AJS & Matchless Trials Singles

The manufacturers of AJS and Matchless (AMC) introduced their trials models with short-stroke motors with Matchless in 1962 (top) and AJS 1963 (lower). Photos: Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) advertising literature 1962/63 – Reproduced with the kind permission of Don Morley, Reigate
A Trials Guru special section dedicated to the AMC trials four-stroke single cylinder machines.



… Find out more:

Trials Guru articles which feature AJS or Matchless trials machines:


Articles on AJS and Matchless Trials Singles:

Article 1: ‘AJS – One That Got Away’ – HERE

Article 2: ‘187BLF – An historic AJS’ – HERE

15 - red
At the start of the 1964 SSDT at Edinburgh’s Gorgie Market, the late Rob Edwards on his 16C AJS that was to be updated to woks specification for the 1965 SSDT – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

Article 3: ‘Rob Edward’s AJS 16C’ – HERE

Mick Andrews - Bemrose - Photo Yoomee
Mick Andrews on 644BLB at the Bemrose Trial in 1965 – Photo: Yoomee/John Hulme

Article 4: ‘644BLB – Rediscovered’ – HERE

Factory AMC trials machine registration numbers:

The AMC factory Competition Department retained both AJS and Matchless competition models from the production line for factory supported riders use and the use of the factory supported teams. The Matchless Trials Team was disbanded in 1957, leaving AJS as the factory representation in national and trade supported trials where team entries were invited by the organisers. In some cases trials machines were registered as a 350 Matchless, but were liveried and used as an AJS when in factory ownership.

Here is a growing list of the factory registration numbers all from the London/Woolwich registration area showing the registration number, type of machine and the rider it was issued to:

164BLL – 350 AJS – G.O. McLaughlan (1962-1965)

187BLF – 350 AJS 16C – G.L. Jackson (1961-1963); G.S Blakeway (1963-1965), machine now in Sammy Miller Trust collection at New Milton.

644BLB – 350 Matchless G3C (issued and used as a 350 AJS 16C) – Cliff Clayton (1961); M.A. Andrews (1962-1964), machine now in Australia.

AJS2 – 350 AJS 16MC – S.B. ‘Bob’ Manns (1953)

AJS775 – 350 AJS 16MC – G.L Jackson (1954-1955)

AJS776 – 350 AJS 16MC – B.H.M. Viney (1954-1955)

AJS777 – 350 AJS 16MC – S.B. ‘Bob’ Manns (1954-1955) Machine now in private ownership.

AJS777 photo taken in 2023 by David Lewis
AJS777 2
The nearside view of AJS777 showing the quickly detachable clutch cover in alloy. Photo by David Lewis 2023

HXF641 – 350 AJS 16MC – B.H.M. Viney (1946-1949) SSDT winning machine. The machine now in private ownership.

HXF641 - GShaw Image
HXF641 photo taken January 2023 by Gavin Shaw

KYM835 – 350 AJS 16MC – B.H.M. Viney (1951-1952)

KYM836 – 350 Matchless G3LC – D.J. Ratcliffe (1951)

KYV996 – 350 AJS 16MC – S.B. ‘Bob’ Manns (1951)

MLX736 – 350 Matchless G3LC – Dick Clayton (1952); P.C. ‘Jock’ Wilson (1961 SSDT – Comerfords)

Ted Usher (350 Matchless) – 1953 Scott – Photo: Charlie Watson, Hull

MUW754 – 350 AJS 16MC – G.L Jackson (1953)

NGK430 – 350 AJS 16MC – B.H.M. Viney (1953)

Ratcliff OLH 721 1954
Artie Ratcliffe on his factory Matchless OLH721 winning the 1954 SSDT – Photo: Ray Biddle

OLH721 – 350 Matchless G3LC – Artie Ratcliffe (SSDT winner 1954)

OLH722 – 350 Matchless G3LC – Fred Hickman (1954); Gordon McLaughlan (1955); Bill Lomas (Winter 1955); Sid Wicken (1956); Ted Usher (1957), sold in 1957 to T.A. Moffat. Machine now in private ownership in Scotland.

