All posts by bigjohn2014

Charlie Cope dies

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Charlie Cope from Midlothian on his home built Honda – Photo: Jimmy Young, Armadale

Midlothian based trials and racing enthusiast, Charlie Cope from Balerno passed away on Sunday, 5th April after suffering a stroke.

Cope was a well-known face at Scottish trials on both solo and sidecar machines in the 1970s and 1980s. His machines were usually well-modified and purposeful, but never highly polished. He was a member of the Scottish Classic Racing, Edinburgh St. George and Melville motor cycle clubs.

Very much an innovator, Cope also raced a Windrick Imp sidecar outfit with daughter Louise as passenger and raced throughout the late 1980s through to 2012. When a few enthusiasts, including the late Fred Hendry tried to get trials sidecars going in Scotland in the late 1970s, Charlie used a Kawasaki KT250 to power his home-built outfit.

One of his ambitions was to reach the first petrol check at the famous Scott Trial.

Charlie worked at Napier University, Edinburgh as Chief Technician of their Civil Engineering department and he also worked on two-stroke barrels for former Scottish champion road racer, Donnie Mcleod.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat said: “I knew Charlie Cope from when he first appeared on the trials scene and he was very much an unpretentious, grass roots sportsman type of chap who really enjoyed his trials riding. He loved the cameraderie that the sport provided, he was always good-humoured and a true enthusiast of the sport of motorcycling. He served for many years on the SSDT committee and was very much a club supporter. I always enjoyed a good natter with Charlie and latterly we would meet once a year at the annual Scottish Motorcycle Show where he would take a traders stall to sell various parts and accessories to fellow enthusiasts.”

We send our heartfelt sympathies to his widow Marie, daughter Louise and son in law Brian Nichol and the extended Cope family.

TMX News goes into lockdown

Cover photo: TMX News Morecambe, England

Reflecting the difficult and challenging times facing the sport at the moment, TMX News (formerly Trials & Motocross News) announced on 1st April that it had been forced to temporarily suspend production of the weekly newspaper, due to the Covid-19 pandemic which is affecting every single country on the globe.

This is the first time that the paper has ceased production since it was founded in May 1977. No date for recommencement of the publication has been given, which is understandable given the current uncertainties worldwide.

In an online statement from TMX News editor, Anthony Sutton explained that with the complete cessasion of motorcycle sport, it became more difficult to justify keeping the presses rolling.

Originally owned by Lancaster & Morecambe Press, TMX News has been part of the JPIMedia group (formerly Johnston Press) for many years, a publishing group which has many titles under its control, which was formed in Scotland in 1767, it has since 2018 been a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) owned by creditors.

Sutton said in the official statement: “… we’ve also seen a significant downturn in revenue with many of our normally very supportive advertisers suspending trading or finding the current conditions downright difficult.”

The company have also taken the difficult decision to suspend both TMX and Dirt Bike Rider magazine, online and in print. The suspension takes effect week commencing 6th April and will be reviewed in line with any changes to government advice.

TMX filled a gap in the market in 1977 when the established motorcycle papers gave less column inches to both trials and motocross events and had cut down on the number of reporters going to cover off-road events. It was founded by the first editor Bill Lawless in Morecambe, England and attracted a huge following with a dozen reporters who all rode competitively, such as Tommy Sandham, Dave Dewhurst, Mike Rapley, Mike Greenhough, Mannix Devlin, John Dickinson and brought to the fore the ace cameraman, Eric Kitchen.

Full text of Anthony Sutton’s statement can be viewed HERE

Leven Valley entries hit the heights

The Leven Valley Two Day Trial has established itself as the most popular trial in Scotland, second only to the Scottish Six Days!

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KInlochleven, Argyll a beautiful place and one protected along it’s Leven Valley by a SSSI – Photo: Susan Black, Prudoe

 

Held in the Leven Valley which encompases a considerable area covered by a sensitive SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), the locally based Kinlochleven & District MCC have had 439 entries for 250 places at close of play 1st April.

Unfortunately, due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, the club are unable to attend to the running of the ballot to determine who gets an entry accepted and who may be on their reserves list. This is due to the social distancing measures and effective lockdown in the UK.

At present the club are planning the event, but cannot even do any recannoiter parties due to the pandemic. However, much of the ground work was done before the virus took hold.

It remains to be seen if the event will proceed on the weekend of 26/27 September 2020, much depends on a variety of factors, not least of all the ability to arrange an event which would be classed as a large public gathering. Much will depend on both Governmental and SACU advice and guidance.

2020 will be the third year the Leven Valley has been run and it is a fantastic event for Twin and Brit-shock machines. The club decided at their first event to dispense with time consuming, hard to enforce eligibility rules and machine inspections. Something that gives the event a more friendly atmosphere.

Club Chairman Martin Murphy said: “We are delighted to see such a healthy demand for entries at our trial, we must be doing something right to attract  almost double compliment. I make no secret that we based our initial plans on the successful Highland Classic, run by our neighbours, the Inverness & District. We took a few of that events ideas and they have worked well for us, but with a Kinlochleven twist to them”.

