Minutes apart

We are always looking for interesting stories and photos from the world of trials, ancient and modern.

1961 - SSDT - George Noble - Grey Mares Ridge - Ray Foulds Photo

This story is regarding the Scottish Six Days Trial.

Here is a photo taken by Ray Foulds, a trials and motorcycling enthusiast from Glasgow, Scotland who was happily taking photographs at the 1961 Scottish Six Days Trial. He managed to get to the top of the Grey Mare’s Ridge group and positioned himself just beyond the section ends cards. Ray Foulds rode trials, was a Glasgow Mercury MCC member and was also an active member of the Glasgow Lion MCC.

We are not sure in which order riders attempted the section, but what we do know is that Gordon Jackson, who carried number 166 on the factory AJS, lost his solitary one mark at this section. The famous ‘Jackson Dab’ was captured for posterity by the late Peter Howdle of Motor Cycle News and the image is the intellectual property of Mortons Media, having bought the rights to the photograph some years ago.

If you look closely at the photo of number 164, George Noble on his 500cc Royal Enfield, you will see the young observer, David Johnston (second person facing camera from the left) from Edinburgh watching George’s progress to the ends cards feet on the rests. Peter Howdle is on the right wearing an anorak, crouching with camera still in hand, the very camera that took the famous Jackson photograph.

The observer, David Johnston emigrated to Canada some years ago.

Now a Canadian citizen, David Johnston originally from Edinburgh was the observer in 1961 to debit Gordon Jackson’s score with the famous one mark! Here is David in 1972 riding the SSDT on his 169cc Greeves/Puch Pathfinder.

For those interested in the location, the hill on the left is ‘Pap of Glencoe’ and the Loch Leven forms the background to the shot. The section is located high above the village of Kinlochleven.

Who was George W. Noble?

George was a farmer from the village of Skirling, near Biggar in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was also the brother-in-law of George Hodge, the seven times Scottish Scrambles Champion. George Noble was a regular first class award winner in Scottish trials. His son George Noble junior was a Scottish Motocross champion and rode for Mickey Oates Motorcycles on a 500cc Kawasaki. The family farm is called ‘Galalaw’ and was used by the Edinburgh St. George club to run the annual Evening News Trial from 1977 – 1990.

What of the machine TFS500 – the 500cc Royal Enfield?

This was indeed an interesting machine, registered in Edinburgh in 1959, it was built from parts by Bell & Small in Broughton Place, Edinburgh, who were Royal Enfield sub-agents of Alexanders. A similar machine of 350cc capacity was built at the same time. The Royal Enfield was ridden in the SSDT twice, the first time was by John N. Clarkson in 1960 and then by George Noble, Clarkson’s cousin as seen in this article in 1961. The machine was subsequently owned by A.M.L. ‘Laurie’ MacLean from Haddington. In the 1980s it was bought by Willie Dalling, who became clerk of the course of the SSDT, but the registration documents had been lost by previous owners and the registration number was suspended.

For more information on the Scottish Six Days Trial go to our SSDT Page.


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