OLH723 – 350 Matchless G3LC – Ted Usher (1954 – 1956) subsequently bought by Artie Ratcliffe and then sold to Robin H. Andrew.

RH Andrew OLH723 - SSDT 1957

TLP686 – 350 AJS 16MC – G.L. Jackson (1957), machine now in private ownership.

VYW659 – 350 AJS 16C – G.L Jackson (1960) thereafter P.C. ‘Jock’ Wilson, Comerfords (1961)

WJJ578 – 350 Matchless G3C – Roger Kearsey (1959); Eric Adcock (loaned in 1959 for two weeks) Ron Langston (1960)

WJJ579 – 350 Matchless G3C – Cliff Clayton (1959); Peter Fletcher (loaned in 1960).

WJJ580 – 350 Matchless G3C – G.O. Mclaughlan (1960); Dave Rowland (loaned in 1961), machine now in private ownership in Isle of Man.

WLR712 – 250 AJS (Model 14CS, converted scrambles machine) – B.H.M Viney (1959)

RH Andrew OLH723 - SSDT 1957

Robin Andrew on board his ex-factory Matchless, fitted with an AJS tank.

Information on OLH723 from Robin H. Andrew: “My first introduction to trials was when I was called up to do my National Service. I was lucky enough to get into the RMP as a motorcycle Instructor based at Aldershot, we had a very understanding  commanding officer who let us ride our Army bikes (Matchless) in the civilian and army trials at the weekend. My biggest success was winning the Southern Command Trial in1953, the only trouble was I hadnt noticed that I had lost my rear stand and was debited 3 marks which took me down to runner-up position. On leaving the army I went back to work in the local James and AJS Dealer who I persuaded to sponsor me with a James Commando. I then progressed to an AJS which was a good machine. Then one day my friend Gordon Mclaughlan told me that works rider Artie Ratcliffe was selling his works Matchless for I think £135. I managed to persuade my sponsor to buy it for me to ride. The only problem was that it was a Matchless not an AJS, so I bought a new AJS tank and they were non the wiser! What a differance the works bike was to my over the counter model. It had more ground clearance, more low down power and many other things. I rode it in the SSDT and managed to get a Special First Class award. The bike was OLH723 I often wonder what happened to it, if it is still around it will be worth a lot more than £135 I paid for it in 1957”. – Robin Andrew

More articles and information on the machines built in Plumstead, England will appear here over time.

… You may also be interested in:

The 1969 AJS Two-Stroke 37A-T Trials

Article HERE

Ex-factory Matchless G3LC photographed on ‘Laggan Locks’ – Photo: Trials Guru

Ajs - Matchless 1960 publicity
The 1960 Matchless sales catalogue showing the 347cc Matchless G3C model, later to be called the ‘Expert’ model – Associated Motorcycles

ajs - matchless 1960 prices

congelton jan 1966 - Photo - Yoomee
A late model AJS 16C short stroke in action in 1966 at Congleton – Photo: Yoomee/John Hulme

GL Jackson  & JO Moffat Red
Gordon L. Jackson (left) with Trials Guru’s John Moffat at the Pre’65 Scottish Trial in 2002. Jackson rode this 1959 Matchless G3C in the SSDT parade in the year 2000 – Photo: Don Morley, Reigate

Trials Guru’s John Moffat has had a soft spot for AMC single cylinder trials motorcycles from an early age. Seen here in 1999 riding his 1959 Matchless G3C at the Pre’65 Scottish Trial on Loch Eild Burn – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

One of the very last AJS 16C models to leave the Plumstead factory in 1964. Subsequently, there were some 16C models assembled from factory packed kits by Canterbury, Kent dealers, Arter Brothers in the same year – Photo: Trials Guru/J Moffat

Detail of the 1964 competition tank on one of the very last 16C AJS to be despatched from the factory. The tank is normally referred to as the ‘Gordon Jackson tank’ – Photo: Trials Guru/J Moffat

ASSOCIATED MOTORCYCLES LIMITED, 44/45 Plumstead Road, Plumstead, SE18.



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