. George preserved his energy, but Mick disappeared on the Bantam Wasp, and the machine could be heard ticking away for over half an hour. He returned with a big grin, saying how easy the bike was to ride compared to his machine!


In the mid-1960s, Wasp was ahead of their time, both in their designs and the quality of the finished product. More than 50 years later ‘new’ machines are still being fabricated, with clever engineers, like George, modifying the original designs to make them even better. Whenever anyone rides one of George’s machines, they say ‘that was so easy to ride’; a big part is the Wasp frame, but there is also the magic of a talented engineer. Look out for the Wasp trademarks: the beautiful welding and the nickel plating, and if you are thinking of taking the plunge by joining the Wasp family, take time and ask yourself – should the yellow tank be compulsory? B40 Wasp

Owner: Andy Withers; Engine: BSA B40; Capacity: 343cc; Carburettor: Amal; Ignition: Electronix World; Clutch: BSA; Gearbox: BSA; Forks: Matchless/ Marzocchi; Rear Suspension: Rockshocks; Wheels: Tiger Cub; Frame: RT4 Wasp.

Bantam Wasp

Owner: George Greenland; Engine: BSA Bantam; Capacity: 185cc; Carburettor: Amal; Ignition: Electronix World; Clutch: Yamaha; Gearbox: BSA; Forks: REH (Robin Humphreys); Rear Suspension: Rockshocks; Wheels: Grimeca; Frame: TR4 Wasp – modified.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

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Man and machines • CZ



Peter Zeh has been faithful to his CZ trials machine for more than 50 years. The relationship between Peter Zeh and his Czech ‘Girlfriend’ began just as relationships with women should not begin – as Peter loaned her out to his brother! However, as this partner is not a woman but a motorcycle, it looks different and it is, therefore, no longer reprehensible. On the contrary, it is not uncommon among brothers for the machines to be passed around! What led me to the heading and to this introductory sentence with the comparison of Peter’s CZ to a companion in life is how long Peter and his CZ have been together. In this respect his CZ can certainly be called a life companion; after all, this motorcycle has accompanied him almost his entire life! Article: Hans Greiner, Trialsport, Germany • Translation: Bill Buckley


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

CZ • Man and machine

Above: 1969; right, 1989


s soon as Peter had bought the CZ from his brother, he received an invitation to enter for a trial in spring 1969. Since he was already a member of the ADMV club at that time, he was obviously regarded as a potential interested party. And the invitation did indeed arouse spontaneous interest in him. He directly mounted a smaller sprocket on the machine and started training for the event in the area, with the firm plan to participate in this trial in the production class. Surprisingly for him, he took second place at this event, which made him even more enthusiastic. Since there were a lot of events near him at that time, he

carried his rucksack weekend after weekend and rode his motorcycle to these trials. When he won his fifth trial for the first time, there was a wreath for the winner: “Never before have I driven so slowly through the town as on my way home” Peter remembers with a smile.


In the same year, 1969, he competed very enthusiastically in the series class at the championship in Berlin in September and finished fourth. Now at last the name, Peter Zeh, was known in the East German trial scene. Despite further successes in trials in

his region he was unable to take part in the championship the following year because he could not find a lift to the championship event. But Peter took the year 1970 as his starting point, not only to take part in the championship again in 1971, but, with increased motivation, to win the GDR championship title in the series class. In the following two years, 1972 and 1973, he was able to defend this title on his CZ. But things didn’t always go according to plan, as they rarely do. In 1974 ,he broke his fibula and ankle during a training crash, and had to drop out of the championship and say goodbye to the title. But in bad times a true champion is

The fitting of modern full-size wheels and tyres has transformed the machine.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020





CZ • Man and machine

Today, not much is reminiscent of the old CZ which has rewarded the Peter Zeh with four titles in the DDR series class. It now includes a home-made expansion chamber and exhaust, Jawa front forks with MZ internals with just 80mm of travel, MZ rear shock absorbers with a Jawa wheel hub and brake drum.

ultimately distinguished by the decision not to stick one’s head in the sand, but to return from defeats stronger. And so is Peter Zeh, because he came back after the injury break and won back the championship title in 1975; his fourth and last GDR championship title.


Peter likes to recall two anecdotes from his championship-winning time in the ’70s: “During a trial near Jena, on the first lap, I dropped the machine in such a way that the gearshift lever was so bent that I could only complete the rest of the trial in first gear. Although the laps at that time were at least three to four kilometres long I was able to finish the trial as the winner – and wasn’t even the last one to arrive back!” he recalls. Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

he second anecdote is even wilder. “Even in the production class, there were more and more stones in the sections over the period of time, which greatly increased the stress on the motorcycle. During one event the welded seam of the frame cracked and opened up, which extended the steering head angle. Without further ado, I visited a welder during the trial. He looked at the problem and, after a little work, welded the open seam back up and I finished the event. I was not the last rider to finish the event and even won again!” The consequences of the impact from the harder stone sections can still be seen very clearly on Peter’s CZ today. The originally round frame tubes are flat like pancakes from making contact with so many stones, but the main stand is still attached to the frame.


Peter read in the excellent German motorcycle trials magazine Trialsport that Rudi Munstermann was organising a Pre-65 trial. He made the decision to enter there and then and converted from the 16-inch wheels, required in the GDR series, to the typical wheel dimensions for trials of a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear. This, of course, gave him the opportunity to mount genuine trial tyres for the first time. “I could not believe the traction I could obtain when riding up hills; there was no comparison to the old 16-inch wheels and tyres”. Amongst the competition would be Helmfried Riecker with his Triumph and Jurgen Baumann on a Zundapp. Against these machines his CZ, which was very production based, looked so old and outdated. He started 57

CZ • Man and machine

Above the large-volume home-made exhaust manifold hovers the fuel tank of a Tiger Cub, giving an elegant line to Peter’s CZ.

to make some changes and improve it further and didn’t let himself be restricted by the GDR regulations anymore: “Apart from the wheels, the fuel tank had to remain original, the handlebars couldn’t be wider than 70cm and the exhaust couldn’t be raised and had to reach beyond the rear wheel axle, and these were the most important points”. With Rudi’s four-stroke trial it was still possible to compete but the sections in the Classic D-Cup were simply too hard for that.


First he exchanged the Jawa front forks, which were not as good as the forks his competitors had, for an MZ front fork which was much better. He also modified the shock absorbers using MZ technology. Although their housings are still from a Jawa the interior is from an MZ because it offers the possibility to make adjustments to the damping. Nevertheless, the 80mm of travel is very little for today’s classic sections where there are often steps to clear. The wheel hubs are also Jawa, with the rear one from a later model. So is the air filter box, which Peter also retrofitted from a later model as it offers more volume which in turn gives the engine a much better throttle response from the carburettor slide. The closed drive chain case has proven itself over the years. Peter used the last chain without any problems for three years. Only the lower chain guide is made of rubber from an MZ because it is exposed to the rocks when riding up steps or over rocks. The exhaust and manifold are home-made based on the CZ one. In 1994, he copied the main silencer chamber from a JCM after reading a report in Trialsport. Alfred Muhlberg, a friend, helped him to make the new expansion chamber but there is nothing fancy 58

about it. He also still has a lot of work to do in other areas such as the seat and the Triumph Tiger Cub fuel tank which came from England.


