The Rob Edwards Story – The Introduction

After meeting up with Rob Edwards at the Centenary Scott Trial, Trials Guru decided it would be of interest to our supporters to learn more of the Thornaby lad who went on to become a factory Montesa rider during the golden era of the Cota.

Here is the introduction in Rob’s own words:

Hi Reader
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
My name is Rob Edwards. I was born back in 1945 in Thornaby and from a very early age I was desperate to be a trials rider.
Although my dad was not a trials rider, he was involved in the organising & observing side of things.
Tony Clarke, a fellow Thornaby lad, would get to our section and say: ‘come on lad I’ve had enough for today’… handing me his 250 BSA, I was off!
I was 14 years old at the time. ‘Don’t forget, I’ve to ride home and the bike has no lights’.
For the next 2 hours or so I was in motorbike heaven.
Until I was sixteen, Tony did this dozens of times and if I
ever win the lottery, he will be top of the list. Cheers Tony! and many thanks.
Rob early days
One of the earliest photos of Rob Edwards at an event, that’s him second from the right, spectating at a local Middlesborough trial around 1948. His Dad, Bob Edwards is the observer with the clip-board. Rob was at many trials as an observers’ apprentice until he took up riding at 16 years of age. Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection.
My first job was an apprentice fitter and turner at Head Wrightsons, Teesdale Works.
My main interest was trialing not industry. Head Wrightsons were not at all sympathetic towards sports especially motorbike sport. However my doctor was and every year when I came back from the SSDT they knew where I had been as our local paper had done a daily report on it. Thanks to Dr. Kaye who had given me a sick note for the week and as I hadn’t claimed any money there was nothing they could do.
Eventually it did come to a head and we said goodbye.
I was sorry to say goodbye to my friends, but not the management.
Hope you will be here next time when we will be getting into my move to Montesa & the unbelievable life change that was about to happen.
Bye for now…
Rob seen here on the Montesa Cota in Spain demonstrating the art of trials riding to a gathering of Montesa owners at a 2 day trials class held in Cerro Alarcón, Valdemorillo (Madrid, Spain) in 1971. Photo Courtesy of Luis Munoz, Madrid.

Trials Guru: Rob gained an apprenticeship as a fitter/turner at Head Wrightson, a major employer and large heavy industrial firm based at Thornaby-on-Tees. They specialised in the manufacture of large industrial products such as fractional distillation columns that needed special transport to get them to site. Its products, which were made of cast or wrought iron, were used for boilers, railway chairs, naval ships, and many bridges across the world.

Rob having served his apprenticeship, rarely did any overtime or weekend working for one very good reason; that would have restricted his trials riding activities. One day a manager, called Jack Welham said to him in front of a number of his workmates, “Robbie, you have got to make up your mind, do you want to be a fitter or a motorbike rider?” As Welham turned and began to walk away with a smug smile on his face, Rob shouted back at him: “I have made up my mind Jack; I’m going to be a motorbike rider!”

To be continued …

To read all of Rob Edwards’ story of his life in trials, click … here

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