Words: Oriol Puig Bultó – Bernie Schreiber – Yrjo Vesterinen – Trials Guru
Photos: Bernard Schreiber – Diane Vesterinen – Joan Font Creixems
A very special weekend in Barcelona and on Friday, November 16 2018, the city witnessed many of the former World Champions and National trial champions congregate to celebrate the sport.
Organised very ably by Oriol Puig Bultó, former competitions manager of Bultaco and also an FIM official of many years, along with a small but very efficient team, Oriol and friends pulled in favours and a few strings to get this amazing gathering underway. This involved many phone calls and e-mails across the globe.
What a gathering they pulled together, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the top trials riders the world has ever seen. Sadly not all could attend of course, with Martin Lampkin and Ulf Karlson missing.
1979 World Champion, at this time, the only American to have won the title made a heartfelt speech:
“Good Afternoon Everyone, It’s such an honor to be here with all of you today. All my Trials memories remain deep in my heart and especially my time spent here in Barcelona.
Many questioned that young kid from California, but some truly believed. For me the American dream began with Senor Bultó, my dear friend Manuel Soler, his family and my team manager Oriol Puig Bultó who supported me from the very start to my world championship victory.
So many unforgettable moments with the Bultó family, importers, race teams and riders. All my respect and thanks to every Spanish and International Trials riders who educated me about their countries cultures, language and riding styles.
Many thanks to those world championship motor-clubs for all their hard work organizing world class events at legendary venues. My memories span across the world, but my heart remains in Sant LIorenc.
Today we stand near the birthplace of the greatest Indoor Trials dating back to 1978…the Solo Moto Indoor. This was the beginning of a new and revolutionary era that eventually changed the sport of Trials forever.
A special thanks to all the media who reported our sport extensively over the years, supported the industry brands and made us riders iconic along the way.
Many of you here today are part of our Trials history and without your passion over the years for our sport, the next generation has no heritage or legacy to look back upon.
Some legends are no longer with us as they rest in peace, but we remember them, we hear them, we love them and we still see them riding sections or working championship events to make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.
I truly appreciate your friendships, loyalty, recognition and the opportunity to participate in this Trial Legends event.
Thank you so much for all your support and precious memories.” – Bernie Schreiber, 1979 FIM World Trials Champion
Yrjo Vesterinen the gave his passionate and informative speech:
“Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great privilege and honour to be here today.
Let me ask a question, why am I here? To answer that, we need to go back in time.
In August 1971 Finland was hosting a European Championship Trial in Solvalla. Oriol Puig Bultó and his cousin, Ignacio had travelled all the way from Barcelona to participate there. After the trial Oriol came to speak with me. I had been noticed! What followed was a dream come true. I was later offered a contract to join the famous Team Bultaco.
What also followed was that as my career as a trials rider progressed I was becoming more self-centred and started to think that the team was there to help me to achieve my own goals. I am sure that happened to many of us, whom some call legends. We forget that we were there to do a job for the factories and that we were extremely lucky to have been spotted by the team managers in the first place. We were offered jobs that most people only dreamt of.
Some of you here today may have noticed that I was collecting signatures, signatures of World Champions, European Champions, National Champions, Winners of the Six Days and many other important events in the world of trials, on these picture boards that I have here with me. What unites these people is that they were, once upon time, given a chance and an opportunity to prove themselves. For many of us it was through two remarkable gentlemen, who are here today with us. They are Oriol Puig Bultó from Bultaco and Pere Pi from Montesa. What makes these gentlemen truly remarkable is that they were pioneers of all aspects of off road competition, being great trials riders, motocross racers and enduro riders. They were development engineers, test riders and great ambassadors of our sport.
As riders we probably remember them as wise and patient team mangers that we didn’t thank enough at the time.
What could we as riders give to these remarkable men that they do not already have? Perhaps these printed boards with the signatures of their grateful riders will go a small way to deliver this message that some of us forgot to convey decades ago.
May I ask Oriol Puig Bultó and Pere Pi to come forward. May I also propose that both of these gentlemen sign these pictures in front of us all. In doing so I would like to think of this occasion as the long overdue signing of a peace treaty between Bultaco and Montesa. The war, albeit always a friendly one, between Bultaco, Montesa and their respective teams is now over!