In 50 years of riding, the machine has proven to be very reliable with very few problems. The crankshaft bearings are a large diameter and have never failed in competition use. But we, in the East, have always listened to what Gunter Ruttloff, who has always been regarded as the great expert in the engine department, does and then tried to take a look at our own machines. Peter converted his CZ to short-stroke and installed a larger piston with a 71mm bore instead of the original 66mm. By the way, Peter has also been faithful to the colour green for half a century. Only in the very beginning was his CZ black for a year before it got its characteristic fresh green from him and has remained green ever since; the green is a VW colour. Now Peter is quite satisfied with his CZ and wants to ride it for as long as possible in the condition it can be seen in here. With engine power becoming more critical due to the constantly increasing degree of difficulty in the D-Cup class he may overhaul the engine. There are enough engine parts available and also at very reasonable prices, Peter points out. In the ’80s, many of these machines were scrapped as nobody wanted them anymore. If you saw one standing at the roadside you would get it for free if you asked for it! I met Peter and his green CZ at the start of the German Classic Trials Cup 2019 in Gressenich in the spring and took the photos. This event was their golden wedding, so to speak. And as befits such an impressive anniversary with his partner, she was given a ring: after so many years Peter donated a new A proud man and machine: Peter Zen with his lifetime companion, his CZ. rear tyre to his CZ for this occasion. Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine


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Catch up • Stig Karlsson


POPULAR SWEDISH RIDER Since we started Classic Trial Magazine back in 2011, it has introduced us to a vast audience around the globe, and one such person is Sweden’s Lars Gerestad. In some recent communication, he mentioned Stig Karlsson. I vaguely remembered him as a guy torturing himself around the 1980 Scottish Six Days Trial on his four-stroke 350cc Matchless as I cruised around on my 320c Majesty. I did at the time ask the question why though credit where it’s due; he finished in 171st position. Was this guy mad? When Lars presented me with this article, I wound the clock back in my head to the memories of ‘Super Stig’. He became the first and only foreign rider to win the Pre-65 Scottish; on two occasions no less! First on a 350cc Triumph in 1999, the first year that road work was used in this event; the second time on his 500cc Matchless in 2000. Below, Lars briefly tells us the story of this Swedish trials rider and his engineering genius in this ‘Catch Up’ article. Words: Lars Gerestad with John Hulme • Pictures: Lars Gerestad, Steve Bird, Toon Van De Vliet, Colin Bullock and Iain Lawrie

Yes that’s one mighty four-stroke lump of good-old Great Britain’s motorcycle manufacturing past!


We would not call it ‘slim’ but the left-hand side of the Matchless is very smooth and uncluttered.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Stig Karlsson • Catch up

1980 SSDT: The crowd loved the brave heroics of the Swedish rider on the huge Matchless in the demanding Highland hazards.

This ‘Super Cool’ picture is the late great Nick Nicholls speaking with Stig at the start of the 1980 SSDT from the camera lens of Toon Van De Vliet.

“The smell of burnt oil in the Highlands from a great motorcycle manufactured in Great Britain, it was an aroma of nostalgia floating in the air that many memories are relived.”


tig was born in in the county of Smaland, Sweden, in the year of 1946. At the age of 14, he was training and competing for a Smaland boy’s football team when he severely injured his left heel. During a lengthy recovery period, he came across some strange men in Barbour suits having fun with their British trials-looking motorcycles. He was immediately sold on the idea of motorcycle trials. Purchasing an old Rex Roadmaster with a four-speed two-stroke 198cc Villiers engine, he quickly converted it into a more suitable machine for testing on some trial sections. While the football career was over before it had even begun, he openly admits he was never really a team player. Riding in motorcycle trials allowed him to be ‘at one’ with his machine against the elements of the outdoor world. At the age of 16, he took his Swedish ‘75kg light motorcycle’ driving license and, with this new-found freedom for adventure, he purchased a 175cc Husqvarna Silverpil, and the door opened to his long trials career. In the early 1970s, he took his little BMC Mini onto the open road loaded with his self-built ‘Antilop’ Husqvarna for the first trip to England Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

1980 SSDT: ‘Feet-Up’ on Ben Nevis.

and, as they say, the rest is history; the trials bug had bitten him.


In these pictures taken on the 14th September 2019, you can see Stig with his well-used and rather special lightweight 353cc Matchless with which Karlsson’s name has long been associated; it was his trademark. It is the machine he competed on in the Scottish Six Days Trial back in 1980, when the patriotic crowd warmed to him and his heroic efforts on the heavy four-strokes. The smell of burnt oil in the Highlands from a great motorcycle manufactured in Great Britain, it was an aroma of nostalgia floating in the air that many memories are relived. It was right here that Karlsson became the public’s favourite. He was the only rider competing on a big British four-stroke trials machine at that time when they were well out of fashion — retired away from the sport. The adventure for the once mighty and proud British motorcycles was over. After all these years he is now more than happy to reveal for the first time some of the secrets of his lightweight Matchless trial machine which made it so successful.

1980 SSDT: That’s one mighty four-stroke engine to take around the six days!


Catch up • Stig Karlsson

It needs a very competent rider to understand the workings of the Matchless.

“Stig manufactured his gear ratios and, yes, he machined four new gears to suit his requirements.” 1999 Pre-65 Scottish: The first year this iconic event used road work, and Stig won riding a 350cc Triumph.


The lightweight steel tubular frame is about the eighth one he has fabricated to accommodate the Matchless engine. The bottom half of the engine is from a 1948 Matchless G3 350cc, and the crankshaft is from a 250cc Matchless G2 CSR motocross engine, in turn, produced a stroke of 65mm. The piston is a modern 83mm Ø ‘Shoe Polish Jar’, which is what Stig calls them, at just about one inch high. The cylinder head is from a 500cc G 80 model with big valves. The cylinder is from a Yamaha XT 500 with remoulded pushrod tunnels and, of course, shortened pushrods. The camshafts are standard. The gearbox is a Burman B52. Stig manufactured his gear ratios and, yes, he machined four new gears to suit his requirements. A special low first and second, a long third for the moors, and a high fourth gear to achieve about 80km/ hour for road use, was the outcome.

2000 Pre-65 Scottish: Still the only foreign rider to win the event, Stig won for a second time in 2000 on his Matchless.


You may think the machine sounds special but do not forget the rider; Stig Karlsson has ridden Husqvarna, Villiers, Matchless and Triumph. A skilled engineer and a very high-standard trials rider, the perfect combination to have so much fun in a sport where his name is still spoken about affectionately at the annual trials gathering in Scotland in the first week in May.

Stig still has outings on his Matchless, man and machine as one.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Classic competition • 1970 Slateford Cattle Market in Edinburgh is a busy place on Sunday the 3rd May 1970 dominated by the new breed of machines from the Spanish manufacturers Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa.



Sadly, the final nails were firmly in the coffin of production of true all-British trials motorcycles, which were now virtually history as we entered an era of changing times. The Spanish had taken hold of the reins, both of the riders and the machines, led by Sammy Miller at Bultaco, Gordon Farley at Montesa and Mick Andrews at Ossa. Four-strokes were very ‘old hat’ as the new era of modern powerful two-stroke single cylinder aircooled machines dominated the trials scene. In truth the cottage industry of British-built machines with small-capacity foreign engines would also soon be swallowed up by the Spanish dominance. Here we have a look at some of the machines that had been developed to dominate the trials world, and some that had not! Words: Classic Trial Magazine, Motor Cycle and Mortons Archive • Pictures: Brian Holder Classic Trial Magazine would like to acknowledge the input from the Trials Guru, John Moffat, for this article generation.

Sammy Miller with his trademark immaculate 252cc Bultaco. The over-sized Bultaco engine enabled him to contest the Best up-to 350cc Class, which he would duly win. The major change to the engine performance was achieved by the fitting of a Japanese Mikuni carburettor as opposed to the Amal one fitted to production machines, which he claimed gave near-perfect carburation. Using his engineering skills and his own special parts he had reduced the weight from 96kg to 84kg. By removing the bottom frame rails he had increased the ground clearance by a full inch, and the engine was now protected by a flat aluminium plate. This very machine had just taken Miller to the 1970 European Trials Championship, his last major international success.


Not surprisingly, this Norton-AJS hybrid built by Bob Collier did not even last a day and he retired on day one when the ignition failed. Yes, it may look very innovative, but did he really think it would last the whole six days?

