Category Archives: Feature

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:


Olga Kevelos and Me

Olga Kevelos and Me

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Olga Kevelos on her ex-John Draper factory BSA Bantam in the Scottish Six Days Trial on Glen Ogle.

Words by: Colin Turbett

In my early teens in Hampshire, friends and I would cycle out to watch off-road events at Weavers Down, and also the Greybeards Trial that would come by our house annually. Although I never got the opportunity to ride off-road properly (that seemed to be reserved to farming families), the bikes fascinated me. However that was all put behind when the magic age of 16 approached and we all began to get road bikes. My first biking was dirt tracks on a road BSA C15 250cc belonging to a friend but by the time my birthday in 1970 came I had my own (at the princely cost of £10), and had already notched up a lot of road miles when parents weren’t looking. Roll on the years and one awful Brit bike after another, but they had to go in favour of a car for work and family. In my early thirties I was able to get an old bike again and my passion for tinkering with, “restoring” and researching the, by now, ageing British marques, revived and gradually gained pace. Off-road interest got as far as owning a nice 1951 AJS 18CS but that was used very much for road riding, taking me as far as Poland for a rally on one occasion.  A CCM came and went and that of course had lots of off-road associations, but again, I never really had the opportunity so never tried…

After forty years of fairly heavy duty and demanding work, and with kids now grown up and away, retirement at the age of 61 meant I suddenly had time on my hands. I had written a lot of stuff, including two books, in relation to work matters, so writing came easy. I also habitually read up on anything that tickled my fancy – often following up on tasters from the classic bike magazines: makes, bikes and personalities. That was where I came across Olga Kevelos, but, to my surprise there was no book.  Further research also revealed that her story was a good one and that a book was overdue if not too late as she had died in 2009. At that point I knew not a single person who had been acquainted with her in any way – not being part of the Trials fraternity didn’t help in that respect.  What I turned up in those initial stages back in 2016 was fascinating, not least because it revealed a complex personality whose own spin about herself had led to a certain amount of myth – the biggest one being that she won two ISDT Gold Medals (she actually won one but thought she should have won another – you’ll have to read the book to find out more!). She was also a “looker”, and had clearly used her feminine charms to the utmost to lead an unusual and very full life.

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The project of writing a book about Olga would probably have got no further than a magazine piece had researches not turned up a hoard of memorabilia on Ebay; this had been found, long abandoned, by builders renovating the Kevelos family home in Birmingham.  Using up some of my hard earned savings I managed to get quite a lot of this – several boxes full of old programmes, results sheets, letters, photographs and odds and ends. This included one or two tasty items but the valuable stuff – her trophies and medals – had long ago been “collected” after her death in Kings Sutton, Oxfordshire. I also made an appeal through the magazines for information and memories, and this turned up some fantastic results, putting me in touch with individuals like Michael Martin, whose well known motorcycling family were from the same neighbourhood as Olga and knew her very well.  Gradually the information came together although gaps and mysteries remained.  Sensitivities also emerged – Olga had, shall we say, an interesting sex life, and many of the personalities of the day fell victim to her charms although few seemed able to remember for one reason or another!  Her vibrant personality clearly made its mark on the Trials scene in her day, especially the Scottish, and the Midlands district – which she helped organise for several years after her retirement from the sport as a rider.

Researches over a year long period turned up enough information to describe Olga’s unusual background and childhood (her father was from a wealthy Greek family), and wartime experiences including the Birmingham Blitz and service on the canals (which never quite lived up to her childhood passion to become a seagoing buccaneer and marry Errol Flynn).  Her motorcycle sporting career started soon after the war through men she met at her father’s restaurant in the city centre of Birmingham, and it was soon clear that she had a talent even though she had never ridden prior to the age of 23. Trials was her forte and favourite, and of course it was open to women unlike other areas of motorcycle sport at that time.  During her years of activity she was associated with numerous makes but in particular the James and CZ factories.  She tried her hand at road racing, scrambles and car racing – showing pluck and determination in all that she did.

Olga ended up running a pub in Oxfordshire along with her brother Raymond. Those years too were eventful and enlivened by her character. She was a TV “Mastermind” contestant and a pub quiz aficionado until the end of her life. I called the book “Playing with the Boys” because that quote of her sums up exactly what she liked doing: she didn’t see herself as a feminist or pioneering woman even though her exploits offer example of both.  I feel fortunate, even though I never met Olga, to have had the opportunity to provide an account of her life.

