All posts by bigjohn2014

Alan Morewood’s final section

Words: Trials Guru

Photos: Malcolm Carling; Eric Kitchen; Iain Lawrie

It is with sadness that we have to report on the passing of yet another well-known trials rider and sidecar driver, C. Alan Morewood from Sheffield on 24th August 2020 after a long illness.

The name Morewood always seemed to be associated with Ariel and indeed he was one of the very last riders to compete in the Scottish Six Days Trial on an HT500, way back in 1976 when the Selly Oak machines had long become museum pieces and their resurrenction in Pre’65 events was still five years distant. The last recorded ‘finisher’ on an Ariel was Scot, Ernie Page the very same year.

Alan Morewood on his 500cc Ariel in the 1984 Pre’65 Scottish Trial at Kinlochleven – Photo Copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Alan’s first SSDT ride was in 1957 on an Ariel and was awarded the famous P.S. Chamberlain Challenge Trophy for best first timer. He was entered under the Ilkeston & District MCC. Alan was also a noteable sidecar driver, sometimes accompanied by his wife, Merle, they had two trials riding sons, Robin and David.

The Morewoods were long-time members of Sheffield and Hallamshire MCC and both Alan and his wife spent many seasons following the FIM World Trials series, their motorhome becoming a fixture in the paddocks across Europe.

Terry’s Dalesman Manx win

Words: Nigel Megson

Fifty years ago, the Manx National Two Day trial was held on Saturday 29th August and Sunday 30th August 1970.

The solo trial had two hundred and one starters and was over two circular routes that started at 8.15am from the famous TT Grandstand.

The Saturday route traversed the south of the Island and had thirty-four sections  and the Sunday route went over the North of the island and also had the same number of sections.

On paper, the favourite looked to be Gordon Farley who had travelled all the way from Kent and who would be riding his works supported 250cc Montesa Cota. He would be up against Expert riders from West and South Yorkshire, many of whom were riding ‘mini’ 125cc bikes. Riding numbers probably favoured the top runners, who were starting from the middle of the field as the riding order was reversed for the Sunday.

Dave Thorpe on the 250cc OSSA ‘Pennine’ was riding number 68, Terry Wright on his Dalesman was riding number 92, Gordon Farley with number 126, Gerald Rathmell on the works 125cc Sprite with number 142, Jim Sandiford on a 250 Bultaco 66, Paul England on a 125cc Dalesman, number 160, a young Nick Jefferies was number 75 on the ex factory Triumph Tiger Cub, next to the popular Stan Cordingley on a 250cc Bultaco, who finished in 8th place on 24 marks, riding number 76.

Notable absentees from the event included Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin who was riding a 400cc Husqvarna at the Bucks Grand National down at Brill, whilst Malcom Rathmell and Martin Lampkin were riding their Moto-Cross bikes in a Craven club scramble. Several other top riders included Ian Haydon, Derek Adsett and Rob Edwards.  

John Hemingway and Scott Ellis were riding in the Clayton Trophy Trial in Wales.

On the Saturday, Dave Thorpe had a good steady ride losing three marks, Terry Wright on his Dalesman lost five on the slippery hill at Billown and Gordon Farley finished up losing nine including , in what for him,  must have been a disastrous day with a maximum at Poylvaaish and several dabs at the Arragon River.

On the Sunday, Dave Thorpe went pretty much to pieces losing thirteen marks whilst Gordon Farley had the best ride of the day losing four marks. Terry Wright suffered a five on the vicious sections at ‘Tholt-Y-Wil’, but he did retain his composure and nerve for the rest of the event including the ultra steep rock climb at Sartfell Park.

The final results of the trial were:

1st  Terry Wright  125cc Dalesman.  10 marks                  

2nd Gordon Farley  250cc Montesa.  13   

3rd Dave Thorpe  250cc Ossa.  16                            

4th Paul  England  125cc Dalesman.         17

5th Gerald Rathmell  125cc Sach Sprite.  20

6th Jim Sandiford  250cc Bultaco.              22

The team prize went to Wetherby ‘A’ which comprised Terry Wright, Gerald Rathmell and John ‘Killer’ Kendrew  (who finished in 9th place on 24 marks)

A fantastic result for the popular Yorkshireman Terry Wright giving the Dalesman concern possibly their first and only ‘National’ win .

Fair bet that it was a good party that night!

(Front cover of 1970 programme by kind permission IOM Centre ACU)

Robregordo 2020 Goes ahead

The annual Two Day Robregordo trial takes place in Madrid County, Spain on 5/6 October this year, but with Covid-19 restrictions.

The trial is restricted to Spanish national and local riders only as the country fights the pandemic coronavirus.

Organised by the Sotobike club, the event usually attracts an international line up, but for the first time in the events history it has had to restrict the entry.

12 sections over two laps each day will be held.

BKS Remembered

Fifty years ago, Barry Kefford built and rode a lightweight sidecar outfit which spawned many sidecars to be produced for the chairmen of trials. The BKS chair was the piece of kit to have in the 1970s.

Here are two photos supplied by Barry’s passenger of the era, Geoff Bridgwater who is a Trials Guru website reader.

Taken at the Beggar’s Roost trial in 1970 in which they won the sidecar class on gtheir BSA Victor powered outfit with the innovative narrow, light weight sidecar and the 1969 trial at Hawkstone Park.

