Rob Edwards Story – Part Six – Montesa Time!

We continue Rob Edwards’ story of a lifetime in trials. This is the part you have all probably been most interested to hear about – the Rob Edwards/Montesa connection!
Captive Audience! – Rob Edwards became an important part of the Montesa factory trials effort. Here he is at a coaching event a 2 day trials class held in Cerro Alarcón, Valdemorillo (Madrid, Spain) in 1971. Rob has the loud-haler in hand. Pere ‘Pedro’ Pi and Alberto Mallofre, Competitions Manager, Montesa are to Rob’s right. (Photo courtesy of Luis Munoz-Aycuens Ribas, Madrid)
My First Trip to MONTESA!
The day finally arrived to set off to Barcelona. I met up with  the lads at Charlie’s home in Redhill (Guru: Charlie Harris, Montesa UK based development rider) then off we went. It was the first time I had met Charlie. Previous to this, I only knew him as a top trials rider in the south of England. A friend of his was travelling with us, so we had a car full. There was plenty for me to see Paris: The Eifel Tower; Citroen cars and so on. I had not been abroad before, as I spent every penny I had on trials. Plus, I would be bored to tears!
We arrived at the Montesa Factory in Barcelona and I felt as if I was on another planet!
Two days later, it was the trial in Terrassa. The events for the European Championship were totally different to anything I had ridden before. The time limit was six hours, plus one hour with time penalties. Two laps had to be completed, approximately 50 sections (zonas) in this time. I was not hanging about, but it took five hours to complete one lap, leaving one hour to get to the finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but by riding flat out, I reached the finish losing only a couple of time penalty points. I finished second position overall, a result beyond my wildest dreams!
The following morning, we went to the Montesa factory before setting off for home. Alberto Mallofre and Pere ‘Pedro’ Pi took me into an office. After telling me how pleased they were with yesterdays results, Alberto spoke and I couldn’t believe my ears!
Could I go to America for six weeks to promote Montesa and trials in the States?
Montesa were owned by Permanyer s.a. and Senor Permanyer’s son Jorge would be travelling with me. He didn’t speak a lot of English and my Spanish was no better… if not worse!
A month later, I had my American visa, my ticket and I was ready for the off. I only had one thing left to do – to tell Head Wrightsons that I was quitting! I jokingly asked the workshop manager if I could take six weeks unpaid holiday. “You have got to be joking”, he said but he did pass on the news to the top factory manager who decided it was time for me to be put in my place!
“That’s it”, he said, “I’ve had enough, I’ve had as much as I can take of you and motorbikes – YOUR SACKED!”. “I’m glad about that”, I said “because I’m going to America tomorrow for six weeks!”.
I am sure I heard him whisper under his breath – “thank god for that” – Bye for now – Rob
To Be Continued…
To read all of Rob Edward’s story of his life in trials click… here

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