Olga Kevelos Book cover - CT

The book was self-published and like many such enterprises (I now know!) suffered from layout issues and marketing difficulties despite efforts to widen exposure. I had two-hundred and fifty copies printed and they are nearly all sold. Having had some errors pointed out (thanks to Olivier Barjon!) and with new information to hand, a further edition might be worthwhile. However this time it would have to involve a publisher and one (who produced a more recent motorcycle book by me) has already said no, so this may or may not go anywhere – maybe a case of watch this space!

Colin Turbett, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Colin Turbett is a “Sometime social worker and trade unionist – continuing socialist activist and author – and biker!”

The bike Willie built

Trials Guru is always searching worldwide for interesting facts, figures, articles and photos from the world of trial, past and present for your enjoyment of our sport. That is why we say that Trials Guru is ‘Dedicated To The Sport’.

Words: Trials Guru

Photos: Iain Lawrie; John Honeyman; Grant Family; Peter Bremner; Wullie John Gillespie; Willie Gillespie.

‘The bike Willie built’ is no exception, it’s a domestic story pertinent to Scotland and features a man called Willie Pitblado, a mildly eccentric, but very interesting character from Fife and specifically the historic town of Dunfermline. This article is by way of a tribute to ‘Willie Pit’ as he was known, a true enthusiast.

Willie Pitblado’s 403cc Pitrite, a combination of an overbored Triumph 3TA twin motor in a Sprite frame registered in Fife as DSP47D. The machine is now owned by the Gillespie family from Dunfermline who were related to Pitblado. We think the rider pictured here on the Pitrite at ‘Sonny’s’ is Sandy Sutherland.

Pitblado was a time served painter/decorator who was also a keen trials rider and a motorcycle enthusiast of note. He was born into a family of thirteen children.

He was a former rider, then official at the Scottish Six Days Trial, a life-long member of the Dunfermline & District MCC and a lover of the highland village of Rogart in Sutherland, where he found his bride Ann.

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Willie Pitblado in his Dunfermline shop – Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife

Willie set up the breaker firm of ‘Motorcycle Spares Scotland in Golf Drum Street in Dunfermline, initially with friends Alec Smith and John Davies, themselves trials riders.

Pitblado rode a variety of machines including a Greeves which he acquired in January 1961, registered WWS415 which had factory connections. He rode this Greeves in the SSDT.

Willie had an idea to build a special machine of his own, using a Triumph 3TA twin cylinder four-stroke motor that he prized from a road machine and his plan was to fit it in a Sprite frame. The Sprite was a fairly new brand, sold in kit form.

Pitblado thought for a name and using his own surname and that of the Sprite brand, he came up with The PITRITE.

The PITRITE was registered in Fife with the number DSP47D in April 1966. It was destined to be ridden on loan by a variety of riders, but its ownership was not to stray further than Pitblado’s extended family base, namely that of his nephew, Willie Gillespie.

The PITRITE pressed into service at the SSDT as the Clerk of Course bike, used by Johnny Graham (seated on Pitrite) ; Willie Pitblado; Tommy Ritchie; Eric MacNamara & Alec Smith – Photo courtesy: Peter Bremner, E&D MC Ltd.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat on Willie Pitblado: “I met Willie Pitblado when I was in my early teens when my father was collecting some parts to help with the restoration of his ex-factory Matchless around 1973.

We visited Willie Pit’s shop in Dunfermline and it was in an old house on three levels. It was an old property and was literally filled with bike parts from all makes and ages. I was surprised that Willie said to my father to go rake around until he found what he was looking for, we literally got the run of the place, but I learned that that was not how Willie usually did his business, far from it. Apparently Dad and Willie had known each other for many years and had a respect for each other, hence the freedom afforded to us.

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Willie Pitblado aboard PITRITE at the White Heather Trial at Rogart – Photo: Grant Family Collection

“Years later, I was restoring a 1954 Matchless G3LS road bike and I needed the correct tank, wheels and a few more odds and sods. I drove over to Dunfermline from my parents home in Whitburn, West Lothian and again I went to Willie’s emporium.  He was at his counter with his old Alsatian dog and greeted me with ‘Hello Mr. AJS what can I sell ye today?” I explained that I needed parts for a Matchless to which he quipped: ‘They are both the same, just badge engineering’. Of course Willie was right.

I was about to be told to go look myself, but ‘watch the dog disna bite ye’ – when a man arrived behind me in the shop. He wanted a camshaft for a Triumph Bonneville, to which Willie asked what year? The man gave the year and Willie turned around and pulled one from the shelf behind him. ‘That will be £25’. The man said, ‘Would you take £20?’ Willie replied, ‘no, I’ll take £30’. The man looked astonished and said: ‘Hey, you are increasing the price!’ Willie replied ‘Aye, and you are trying to reduce it, now do you want this camshaft or no, because I have one and you dinna! Now either pay me what I want or get oot of my shop!’