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

1970 • Classic competition

Despite the fact that he was contracted to Bultaco as a Motocross rider Malcolm Rathmell rode this new factory prototype 250cc Sherpa in the Six Days Trial. Its main change was the narrower rear sub-frame and rear silencer position, all aimed at reducing the overall width of the machine. As you can see, the machine was ‘ambushed’ by the Champion Spark Plug representative.

Note the small moped wheel hubs on the Montesa Cota 247 of Gordon Farley. The UK importer John Brise had started to make in-roads to the Bultaco domination after the demise of the British machines and was very happy to be receiving a regular supply of the red production machines.

There was no factory mechanic for Mick Andrews as he fitted a new Reynolds chain supplied by Vic Doyle to prepare his new machine for the event. He had returned from the Ossa headquarters near Barcelona in Spain with the new prototype, which featured a completely new frame with a single seat tube as opposed to the earlier duplex arrangement. The exhaust exited the cylinder barrel up and over the engine as opposed to the right-hand-side on his earlier prototype model on which he had won the Spanish European round earlier in the year. Here Jim Sandiford (Bultaco) on the left shakes hands with his good friend Don Smith (Stag). Sandiford’s machine has the new Renthal aluminium handlebars fitted. He was the first trials dealer to stock the Renthal products back in the early days of their handlebar production. Smith had left Montesa in 1970 and had built his own machine, the Stag, using the Montesa engine he had helped to develop. In May 1972 he would become the first top-level trials rider / development engineer to be employed by a Japanese factory as he signed a contract with Kawasaki.

Two good friends: Mick Bowers on the left and Dave Rowland on the right discuss the latest BSA Bantam trials model. Even in the present day many people argue that this machine could have turned around the fortunes of BSA in the trials world. When Yamaha introduced the TY 175cc model in the mid-70s they answered the question and showed just what could have been. Bowers retired from the event with a seized big-end in the little two-stroke engine on the Wednesday.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020


Classic competition • 1970 Mick Andrews (Ossa) Section: Glenogle – It’s day one action as the crowds ease forward to see the new Ossa, with Mick looking confident and in full control. In March Mick had won the Spanish European round on an earlier version of this machine as the development work started to progress, with the factory listening to the detail that he was feeding back to them.


ANDREWS ARRIVES It was a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’, Derbyshire’s Mick Andrews would eventually take his first Scottish Six Days Trial victory as he out-pointed Rob Edwards (Montesa) to take a very popular win in 1970. In 1961 Andrews’ natural talent on an off-road motorcycle was spotted by the AMC Competition Manager and former three-time Scottish Six Day winner Hugh Viney. With an excellent eye for future champions, he had witnessed the young Andrews enter into the trials world and saw his early success. After speaking with Tom Andrews, Mick’s father, Viney, offered him a factory-sponsored ride with AJS. He made his debut in the Scottish Six Days Trial on the 350cc four-stroke AJS in 1962 as a member of the factory-supported team. In 1963 he would take the runner-up position behind Arthur Lampkin (BSA) and again in 1964 behind Sammy Miller (Ariel). He would drop to third in 1965 on the James and again in 1966 on the Bultaco. The move to Ossa, where his future would lie, was made in 1967 but his efforts on the early trials model resulted in his retirement when rear-wheel problems forced him out. He was back on track in 1968, finishing third before moving to second behind Bill Wilkinson (Greeves) in 1969. At 25-years-old Mick Andrews had arrived as a true legend of trials, and soon the success with the Spanish Ossa manufacturer would continue. Words: Classic Trial Magazine and Mortons Archive • Pictures: Brian Holder


Rob Edwards (Montesa) Section: Laggan Locks – The move from Cotton to the Spanish Montesa was just the tonic Rob needed. As part of the Montesa A team he had shown his commitment after drowning his machine on the Rannoch Moor crossing on the Wednesday. Malcolm Rathmell had stopped to help and they soon had it running again but both would lose marks on time. The Montesa A team won the much sought-after Blackford Challenge Trophy for the best manufacturer for the second year in succession.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

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1970 • Classic competition

Sammy Miller (Bultaco) Section: Edramucky – With both feet down; this picture summed up Miller’s week in Scotland. This would be his last ride in the Scottish Six Days Trial. He had enjoyed considerable success in the event, first winning in 1962 on the Ariel; he repeated this in 1964 before the dramatic move from four-stroke to the two-stroke Bultaco in 1965 which changed the face of trials forever. He would enjoy further success on the Bultaco, winning again in 1967 and 1968.

The question on everyone’s lips was could Sammy Miller (Bultaco) take another win in the Highlands? He had been victorious on five previous occasions – the last time in 1968 — and he had dominated the ACU British Trials Championship from way back in 1959! At 35-years-old he was leading the British Championship and had just won the European Championship, was he on course to add a SSDT win? The win by Bill Wilkinson the previous year on the Villiers engined Greeves had ‘parked’ up the ailing British manufacturers, and they were now history in the trials world, despite launching a new model using a foreign engine. Seven manufacturers’ teams were entered, with the Spanish Montesa and Bultaco names leading the way. Earlier in the year, the huge sporting dealership near London, Comerfords, had been awarded the official franchise for Bultaco and, along with Montesa, had two teams entered. Dalesman Puch Ltd and Suzuki (Great Britain) Ltd had three-man teams, with the Suzuki having the two Lampkin brothers, Alan and Martin, and John Hemingway while Greeves had their team all riding the new Puch engined Pathfinder model. A total of 65 newcomers had also entered for the Highland challenge.

Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) Section: Achintee (Ben Nevis) – This is possibly the best picture from the selection of close-on 500 we have access to from the event. Superb throttle control and balance can be seen as Rathmell applies himself 100% to recording a clean ride. Originally contracted to Bultaco for motocross, his future would lie in the observed world of motorcycle trials.

For the first time in the event’s long history, the riding-number ballot had been applied all the way through the entry. In previous years, the smaller-capacity machines had started at the front of the entry. The Edinburgh and District Motor Club Ltd had a strong final entry list, presented by the Secretary of the meeting Jim McColm, of 220 riders supported by 17 club teams. Comerfords and Greeves Motorcycles had loaned machines to the committee for official use as the event started from the Slateford Cattle Market in Edinburgh on 4th May 1970. As it turned out, with nonstarters, the final entry of 210 riders headed out from Edinburgh for six days of trials action to be based around Fort William on the shores of Loch Linnhe before the trial returned to Edinburgh on the final day.

Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) Section: Achintee (Ben Nevis) – In 1970 Comerfords had become the concessionaries for Bultaco. As part of their commitment to John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – A very the Spanish manufacturer they had entered two teams in to the ‘Scottish’. determined ride came from John as the highest-placed ‘micro’ Chandler was in the A team with Sammy Miller and Paul Dunkley. machine and the winner of the Best Up To 150cc machine class award.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020


Classic competition • 1970

Gordon Farley (Montesa) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Arriving as a man on form, Farley never got going all week and was very disappointed with his eighth-placed finish. His only consolation was the Blackford Challenge Trophy for the best manufacturers’ team with Montesa.


Despite the talk of snow on the higher ground, it was warm and sunny weather that greeted rider number one Ted Breffitt Jnr (Ossa) who led the way, following a family tradition as his father Ted Breffitt Snr had carried the same riding number in 1954. The early hazards all proved very rideable and, at the end of the day, it was Sammy Miller who was happy to report a ‘Clean’ feet-up day. The iconic Pipeline would be ridden for the first time on Monday, and this fearsome steep climb up the side of the huge water pipes produced just six feet-up rides. The first came from the youngest of the three Lampkin brothers Martin on the Alta Suzuki, with a confident Lawrence Telling (Montesa) second followed by a very happy Terry Wright who kept the English-built Dalesman powered by the Austrian Puch engine on-line all the way to the top. Riding quite close together Sammy Miller, Rob Edwards and Malcolm Rathmell kept the Spanish machines in control to go clean. Second-placed Rathmell had lost his single mark on Mamore, and third-placed Edwards had single-mark losses at Altnafeadh and along with Rathmell at Mamore. Many riders complained that the time allowance had been difficult to adhere to due to the queue that had built up at Pipeline. So the organisers had removed any time penalties the riders had incurred in the latter part of the day. As is usual, the opening day had the top 12 positions covered by just six marks. The long road run covering 145 miles had seen seven retirements on the first day, but the contenders for the top spot were all intact as they turned their lights out for a good night’s sleep in Fort William.

