Manuel Soler 1957-2021

It is with great sadness that we have to report the sudden passing of former Spanish National Trials Champion, Manuel Soler in the early morning of Wednesday 20th January 2021, aged 63 years.

Born on 9th March 1957, Manuel was the grand-nephew of Bultaco founder, F.X. Bulto, he was the son of Juan Soler Bulto, the nephew of Senor Bulto and played a huge part in the development of the Sherpa trials models.

Copyright Claudio Pictures – Here we have Vesty and trial friends: Manuel Soler on the far left, Dave Thorpe, Chesterfield, England & Joan Pere Santuré from Andorra. Photographed in 2013 at Highland Classic 2 day Trial (Bultaco Edition), Alvie Estate, Aviemore, Scotland.

Manuel started trials riding at an early age on a specially built small scale Bultaco and was nicknamed ‘El Monstruito’ (the Little Monster) by his close friends and family. He became the first Spaniard to win an FIM World Championship round at Espoo, near Helsinki, Finland on a 325cc Bultaco in August 1979. He was Spanish National Champion four times in succession, from 1974 to 1977, taking over the coveted title from his cousin, Ignacio Bulto.

1975 – Bultaco Sherpa T model 159 ‘Manuel Soler’ – a factory photograph showing the ignition side – image courtesy of The John Hulme Catalogue Archive/Trial Magazine UK

The 1975 Sherpa model 159 is refered to in Spain as the ‘Manuel Soler’ model as much of the bikes development was down to Soler’s input when riding the prototype version in national and then world trials.

Soler was responsible in testing and writing reports for the factory technicians to make improvements and once said that the Bultaco factory at San Adria De Besos was in effect the family garage.

Manuel Soler told Trials Guru in 2013 when on a visit to Scotland: “The Bultaco factory was our garage, all our motorcycles were stored and worked on there by the firm’s mechanics. Even my little bike was there for a long time. When the factory closed, all my bikes and those of my cousin Ignacio were sold by the liquidators. I was a development rider and every day I tested Sherpas, made a written report and made suggestions on how to improve them, it was my job”.

Manuel Soler on a 325cc Bultaco Sherpa at the Highland Classic 2 Day Trial in 2013 in Scotland – Photo copyright: Donald Young, Stonehaven.

With the demise of the Bultaco company in 1980, Soler moved camps to ride for the rival Montesa manufacturer and latterly the Merlin, under the control of Ignacio Bulto.

Bultaco publicity from 1975 showing Manuel Soler and advertising that Bultaco Motorcycles and Soler were Spanish Trials Champions.

ACU pull plug early on events

The Auto-Cycle Union have pulled all permits and thus cancelled all their events in England and Wales, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands are unaffected but can only be run with caution.

In a statement issued by their Trials and Enduro Department on social media page on Tuesday 5th January, 2021 they stated the following:

Coronavirus (Covid-19): PM Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown in England –

Boris Johnson has announced that England is to enter its third national lockdown, which means the government is instructing everyone to “stay at home”. The national lockdown is immediate, as of today 5th January and the Prime Minister also said in a televised address last night, the “weeks ahead will be the hardest yet”.

The announcement comes as government figures on 4th January revealed the UK has reached another record daily high of 58,784 new coronavirus cases, making it the seventh consecutive day in a row where there have been over 50,000 new Covid cases across Britain.

So, for motorcycle sport it is quite simple. Any planned ACU event in the next few weeks in England and Wales is now unfortunately cancelled.

SACU licence holders should follow the instructions issued by the Scottish Government and any information issued by the SACU. For those resident on the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, you can continue with ACU activity but follow any instructions issued by your independent administrations. Please adhere to and respect the UK Government advice and stay at home. Continue to support the NHS and follow the instructions issued by the Prime Minister.

There is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the two vaccines which are now being administered in a planned UK Government vaccine programme, the Pfizer vaccine announced a few weeks ago and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which was rolled out today (4th Jan), but for the time being it is very important we do our bit to support the NHS. Do not do anything which may put motorcycle sport in a bad light. Further updates on when ACU activity can re-commence will be issued following further updates from the UK Government.

SSDT 2021 Cancelled

A statement was issued on Monday 28th December by the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Chairman, Peter Bremner that the 2021 Scottish Six Days Trial, one of the oldest motorcycle competition events in the world has been cancelled.

This will be the second year in succession that the event has been forced to cancel due to the Covid-19 pandemic and excluding the two world conflicts 1914-18 and 1939-45, the third time that a disease has disrupted the event. The previous disruption was twenty years ago in 2001 caused by the UK ‘Foot & Mouth’ animal contageon.

The SSDT is very much a family event with riders supporters who bring much needed income to the Fort William and surrounding economy every May time. (Photo: Trials Media UK/Nigel Pearson)

The statement reads:

“It is with a heavy heart that the Edinburgh and District Motor Club has taken the decision, as a result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, to cancel the 2021 SSDT and the Pre’65 Scottish trials.

We realise that this will be a massive disappointment to many people. However, we are making an early, logical decision to provide fans and everyone else involved in the event as much notice as possible.