Finally, one signed copy of this print will be auctioned off at the Telford Classic Dirt Bike show, February 2019, in memory of Martin Lampkin for the family’s chosen cancer charity.
Thank you very much.” – Yrjo Vesterinen, 1976-78 FIM World Trials Champion
Oriol Bultó told Trials Guru the background to the celebration and gathering of champions past and present:
“The idea of organizing the “Trial Legends” celebration held last Friday emerged following a discussion I had with Pere Pi (former Montesa) and Estanislao Soler (former Bultaco and owner of the Museu de la Moto) after a similar event we organized for the Spanish “Motocross Legends” in May 2015, together with Pere Mas, President of Motor Club Micorella, very active in organizing Classic Trial events. The Motocross meeting was a success, and we thought that it would good to do a similar event for Trial, open also to foreign riders.
The aim was to meet with the older riders who started riding Trials before 1986, pay tribute to the Champions who left us (Juan Soler Bultó, Fernando Muñoz, Don Smith, Martin Lampkin and Ulf Karlsson), recognize the participants in the first official Trial held in Spain (Trial del Tibidabo, Barcelona 2 November 1964), pioneers Motorcycle Clubs (organizing the SSDT, the early Spanish rounds of the Trial World Championship, the ‘3 Days Cingles del Bertí Trial’ and the ‘3 Days Santigosa Trial’. Also to the inventors of the Indoor Trial (Barcelona 1978), recognize the Women Trial Legends and celebrate the Catalan, Spanish, European and World Champions of those times.
In addition to Pere Pi, Estanislao Soler, Pere Mas and myself we incorporated to the organizing group Joan Font and Xavi Foj, also ‘Trial Legends’. We have been working in this project during 14 months and we are very happy by the number of ‘Legends’ attending (about 248), and the positive response of Catalan, Spanish, European and World Champions.
Too young to be ‘Legends’ we invited Dougie Lampkin, Tony Bou and Laia Sanz, who together with Jordi Tarrés formed the podium with most World Champion titles, totaling 56!
Of the big names of those times Trial only Eddy Lejeune (too difficult to get him travelling) and Mick Andrews (injured) did not attend.
It was a great day, and looking to the happy faces of the people attending we feel rewarded for the effort made. In total, about 400 people attended the event last Friday.”
Oriol Bultó compiled the following shortened history of the sport:
THE BEGINNINGS OF TRIAL
Like in all the beginnings there are some doubts about the origin of Trial, the exact place where it started and by whom. On one hand, it is known that there was an event in Scotland, on the other hand there was the Scott Trial on an unspecified date, and in 1914 a similar competition of skills named “Litton Slack”, with the participation of 132 riders, that feat was important as the motorcycles did not have a clutch, they had a single gear, pedals and belt transmission, and climbing a normal hill was already an accomplishment.
In 1909, in Scotland, after having the idea of organizing a tough competition through the mountains of the Highlands, a group of young people created the Moto Club Edinburg to organize the first Five Days of Trial. The course was about 1000 miles long (1.600 Km) with the participation also of cars and motorcycles with sidecar. In 1911, it already turned into the well known Six Days SSDT up to the present times, although with a halt from 1914 to 1918 during the First World War. In similar dates, Mr. Scott, who had a company under his name, organized the “Scott Trial” only for his employees, with start and arrival at the factory’s own door. In the first edition, 14 riders participated and 9 finished.
During the first few years there was only British participation in the SSDT, because travelling to a foreign country was too expensive and the prices were a medal and a piece of Scottish fabric hand embroidered. From 1940 to 1945 there was another halt due to the Second World War.
It wasn’t until 1955 that the British brands took a real interest in Trials. The BSA factory prepared its Moto Cross rider Jeff Smith to run the SSDT and he won. In 1956, Gordon Jackson set the unbeaten record of losing only one mark in all 6 days. It would have been nice to have Gordon Jackson here with us today. The companies that showed interest were: BSA, Rudge, Ariel, Norton, Velocette, Triumph, AJS, Matchless and Royal Enfield. Almost all of those won the SSDT until the arrival of the light Bultaco motorcycles in 1965 at the hands of Sammy Miller.
