All posts by bigjohn2014

Great Scots – Tommy Milton or NOTLIM if you prefer!

Wheels from an early age! - Tommy Milton with a tricycle around 1919
Wheels from an early age! – Tommy Milton with a tricycle around 1919

Tommy Milton was born in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland in March, 1916. Sadly, his mother died a few days later, so he was raised in the home of his mother’s aunt. He attended Yardheads Primary School and Leith Academy, but left when he was fourteen to begin work. From his early teenage years, he had enjoyed cycling and ‘tinkering’ with his bicycle, a necessity since he did not have the means to buy a new one. His circle of friends were into motorcycles and he duly acquired a 1936 New Imperial, on which he competed in a few reliability trials prior to 1939. He joined the recently formed Melville Motor Club around this time.

1947 - Bo'Ness Hillclimb on the Ariel
1947 – Bo’Ness Hillclimb at Snake Bend at Kineill on the Ariel.

With the advent of war, he enlisted early, without waiting for his ‘call-up papers’, so that he had a good chance of becoming a dispatch rider, and this he did.

He was selected to attend a three week course in basic maintenance which, in the confusion of the early war years, turned out to be a three month course to train Army fitters, and he was allowed to remain, passing out with flying colours.

After the war, the trade unions recognised this qualification as equivalent to an apprenticeship, thus enabling Tommy to become a Navy fitter at Port Edgar in South Queensferry, his job for the rest of his working life.

Tommy's faithful Ariel DFS122 used as a scrambles machine.
Tommy’s faithful Ariel DFS122 used here as a hill-climber machine. Harry Darling an Edinburgh Monarchs speedway rider is on the right.

While Tommy was in the Army, he was sent to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and his particular friend there, also from Leith, had left his new Ariel Red Hunter at home. Sadly, his friend was drowned in an accident and so, after the war, Tommy acquired DFS 122 from his friend’s mother, the bike on which he was to compete in trials, grass tracks and, especially, hill climbs in the forties and fifties. He won the Scottish Hill-Climb Championship (Standard Class) in 1949.

In the early fifties, as his riding career was winding down, he became a committee member of the Melville Motor Club, going on to become Secretary and Treasurer, and generally the main pillar of the Melville for the next fifteen years or so, eventually handing over to the next generation to Trevor Hay (see article: Great Scots – Trevor Hay).

Tommy Milton with his Ariel DFS122 at a Gymkhana event riding the plank!
Tommy Milton with his Ariel DFS122 at a Melville Gymkhana event in 1946 riding the plank!

Tommy married Margaret (Peggy) Wood, also from Leith, in 1942, while on leave. The couple were separated by the war, meeting for a few days over Christmas, 1944 in Sheffield, before Tommy was de-mobbed in mid-1945.

Tommy and Peggy had two children – son, Tommy Junior and daughter Maureen.


In addition to his Melville duties, Tommy was also a member of the Scottish Auto-Cycle Union Management Committee, serving as an SACU Steward at many events, especially scrambles. He was also one of the founding group of the popular ‘Scottish Clubman’ magazine, under editor Fred Stephens of Stonehaven. Tommy undertook distribution of the magazine to all the Edinburgh motorcycle shops each month, as well as roping in son Tommy and daughter, Maureen to sell them at each Sunday’s events. He also contributed a regular monthly column on whatever took his fancy, under the pen name ‘NOTLIM’ – simply his surname reversed!

With his outgoing nature and willingness to help others, Tommy had become a mentor to a legion of younger riders. These included Scotland’s celebrated racer, Bob McIntyre who began his illustrious career competing with Tommy in hill climbs. In recognition of his many years of service to the Club and the sport, the Melville made him an honorary life member, an honour the SACU also made him later as an honorary vice-president.

Tommy Milton receives atrophy at an awards night, these were big affairs back in the day!
Tommy Milton receives an award at an presentation night, these were big affairs back in the day! Peggy Milton is the young lady just to the left of the presenter.

In addition to his Melville Club activities and his day job, Tommy also had a dance band, which specialised in ‘old time dance’ music and had regular ‘gigs’ in various clubs in and around Edinburgh and the surrounding townships. Members of Tommy’s band included pianist Tommy Merrilees, the brother of Edinburgh’s celebrated Police Chief Constable Willie Merrilees, and drummer Sammy Marks, whose brother Bob was captain of the Edinburgh Monarchs speedway team. The band would play at the Melville’s frequent social evenings at the Edinburgh Southern Harriers’ sports club at Fernieside in Edinburgh.

Tommy Milton in his band days, he is the musician with the button accordion on the right.
Tommy Milton in his band days with The Harmony Players at a night in Leith, he is the musician with the button accordion third on the right.

With the closure of the Port Edgar in the mid-seventies, Tommy transferred to Rosyth. In the Queen’s 1977 Birthday Honours he was awarded the Imperial Service Medal, recognising his 30 years of meritorious service.

Karting - Tommy Milton leads Bill Landels the well-known speedway rider and Stan Sproat who was to become part of the great Ecurre Ecosse car racing organisation and a director of Lothian Sports Cars in Edinburgh.
The first Karting try out at Meadowbank in 1960 – Tommy Milton leads Bill Landells the well-known speedway rider and Stan Sproat who was to become part of the great Ecuire Ecosse car racing organisation and a director of Lothian Sports Cars in Edinburgh.

Tommy decided to take early retirement in 1978 as he did not enjoy being a regular user of the Forth Road Bridge, having famously led a vigorous campaign against tolls prior to its opening in 1965! He had also started to take a back seat in Melville activities but continued to be involved in motorcycle sport and, especially, the Clubman magazine. In the mid-eighties he suffered a stroke from which he recovered but with some vision impairment which meant he could no longer drive.

Tommy Milton on the right as many of our more mature readers will remember him!
With Scottish Clubman editor, Fred Stevens on the left, Tommy Milton on the right as many of our more mature readers will remember him!

For the first time in his life, he became a regular bus user, still getting around Scotland’s capital city. Although a non-smoker since his mid-thirties, Tommy sadly contracted lung cancer in 1993 and succumbed to this the following year, at 78 years of age.

Trials Guru: Tommy Milton was a 100% died in the wool motorcyclist of the old school. A respected member of the Scottish ACU, Melville MC (Scotland) and the Scottish motorcycle sporting community. He was a true enthusiast who was a stickler for fair play and sticking to the rules.

On one occasion, Tommy decided to prove a point. He inserted a clause to the standard rider’s declaration of the entry form at a Melville scramble which read: “I promise to pay the sum of five-pounds sterling to Thomas Milton on signing on at the start”.

When Tommy was signing the riders into the event he asked them for the five-pounds! Many asked what the extra five-pounds was for? Tommy had proved the point – many riders had simply signed the entry form without reading it!

Tommy Milton decided to encourage his son Tommy junior to stick in at school. He gave Milton junior a challenge, get good results at school and he would be bought a new trials bike of his choice. Young Tommy not only stuck in at school he became ‘dux’ at his school, the top performer. True to his word Tommy senior bought his son a brand new Greeves in 1962 straight from the Thundersley factory.

The article about Tom Milton Junior’s first Greeves TE250 is HERE

Tommy junior was one of only three Scot’s born people to have ever won the Sunbeam MCC Pinhard Prize in 1967 for his services to trials. The other two Scot’s born winners are: Gordon W. Phillip (Enduro) in 1978 and Paul Chatham (Enduro) in 2005.

The Pinhard Prize – Sunbeam MCC

We thank the Milton family, Tom Milton Junior, Maureen McInally (Milton) and Trevor Hay for their assistance during the making of this article.

Copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat and Thomas Milton Jnr.

Photos: Tommy Milton Archive.

GASGAS SSDT Support 2015 – Read on!

Gas Gas Pro SSDT check list. 

ALL GAS GAS RIDERS MUST REGISTER WITH GGUK BEFORE THE EVENT. Please phone Andy Hipwell on 01298 766814 or email him ..

Andy will need all your details…, address, riding number and credit card details.

1. Check spokes in both front & rear wheels for tightness as they may have worked loose since first being checked.

If you have the normal type rear wheel (pre 2011) with the sealing band make sure the sealing band is sealed properly BEFORE the event. Please don’t come to our mechanics on ‘way-in’ day with a leaking rim-tape. GET IT SORTED beforehand.

The latest type rear wheels fitted to 2010 RAGA, and all 2011-2015 bikes have the new band-less rear wheel which prevents the tyre leaking air. You must make sure that the spokes are also in good condition on these wheels.

2. Fit new MICHELIN tyres on the front and back. The heat generated on the road destroys tyres and only Michelins stand the abuse. It’s probably better to use the ‘normal’ X11 rear tyres because the new X-light is very thin on the carcass (crown) so there’s more risk of a puncture.

You can get the whole week out of one rear tyre but we recommend using two.

We also recommend using a thicker Enduro inner tube in the front.

We also recommend fitting new wheel bearings…..particularly the front.

3. Repack your silencer with some good quality packing wool. (We recommend SILENTSPORT). It’s a messy job but is well worth doing.

Even if your bike is relatively new we still recommend repacking it before the SSDT. Make sure you re-fit the plastic end can with silicone sealer. And use loctite on the 5mm screws.

Try and not sit on the rear mudguard / silencer because this can make the plastic end can come away from the silencer. You can strengthen this by adding rivets…see pic.

Also a GOOD idea is to add a rivet to the very end of the silencer to help strengthen the fixing of the small stainless outlet.

Fit both front pipe & silencer with new o-rings and silicone sealer.

Also check that the middle-box brackets have no cracks….re-weld / repair if necessary.

1. Check suspension linkage for excessive play & damaged seals, replace as necessary.

Check your ‘bump-stop’ rubber is intact.

2. Clean air filter box & make sure it is completely water tight, clean filter & refit after applying some (decent) filter oil.

On the Pros, it’s a good idea to split the two halves of the air box and seat and re-apply some decent silicone sealant before re-fixing the screws. We use WURTH RTV silicone.

3. Also a good idea (but not a must) is to drill a small 4mm drain hole in the bottom of the plastic flywheel cover & put PVC tape around where wires go into casing. Things can be very wet in Scotland and this will help drain any water that may enter your ignition/stator.Whilst the case is off check the flywheel nut.

4. Make sure all wiring connections are free from dirt & fitted together properly with silicone grease. If your thermostat switch is working fine then leave it alone. Its a good idea to make yourself a small link wire to bypass the switch and wire the fan direct if the switch fails. Only do this in an emergency because having the fan running all the time eventually destroys the small bearings in the fan motor.

5. It’s a good idea also to renew your head o-rings, especially on the two piece S3 cylinder heads. Its also a good idea to carry some head orings in case you cook your bike. If u empty the rad the next thing that fries are the head orings so because they weigh and cost very little, it’s a good idea to carry some.

6. Fit new front & rear brake pads.

Tighten ALL the brake banjo bolts especially the rear brake one because they tend to work loose sometimes. Also check the clutch banjo bolt on top of the cover.

7. We have had a few problems with the rear brake hose splitting on the 2011/12’s. We have replacement ‘VENHILL’ hoses that are of better quality. Not essential to change but please check yours thoroughly before the event. If worried, get a Venhill hose.

The 2013/14’s brake hoses have been modified by the factory and they are fine.

2015 model are also fine standard.

8. Renew gearbox oil with 400ml of good quality oil. We also recommend you change it after 3 days. ( we recommend Putoline Light Gear Oil 75w)

9. Fit new chain & sprockets and the chain is correctly adjusted & it’s not too low-geared. The standard Pro gearing of 11×41/42 is ok but you may want to gear the bike up a little to help on the road sections. (check those sprocket bolts!)

DO NOT FIT A 12T front sprox on a GG PRO!

Remember —- one tooth on the front is the equivalent to four on the back.

When changing the front sprocket make sure the cir-clip is fitted properly.

10. The standard IRIS chains are no good for Scotland. Spend your money on a good quality heavy duty chain like Regina or Renthal for example. (there’s a lot of road work in Scotland). DO NOT USE AN O-RING CHAIN! Also renew the chain tensioner pad.

11. Check the coolant is topped up, condition of the hoses & clips are O.K.

12. Remove carburettor & the float bowl, blow all jets out with airline & refit. Usually, the standard jetting is fine for Scotland. A good idea is to change the ‘float jet’ from the std. 200 to say a 300 to allow more fuel when you’re abusing the bike on the road. Sometimes the bigger float jet can affect the performance in the sections running rich and sometimes a smaller pilot jet (33) is needed. Also keep your filter clean and try and stay away from deep water because you’re engine wont like it.

13. If you use a Keihin Carb (standard on Racing models) we recommend using the richer slide #3 to make the jetting richer mid range and safter on the road. The #3.5 makes the bike nice and clean in the sections but makes it very weak on the road.

14. If you want piece of mine regarding fuel tanks then we do the large capacity ones which all the Team use. This is not just so we can make money either! Its peace of mind for you. You may get stuck on the moors, get lost or your bike might fall over whilst viewing a section. If you use a Keihin carb then these use even more petrol on the road.

If you have a 2013 PRO RACING/REPLICA FACTORY/STD or RACING 2014 model then you must ask for the tank that fits that model because the coil is mounted in a different place and so needs a modified tank.

If you can’t afford a tank then Id advise carrying at least half a litre in your rucksack….which is not actually allowed….oops.

The petrol stops are perfectly situated nowadays thanks to the army and many GG riders manage on the standard tanks.

Hebo also make an auxiliary plastic fuel tank that fits where your front number plate is attached.

15. YOU MUST USE THE CHOKE ON THE ROAD. Keep easing off to the ‘rich’ spot is the best technique. Tip; vary your speed and throttle when you are on the road. Holding the throttle in a constant place on any 2 stroke is fatal. The engine will run very weak, detonate and easily seize up.

Always ride a long with a finger hovering the clutch lever. If you feel the engine tighten or if the piston ‘nips’, pull that clutch lever fast ! If you seize the piston, don’t panic. Let the engine cool down a little and try and push the kickstart down. If the kickstart is absolutely solid, you are in trouble ! The cylinder needs to be removed and renewed with a new piston. If the kickstart will push down, you’ve been lucky. Start the bike and carry on, steadily for a while. The engine will rattle but usually quietens down after a few miles.

16. Fit new handlebar grips with glue and also wire them on.

There are many grips on the market and we love both the Renthal and S3 Brands.

I would use either Renthal mediums or the new S3 ‘6 Days’ grips

17. Check all nuts & bolts around your bike.

18. It’s a good idea to fit the bigger rubber flaps we can supply…

The bigger tank/airbox rubber flap

The wider rubber flap under the rear mudguard :      

From 2011 model onwards we fit a larger rubber ring around the rear shock absorber to help stop water entering the airbox, we have these in stock at GGUK.

DON’T forget a front mudguard flap and wider the mudguard with Duct-tape !

19. If you normally use a cylinder head spacer kit, then we recommend you remove it for the Scottish. Sometimes these can leak when the cylinder reaches high temperatures for along time (road/moors)

If you are used to riding with a head spacer and want that nice soft power for the Scottish we HIGHLY recommend the new S3 ‘low compression’ head inserts.





The SSDT committee are quite strict in the paddock regards to anyone else working on your bike so make sure you are able to carry out the work yourself.

Our SSDT service that you register to enables you to use our facilities, buy spare parts and get advice. It does not get you your own personal mechanic for the week.

GGUK services / shop in the paddock open at 9am on Sunday May 3rd.

Our staff will not be there and no parts/service is available on Saturday May 2nd.

The GGUK squad March 2015 – here to look after you!

Many thanks to John Shirt Jnr and his team at GasGasUK for providing Trials Guru with this information.

Great Scots! – Trevor Hay

Born in Edinburgh in 1943, Trevor Hay attended Leith Academy, thereafter Edinburgh College of Art. He started working in 1958 as a commercial artist in a small advertising agency in Scotland’s capital.

He moved to a larger agency in 1972 as Accounts Executive and formed ‘Hay Smith Advertising’ in 1977. Many motorcycling accounts were handled including Kangol Helmets, J. Barbour and Sons, South Shields; Feridax and Hein Gericke, as well as many automotive accounts. The business ran until 2013.

Motorcycling began for Trevor in the early 50’s when taken by his father to the Old Meadowbank in Edinburgh to watch the Speedway.

Later in the 1950’s, the Edgar family took him to see Road Racing at Errol Airfield in Perthshire. At that time, Norman and Derek Edgar and Tommy Milton Jnr all became friends with Trevor and went scrambling on pedal-cycles before getting to the licence age to ride competition motorcycles. Hay was the last of the four to get a trials machine but Tommy Milton Senior used to drop his son Tommy Junior and Trevor at Standburn scrambles course on Sundays where they shared a 1937 Ariel 350 Trials machine for many happy apprenticeship hours until Tommy Junior got a new Greeves for being best academical at his school.

Hay couldn’t afford his first trials bike until 1963 when he bought an ex Willie Pitblado 250 Greeves (WWS415) and he campaigned that until 1965 when it was replaced with a new TFS Greeves 250. The Pitblado bike is still in existence, now owned by Willie Robertson, Clerk of Course Pre’65 Scottish. Over those years Trevor made progress in the sport and gained a number of respectable results.

He rode only once in the SSDT in 1965 and didn’t enjoy it too much, as he listened to every rattle for the entire week thinking it was going to pack up and lose his investment in the entry fee! Hay did finish with a first class award.

NWS415 - Greeves - Trevor Hay
Trevor Hay on the ex-Willie Pitblado Greeves 250.

Trevor then vowed to enjoy himself as an SSDT back-marker for many years with so many great adventures. In 1968, the E & D organisers gave him an ex-Mick Andrew Suzuki Super Six 250cc twin which was a real flying machine, claiming that Hay was the only one ‘daft enough’ to ride it!

That prompted him to ask Edinburgh dealer Tommy Hughson who was the Suzuki dealer in Edinburgh as he wanted one of those to ride in the ISDT that year.

After a few meetings with dealer Graeme Chatham, who had acquired the four Suzuki team machines from the 1967 Welsh Three Day Trial. They were 125cc rotary valves which were very fast, but wide and heavy so they moved to a switch-gear six speed P100P which turned out to be much slower than needed for climbing the Italian Alps. Hay’s first ISDT in 1968 ended on Wednesday when he collided with an Italian spectator head on on a big Moto Guzzi V-twin on a narrow mountain path. Fortunately, the president of the jury had explicitly forbidden him to ride down that path and Hay was exonerated of the blame.

The liason with Graeme Chatham developed into building JOV198E the Chatham Suzuki 125 trials bike which Trevor competed upon for a number of years until 1971.

Suzuki - Colour - Trevor Hay
JOV198E, the ex-ISDT Suzuki converted to trials use by Graeme Chatham.

The frame and engine came from the ISDT machine with new trials wheels fitted. He did manage a number of respectable wins on the little Suzuki.

Hay was also a director, committee member of the Scottish Clubman magazine.

Dalesman - Atholl Motors - 1971 - Trevor Hay
Trevor Hay samples a 125 Puch-engined Dalesman for the Scottish Clubman magazine in 1972. The bike was suppied by Atholl Motors. Photo by the late Fred Stevens – Scottish Clubman copyright.

In 1971, as Melville secretary, Trevor opened the East Fortune Circuit and he ran the first meeting as Secretary and Clerk of Course.

Hay rode in several further ISDT events, 1970, 71, 72, each a rather sore retirement, but in 1974 he returned to ride a very standard Suzuki 250 Trail model and managed a bronze finish and The Arthur Prince trophy as the best British privateer. The following year he was given a 250 Beamish Suzuki which split its exhaust, hence another retirement.

For 1976 Hay switched to a 250 KTM at Zeltweg in Austria and the 400 KTM for 1979 in Germany, both netted him silver medals. The 1979 ISDT was his final attempt. His last enduro was in 1981 at Newton Stewart, finishing second to Nigel Finnigan, but Hay had fallen heavily and broke six ribs in the process!

1976 ISDT in Austria, Hay on the 250 KTM on his way to win a silver medal.

While all this was going on, Trevor was deeply involved in promoting and organising enduro and other events.

In 1972, he was joint promoter with Graeme Chatham of a four month series of Indoor Ice Racing or as some called it, Ice Speedway. Hay stopped riding trials in 1973.

In the mid 1970s, Hay plus others of the Melville MC ran the Melville Two-Day enduros which gained British Championship status for many years.

Trevor also continued to develop the event into the World Championship Two-Day Enduro in 1998.

From the mid 1960’s to the 2000’s as the Melville MC Secretary and later President, countless scrambles, motocross, trials and one day enduros all helped the years to fly by.

Text Copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat 2015

Photos: Courtesy of Trevor Hay, North Berwick.

Stu Thomson … more than just a film maker!


Stu Thomson was and still is a trials rider. Son of a motorcycling Mum and Dad he was brought up in the trials faith.

Stu and his brother Peter, rode in the Lanarkshire Motorcycle Club as a youth before taking up Downhill Mountain Bike competitions in which he was managed by none other than Steve Peat (another son of a trials rider!).

Stu on his 125 Gas Gas Contact in 1995 when a youth rider in Scotland.
Stu on his 125 Gas Gas Contact in 1995 when a youth rider in Scotland.

Stu’s parents are Richard and Bobbie Thomson, who were stalwarts of the Avon Valley MCC. They were TT race fans and at one time owned a Norton Commando, which Bobbie rode as often as husband Richard.

Richard Thomson rode trials from around 1974 to 1980, riding the Scottish Six Days Trial four times between 1976 and 1979.

Stu's Dad Richard was a keen tria
Stu’s Dad Richard was a keen trials rider. Photo: Jimmy Young, Armadale.

Stu is now married and lives near Stirling and is an accomplished film producer, running his own company CutMedia who have produced many films with Danny MacAkill (Imaginate), Guy Martin and Dougie Lampkin (Tundra Trial).

Here is a clip showcasing Stu’s most recent work…

Six Days in May – CUTMedia

Article copyright: Trials Guru / Mofffat Racing, John Moffat

Photos: Copyright – Jimmy Young, Armadale & Mrs. Bobbie Thomson

Films courtesy by CUTMedia/Stu Thomson

‘Great Scots’ – Tommy Robertson

Continuing our series of articles of Scottish off-road personalities ‘Great Scots’, we now are pleased to bring you the story of Tommy Robertson.

Tommy Robertson on Inshriach in the 1953 SSDT
Tommy Robertson (200 DMW) on Inshriach (also known as Creag An Eilein) in the 1953 Scottish Six Days Trial. A section that Robertson himself helped discover and was put in the event.

Tommy Robertson is a well-known name known to many of our more senior competitors in Scotland.

He was a time-served joiner by trade and worked most of his life with D. B. Gunn (Builders) Ltd of Edinburgh, which was established in 1949, rising to ‘foreman joiner’ with the firm.

He was a life-long member of the Edinburgh Southern MC, a club that was established in 1924 and met in ‘The Southern’ bar, a public-house in 26 South Clerk Street in Edinburgh’s South-Side, hence the name.

Tommy on his AJS 350 16MC at a trial near WesBathgate, West Lothian around 1951
Tommy Robertson on his AJS 350 16MC at a trial at Westfield near Bathgate, West Lothian around 1951.

Tommy was not only  a keen trials rider and no slouch on a scrambles machine either as he was runner up in the Scottish Championships in 1954 to Ludo More. He also rode in road hill-climbs which were popular just after the war.

Tommy Robertson on his Triumph Twin at the Bo'ness Hill Climb on 9th August 1947
Tommy Robertson on his Triumph Twin at the Bo’ness Hill Climb on 9th August 1947, the helmet is the Edinburgh Southern MC which was worn by club members in ‘speed’ events.

Thomas Robertson served in the British Army during the Second World War in India and Burma, but it was never a subject that he could be drawn on to discuss in conversation, this may have been due to the senseless atrocities that occurred on the so called ‘Burma Railway’.

Tommy Robertson on Kinloch Rannoch in the 1953 Scottish on his Edgar Brothers supplied 200 DMW
Tommy Robertson on Kinloch Rannoch in the 1953 Scottish on his Edgar Brothers supplied 200 DMW

Robertson’s peers were many of the best Scottish riders of the era, Geoff Smith; Jimmy Hutchins, Jackie Williamson to name but three.

A life-long sporting motorcyclist, Tommy’s favourite event was without question the Scottish Six Days Trial and indeed Tommy was a club scout, who investigated sections for the Edinburgh & District organising club.

Tommy on his AJS in the 1950 Scottish Six Days on his AJS. This is 'Kinloch Hourn', no longer used a long climb into the hill from Loch Hourn.
Tommy on his 350 AJS in the 1951 Scottish Six Days on his AJS. This is ‘Kinloch Hourn’, no longer used, it was a long climb into the hills from Loch Hourn down in the valley. A breath-taking photograph.

In the 1970’s Tommy Robertson was the ‘number-plate official’ for the event, He issued the riders’ metal number plates at the weigh-in at Gorgie Market and took them from the riders at Blackford Hill, returning their deposit at the event finish, up to 1976 when the event moved to Fort William the year after and riders had to make their own numbers.

Arthur lampkin gets his 250 BSA 'weighed in' at the 1961 SSDT. Tommy Robertson is on second right examining paperwork
Arthur Lampkin gets his 250 BSA ‘weighed in’ at the 1961 SSDT. Tommy Robertson is on second from the right, looking down examining paperwork.

Tommy was also a machine examiner, who painted the daubs of special paint on the sealed items for the SSDT at the Gorgie Weigh-in.

In fact Robertson was one of a team of section scout riders who discovered and reconnoitered ‘Inshriach’ , also later known as Creag An Eilein near Aviemore on the Rothiemurchus Estate which was used from 1953 to 1967 before National Park status for the area forbade it’s future use.

Tommy served for many years on the management committee of the Scottish ACU and being a tradesman, in those days who had no pay when off work due to a sporting injury, was the prime-mover to get rider’s insurance cover as part of their entry fee established with the then specialist motor-sport insurers brokers CT Bowring & Muir-Beddall.

Tommy and his wife, Mary had a son, Ian Thomas who also rode in trials, and was also a member of the Edinburgh Southern MC, like his father before him. The family home was at Bonnyrigg, near to Edinburgh in Midlothian.

Tommy Robertson was a very quiet, reserved individual with a commanding knowledge of the sport in Scotland. It is safe to say, when Tommy Robertson spoke, people listened to him carefully. One of the old-school competitors and officials who said little, but knew a great deal!

Tommy at home on his vintage AJS in the 1980's, the bike still owned by his son Ian.
Tommy at home on his vintage AJS in the 1980’s, the bike still owned by his son Ian.

Trials Guru wrote: Many riders were encouraged to join the Southern and take up either scrambles or trials and in fact my late father T. Arnott Moffat was one of them.

© – All text copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat 2015.

Trials Guru would like to thank Ian T. Robertson, Lasswade for the use of the photographs accompanying this article.

Jock Wilson – ISDT Team Manager and more!

Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson … a great friend … a great man ~ By Renee Bennett.

Jock Wilson - 350 AJS - SMW581 - Clayton Trial - section Cheeks - 05-08-1962 - Photo Unknown
Jock Wilson on ‘Cheeks’ at the Clayton Trial in 1962 on his specially built ultra-short-stroke AJS 350. (Photo supplied by Patricia Wilson)

When I think of Jock Wilson, it reminds me of the fantastic Thames Ditton motorcycle dealers, Comerfords, AJS trials machines, Bultaco, the Scottish Six Days and a top Home Counties based trials rider who went on to take charge of the British International Six Days Trial Trophy Team for nearly 20 years.

Peter Cameron ‘Jock’ Wilson was born in Scotland on 12th January 1934 at Oakbank, Bridge of Balgie, Glen Lyon, Perthshire. The Scottish Six Days was practically on his doorstep as the ‘Meall Glas’ section was only ¾ mile from his front door.

Jock on his short-stroke AJS in a Sidcup 60 Trial. Comerfords Sales manager Bert Thorn is following in the background.
Jock on his short-stroke AJS in a Sidcup 60 Trial. Comerfords Sales manager Bert Thorn is following in the background.

There is the main reason he was such a good trials rider ~ with all that practice ground, he just had to be good!

‘Jock’ as I’ve always known him, started his working life as a lumberjack, then a spell in the British Army doing his national service at Aldershot, then marrying his wife Pat and moving to London to live permanently.

At Aldershot, Jock was in the Royal Army Service Corps or RASC for short, his commanding officer was Captain Eddie Dow, but he also met many of the factory trials and scrambles stars of the era who were also doing their national service. Riders such as Roy Peplow, John Giles and many more.

He took up employment at Arthur Cook Motors in Kingston-Upon-Thames and then the well-known motorcycle dealership, Comerfords based in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey which he joined in 1957.

Jock started at Comerfords as a motorcycle mechanic in the workshops, soon progressing to workshop manager. When he became bored with that, he moved into sales under Sales Director, Bert Thorn.

1965 Scottish Six Days on Callert, riding the ex-Sammy Miller Ariel 786GON, which Wilson owned and rode for several years. The machine is now in Italy.
1965 Scottish Six Days on Callert, riding the ex-Sammy Miller Ariel 786GON, which Wilson owned and rode for several years. The machine is now in Italy.

Jock’s specialty was modifying AJS trials bikes, cleverly making them lighter and more powerful. Gordon Jackson, Gordon Blakeway and Gordon McLaughlan rode AJS machines as a team in those days and Jock even named one of his sons after the trio.

Gordon Jackson of course won the 1961 SSDT on his factory AJS (187 BLF) with just one ‘dab’ ~  Amazing!

Jock went on to manage the British International Six Days Junior Trophy and Trophy teams. His knowledge gained by riding in the ISDT many times himself on AJS and Triumph machinery gave him a valuable insight into this part of off-road sport and was a very highly thought of manager by the riders and the ACU. He actually cut his teeth initially by managing the Scottish ACU squad in Sweden in 1978.

A Scottish ACU presentation of awards ceremony at Perth in 1980. From left: Ron Wright (SACU Trials); Alex Phillip (Clubman TT winner 1948); Robbie Allan; Charlie Bruce (Scottish racing champion); Tommy Milton (SACU official); Anne Allan (wife of Vic Allan) and Jock Wilson, ISDT Team Manager.
A Scottish ACU presentation of awards ceremony at Perth in 1980. From left: Margaret Allan (SACU Chairperson); Ron Wright (SACU Trials); Alex Phillip (Clubman TT winner 1948); Robbie Allan; Charlie Bruce (former Scottish racing champion); Tommy Milton (SACU official); Anne Allan (wife of Vic Allan) and Jock Wilson, ISDT Team Manager.

When Comerfords eventually took over the importership from Rickman Brothers of the Bultaco brand, Jock was soon in charge … supplying dealers and operating a first class spares service.

When Jock left Comerfords, some many years later, he started his own business importing the Italian SWM trials and enduro macinery in partnership with Mick ‘Bonkey’ Bowers, which became equally as good as the Bultaco brand and very popular.

Jock and Bonkey set up a countrywide dealer network which included former World Trials Champion, Martin Lampkin.

After SWM stopped producing motorcycles, Jock went self-employed working from his home in Tolworth, fixing and tuning bikes and repairing damaged wheels, as he is an ace wheel-builder.

Nowadays, Jock is retired but still works a little on classic bikes in his spare time. I speak to him regularly and it’s always a pleasure.

Jock has always been a friend to me, to my late father Wag Bennett, and to my children Charles (who runs a busy London motorcycle shop) and my daughter, Julie.

I owe Jock a debt of gratitude for the support and help he gave me over twenty five years of trials riding.

Thank you Jock Wilson … Renee Bennett, Plaistow, East London.

Trials Guru: Jock Wilson, so named because this was common place for a Scotsman living and working in Southern England at the time, became one of off-road motorcycle sports’ most respected characters. Jock was a very competent mechanic and a serious trials competitor. When he was with Bultaco UK, he was responsible for setting up the contracts with the Comerfords supported riders in both motocross and trials. Wilson was mentor to Greeves rider and fellow Scotsman, Vic Allan when he moved from Aberdeenshire to Thames Ditton to ride for Comerfords in 1967. Allan then went on to ride for BSA briefly, during which time he crashed heavily at the Italian GP on his factory BSA breaking his hip and was sidelined for several months, during which time BSA closed the Small Heath competitions department. Allan then reverted to race for Comerfords on the Spanish Bultaco and became British 250cc and 500 cc Motocross champion in 1974, riding the Pursang models in both classes.

© – All text copyright: Renee Bennett & Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat 2015.

Mike Holloway

Mike Hollaway'05 Mamore
Mike Holloway on Mamore in the 2005 Pre’65 Scottish. Photo courtesy of Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Well known Pre’65 rider, Mike Holloway, elder brother of trials rider Joan Westbrook, has passed away on February 13th 2015 after a short illness.
Mike was a supporter of the ACU Sammy Miller Trials Championships over the years and had ridden in the 2014 series on his rigid AJS. For many years he campaigned a spinger Matchless, always a lover of the heavyweight four-stroke Plumstead singles.
His interment is at St Margaret’s Church, Horsmonden, Kent on the 6th March at 11.30am.
Sincere condolences to Mike’s family.
Mike Hollaway'05 Loch Eilde Burn
Mike Holloway on his Matchless on Loch Eilde Burn in the 2005 Pre’65 Scottish. Photo courtesy of Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.