Competitors who have entered the events will be contacted shortly after the two organising committees have met to decide on the way forward.”

The SSDT has a fantastic history dating back to 1909 when the event was a five day trial which traversed all over Scotland – (Detail courtesy of John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive)

Trials Guru’s founder, John Moffat commented:

“It is really sad news for all trials enthusiasts that the Edinburgh club have had to take this very difficult decision to cancel the SSDT for the second year in succession. The event brings in around two million pounds to the local community each year and that cannot be replaced.

Being a large event with close to three hundred competitors, I am sure this news will send a massive ripple outwards across the trials world and has dashed the hopes of many riders, young and old who aspire to ride this iconic event. It is a trial that has no parallel in modern times, be that in distance covered and in stature throughout the world.

The cancellation of the SSDT comes just one month after the announcement by the Isle of Man government that the famous TT Races on the Island suffered a similar fate.

This early cancellation policy is taken to ensure a logical decision is achieved given the circumstances and to provide certainty and clarity to riders, spectators, the factories, officials and everyone else involved in the event, which includes local people who run accommodation establishments.

I truly hope that the townspeople of Fort William and those in Lochaber, will welcome the Scottish Six Days back in 2022.”

A young Mick Andrews, a multiple winner of the SSDT seen here on his factory AJS on Loch Eild Path in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Covid hasn’t stopped the Classic Trial Magazine

CLASSIC TRIAL MAGAZINE ISSUE 35 WINTER 2020 – Have a quick look on the link here: https://bit.ly/Classic-Trial-Magazine-35

YES, WE HAVE BEEN BUSY – IT’S TIME FOR A CLASSIC ‘FEET UP’

It is that time again for all the subscribers to Classic Trial Magazine, Issue 35 should be dropping through your letterbox in the UK this week. Inside you will find all your Classic Trials News, Action, Events, Tests and so much more for you Classic – Retro addicted trials enthusiasts.

Classic Competition: 1980 Review

Micro Machine: Montesa Cota 200

Rebuild: Armstrong 320

Finale: Sammy Miller 1970 Scott Trial &ACU British Trials Championship

Project Part Two: Heath’s Beta TR34

European Championship: 1970

Special: Becker Montesa

Remembering: Malcolm Davis

Overseas: Robregordo Spain

Sidecar: 1980 ACU British Trials Championship

Rare: Fraser Honda

Flashback: 1970 Manx Two Day                                                                                                                                                                  Remember Classic Trial Magazine is only available on subscription.

View our digital magazine: https://bit.ly/Classic-Trial-Magazine-35

Classic Trial Magazine in Print – We are proud to be in print and using new material and many unseen images from the very best photographers in the world.

Remember Classic Trial Magazine is only available on subscription.

Looking for a back issue? – Go to www.trialmaguk.com

Subscribe or Re-Subscribe On-Line – It’s Easy – It’s so easy to subscribe just go to www.trialmaguk.com and yes it’s an all English website. We produce four seasonal issues each year: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

The Perfect Gift: Are you stuck for a gift idea, a subscription makes the perfect gift and lasts for twelve months.

Classic Trial Magazine on the Internet – Yes, it is available across all platforms including Issuu and Pressreader.

International Readers – Subscribe or Re-Subscribe On-Line – It’s Easy – Just go to: www.trialmaguk.com Payment can be made with Paypal.

Overseas – Covid 19: Could all overseas subscribers please be patient, we are experiencing some delay at the moment which is out of our control, we do apologise. If you are concerned about your magazine, please e/mail all your details to: england@trialmag.com

NEW AYRSHIRE CLUB DONATES

New Ayrshire Club Donates

Report: Morton Sykes

The newly formed Ayrshire Trials Club promoted its very first trial on Sunday 8th November and, being Remembrance Sunday, it was agreed that all proceeds should go to a worthy cause in memory of those who gave their lives in global conflict.

It was decided to raise funds for the Erskine Hospital for Forces Veterans, a charity that was set up in 1939 to provide support to forces veterans in Scotland, through four care homes and a Veteran’s Village.

The Ayrshire club was formed in August this year and were immediately affiliated to the AMCA and negotiated the use of a cracking new piece of land in Ayrshire at Blackcraig Farm, New Cumnock.

Chairman, Barry Watson said: “I have been involved in trials in Scotland for a number of years now and when the opportunity came along to run an event on Remembrance Sunday, we all thought it best to donate to charity as a mark of respect. We held a minute’s silence at the start and of course complied with all the ongoing Covid regulations and stipulations to ensure a safe and friendly event for all abilities. There were seventy competitors at the trial, it would have been more but around thirty did not travel because on the pandemic restrictions, which is understandable. The fantastic sum of £1,160 was raised and this has now been donated to Erskine who were both delighted and supportive of our enterprise in such difficult times for all charities. We hope to make this an annual event going forward.”

Telford show moves dates

New Dates for Classic Dirt Bike Show 2021

In a press statement released on Thursday 19th November 2020, the organisers of the annual Telford Classic Dirt Bike Show have announced that it will move from its usual date in February to a later date in mid-May.