At the end of the Second World War, Trial started in Belgium and from there expanded to the rest of Europe. It was November 1962 when Joan Soler Bultó and Oriol Puig Bultó decided to go to Saint Cucufa (France) to participate in a new modality called “Trial” with Bultaco motorcycles that had been modified according to what they had seen in British, French and Spanish motorcycling magazines. When they returned they decided to introduce this new modality into Spain, organizing an experimental competition in the estate of Sant Antonio owned by Don Paco Bultó. It was beginning of 1963, and that would be the first initiation Trial in Spain (Catalonia). There is also information about “Trial” competitions in 1961, one in Viladrau (Barcelona) won by Oriol Puig Bultó, and another in Sant Vicenç de Castellet, both with regulations that rewarded the speed and the ability to negotiate the sections.
In 1964 the FIM created the first international Trial championship, the “Challenge Henry Groutards, won by Don Smith on a Greeves. In 1968 there was the first “European Championship” won by Sammy Miller on a Bultaco, and in 1975 the first “World Championship” won by Martin Lampkin on a Bultaco.
In order to promote Trials in the European southern countries, the FIM favored a Trial short course in Laffrey (Grenoble) directed by the French rider Claude Peugeot on 10-11 October 1964 for riders from France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy.
A few weeks later, on 2nd of November 1964 the Real Moto Club de Cataluña organized the ‘Trial del Tibidabo’ near Barcelona, being the first official Trial in Spain. It was won by Joan Soler Bultó on a Bultaco. In 1965 there was the first “Catalonia Championship” won by Joan Soler Bultó on a Bultaco, and in 1968 the first “Spanish Championship” won by Pere Pi on a Montesa.
The proceedings for the event were as follows:
TRIAL LEGENDS, PROGRAM OF ACTIVITIES
– Identification of the Legendary riders and accompanying persons
– Signature of the Legendary Sheet
– Exhibition of a selection of Legendary Trial Motorcycles
– Drone photo of the world’s widest gathering of the Legends
– Entrance to the restaurant. Collection of the magazine MotoCiclismo Clásico and the program of activities.
– Presentation of the party by the Legendary Xavier Foj
– Book of Honor: Where all Legends had the opportunity to make a dedication
– Reading of the “History of the Trial” in Spanish and English
– Presentation of the riders of the modern history of the Trial
– Toni Bou thanked the Legends of the Trial
– The building of the podium with the most titles of “World Champions in all sports” (43 / 56).
– Tribute to the “Champions who have left us”
– Presentation of the trophy “Trial Legends” to the relatives of the Champions who have left us.
– Recognition of the riders present, participants in the first official Trial in Spain (Catalonia)
– MotoCiclismo Clásico opens an account to rebuild the monument to Ramón Torras
– Awards to Motor Club Terrassa, Moto Club Cingles de Bertí and Moto Club Santigosa
– Recognition of the representatives of the Legendary Motorcycle Brands
– Recognition of the first Trial Indoor Solo-Moto
– Recognition of the Legendary Women of Trial
– Surprise: “You are the Trial Champions”
– Recognition of the first Catalan Trial Champions
– The hostesses will hand the bracelet “Trial Legends” of concord
– The hostesses will deliver the text “History of the Trial”.
– Recognition of the Spanish Trial Champions
– Recognition of the European Trial Champions
– Recognition of the first Trial World Champions
– Delivery of the sheets to all Legendaries
– Delivery of the photo of the world’s widest hug
– Finale (with music for the occasion)
Trials Guru is indebted to Oriol Puig Bultó for allowing us to share the details of this fantastic event with us, and to Bernie Schreiber and Yrjo Vesterinen for allowing reproduction of their speeches from this magnificent event.
Trials Guru commented: Oriol Puig Bultó is a very modest gentleman with an incredible knowledge not only of the Bultaco brand, but also the sports of trial, motocross and enduro. However he insists that the Trial Legends Fiesta was the result of a team:
Oriol Bultó : “The Trial Legends was organised by a small group, originally formed by Pere Pi, Estanislao Soler, Pere Mas and myself. Soon after, we were joined by Joan Font and Xavi Foj. From the very beginning we have worked together as a team“.
Oriol continued: “The speeches by Bernie Schreiber and Yrjo Vesterinen were very toching, they are both great persons and champions“.
Powerpoint of Trial Legends Presentation – click on this link: