Hi Again, Many thanks for all your comments, I feel very honoured that so many of you have remembered me. Leaving Cotton Motorcycles was a necessary move if I was to improve, but I will always be grateful for the support Norman Crooks gave me. I knew exactly what I wanted to ride… a Montesa!
Plucking up courage, I telephoned Montala Motors in London who were the UK importers at that time. I told them my name and some of my results.
I asked if there was any chance of riding for them?
I was told that they simply had no vacancies. Montala’s ‘dream team’ being Gordon Farley, Lawrence Telling and Don Smith. However, I asked that if a ride became available I would like to be considered. I had set my heart on riding for Montesa but as this was a no-go, I would have to try elsewhere.
The only other top bike in my estimation was a Bultaco Sherpa, so I took a sharp intake of breath and phoned up Comerfords in Thames Ditton, Surrey, the Bultaco importers. Most of the male employees who worked at Comerfords were trials riders. So much to my delight, things started to look a lot better.
Having a bike could be sorted immediately and they were sure that Bultaco Spain would give me a contract. “We will be back in touch as soon as we hear anything”, were their parting words.
I put the phone down and gave a big sigh of relief, things were really starting to move. Then the phone rang, but this time it was Montala Motors boss John Brise. Apparently seconds after I had talked with them, Montesa Competitions Manager, Alberto Mallofre phoned them. Unknown to me, it appeared that Alberto had been a fan of mine for a long time and he had wanted me on a Montesa.
I don’t think John Brise really knew anything about me and was being polite when I phoned him, but the factory did and that was the break I needed!
It seemed that everybody knew about me at Montesa, they had been keeping an eye on my results.
They said everything was in hand, so don’t look elsewhere! Alberto was on the phone to me the next day asking me to go to the Spanish round of the European championships in Barcelona.
While I was there, he had a few things he would like to talk to me about.
I traveled there with fellow Montesa riders Charlie Harris and Ian Haydon.
Now that things were up and moving I was back on the phone to Comerfords to offer my thanks for trying so hard for me. I take this opportunity to thank everyone at Comerfords back then, even although I made the move to ride for Montesa. – Rob
Trials Guru: Montesa, by 1968, had made serious in-roads into the UK trials market with their Cota 247 Mk1 model. It was becoming a very popular machine which would allow British riders to make a name for themselves in national events. Rob mentions the Montesa ‘Dream Team’ and that is correct in that Lawrence ‘Sparky’ Telling, Don Smith and Gordon Farley had all left the Greeves marque for Montesa. Charlie Harris was effectively a development rider in the Uk for the Cota.
Alberto Mallofre, the competitions manager at Permanyer S.A., the company that manufactured Montesa, was a forward thinking individual. Don Smith was a well-known extrovert on the UK trials scene and promoted the Cota successfully from 1967-70. However, he became frustrated with the lack of development progress and quit the team in 1970 to develop his own machine called the Don Smith ‘Stag’. Utilising his own ideas and a Montesa Cota 247 motor with the ‘M’ symbol carefully removed from the crankcase covers, Smith entered the 1970 Scottish on the black and white machine.
Montala Motors ‘Montesa Dream Team’
Montesa ‘Ambassador’ Rob Edwards:
To Be Continued …
Words: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, John Moffat 2014.
Acknowledgement: Peter Bremner, Chairman Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. For Montesa Photographs used in this article.
To read all of Rob Edward’s story of his life in trials click… here