Dave Thorpe (Ossa) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – You can clearly see the difference between the prototype Ossa ridden by Mick Andrews and the production ‘Pennie’ model ridded by ‘Thorpey’. Check out the ‘flex’ on the rear Dunlop tyre. Lawrence Telling (Montesa) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – As a member of the winning Montesa A team, Telling’s machine stood out by a mile with its yellow-painted frame.

RESULTS: 1: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 0; 2: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 1; 3: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 2; 4: Martin Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) 3; 5: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 3; 6: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 4; 7: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 5; 8: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 5; 9: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 5; 10: Terry Wright (Dalesman) 6; 11: Jack Galloway (Saracen) 6; 12: John Luckett (Bultaco) 6.


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

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Classic competition • 1970

Ted Breffitt (Ossa) Section unknown: Ted Breffitt Jnr had the number one plate on his machine, following a family tradition as his father Ted Breffitt Snr had carried the same riding number in 1954. Watching is Norman Edgar Snr holding the cine-camera and Tom Andrews, Mick’s father and his wife Jill on the far right.


This is the first day based around Fort William and surrounding areas. The ride to Kinlochleven was carried out in fine weather as the riders then faced the climb up to the heights of Grey Mare’s Ridge. This long climb high above Kinlochleven in the moist air twists and turns up a very slippery, rock-filled track. The man on super form in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd was Montesa team rider Rob Edwards as he, along with Malcolm Rathmell and Mick Andrews, cleaned the whole group of eight hazards. Another notable ride came from Dalesman rider Paul England who cleaned the very top hazard. The first-day leader Sammy Miller was having a nightmare and, as the day continued, he would finish with a total of nine marks lost. After passing through the other groups of hazards, including the exposed ones at Pollock Way and Blackwater, after the lunch break, the entry headed over to the small village of Fersit before crossing Roy Bridge, Inverlochy and then on to some new hazards at the base of Ben Nevis. This is the highest

Ian Haydon (Montesa) Section: Achintee (Ben Nevis) – Another Cotton convert to Montesa, Ian will tell you he wishes had moved to the Spanish manufacturers earlier. He considers that he lost some of his best trials-riding years staying loyal to the Cotton name.


Paul Dunkley (Bultaco) Section: Laggan Locks – One week earlier Paul had beaten his fellow Bultaco A team member Sammy Miller at the Isle of Wight Two Day Trial.

mountain in the British Isles, standing at 1,345 metres above sea level in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands and close to the trials headquarters in Fort William. The rain had moved into the area and the final hazard produced marks from the entire entry apart from the on-from Edwards and John Hemingway on the little Alta Suzuki. As Ireland’s Billy McMaster hit rear-chain problems with his Montesa, he eventually ran over the time limit. He was excluded, putting the Montesa B team out of the manufacturers’ team contest. With two days of the six now under their belts the retirements had risen to 23. Seven marks separated the top five, leaving it still all to play for. RESULTS: 1: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 2; 2: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 6; 3: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 8; 4: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 9; 5: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 9; 6: Martin Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) 16; 7: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 16; 8: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 19; 9: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 20; 10: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) 21; 11: Jack Galloway (Saracen) 22; 12: Peter Gaunt (Gaunt Jawa) 24.

Brian Hutchinson (Sprite) Section: Glenogle – Standing tall on the 125cc Sprite Brian would follow his ‘micro’ machine career through to Montesa in the early 70s riding the Cota 123.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

1970 • Classic competition

Alan Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Watched by ACU Steward Edward Damadien and the observer Willie Dewar, second on the right, ‘Sid’, as he is better known, would move to the Bultaco later in the year.

Scott Ellis (Greeves), Gorgie Market, Edinburgh Sunday – Checking chain alignment on the new Greeves Pathfinder. Scott was in a threeman Greeves team on the new Puch engine trials model. He was the highest-placed finisher winning the Best up to 200cc award.


The reliability and time element of this six-day trial takes no prisoners and day three is possibly the most unrelenting. The most challenging hazards were the three at Edramucky, a short ride after the lunch check at Crianlarich. Much to the crowd’s delight, the first-ever clean ride of Edramucky was achieved by Malcolm Rathmell. Showing excellent technique and superb throttle control he took the Bultaco through feet-up. By the close of the day, he would find himself in the lead after three days of riding. Ian Haydon also guided the Montesa through for a single-mark loss. Other single-mark rides included a very impressive Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) who tied on three marks lost with Rathmell for the best daily performance, as pre-event favourite Gordon Farley (Montesa) and leader-board man Miller both stopped. Realising that time was going to be a commodity Miller had jumped to the front of the queue to set off over the testing Rannoch Moor to the final hazards of the day at Ghuanach Gorge. It was out on the moors that the wheels came off Rob Edwards’ challenge as he drowned the Montesa. Rathmell stopped to help, and they both incurred time penalties at the end of the day. A massive 38 riders failed to finish the day for one reason or another, pushing the retirements for the three days up to 68! The gearbox on the Don

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

Bill Wilkinson (Greeves) Section: Edramucky – Already on day one the 1969 SSDT winner looks uncomfortable on the Pathfinder model. He is watched by SACU Steward Jim Birrell, third from left in tweed jacket seated, and Edinburgh enthusiast Eric Borthwick crouched on right.

Smith ‘Stag’ special using the Montesa engine had broken. Reg May on his 250cc four-stroke Comerfords Triumph special was also out, as he had damaged the oil-retaining frame and the engine had seized up. Riding the experimental BSA Bantam Mick Bowers was forced out towards the close of the day with a seized big-end in the little two-stroke engine. RESULTS: 1: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 15; 2: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 16; 3: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 19; 4: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 19; 5: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 22; 6: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) 28; 7: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 30; 8: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 32; 9: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 35; 10: Martin Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) 40; 11: Ted Breffitt (Ossa) 48; 12: Peter Gaunt (Gaunt Jawa) 51.


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1970 • Classic competition

Charlie Harris (Montesa) Section: Edramucky – You will note that this is the earlier Montesa Cota 247 with the larger wheel hubs as Charlie aims to take a flying dab.

Gerald Rathmell (Sprite) Section Laggan Locks – Watched by Mick Andrews, Monty Banks and Snr F.X. Bulto of Bultaco, the younger of the two Rathmell brothers won the Best Newcomer award.


Looking good for a top ten finish, John Hemingway had moved up the leader-board as the highest placed small-capacity machine as the riders headed out for a day consisting of 114 miles around the Moidart Peninsula. The needle-match for the victory was now getting closer as five riders still had their sights on the victory. Both Mick Andrews and Rob Edwards made their intentions clear, losing just one mark each, as Miller parted with a very cautious two. Rathmell had suffered with his feet down earlier, and on the aptly named Devil’s Staircase, under the eyes of the Bultaco ‘Boss’ Senor Bulto, he had to once again get his feet down to maintain forward motion. Despite the problems of a front tyre puncture on the Ossa Mick Andrews maintained his challenge with just a single loss on Camp Hill as Geoff Chandler parted with four marks lost. For the first time in the week, the Bultaco A team overtook the Montesa A team, mainly due to the efforts of Paul Dunkley. Having repaired a broken frame on the previous day, Martin Lampkin remained in the top ten. It’s quite funny how stories come out of this event, and one for the book came from Roy Peplow, the winner in 1959 on a Triumph Tiger Cub. After 14 years of competing in the event, he parted with marks for the first time ever on the famous Devil’s Staircase as he reminisced with the officials and spectators at the top of the hill. As for Peter Gaunt on his 98cc Jawa engined Gaunt special, he was one of two retirements for the day as he was thrown from the machine close to the Glen Finnan memorial on the ride back to Fort William as the gearbox seized up. Also out with engine problems was Jack Galloway on the new Saracen trials model. RESULTS: 1: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 18; 2: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 20; 3: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 20; 4: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 23; 5: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 23; 6: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) 35; 7: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 36; 8: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 42; 9: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 42; 10: Martin Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) 43; 11: Ian Haydon (Montesa) 51; 12: Ted Breffitt (Ossa) 55.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

Derek Adsett (Greeves), Gorgie Market Sunday – Seen here preparing the Greeves Pathfinder, Derek had a massive shock in the morning of the weigh in. Thieves had unhooked the trailer carrying his machine and stolen his car during the night from his hotel, with all his riding kit and spares in! Bill Martin was one of many people who helped him prepare for the six days of action by offering riding kit, etc.