No Scott for 2020

The organising Richmond Motor Club (Yorkshire) Ltd have announced that after careful consideration to landowners, officials and the current restrictions, it will not be possible to run the Scott Trial this year.

The only time the Scott Trial has not been run was during the war years and 2001 when Foot and Mouth disease was present in the UK countryside.

A full statement can be viewed on the club website:

HERE

SSDT Faces Loss of Land

The Scottish Six Days Trial, organised since 1911 by the Edinburgh & District MC Ltd, faces yet more land challenges thanks to illegal use of private roads and moorland in the Scottish Highlands.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, 15th July on social media, the committee issued a warning that land in the Rannoch area could be lost to the event if illegal use continues.

It is an offence to use Forest and Land Scotland property for off-road vehicle activity without written permission and indeed vehicles have been seized by Police Scotland in the past and riders/drivers charged accordingly. Forest & Land Scotland rarely allows permission without payment of an agreed fee.

The land in the Scottish Highlands can be very sensitive and therefore off road motorcycle and other activity is not welcome at certain times of the year and indeed at any time if permission is not sought and obtained.

The statement on social media ‘facebook’ read:

“SSDT risks losing access to a major estate due to illegal riding.

Despite the current lockdown, some people are choosing to flout the rules and risk the future of our sport by illegally riding on private land and forestry.

Illegal activity on forestry land and unauthorised uses of Private Venues is a criminal offence and puts all legitimate events at risk.

The Edinburgh & District MC have been approached by a major estate concerned about unauthorised riding around the Rannoch area. If this continues, the SSDT could lose the entire Thursday route, a route that has been part of the event for decades.

One of the major concerns is the environmental impact of using motorised vehicles off road in areas with fragile ecosystems. Particularly at this time of year, the remote parts of Scotland are the habitat of endangered ground nesting birds and other wildlife extremely vulnerable to disturbance. The SSDT and other off-road motorcycle events are carefully organised taking these factors into consideration and working with bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage ensure that events cause minimum impact. Unauthorised indiscriminate riding over these estates can undo years of good work and cause irreparable damage to wildlife and the environment.

Some individuals seem to think that old drove roads and tracks are vehicular rights of way – in fact there are very few rights of way for motorised vehicles in Scotland. Most have an average length of less than 1 mile and are short stretches of roads that have not been adopted by the local authority. None of the off-road routes that the SSDT use are vehicular rights of way, they are all privately owned and using motorised vehicles on them is not permitted without specific consent from the landowner.

The club has, for over a century, had a fantastic relationship with the estates that the event passes through – I am sure that nobody would like to jeopardise this historic event through thoughtless unauthorised riding.”

Leven Valley cancelled

The popular Leven Valley Two Day Trial, promoted by the local Kinlochleven & District MCC is the latest high profile event to be pulled from the calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This would have been the third annual event which is centred at Kinlochleven and is totally run off-road.

The committee took the painful decision to cancel the 2020 event, given that the village of Kinlochleven and its remote location has been kept almost virus free since the pandemic reached the UK in late February.

The safety of the local population was paramount, given that the entry limit was originally set for 250 competitors and it was over-subscribed. The club held off until Sunday, 28th June to announce their decision and to inform that they will run a one-day event at Glencoe Ski Range instead.

Plans are already being formed for the 2021 two day event which will be held in the September.

For full details, go to the website of the Kinlochleven & District MCC > HERE <

Waltham Chase paves the way

Words: Trials Guru

Photo: Auto-Cycle Union

The ACU affiliated Waltham Chase Trials Club ran a successful, controlled Adult only Practice Trial at the weekend over two sessions at their Oakridge Copse venue near Salisbury.

Assisted by the Auto-Cycle Union and restricted to adult licence holders, the events were hailed a great success and paves the way forward for other organisations to follow suit.

Mindful of bad publicity surrounding any mass gathering, the club had used the ACU Risk Assessment guidelines and put in place many safety arrangements to ensure a smooth and controlled return to a form of trials that we have to become used to given that the Covid-19 pandemic may not be resolved this year and worse still if the predicted second wave forces a futher halt to the sport.

A full press release on the event by the ACU can be read > HERE <

Bobby survives Covid

Words: Trials Guru

Photos: Scottish Television; Jack Williamson & Iain Lawrie

Some good news for a change!

MacLeod'89 LHP-1 - IL 2
Bobby MacLeod on a BSA Bantam in the 1989 Pre-65 Scottish Trial high above Kinlochleven on the Loch Eild Path – Photo courtesy of iain Lawrie

89 year old former trials rider and SSDT competitor, Bobby MacLeod from Fort William who now resides in a Stirling care home, has survived Covid-19.

Featured in a Scottish TV mid-evening television programme ‘Scotland Tonight’ Bobby looked well after recovering from the life threatening contageon at an Abbeyfield House care establishment.

Bobby MacLeod - Stirling Home

Bobby rode the Scottish Six Days Trial several times and was usually in company with his brother, the late Billy MacLeod.

He was given the honour of being the ‘official starter’ at the 2011 Scottish Six Days Centenary event, which he enjoyed immensely as he was able to chat to the riders as he flagged them away from the West End Parc Ferme. He was later interviewed on local Nevis Radio.

Lochaber April Trial 1959
Covid-19 survivor, Bobby MacLeod, far left with members of the Lochaber & District MCC in 1959 at Kinlochleven. His brother, Billy MacLeod is on the far right.