Made necessary by the global Covid-19 pandemic, it has been done to try and secure the event which could not have taken place so early in the year. The communication reads as follows:

“The UK’s biggest and best classic off road show is getting a new date for one year only, as the scene aims to fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally held each February, the Classic Dirt Bike Show in Telford will switch weekends to May 15 and 16 for 2021. Given the continued uncertainty surrounding the path of the pandemic and the immediate future of events with indoor content, organiser Mortons Media believes the best way to ensure that the UK’s biggest and best show off road show can go ahead is to run it later in the year.

The whole events team looks forward to welcoming you to the show in 2021… it’ll just be a little bit warmer than normal!”

To find out more please check out the website www.classicdirtbikeshow.co.uk

James Dabill retires from Top trials

In a statement issued on social media today, 17th November 2020, James Dabill has announced his retirement as a professional rider in motorcycle trials.

Dabill has ridden competitively for almost 20 years and has ridden for Beta, Montesa, Vertigo and Gas Gas factories.

He issued the following statement on facebook social media:

Fans, friends and family.

The time has come for me to inform you guys that I will retire from riding the Trial World Championship and at the professional level.

This was a decision that didn’t come easy to make but I made it with a smile on my face as I know it’s the correct time to walk away.

From such a young age I have been able to live my dream of becoming a professional trials rider and that was all thanks to my amazing parents for sacrificing everything to help me on this crazy journey.

When I look back on almost 2 decades of riding in the world championship it fills me with pride to have achieved what I have and to have met and worked with some of the most amazing people in our sport.

There is too many names to mention but I am sure you all know who you are and I want you to know that I will be forever greatful and in your debt.

I am sure I will see everyone in the paddock again soon but for now it’s a fond farewell.

Thank you to everyone and I wish you all the best.

Cheers Dibs

We all at Trials Guru wish James all success in whatever route he chooses to take, following his retirement from top level competition.

Happy Birthday Mr Miller M.B.E.

Sammy with his first Bultaco Sherpa – Photo: Rickman Brothers, New Milton.

The 11th of November symbolises the end of the first great global conflict, but it also is the birthday of the greatest trials rider of all time, Samuel Hamilton Miller M.B.E.

A confident Sammy Miller on his Ariel HT5 (GOV132) at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

On his 87th birthday, we celebrate the great man of trials and his achievements, over 1,000 wins in a career that spanned the 1950s to the early 1970s.

Sammy Miller and Trials Guru’s John Moffat catch up at the Classic Dirtbike Show at Telford in February 2016 – Photo: Fiona Watson

He will no doubt be busy in his New Milton workshops building something to enthrall his many customers at the Sammy Miller Museum.

Sammy Miller (NSU) at the Ulster Grands Prix in 1957 chats with Terry Hill

Many happy returns Sammy Miller!

Sammy Miller MBE and his wife, Rosemary. Photo

Frank Hildrick dies

Frank Hildrick, from Helmsley, North Yorkshire, died at York Hospital, on Sunday, 8th November, aged 75.

On leaving school, Frank fully intended going into journalism but, for whatever reason, he got side-tracked and worked as a travelling mechanic for the Forestry before beginning his own garage/taxi business. He then worked at Perry Slingsby Systems building underwater equipment until retirement.

His passion for motorcycles, especially off-road, lasted his entire life, competing first at grass track on a C15, then a full blooded 500cc J.A.P. Speedway and sand racing followed with a fair amount of success before joining the trials scene.

Pete Clements, a close friend relates a tale which describes Frank`s appetite for riding. Frank and his wife Sally had gone to watch Pete ride his first trial and on his last lap, Pete went a right purler, his ankle swelling up like a football. Pete, thinking Frank was going to help him, couldn`t believe it when he pulled the wellies on and finished the lap. They got a second-class award.

A marvellous bike builder, he fettled a little Minarrelli road race/sprinter, competing at the Isle of Man Ramsey Sprint not that long ago. Later in life Frank slipped off and broke a hip at Scarborough. Before anyone reached him he`d ridden side saddle back to the pits. Typical Frank, hard as nails.

Frank Hildrick on teh right in black leathers with his Minarelli racer

I`m sure motorbikes were invented for the likes of Frank Hildrick. Always riding, helping, fettling, plotting sections, or supporting son Richard, he just loved being involved. Clerk of Course for the famous Colonial in the seventies and eighties, he then became major course plotter for the Scarborough Sporting Weekend almost thirty years ago. He and his loyal helpers made it into a must ride event.

One of the finest pleasures derived from the trials scene is meeting larger than life characters such as Frank Hildrick. The best of company to be with, a great storyteller with the sharpest of wit. A man whose optimism and enthusiasm for the sport rubbed off on many. He will be greatly missed.

Frank was a loving husband to Sally, father to Rachel and Richard and grandad and great grandad to his four grand-children and great granddaughter.

Richard Hildrick riding his father Frank’s home brewed 250 BSA

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