Jim Sandiford (Bultaco) Section: Edramucky – The slippery rocks exited by a sharp corner take a single mark from him on day one. These hazards were taken in on the 145-mile ride from Edinburgh to Fort William.


Classic competition • 1970

Terry Wright (Dalesman) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Riding the Puch Dalesman, Terry had finished the first day inside the top ten with a superb ride up Pipeline.


With the marks so close, it was always going to be tense day for the leading riders. It was a welcome dry ride as the riders arrived at the first hill of the day, Laggan Locks. Very steep and demanding with the ever-changing moving rocks, the hazards can be challenging to negotiate even after a rider inspection. Producing the only feet-up ride was Malcolm Rathmell, followed by single-dab attempts from the trial leader Sammy Miller, Mick Andrews, Rob Edwards and a very impressive John Hemingway, who fought the Alta Suzuki all the way. At Bradileig on the huge flat rocks, a 17-year-old Rob Shepherd had his moment of glory on the Montesa with a superb clean ride. After careful inspections, all the top riders cleaned the hazards as Mick Andrews lost a one, but Rathmell was in trouble. He clipped a rock and closed the throttle on the Bultaco to regain control and, in a freak of nature, the two-stroke engine ‘coughed’ and ran backwards, and a ‘quick’ five-mark penalty was recorded.

Paul England (Dalesman) Section: Edramucky – Riding as part of a three-man Dalesman team that showed that the cottage industry of small manufacturers in Great Britain were ready to fight the Spanish machines’ domination.

Sammy Miller was also in trouble during the day as he recorded a loss of ten marks made up of three three-mark penalties and a single-mark loss. Carrying his good form from Laggan Locks John Hemingway was in superb form with a loss of just two marks for the day, an incredible achievement on such a small-capacity machine. The previous day he had incurred an unexpected stop when the chain jumped the sprockets on the Suzuki and the five-mark penalty that went with it. As the riders arrived back in Fort William for the final time Mick Andrews held a five-mark lead from Sammy Miller; could Andrews take his first win? RESULTS: 1: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 23; 2: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 28; 3: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 29; 4: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 32; 5: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 34; 6: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) 38; 7: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 49; 8: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 51; 9: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 56; 10: Ted Breffitt (Ossa) 71; 11: Ian Haydon (Montesa) 72; 12: Martin Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) 77.

John Luckett (Bultaco) Section: Glenogle – It’s all eyes on John as he is watched by a keen audience including F.X. Bulto and Jock Wilson from Comerfords, the newly appointed Bultaco UK concessionaries.

Dave Rowland (Bultaco) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Looking very at home on the Comerfords Bultaco, this would be his last appearance at the SSDT as later in the year he would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Classic competition • 1970

Roy Peplow (Bultaco) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – We could not find a Devil’s Staircase picture but after 14 years of competing in the event he parted with marks for the first time ever on the famous Devil’s Staircase as he reminisced with the officials and spectators at the top of the hill.


The word on every one of the top rider’s lips was Pipeline. This intimidating steep climb was the one where the trial could be won and lost. Well, clear of the rest of the field the top four were made up of Mick Andrews, Sammy Miller, Rob Edwards and Malcolm Rathmell. The crowd edged forward in an atmosphere that had everyone in silence as Miller attacked first, but soon he was footing after the front wheel caught a wayward rock and six marks were added to his score. Next up was Rathmell who parted with three marks, made up of solitary dabs. Looking every inch a winner, and with so much crowd support, Andrews replicated Rathmell and on exiting the top hazard knew he had one hand on the winner’s trophy. Rob Edwards was the last of the top four contenders, and he was in superb form, parting with just a single mark, and the appreciation from the crowd produced a huge cheer. As the rest of the entry made a failed attempt one after another, it was the 1966 winner Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin who equalled Edwards’ earlier single-mark effort. For his younger brother Martin, it was heartbreak. Struggling with a broken frame from the middle of the week, he had tried in vain to keep the Alta Suzuki in the event, but with a seized gearbox, and a machine in two pieces, he had to retire on the final day after all his efforts. The news that at last Mick Andrews had won the ‘Scottish’ was very well received by all. It was the start of a long line of success for Andrews as he was named as the ‘Monarch of the Glen’ – a fitting tribute to this trials superstar. RESULTS: 1: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 26; 2: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 31; 3: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 34; 4: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 36; 5: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 50; 6: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) 51; 7: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 55; 8: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 63; 9: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 65; 10: Ted Breffitt (Ossa) 81; 11: Ian Haydon (Montesa) 82; 12 Paul Dunkley (Bultaco) 84.

Howard Doncaster (Bultaco) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Showing perfect poise in front of Rob Shepherd watching at the base of the tree.


Derek Edgar (AJS) Section: Laggan Locks – Flying the flag for the ailing British manufacturers, Derek’s works-supported machine was built from a collection of parts sent to Edgar Brothers in Edinburgh by the AJS factory in 1969.

Dougie Bald (Montesa) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – The 1968 Scottish Trials Champion was a time-served cabinetmaker and fire-fighter who still enjoyed his trials riding.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

1970 • Classic competition

Ernie Page (Bultaco) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Watched closely by Don Smith with his Barbour jacket displaying the 1969 ISDT Vase B Team badge, Ernie Page was Scottish Scrambles Champion 1967 and a multiple Gold medal winner at the ISDT.

Rob Shepherd (Montesa) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – Suitably kitted out, he would finish in 36th position in his first attempt at this event.

Ray Sayer (Triumph) Section: Tyndrum – On the final day on the run back to Edinburgh, Ray is on his own home brewed Triumph. The year before he rode an AJS 37A-T but didn’t get on with it, reverting to the Triumph twin for 1970.

Walter Luft (Puch-AUT) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – This was his first SSDT on the Austrian built Puch trials machine. Ian Abbott (Bultaco) Section: Grey Mare’s Ridge – This was Ian’s first SSDT; note the tall Matador model Bultaco handlebars as he is watched by Roger Mount with the goggles on his cap.

Martin Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) Section: Edramucky – Try as he might, he was forced out of the event on the final day after numerous problems with the Alta Suzuki including a broken frame.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020


Classic competition • 1970

Billy McMaster (Montesa) Section: Glenogle – Early Montesa Cota trials models had been plagued with gearbox problems, it was these that put Billy out of the event and ended the Montesa B team hopes.

SCOTTISH SIX DAYS TRIAL 1970 Don Smith (Stag) Section: Glenogle – Smith wanted so much to win the event, as you can see with his immaculate machine preparation on the Montesa engined home-built Stag. Sponsored by Hugh McDonald at the 1970 SSDT the win never happened. The canister on the left-hand side of the machine is an air bottle that could be used to inflate the tyres.