The man paid Willie the £30 and left without another word.”


Willie Pitblado was instantly recognisable on the public highway as his vehicle was either blue with the white cross of St. Andrew across it depicting the Scottish Saltire or he had a white vehicle with blue doubled ‘go faster stripes’ up the bonnet. If you waved at Willie on the road he would always give you the ‘peace’ sign, symbolic of American bikers of the era!

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Willie Gillespie, Willie Pitblado’s nephew, aboard PITRITE in the 1980s at the Pre’65 Scottish Trial

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Wullie John Gillespie, son of Willie Gillespie aboard the PITRITE in 2018 at the Pre’65 Scottish – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

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The PITRITE today – Photo: Wullie John Gillespie


Trials Guru isn’t just for Christmas

We all know that Christmas can be a little boring sometimes with not much happening? Change that, have a peek into the world of trials on Trials Guru, its so easy, either put some words into the search box and hit the little magnifying glass symbol… or have a look at the Index, either way you will be looking at some awesome photos from our photographers who willingly give Trials Guru permission to use.

Before you know it you will have spent many happy hours getting a fix of the trials habit!

Happy viewing from all of us here at Trials Guru.

tg_logoheader - 2018

Kinlochleven puts it back

The recently reformed Kinlochleven & District Motor Cycle Club ran the Leven Valley Two-Day Trial over the last weekend in September. The event was predominately staffed by local people.
The Leven Valley Two-Day Trial was well supported for it’s inaugural event – Photo: Trial Magazine UK
At the awards presentation, they hosted a raffle of various high quality items from the motorcycle and local traders which brought in funds and the committee, headed by Chairman, Martin Murphy decided to put something back into the local community as a way of thanking them for allowing the club to run their prestigeous event.
Trials Guru’s John Moffat (centre, Bultaco. 1) enjoys the craic with Guest of Honour, Sammy Miller MBE and Steven Moffat (Honda Seeley. 3) at the start of the Leven Valley 2 Day in September 2018 – Photo: Trial Magazine UK
The raffle tickets were picked by no less than Sammy Miller MBE who was the trial Guest of Honour.
Club members and the commitee were charged with handing out the well received cheques to Kinlochleven Action for Seniors; Kinlochleven Community Trust; Kinlochleven Community Council; Glencoe Mountain Rescue and Lochaber Mountain Rescue.
Here are the photos of the delighted recipients with the various club members.
Kinlochleven Action for Seniors received their cheque for £200 from the club secretary, Lorna Dougan (Back centre)
Kinlochleven Community Trust received £200 from Chairman, Martin Murphy (right)
Kinlochleven Community Council recieve their £200 from K&DMCC junior member, Chloe Dougan (right), resplendent in her new club tee-shirt.
The Leven Centre Christmas Party is £200 better off thanks to K&DMCC secretary, Lorna Dougan (left)
Glencoe Mountain Rescue receive their cheque for £350 from Chairman, Martin Murphy (right)
Club Chairman Martin Murphy (left) hands over funds to the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team
All photos courtesy of Kinlochleven & District Motor Cycle Club, Kinlochleven, Argyll.
Trials Guru is proud to be associated with this prestigeous event.

Trial Legends Celebration is a big hit

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Words: Oriol Puig Bultó – Bernie Schreiber – Yrjo Vesterinen – Trials Guru

Photos: Bernard Schreiber – Diane Vesterinen – Joan Font Creixems

A very special weekend in Barcelona and on Friday, November 16 2018, the city witnessed many of the former World Champions and National trial champions congregate to celebrate the sport.

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Pere Pi; Yrjo Vesterinen and event organiser, Oriol Puig Bultó – all very respected men from the sport of trial – Photo: Joan Font Creixems

Organised very ably by Oriol Puig Bultó, former competitions manager of Bultaco and also an FIM official of many years, along with a small but very efficient team, Oriol and friends pulled in favours and a few strings to get this amazing gathering underway. This involved many phone calls and e-mails across the globe.

What a gathering they pulled together, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the top trials riders the world has ever seen. Sadly not all could attend of course, with Martin Lampkin and Ulf Karlson missing.

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Old rivals and life-long friends in the sport – Oriol Puig Bultó (Bultaco) and Pere Pi (Montesa)

1979 World Champion, at this time, the only American to have won the title made a heartfelt speech:

Good Afternoon Everyone, It’s such an honor to be here with all of you today. All my Trials memories remain deep in my heart and especially my time spent here in Barcelona.

