This was planned for October 1976, just in time to miss the cold weather at home. I arrived in Santiago and was taken to a cocktail party organised by the local motor club.
Everybody was friendly except one person. I was later to find out he was the touring car champ of Chile. He came up to me and said: “…if you are so flippin good come to my garage tomorrow and ride over my car”. His car was a mini, so I thought with low profile tyres lowered suspension etc it would be no problem.
I arrived at his garage to find that the touring cars had to be absolutely standard. Not only that they had hydro-lastic suspension. The driver had invited all his pals and they were doubled up laughing. This made me more determined to do it. Once on top of the car I breathed a big sigh of relief.
My next stop was Columbia. I landed in Bogata and was due to change planes to Medellin. Unfortunately my flight was one hour late. The next flight was in 23 hours time.
My journey had started in Spain so the only currency I had was pesetas because there were no flights from Bogata to Spain they would not change my pesetas. I was sat in the quietest airport I had ever been in and worse than that I was stuck here for the next 23 hours!
There was about four guards with rifles and what may have been National dress. One came up to me he was quite helpful.
“You no go sleep” he quipped. So, laughing I said possibly steal my luggage eh! “No” he said, “first” he said, drawing a line with his fingers across his throat “then steal your luggage”. That really cheered me up!
Shortly after the soldier returned with a person who I can best describe as a ‘Jack the lad’ (not the sort of person you would trust usually)
“You want hotel?”, “yes please” I said and explained my predicament. “No problem” he replied “Pesatas? – okay follow me”. We set off out of the airport and the soldier gave me a reassuring thumbs up.
My new ‘friend’ was holding the back doors of a Toyota van open telling me to get in. As the doors were closed I thought oh well what have I got to loose only my life – Help! “I will pick you up at 8.30 tomorrow morning” he shouted as he left. I couldn’t believe it when at 8.30am prompt he was there to pick me up. His fee was 1000 pesetas! You live and learn! – Rob
Trials Guru: Rob Edwards was competing week in week out with Montesa.
The Cota model was being constantly developed and in 1975 was increased to 310cc with the in-coming model ‘348 prototype’ first seen in the hands of Spaniard Francisco Paya, which was later to become the production Malcolm Rathmell Replica/348 models.
1974 saw Rob pick up the Alfred Scott trophy when he was victorious in the Scott Trial, more on that later, but here is a photo taken at the Kings’ Head Hotel, Richmond at the presentation of awards.
To be continued…
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© – Rob Edwards & Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)