All posts by bigjohn2014

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.

ACU slams those disregarding Government advice

The ACU issued a statement on Monday 8th June 2020 which criticised non-affiliated organisations who are organising group events or gatherings which they claim are putting the sport in a bad light with authorities during the Covid-19 contageon.

The full statement reads:

“As we carefully steer ourselves through the current pandemic of Covid-19, the UK Government and the respective devolved governments have and will continue to ease restrictions (subject to their not being a second peak of the virus) which will allow our various sports to commence.

We have now issued risk assessments templates which gives guidance/advice across all disciplines about the various Control Measures to be put in place to mitigate, as far as is reasonably practicable, any risk to our volunteer Officials and our competitors.

Furthermore, Organisers are to be mindful that as is currently outlined in the various Standing Regulations for our Sports contained in the ACU Handbook and in the National Sporting Code under article 8.02 in which it states ‘No competition shall be promoted on either a public or private road, track or elsewhere until the Organisers have obtained the necessary lawful authority from the appropriate public authorities or private individuals and landowners’,  all necessary notifications/permissions should be obtained from Local Authorities/statutory authorities (police), local hospitals that an Event is taking place, and/or have written confirmation from the Circuit/landowner that the necessary permissions are in place for the Event to commence.   

We have all seen reports of police turning up at events in recent times and we have seen reports of Organisers who are not affiliated to the ACU blatantly disregarding UK Government Advice and Guidance which has undoubtedly put Off Road motorcycle sport in a poor light.

Finally, please remember that until the UK and devolved Governments lift restrictions on camping and overnight accommodation, planned events should be restricted to one day events to eradicate overnight stays.

Please help us to help you restart and organise the sport and in doing so let us work with the respective Authorities and furthermore not attract unwanted or bad press to motorcycling.”

For more information visit the ACU website at: http://www.acu.org.uk

Factory AJS comes up for sale

Words: Trials Guru & Ben Butterworth

Photos: Jack Butterworth

A unique opportunity has arisen to purchase a true ex-factory AJS from the late 1950s!

Jackson 1957 SSDT Kinlochrannoch
Gordon Jackson pilots TLP686 in the 1957 SSDT on ‘Kinloch Rannoch’

The machine once the issue of former British Expert and ACU Star rider, Gordon L. Jackson, registered in 1957 by Associated Motor Cycles as TLP686, a 347cc AJS 16C.

AJS 2

The machine was ridden by Jackson in the 1957 British Experts trial and Scottish Six Days. The vendor has written confirmation from Gordon personally of the machines authenticity.

AJS 4

Lancashire’s Ben Butterworth is handling the sale for a close family friend who has owned the AJS for many years.

Ben said: “I’ve been asked to help with the sale of the Ex-works trials AJS 350 which was Gordon Jackson’s machine, the owner is open to sensible offers and would consider a part exchange.

Loads of history, letters from Gordon himself stating it was his bike, it is road registered, has the correct engine and frame numbers. This was the bike which won The British Experts Trial 1957, he also rode the SSDT on this machine.

The bike runs and rides very well, I’ve been lucky enough to have a ride on it myself after my Grandad has worked on it for the last two weeks, making sure it runs and polished it up for sale.”

 

AJS 5

The AJS has been put up for sale as the current owner stated to Trials Guru that “I’m not getting any younger and will never use it so I’d like it to go to somebody who would appreciate it for what it is with the history.”

The ex-factory machine is expected to fetch a high price and it has generated significant interest by both private collectors and museums.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat a enthusiast of the marque added: “This is indeed a unique opportunity to own a piece of SSDT, AJS and British Trials history that doesn’t happen very often.”

AJS 6

ACU announces plans for restricted sport

The Auto-Cycle Union has released a statement on Wednesday 27th May, outlining a partial and restricted return to motorcycle sport.

Youth sport is not included and non competitive meetings will be allowed initially with competitive events coming on stream in early July.

It was forecast by many commentators that a full scale return to racing and competition would not be possible and that it would be some time before events could get back to what was perceived as ‘normal’.

The ACU have stated that training and practice will be allowed, but only for riders aged 16 years and above, this is in keeping with UK Governmental guidance.

You may read the full statement > HERE <

Nevis Radio Fund Raiser Plea

You will all remember the superb 2020 ‘Virtual Scottish Six Days Trial’ run in association with Trial Magazine and Michelin along with the superb guys from Nevis Radio a few weeks ago. It was a huge hit with the many listeners around the globe.

Nevis Radio have their crowd funding effort on the go and have found a funder who has made a committment to match fund their total amount. They have a month left to try and up the total and then to double it.

Yes we all know it’s challenging times at the moment, but if anyone can help could you please click on the link below and donate an amount of your choice and support such a worthy cause.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savecommunityradio?fbclid=IwAR0X5Akci0K_wzIrZBbS3S0dumz3DhtaaIPnXGt4Nlt0q7f-7prs7s7fhcI

Jack Williamson hits 90

Three times Scottish Trials Champion, John ‘Jack’ Duncan Williamson has reached the 90 milestone on 22nd May 2020!

Jack who took over the family business of J. Williamson & Son in Newtongrange in the late 1960s from his father was a force to be reckoned with in Scottish trials from the early 1950s. He rode competitively until 1975 which included rides in the International Six Days Trial and the Scottish Six Days events.