Clerk of Course, Tam Weir added: “I really hope that the restrictions are lifted in advance of the Leven Valley Trial as the event brings in much needed income to the village, something that will be needed when this virus pendemic has passed. We also have excellent relations with the local landowners who are also very supportive of our event, especially Jahama Estates who own a fair acreage that the course traverses.”

This year, Trials Guru as one of the event sponsors, has supplied the club with a new trophy. The ‘Spirit of Cemoto’ award for the best performance by a competitor on a Bultaco motorcycle. The seventeen inch high trophy was commissioned to artisan welder, Richi Foss of Foss Fabrication and Welding of Inverness and consists of a genuine Bultaco Sherpa cylinder head with a stainless-steel hand in the thumbs up mode exiting the spark plug port.

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More information is available on the club’s website HERE

Spirit of Cemoto Trophy for Leven Valley

Trials Guru has donated a brand new, artisan made trophy for this year’s Leven Valley Two Day trial in September, promoted by Kinlochleven & District MCC.

Called ‘Spirit of Cemoto‘, the trophy will be presented to the rider giving the best performance in the event, riding a Bultaco motorcycle.

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The trophy was commissioned by Trials Guru’s John Moffat and made by artisan fabricator, Richi Foss of Inverness based Foss Fabrication and Welding.

It consists of a 1973 325cc Bultaco Sherpa T cylinder head, mounted on a besel made from Dochgarroch Oak, with the ‘spirit’ being a solid stainless steel ‘thumbs up’ in the style of the original Bultaco trade mark from 1958.

The front plate, also made in polished stainless steel, has subsequently been inscribed by Lancahire’s Peter Kenyon with the ‘Trials Guru‘ logo and the words: ‘Spirit of Cemoto – Best Bultaco Rider‘ on the face of the trophy which sits seventeen inches from base to thumb tip.

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The trophy will be retained by the Kinlochleven & District Motor Cycle Club as an annual award for the Best Bultaco Rider.

Richi Foss said: “John Moffat appeared at my shop one afternoon and said, Richi can you make me a trophy from this. I said to him, surely someone might want that cylinder head for their bike! He left it with me for inspiration and within a week I had worked something out for him and began working on the ‘spirit’ taken from the original logo of Bultaco. It has over fifteen hours of my life invested in that trophy, I hope the winner appreciates it.”

John Moffat added: “There was only one man I could trust to be creative enough to make such a trophy and that is Richi Foss. He is an amazingly skillful chap with a welding torch and he made that ‘spirit’ from sections of stainless steel, fused together then ground and polished into the famous thumbs up symbol of Bultaco. It is unique, there is not another one like it in the world. The other interesting facet is that it uses a genuine Bultaco component, the cylinder head from an early model 325cc Sherpa, a model that then went through two years of continuous development to win the very first World Trials Championship for the brand. Trials Guru is proud to be associated with the Leven Valley Two Day Trials as one of their sponsors.”

Foss Fabrication and Welding are reknown for taking on unusual and out of the ordinary work at Unit 3 The Old Sawmill, Dochgarroch, IV3 8JG – 07761 286112

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Richi Foss hard a work on one of his creations, a huge eagle for a council roads roundabout in Inverness

ACU pull plug on sport until 31st May 2020

The ACU, the officially recognised motorcycle sport governing body of the FIM have cancelled all permitted events until 31st May 2020. This will be continually reviewed moving forward. The organisation has already cancelled the Isle of Man TT Races in June.

The statement issued 24 March 2020 by ACU central office reads:

Covid-19 Update

In light of recent developments in the COVID-19 crisis, and following the address to the nation by the Prime Minister on the evening of 23rd March, the Auto-Cycle Union has today extended its suspension of all organising permits for motorcycle events until at least 31st May but will be constantly reviewed.

This move provides clear guidance to event organisers, clubs, venues, competitors, officials of the role that the Auto-Cycle Union must play in supporting the broader UK public health agenda.

Auto-Cycle Union Chairman, Roy Humphrey explained, “The government have required that we effectively lock-down for a period of three weeks, however given that the most vulnerable in our society are required to isolate for three months, we feel it only sensible to propose a longer suspension for all motorcycle sport. This is a time of national unity and we need to come together with the broader public community to do all we can to support this battle and ultimately save lives. This evening, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said the Government is launching a new scheme to recruit 250,000 volunteers to support the NHS through the coronavirus pandemic. A quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health to help the NHS, for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health. We may not be involved in any sporting activities, but, we could help support the NHS through this pandemic!”

Auto-Cycle Union will continue to monitor the prevailing advice from the UK Government in respect of the COVID-19 international pandemic and will update the motorcycle community accordingly.

Colin Bullock coming soon

We will shortly have a selection of Colin Bullock (CJB) images for you to look at on a permanent basis on Trials Guru.

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British Championship action with Yrjo Vesterinen – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

Colin is beavering away in his boxes of photos and will select a number for your enjoyment, so watch this space as they say.

In the meantime, why not read up about the man himself:

Here!