RESULTS: 1: Mick Andrews (Ossa) 26; 2: Rob Edwards (Montesa) 31; 3: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) 34; 4: Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) 36; 5: Geoff Chandler (Bultaco) 50; 6: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) 51; 7: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 55; 8: Gordon Farley (Montesa) 63; 9: Lawrence Telling (Montesa) 65; 10: Ted Breffitt (Ossa) 81; 11: Ian Haydon (Montesa) 82: Paul Dunkley (Bultaco) 84; 13: Brian Hutchinson (Sprite) 94; 14: Alan Lampkin (Alta Suzuki) 94; 15: Scott Ellis (Greeves) 104; 16: Bill Wilkinson (Greeves) 108; 17: Gerald Rathmell (Sprite) 108; 18: Charlie Harris (Montesa) 114; 19: Jim Sandiford (Bultaco) 115; 20: Derek Adsett (Greeves) 118; 21: Karl Rowbotham (Bultaco) 119; 22: Terry Wright (Dalesman) 125; 23: Stan Cordingley (Bultaco) 126; 24: Allie Cameron (Montesa) 126; 25: Paul England (Dalesman) 136; 26: John Luckett (Bultaco) 139; 27: Dave Rowland (Bultaco) 140; 28: Dougie Bald (Montesa) 142; 29: Derek Edgar (AJS) 148; 30: John Hayton (Bultaco) 149; 31: Roy Peplow (Bultaco) 150; 32: Archie MacDonald (Bultaco) 151; 33: Brian Hutsby (Bultaco) 159; 34: R Walker (Montesa) 159; 35: Howard Doncaster (Bultaco) 161; 36: Rob Shepherd (Montesa) 164; 37: Roger Mount (Montesa) 173; 38: John Kendrew (Dalesman) 174; 39: M Barnes (Bultaco) 175; 40: G Best (Bultaco) 175; 41: Alan Morewood (Bultaco) 181; 42: Ernie Page (Bultaco) 186; 43: Steve Wilson (Montesa) 186. MACHINES: Bultaco 18; Montesa 11; Dalesman 3; Greeves 3; Ossa 3; Alta Suzuki 2; Sprite 2; AJS 1. TEAM: Montesa: Rob Edwards, Gordon Farley and Lawrence Telling BEST NEWCOMER: Gerald Rathmell (Sprite) SECOND BEST NEWCOMER: Terry Wright (Dalesman) BEST OVERSEAS RIDER: Walter Luft (Puch-AUT) BEST UP-TO 150CC: John Hemingway (Alta Suzuki) – 6th BEST UP-TO 200CC: Scott Ellis (Greeves) – 15th BEST UP-TO 250CC: Mick Andrews (Ossa) – 1st BEST UP-TO 350CC: Sammy Miller (Bultaco) – 3rd

Reg May (Comerford Triumph) Section: Glenogle – Watched by Johnny Birrell with camera second from right, Reg rode this Comerfords Triumph special but the oil-carrying frame broke, which caused engine problems, and so it was an end to his six days on the Wednesday.

BEST UP-TO 500CC: Ray Sayer (Triumph) 58th BEST PRIVATE OWNER: Dave Thorpe (Ossa) 7th Mike Winwood (Walwin BSA) Section: Tyndrum – BAB6H was one of two BSA Bantamengine Walwins with a Honda 50 front hub, Ceriani forks and alloy plate frame. His brother rode a similar Walwin but big-end failure forced his retirement from the 1970 SSDT. The name ‘Walwin’ was the engineering business operated by their grandfather Walter Winwood.

Jack Galloway (Saracen) Section: Glenogle – An exmember of the parachute regiment, he had moved from a Bultaco in the earlier part of the year to Saracen but was forced to retire with engine problems on the Thursday.


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Project • Aprilia



Generating articles can start in many strange ways, and this Aprilia one was somewhat unusual as it triggered a memory in me from 1981. My good friend, John E Shirt, was up to his eyes in the Yamaha Majesty project. The production was flat-out and machine sales were very strong but John had a concern about the future viability of the project as he knew that one day the supply of the donor Yamaha TY range would dry up. I doubt if he knew about the monoshock Yamaha project that would come to life in 1983. Maybe the change to the red-and-white Majesty fuel tank was an indication? On one of my visits John had shown me the new Aprilia TR 320 he had recently acquired. We both had a ride on it and, yes, we were surprised at just how good it was. You must remember that by this time two other Italian motorcycle manufacturers, Fantic and SWM, had made massive in-roads to the trials market. John had an astute eye for business, as we found out later when he moved from Yamaha to Gas Gas, maybe John was leaving his options open; but soon the Aprilia disappeared. My passionate trials friend Alberto Baessato from Venice, Italy contacted me recently as he finished his latest trials project which is this modified Aprilia. As he told me, it was his idea to combine the ‘British Spirit’ with the ‘Italian Style’ as it had the air-cooled two-stroke Hiro engine developed by Sammy Miller resting in the Italian frame. Words: John Hulme and Alberto Baessato Pictures: Trial Magazine France, Alberto Baessato, Sammy Miller Museum and Eric Kitchen


The ‘British Spirit’ with the ‘Italian Style’ as it had the air-cooled twostroke Hiro engine developed by Sammy Miller resting in the Italian frame.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Aprilia • Project

“It was well designed; for example, you could remove the tank seat unit without tools in less than a minute!” Black does make a machine look heavy, but the green frame and white plastics rescue the aesthetics.

A few engine modifications were carried out, including this one to make the clutch action more efficient.

The steering head angle was modified to suit the modern era of classic trials hazards. Renthal handlebars with a 7/8th Ǿ provide a secure riding position. Modifications to suit the riding position were carried out around the footrest area.

In the classic trials hazards you still find some demanding rock steps, which is why the Aprilia has upgraded suspension at the front and rear.


Alberto Baessato: “If you were born in a ‘sea place’ like me, in a place in which everything seems to related to water, it’s difficult to fall in love with trials. In Venice you could be an artist, a fisherman or sell merchandise; rarely you’ll be an enthusiast involved in something like a dirty motorcycle sport! This is my Aprilia story.”


The Italian motorcycle manufacturer Aprilia was just five kilometres from my family house. Close enough to put me in contact with the offClassic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

road world and push me towards the discovery of a beautiful sports environment, motorcycle trials, and a passion I would keep close to my heart from my teenage years. In more recent times, and at a more mature time in my life, I decided it was time to look at classic trials. My project would be the rebuild of the Aprilia while introducing some of my ideas. In 1981, the Aprilia factory based at Noale, Italy, released its first adult production trials machine, the TR 320 model. It was well designed; for example, you could remove the

tank seat unit without tools in less than a minute! The engine was the Hiro 320cc engine developed by Sammy Miller. This modern engine design featured a Nikasil-coated cylinder liner along with in-gear kick-starting and a six-speed gearbox. The cycle parts were well-known components: Marzocchi front fork, Betor rear shocks and Grimeca brakes. The later model received only a few minor modifications and a change in aesthetics from red to white before they moved to Austrian Rotax engines. 83

Project • Aprilia Italian Acerbis plastics including the fuel tank were the ones to have in the early ’80s.

The engine for the Aprilia trials project came from the abandoned Miller trials project. Sammy Miller had developed his own brand of trials machine, the Miller. He had looked at a production run of the machines but believed it would not be financially viable. This machine can be found in the Sammy Miller Museum.

“It certainly turns heads whenever I ride it, and I take great pride in what I have achieved…” A COMPETITIVE TWIN-SHOCK

A rebuilding project started in my mind — no more a conservative idea, I wanted a very aggressive and competitive twin-shock. I purchased a donor machine, stripped it bare and then started the rebuild. Some minor changes were made to the footrest area and the steering angle for the type of hazards I would be riding. It was sprayed a traditional green colour. The suspension was upgraded at the front and rear, once again to make it more competitive. In the classic twin-shock world it has surprised me at times just how rocky and steep some of the hazards are, so it was based on this that the steering head angle was changed and the upgraded suspension fitted. The front and rear wheels were rebuilt, with the aluminium rims anodised in black. New cycle parts were fitted where necessary.

In 1981 the Aprilia factory based at Noale, Italy, released its first adult production trials machine the TR 320 model.