J Williamson and Son - Newtongrange 1971
Jack Williamson (left) with his father John Williamson in 1971 at the family business in Newtongrange, Midlothian, Scotland.

Champion of Scotland three times, 1962-64 on Greeves machines, Jack was always quick to purchase the very latest in trials machinery of the time, which saw him ride AJS, BSA, Matchless, Ariel, Dot, Greeves, Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa over a career that lasted over 25 years.

jdw-bsa-ray-biddle
Jackie Williamson taken by Ray Biddle, Birmingham from the 1953 Scottish on his Alexanders of Edinburgh sponsored BSA Gold Star on ‘Conduit’ above Kinlochleven – Print supplied from J.D. Williamson’s private collection.

A native of Newtongrange, Midlothian, the local community heralded Jack as their ‘hero’ and in the 1960s organised bus trips to go to events to watch him compete, such was his popularity not only as a trials rider but as a local business owner who supplied many of the homes in the area with radios and later, televisions from his firm based in the town’s Main Street.

OSG443 - 2014 - JDW - BW
SSDT winner 1969, Bill Wilkinson does a bit of fettling for Jack’s wee run on the 500 Ariel which he was briefly reunited with in 2014 at Kinlochleven.

Jack was one of the first riders to compete under the Scottish ACU in the ISDT, in 1969 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria on a 250cc Montesa King Scorpion. He did not finish that year due to a mechanical issue, but did go on to compete in more ISDT events and was awarded the Arthur Prince Trophy in 1972 as best British privateer on his 250cc Ossa. He also won a bronze medal at the event in Czechoslovakia.

jdw - 1963
Jack Williamson (250cc Greeves) awaits the signal to start in the 1963 Spring Trial at Kinlochleven. Ian Pollock was a driving force in this event which was re-maned in his honour after his death.

We wish Jack Williamson a very happy birthday having reached 90 years of age, he will spend the day quietly with his wife, Rose at their home in Rosewell, Midlothian.

JDW - 90
Jack Williamson on his 90th birthday – Photo: Mrs Rose Williamson

Jack would like to thank all those very much, who wished him a happy 90th birthday on Trials Guru website and various facebook pages.

For more on Jack Williamson go > HERE <

Manx Classic is cancelled

The annual two-day Manx International Classic on the Isle of Man, planned for September 2020 has been cancelled. In a statement issued by the organising Manx Trials Club, the committee was faced with an organisational issue and decided to cancel the event due to riders having to arrange ferry and accommodation to get to an island which currenmtly has closed its borders.

The statement read:

“The Manx International Classic Trial Committee regret to announce that this years event scheduled to be held on 5th & 6th September has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. Our committee are all bitterly disappointed as I am sure you are but it is the only option available to us. We have delayed making the decision until now in the hope that we would reach a point where we could be confident that the current restrictions on travel, mass gatherings and the like would be lifted by September and the event could run safely. However we have now reached the point where we would need to ramp up the organising activity, and we appreciate that visiting riders need the opportunity to transfer/cancel travel and accommodation arrangements, so the decision to cancel was taken. With the information available to us at this time the following main issues exist:-

The Isle of Man’s borders are currently closed and there is no indication of when they will open – the IOM Government having stated last week that ‘the borders will not be open any time soon’

All the islands hotels, guest houses and the like are currently closed with no indication of when they will be permitted to begin operating again

There is currently a ban on all mass gatherings and there is no guarantee that this restriction will be eased sufficiently to allow the numbers of riders & spectators we normally attract to congregate

Whilst the AMCA in conjunction with the ACU are currently formulating a plan to recommence motorcycle sport in July the early indications are that this will be on a very low key basis and would not provide for a multi venue and large event such as the Manx International Classic Trial.”

The club announced that next years’ event is already planned for 4th & 5th September 2021.

John Shirt and Gas Gas are back

Words: Trials Guru

Photos courtesy: Gas Gas Motorcycles & John Shirt Motorcycles Ltd

For many years the UK importer for the Gas Gas brand of trials motorcycles, John R. Shirt has formed John Shirt Motorcycles Ltd to become an authorised Gas Gas UK dealer.

Previously Shirt supplied trials dealers the length and breadth of the British isles with Gas Gas trials machines, but following the take-over of the Spanish brand by the Austrian based KTM organisation, matters have now changed dramatically.

KTM tested the trials market back in 1975, when they built a small number of prototype KTM trials machines and engaged Austrian Walther Luft and German Felix Krahnstover as development riders. Shortly after, the company decided to end the project and concentrate on development and production of both motocross and enduro machines.

John Shirt told Trials Guru: “I am excited by my new venture, Gas Gas had real financial problems since 2015, but now that the KTM organisation is fully in charge, matters have been resolved and now I am trading as an authorised Gas Gas dealer, selling bikes direct to the trials buying public at large. As an authorised dealer, we at John Shirt Motorcycles Ltd interface direct with the manufacturer, there is no official UK concessionaire any longer. I was very keen to continue with the brand which I have been loyal to for 30 years. I am looking forward to engaging with direct customers, many of whom I know are similarly loyal to the Gas Gas brand. I have already a team of great people at JSM raring to go.”

For more information, have a look at John Shirt’s official website: HERE

Photos of the new GAS GAS trials model:

Gas Gas 1

Gas Gas 2

Gas Gas 3

Gas Gas 4

Gas Gas 5

Gas Gas 6

Gas Gas 7

Gas Gas 8

Gas Gas 9

Gas Gas 10

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