Manuel Soler 1957-2021

It is with great sadness that we have to report the sudden passing of former Spanish National Trials Champion, Manuel Soler in the early morning of Wednesday 20th January 2021, aged 63 years.

Born on 9th March 1957, Manuel was the grand-nephew of Bultaco founder, F.X. Bulto, he was the son of Juan Soler Bulto, the nephew of Senor Bulto and played a huge part in the development of the Sherpa trials models.

Copyright Claudio Pictures – Here we have Vesty and trial friends: Manuel Soler on the far left, Dave Thorpe, Chesterfield, England & Joan Pere Santuré from Andorra. Photographed in 2013 at Highland Classic 2 day Trial (Bultaco Edition), Alvie Estate, Aviemore, Scotland.

Manuel started trials riding at an early age on a specially built small scale Bultaco and was nicknamed ‘El Monstruito’ (the Little Monster) by his close friends and family. He became the first Spaniard to win an FIM World Championship round at Espoo, near Helsinki, Finland on a 325cc Bultaco in August 1979. He was Spanish National Champion four times in succession, from 1974 to 1977, taking over the coveted title from his cousin, Ignacio Bulto.

1975 – Bultaco Sherpa T model 159 ‘Manuel Soler’ – a factory photograph showing the ignition side – image courtesy of The John Hulme Catalogue Archive/Trial Magazine UK

The 1975 Sherpa model 159 is refered to in Spain as the ‘Manuel Soler’ model as much of the bikes development was down to Soler’s input when riding the prototype version in national and then world trials.

Soler was responsible in testing and writing reports for the factory technicians to make improvements and once said that the Bultaco factory at San Adria De Besos was in effect the family garage.

Manuel Soler told Trials Guru in 2013 when on a visit to Scotland: “The Bultaco factory was our garage, all our motorcycles were stored and worked on there by the firm’s mechanics. Even my little bike was there for a long time. When the factory closed, all my bikes and those of my cousin Ignacio were sold by the liquidators. I was a development rider and every day I tested Sherpas, made a written report and made suggestions on how to improve them, it was my job”.

Manuel Soler on a 325cc Bultaco Sherpa at the Highland Classic 2 Day Trial in 2013 in Scotland – Photo copyright: Donald Young, Stonehaven.

With the demise of the Bultaco company in 1980, Soler moved camps to ride for the rival Montesa manufacturer and latterly the Merlin, under the control of Ignacio Bulto.

Bultaco publicity from 1975 showing Manuel Soler and advertising that Bultaco Motorcycles and Soler were Spanish Trials Champions.

More on Manuel Soler in an interview in 2019 by Todotrial

HERE

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