The engine for the Aprilia trials project came from the abandoned ‘Miller’ trials project. Sammy Miller had developed his brand of trials machine. Using his frame and the Hiro engine, and the best of the suspension and cycle parts available, he had looked at a production run of the machines but believed it would not be financially viable. The engine was known for its strong, smooth power delivery, as seen in later life when Steve Saunders won the British Trials Championship in 1983 and 1984 on the Armstrong fitted with the Hiro engine. The engine was completely rebuilt and in very good condition, with all the bearings and gaskets renewed.

The later production model received only a few minor modifications and a change in aesthetics from red to white before they moved to the Austrian Rotax engines.


I am very happy with my ‘hybrid’ Aprilia trials machine, which in my opinion looks very modern for a classic machine. My only apprehension is the black wheel rims. I think it makes the machine look heavy. It handles and performs very well, which is what it’s all about, I want something easy to compete on. It certainly turns heads whenever I ride it, and I take great pride in what I have achieved with the rebuild from the original donor machine. Many of my friends and fellow riders have modified Fantic and SWM trials motorcycles, but I take great pride in the fact that you don’t see many modified Aprilias. The classic scene is now very prominent in the trials world, and I, for one, enjoy winding back the clock to enjoy my very first love in life, motorcycle trials. John Hulme, editor, Classic Trial Magazine: “Do you, dear reader, have your own trials story or project machine? Are you starting a project? All we need is some high-res pictures in JPG format; we can work together on the words. If it’s a ‘yes’, please feel free to contact me, my details are in the front of the magazine.” 84

The TRRS UK importer, Steve Saunders, won the British Trials Championship in 1983 and 1984 on the Armstrong fitted with the Hiro engine.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Remembering • Ralph G. Venables



The title is a play on words, deliberately so, as Trials & Motocross News under the editorship of Bill Lawless ran a weekly column written by Ralph Venables which was entitled ‘Ralph Remembers’. Ralph (pronounced ‘Rafe’ and he didn’t let anyone forget it!) lived for much of his life in the small village and civil parish of Swallowcliffe, Salisbury in Wiltshire. He was often referred to in articles as the ‘Squire of Swallowcliffe’ and the ‘doyen’ of trials journalists and writers. Ralph was very much of the old school of journalism. He took up the task after realising that he would never be a top-flight trials rider, even though he was brought up in the company of the famous Heath brothers, Len and Joe, who were renowned trials and scrambles competitors immediately post-war. Words: John Moffat — The Trials Guru • Pictures: JA Hopper, Malcolm Carling and Alan Vines


Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Ralph G. Venables • Remembering Ralph loved four-stroke trials motorcycles and when the opportunity came to have the loan of the Honda TL 250 in the late 70s from David Dixon at Dixon Racing he was very grateful. He used it for some ‘Green Lane’ riding around the lanes of Hampshire and Sussex.

This article’s generation came to life through our good friend at Classic Trial Magazine John Moffat. As with Ralph Venables, John is a respected authority on the world of motorcycles, and trials in particular.


orn in Oxford in1914, the year the First World War broke out, it was recorded that his first motorcycling event was not until 1920, in company with his elder brother, to spectate at the Southern Scott Scramble near Camberley, Surrey. His parents moved to Farnham, Surrey, where he met the Heath brothers and became a lifelong friends. Len Heath featured many times when Ralph recounted his life in the sport, so significant was his influence. It was further recorded that Ralph suffered injuries in a road traffic accident while competing in a Schoolboy Trial near Croydon, Surrey. Schoolboy trials are not a new phenomenon; some private schools promoted them early last century. The accident was sufficiently serious that Venables spent some time in hospital and resulted in compensation being paid to him for his injuries, so it is assumed the car driver wasn’t devoid of fault! Other interesting facts about Ralph include being an official of the Sunbeam MCC which is, of course, the club that presents the annual Pinhard Prize through the ACU to recognise meritorious performance or efforts by a competitor or club member under the age of 21. All the gear and a huge smile; this summed up Venables and motorcycles.


In 1957, the year of my birth, Ralph reduced his motorcycle club activities and branched out into article writing for the then Motor Cycle when the Iliffe family owned it. Of course, now the title is held by Mortons Media. Venables had a remarkable memory for people, places and events that was second to none. He may not have been a successful competitor in his own right, but he got to know all the top-flight trials and scrambles riders of Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

various eras. He could spout forth many facts and figures, which earned him the moniker of being a walking, talking encyclopaedia. I got to know Ralph many years ago, around 1988. Ralph had conversed with my late father on quite a few occasions, and that was my effective ‘calling card’ to be able to speak with him. It has to be said that many Scottish competitors referred to Ralph as the

‘Poison Pen’; he could be quite unkind with his description of some of our countryfolk in his columns, which did not endear him to competitors north of Hadrian’s Wall! I wonder who recalls Ralph’s attempts to persuade the ACU to reduce the dimensions of the standard trials tyre from four inches to three-and half-inches back in the mid-1970s? Gordon Farley did a back-to-back test using his 87

Remembering • Ralph G. Venables

A very early picture of Mick Andrews on the AJS riding up Cheeks Hill in the Bemrose Trophy Trial from March 1962. He was one of Ralph’s favourite riders and he had an impeccable relationship with him.

The ‘David and Goliath’ scenario, played out at the 1967 Scottish Six Days Trial between Sammy Miller on the 252cc Bultaco and Dave Rowland on the 175cc BSA, was followed enthusiastically by Venables, sat here on the right.

Mick only had a short and abrupt apprenticeship with the Kenning Motor Group but made a living out of riding trials machines, an idea that was in its infancy in 1963. Andrews was not alone in this special attention from Venables, he tipped many to these industry insiders, and factory mounts were dispatched for these young men to try out the machine and eventually sign ‘works’ contracts. Venables was the ‘eyes and ears’ of motorcycle trials and indeed scrambles in the 1950s and 1960s. He reported for the Motor Cycle and latterly Motor Cycle News when owned by EMAP (East Midland Allied Press) which had kicked off production the same year as Venables commenced writing for the rival paper Motor Cycle. Found in the middle of this picture from 1967 at the back, Ralph loved the atmosphere at the ‘Legendary’ trials hazards such as Pipeline at the SSDT.

factory Montesa Cota using both sizes, and the former British Champion failed to get a grip on a variety of sections using the smaller-section tyre. I was fortunate. By the time I got to know him, Ralph had mellowed slightly, but he could still pack a punch. I had it on good authority that when I started writing some articles on Scottish competitors, Ralph had been heard to say: “I do hope that you are in no way paying John Moffat for his articles by the word; otherwise you will be severely out of pocket”. Ralph had made the incorrect assumption that I was writing for money. Being paid for journalism is one thing; I was only doing it for enjoyment and recording sporting matters for posterity. Ralph, it is safe to say, wrote for money, and I certainly never had a problem with that.


Ralph was a master wordsmith; few could beat or even equal him. He had an impressive command of the English language, and he used it sparingly but very effectively. It was indeed a matter of the pen is mightier than the sword when it came to his weekly columns. Was he controversial? Of course he was; all good journalists can stir things up and get people thinking, it is part of their job, it sells papers, it gets people talking, and R.G. Venables was in the masterclass at it.


I did challenge Ralph on the point, and he admitted freely that is what he had said, but gave me some advice at the same time. He told me: “Please be economical with words, John; why write five when one will do”. I took his advice on board and discovered that sometimes, less is indeed more! Venables, or ‘RGV’ as he was sometimes known in the motorcycle sporting circles, was a trusted, unpaid scout for the British motorcycle factories, especially keeping company with their Competitions Managers of the magnitude of Brian Martin (BSA), Hugh Viney, latterly Bob Manns of AMC, Jack Stalker of Royal Enfield and many more. It was Ralph that effectively ‘discovered’ a sixteen-year-old from Derbyshire called Michael J. Andrews. Venables would have a quiet word in the ever-listening ear of Hugh Viney, and a factory AJS 16C was soon trundling its way to Matlock strapped to the inside wall of the guard’s van by railway from Plumstead in East London. Andrews would soon make his name on the factory machine, going on to ride for Rickmans, then Ossa and of course Yamaha. 88

1968 SSDT: John Hulme: “I witnessed first-hand the ‘Banter’ between Don Smith and Ralph. I have the very copy of the book Smith produced on trials, signed by Smith himself. Inside it quotes ‘Ralph, despite our constant years of conflict we remain good friends, please enjoy this book’. I struck up a good friendship with Don Smith and was in constant contact with him until his untimely death in 2004, he would have loved the magazines.”

