BKS Remembered

Fifty years ago, Barry Kefford built and rode a lightweight sidecar outfit which spawned many sidecars to be produced for the chairmen of trials. The BKS chair was the piece of kit to have in the 1970s.

Here are two photos supplied by Barry’s passenger of the era, Geoff Bridgwater who is a Trials Guru website reader.

Taken at the Beggar’s Roost trial in 1970 in which they won the sidecar class on gtheir BSA Victor powered outfit with the innovative narrow, light weight sidecar and the 1969 trial at Hawkstone Park.

No Scott for 2020

The organising Richmond Motor Club (Yorkshire) Ltd have announced that after careful consideration to landowners, officials and the current restrictions, it will not be possible to run the Scott Trial this year.

The only time the Scott Trial has not been run was during the war years and 2001 when Foot and Mouth disease was present in the UK countryside.

A full statement can be viewed on the club website:

HERE

SSDT Faces Loss of Land

The Scottish Six Days Trial, organised since 1911 by the Edinburgh & District MC Ltd, faces yet more land challenges thanks to illegal use of private roads and moorland in the Scottish Highlands.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, 15th July on social media, the committee issued a warning that land in the Rannoch area could be lost to the event if illegal use continues.

It is an offence to use Forest and Land Scotland property for off-road vehicle activity without written permission and indeed vehicles have been seized by Police Scotland in the past and riders/drivers charged accordingly. Forest & Land Scotland rarely allows permission without payment of an agreed fee.

The land in the Scottish Highlands can be very sensitive and therefore off road motorcycle and other activity is not welcome at certain times of the year and indeed at any time if permission is not sought and obtained.

The statement on social media ‘facebook’ read:

“SSDT risks losing access to a major estate due to illegal riding.

Despite the current lockdown, some people are choosing to flout the rules and risk the future of our sport by illegally riding on private land and forestry.

Illegal activity on forestry land and unauthorised uses of Private Venues is a criminal offence and puts all legitimate events at risk.

The Edinburgh & District MC have been approached by a major estate concerned about unauthorised riding around the Rannoch area. If this continues, the SSDT could lose the entire Thursday route, a route that has been part of the event for decades.

One of the major concerns is the environmental impact of using motorised vehicles off road in areas with fragile ecosystems. Particularly at this time of year, the remote parts of Scotland are the habitat of endangered ground nesting birds and other wildlife extremely vulnerable to disturbance. The SSDT and other off-road motorcycle events are carefully organised taking these factors into consideration and working with bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage ensure that events cause minimum impact. Unauthorised indiscriminate riding over these estates can undo years of good work and cause irreparable damage to wildlife and the environment.

Some individuals seem to think that old drove roads and tracks are vehicular rights of way – in fact there are very few rights of way for motorised vehicles in Scotland. Most have an average length of less than 1 mile and are short stretches of roads that have not been adopted by the local authority. None of the off-road routes that the SSDT use are vehicular rights of way, they are all privately owned and using motorised vehicles on them is not permitted without specific consent from the landowner.

The club has, for over a century, had a fantastic relationship with the estates that the event passes through – I am sure that nobody would like to jeopardise this historic event through thoughtless unauthorised riding.”

Leven Valley cancelled

The popular Leven Valley Two Day Trial, promoted by the local Kinlochleven & District MCC is the latest high profile event to be pulled from the calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This would have been the third annual event which is centred at Kinlochleven and is totally run off-road.

The committee took the painful decision to cancel the 2020 event, given that the village of Kinlochleven and its remote location has been kept almost virus free since the pandemic reached the UK in late February.

The safety of the local population was paramount, given that the entry limit was originally set for 250 competitors and it was over-subscribed. The club held off until Sunday, 28th June to announce their decision and to inform that they will run a one-day event at Glencoe Ski Range instead.

Plans are already being formed for the 2021 two day event which will be held in the September.

For full details, go to the website of the Kinlochleven & District MCC > HERE <

Waltham Chase paves the way

Words: Trials Guru

Photo: Auto-Cycle Union

The ACU affiliated Waltham Chase Trials Club ran a successful, controlled Adult only Practice Trial at the weekend over two sessions at their Oakridge Copse venue near Salisbury.

Assisted by the Auto-Cycle Union and restricted to adult licence holders, the events were hailed a great success and paves the way forward for other organisations to follow suit.

Mindful of bad publicity surrounding any mass gathering, the club had used the ACU Risk Assessment guidelines and put in place many safety arrangements to ensure a smooth and controlled return to a form of trials that we have to become used to given that the Covid-19 pandemic may not be resolved this year and worse still if the predicted second wave forces a futher halt to the sport.

A full press release on the event by the ACU can be read > HERE <

Bobby survives Covid

Words: Trials Guru

Photos: Scottish Television; Jack Williamson & Iain Lawrie

Some good news for a change!

MacLeod'89 LHP-1 - IL 2
Bobby MacLeod on a BSA Bantam in the 1989 Pre-65 Scottish Trial high above Kinlochleven on the Loch Eild Path – Photo courtesy of iain Lawrie

89 year old former trials rider and SSDT competitor, Bobby MacLeod from Fort William who now resides in a Stirling care home, has survived Covid-19.

Featured in a Scottish TV mid-evening television programme ‘Scotland Tonight’ Bobby looked well after recovering from the life threatening contageon at an Abbeyfield House care establishment.

Bobby MacLeod - Stirling Home

Bobby rode the Scottish Six Days Trial several times and was usually in company with his brother, the late Billy MacLeod.

He was given the honour of being the ‘official starter’ at the 2011 Scottish Six Days Centenary event, which he enjoyed immensely as he was able to chat to the riders as he flagged them away from the West End Parc Ferme. He was later interviewed on local Nevis Radio.

Lochaber April Trial 1959
Covid-19 survivor, Bobby MacLeod, far left with members of the Lochaber & District MCC in 1959 at Kinlochleven. His brother, Billy MacLeod is on the far right.

ACU slams those disregarding Government advice

The ACU issued a statement on Monday 8th June 2020 which criticised non-affiliated organisations who are organising group events or gatherings which they claim are putting the sport in a bad light with authorities during the Covid-19 contageon.

The full statement reads:

“As we carefully steer ourselves through the current pandemic of Covid-19, the UK Government and the respective devolved governments have and will continue to ease restrictions (subject to their not being a second peak of the virus) which will allow our various sports to commence.

We have now issued risk assessments templates which gives guidance/advice across all disciplines about the various Control Measures to be put in place to mitigate, as far as is reasonably practicable, any risk to our volunteer Officials and our competitors.

Furthermore, Organisers are to be mindful that as is currently outlined in the various Standing Regulations for our Sports contained in the ACU Handbook and in the National Sporting Code under article 8.02 in which it states ‘No competition shall be promoted on either a public or private road, track or elsewhere until the Organisers have obtained the necessary lawful authority from the appropriate public authorities or private individuals and landowners’,  all necessary notifications/permissions should be obtained from Local Authorities/statutory authorities (police), local hospitals that an Event is taking place, and/or have written confirmation from the Circuit/landowner that the necessary permissions are in place for the Event to commence.   

We have all seen reports of police turning up at events in recent times and we have seen reports of Organisers who are not affiliated to the ACU blatantly disregarding UK Government Advice and Guidance which has undoubtedly put Off Road motorcycle sport in a poor light.

Finally, please remember that until the UK and devolved Governments lift restrictions on camping and overnight accommodation, planned events should be restricted to one day events to eradicate overnight stays.

Please help us to help you restart and organise the sport and in doing so let us work with the respective Authorities and furthermore not attract unwanted or bad press to motorcycling.”

For more information visit the ACU website at: http://www.acu.org.uk

Factory AJS comes up for sale

Words: Trials Guru & Ben Butterworth

Photos: Jack Butterworth

A unique opportunity has arisen to purchase a true ex-factory AJS from the late 1950s!

Jackson 1957 SSDT Kinlochrannoch
Gordon Jackson pilots TLP686 in the 1957 SSDT on ‘Kinloch Rannoch’

The machine once the issue of former British Expert and ACU Star rider, Gordon L. Jackson, registered in 1957 by Associated Motor Cycles as TLP686, a 347cc AJS 16C.

AJS 2

The machine was ridden by Jackson in the 1957 British Experts trial and Scottish Six Days. The vendor has written confirmation from Gordon personally of the machines authenticity.

AJS 4

Lancashire’s Ben Butterworth is handling the sale for a close family friend who has owned the AJS for many years.

Ben said: “I’ve been asked to help with the sale of the Ex-works trials AJS 350 which was Gordon Jackson’s machine, the owner is open to sensible offers and would consider a part exchange.

Loads of history, letters from Gordon himself stating it was his bike, it is road registered, has the correct engine and frame numbers. This was the bike which won The British Experts Trial 1957, he also rode the SSDT on this machine.

The bike runs and rides very well, I’ve been lucky enough to have a ride on it myself after my Grandad has worked on it for the last two weeks, making sure it runs and polished it up for sale.”

 

AJS 5

The AJS has been put up for sale as the current owner stated to Trials Guru that “I’m not getting any younger and will never use it so I’d like it to go to somebody who would appreciate it for what it is with the history.”

The ex-factory machine is expected to fetch a high price and it has generated significant interest by both private collectors and museums.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat a enthusiast of the marque added: “This is indeed a unique opportunity to own a piece of SSDT, AJS and British Trials history that doesn’t happen very often.”

AJS 6

ACU announces plans for restricted sport

The Auto-Cycle Union has released a statement on Wednesday 27th May, outlining a partial and restricted return to motorcycle sport.

Youth sport is not included and non competitive meetings will be allowed initially with competitive events coming on stream in early July.

It was forecast by many commentators that a full scale return to racing and competition would not be possible and that it would be some time before events could get back to what was perceived as ‘normal’.

The ACU have stated that training and practice will be allowed, but only for riders aged 16 years and above, this is in keeping with UK Governmental guidance.

You may read the full statement > HERE <

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