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Remembering • Ralph G. Venables

Ralph in the top lefthand-side of the picture, in his element with his programme at the 1968 Scottish Six Days Trial.

A constant exchange of words happened on many occasions between Dennis Jones, seen here at the 1968 British Experts Trial, and Ralph. Venables was much regimented whereas Jones was his own man with his own rules. On the many ‘Micro’ trials machines he rode he loved nothing better than to show Ralph just how good the little two-stroke machines were against the mighty ‘British’ four-strokes.

Venables, of course, had great respect for Sammy Miller, 11 times British Champion and the most famous of all trials riders. However, Ralph was not a fan of Sammy’s riding style. Ralph was quoted as saying that Sam was “far too crouched over the front of his machine for my liking”. Ralph wasn’t afraid to say what he thought or comment on what he liked or disliked. With Venables you either took it or left it, that was his terms. When I got to know Ralph a little, I told him that if I was totally honest, the first page I used to turn to in Trials & Motocross News was the one in which his column appeared. Some months later Ralph commented how pleased he was when people told him that very fact. In early 1994, I asked Ralph a few times if he could perhaps feature a few Scottish competitors in his column; to me, that may make up for all the negative things he had written perhaps 30 years previously about my

fellow countrymen. To my astonishment and delight, in the April 29th edition of the paper, he did indeed feature “Highland heroes on home ground” as his full-page column, ‘Ralph Remembers’. In fact, his short opening paragraph read “…John Moffat has been nagging me mercilessly in connection with my column. He wants me to devote a whole page to Scots pictured competing in the Scottish Six Days Trial”. Not only did he feature them once he did it a second time when some suitable photographs landed on his desk at Swallowcliffe. Ralph first spectated at the SSDT in 1937 an event he attended as a reporter and an official observer. He particularly enjoyed staying at Gordon Blakeways’ hotel at Strontian, Kilcamb Lodge, which he described as the ‘friendliest hotel in the Highlands’ on more than one occasion.

Ralph Venables By Mike Rapley

As I start my 57th year of active trials riding, I’m occasionally asked who was instrumental in attracting me into the sport of trials. Well, there were three people: my Dad; ACU Vice President, Colin Moram; and, perhaps surprisingly, Ralph Venables. Ever since I can remember, Dad took me to trials, and invariably Ralph Venables, then the sport’s renowned journalist, was in attendance, particularly when we attended national trials. Ralph, “Call me Rafe” always knew the best places to spectate and Dad would be the first to check out with Ralph where he would be going, and the moment he was into his Daimler Dart open-topped sports car, we would be following along the country lanes. They were magical days and, I well recall Ralph, Dad and me climbing the mountain above Tyndrum to watch riders tackle sections in the 1964 Scottish in torrential, driving rain — in the days when oilskins were the only wet-weather gear! Dad’s umbrella blew inside out, and it was Ralph who remarked that dad looked as if he was ‘Off to the office’ in a jocular fashion. And some 14 years later, he shared a journey with me in my VW Beetle, pointing out the history of the old road as we drove through Glencoe. His knowledge was legendary. As the years passed RGV, the Squire of Swallowcliffe, was always around at the national trials in which I rode, reporting upon them for various newspapers and writing more than 1,800 columns named variously The Sporting Scene; Competition Commentary and Ralph Remembers for the Motor Cycle, MCN and TMX. Then, of course, he joined TMX as a contributor and I was fortunate enough to be the staff journalist who produced his page, but woe betide me if I ever changed a word that he produced! His life story has been well covered elsewhere over the years; suffice to say that it is an honour to have known him so well and his passing in 2003 was a massive loss to the sport.


Gordon Farley (Montesa) comes under the watchful eye of Venables at the 1969 SSDT. He witnessed first-hand the arrival of the Spanish Armada of Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa hammer the nails into the once-proud & mighty manufacturing of motorcycles in Great Britain.

I often wonder just what Ralph is thinking about as he watches Doug Theobald in action on his BSA Bantam at the 1970 John Douglas Trial.

Spring 2020 • Classic Trial Magazine

Ralph G. Venables • Remembering As Malcolm Rathmell grew his hair long, Venables offered him the money to have it cut! This picture is from the 1972 Mitchell Trial on the 250cc Bultaco.

Ralph’s wife Pam would sometimes accompany him to trials events, seen here on the far right. As the girls enjoy the ‘Banter’, Ralph witnesses Dave Thorpe’s desperate fight to keep forward motion at the 1971 Wye Valley Traders Cup Trial.


Sadly, Ralph passed away in February 2003, having suffered from Motor Neurone Disease. Still, my connection with him became very memorable indeed, as he died on exactly the same day as my late Mother, Betty Moffat. Obviously, I had my hands full in early February that year, so much so that it was only a fortnight later when I was able to catch up on affairs that I noticed when Ralph has passed away and, of course to my surprise, that it was on the same day as my Mother. I wrote to Pam, his widow, expressing my sincere condolences to her and mentioned that fact. Pam sent me a very nice letter by return, thanking me and also offering her condolences to me on the loss of my maternal parent. Sammy Miller once told me: “John, don’t tell me stories, bring me facts; I like facts”. Venables was similar and here is a fact, not a story. I spoke to Ralph at an early Pre-65 Scottish — it was before I took up riding that event 23 times. He was up the ‘Loch Eild Path’ watching the

“…it’s not just a case of one being physically fit, but also knowing where all the short-cuts are!” trial as he had done for some years, it was a hot day, and he had stripped off his shirt and was bare-chested. I thought he looked very fit for an octogenarian. Later the same day, I spotted him, still bare-chested, coming down at a fair old pace from the Pipeline back into the village of Kinlochleven. I shouted: “Hey Rafe, you must be fit, I saw you up Loch Eild Path not that long ago”. He replied: “Yes John, you certainly did, and it’s not just a case of one being physically fit, but also knowing where all the short-cuts are! Good day to you”. As well as loving motorcycle sport in the form of trials and scrambles, that is, of course, scrambles and not motocross, Ralph had a love of fast, sports cars. He owned an Allard, MG, Aston Martin and Daimler, ending up with a Reliant Scimitar before dropping down to a

After writing 300 columns of his ‘Competition Commentary’ for Motor Cycle News, 953 columns entitled ‘Sporting Scene’ for MCN and a further 500 ‘Ralph Remembers’ for Trials & Motocross News, Ralph finally retired at the age of 80. Some kind of record that will be hard to break.

Classic Trial Magazine • Spring 2020

more modest Ford Fiesta in later life. He also liked the short-stroke 350 AJS, and he owned BFN10B, an ex-Mick Waller machine which he offered to me for around £3,500 in the mid-1990s, a motorcycle I regretted not buying when I had the chance — I should have bought that one. Venables also obtained a rare Honda TL250 via Dixon Racing, a model that wasn’t officially imported into the UK by Honda as it was destined primarily for the USA market. After writing 300 columns of his ‘Competition Commentary’ for Motor Cycle News, 953 columns entitled ‘Sporting Scene’ for MCN and a further 500 ‘Ralph Remembers’ for Trials & Motocross News, Ralph finally retired at 80 years of age. I’m sure that must be some record that will be hard to break, don’t you agree?

Ralph stands proud at the 1973 British Experts Trial. He was always turned out immaculately.


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