Many questioned that young kid from California, but some truly believed. For me the American dream began with Senor Bultó, my dear friend Manuel Soler, his family and my team manager Oriol Puig Bultó who supported me from the very start to my world championship victory.

So many unforgettable moments with the Bultó family, importers, race teams and riders. All my respect and thanks to every Spanish and International Trials riders who educated me about their countries cultures, language and riding styles.

Many thanks to those world championship motor-clubs for all their hard work organizing world class events at legendary venues. My memories span across the world, but my heart remains in Sant LIorenc.

Today we stand near the birthplace of the greatest Indoor Trials dating back to 1978…the Solo Moto Indoor. This was the beginning of a new and revolutionary era that eventually changed the sport of Trials forever.

A special thanks to all the media who reported our sport extensively over the years, supported the industry brands and made us riders iconic along the way.

Many of you here today are part of our Trials history and without your passion over the years for our sport, the next generation has no heritage or legacy to look back upon.

Some legends are no longer with us as they rest in peace, but we remember them, we hear them, we love them and we still see them riding sections or working championship events to make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.

I truly appreciate your friendships, loyalty, recognition and the opportunity to participate in this Trial Legends event. 

Thank you so much for all your support and precious memories.” – Bernie Schreiber, 1979 FIM World Trials Champion

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Signing the souviner photograph, Yrjo Vesterinen with Oriol Puig Bultó and Pere Pi at the Trial Legends celebration – Photo: Diane Vesterinen

Yrjo Vesterinen the gave his passionate and informative speech:

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great privilege and honour to be here today.

Let me ask a question, why am I here? To answer that, we need to go back in time.

In August 1971 Finland was hosting a European Championship Trial in Solvalla. Oriol Puig Bultó and his cousin, Ignacio had travelled all the way from Barcelona to participate there. After the trial Oriol came to speak with me. I had been noticed! What followed was a dream come true. I was later offered a contract to join the famous Team Bultaco.

What also followed was that as my career as a trials rider progressed I was becoming more self-centred and started to think that the team was there to help me to achieve my own goals. I am sure that happened to many of us, whom some call legends. We forget that we were there to do a job for the factories and that we were extremely lucky to have been spotted by the team managers in the first place. We were offered jobs that most people only dreamt of.

Some of you here today may have noticed that I was collecting signatures, signatures of World Champions, European Champions, National Champions, Winners of the Six Days and many other important events in the world of trials, on these picture boards that I have here with me. What unites these people is that they were, once upon time, given a chance and an opportunity to prove themselves. For many of us it was through two remarkable gentlemen, who are here today with us. They are Oriol Puig Bultó from Bultaco and Pere Pi from Montesa. What makes these gentlemen truly remarkable is that they were pioneers of all aspects of off road competition, being great trials riders, motocross racers and enduro riders. They were development engineers, test riders and great ambassadors of our sport.

As riders we probably remember them as wise and patient team mangers that we didn’t thank enough at the time.

What could we as riders give to these remarkable men that they do not already have? Perhaps these printed boards with the signatures of their grateful riders will go a small way to deliver this message that some of us forgot to convey decades ago.

May I ask Oriol Puig Bultó and Pere Pi to come forward. May I also propose that both of these gentlemen sign these pictures in front of us all. In doing so I would like to think of this occasion as the long overdue signing of a peace treaty between Bultaco and Montesa. The war, albeit always a friendly one, between Bultaco, Montesa and their respective teams is now over!

Finally, one signed copy of this print will be auctioned off at the Telford Classic Dirt Bike show, February 2019, in memory of Martin Lampkin for the family’s chosen cancer charity.

Thank you very much.” – Yrjo Vesterinen, 1976-78 FIM World Trials Champion


Oriol Bultó told Trials Guru the background to the celebration and gathering of champions past and present:

“The idea of organizing the “Trial Legends” celebration held last Friday emerged following a discussion I had with Pere Pi (former Montesa) and Estanislao Soler (former Bultaco and owner of the Museu de la Moto) after a similar event we organized for the Spanish “Motocross Legends” in May 2015, together with Pere Mas, President of Motor Club Micorella, very active in organizing Classic Trial events. The Motocross meeting was a success, and we thought that it would good to do a similar event for Trial, open also to foreign riders.
The aim was to meet with the older riders who started riding Trials before 1986, pay tribute to the Champions who left us (Juan Soler Bultó, Fernando Muñoz, Don Smith, Martin Lampkin and Ulf Karlsson), recognize the participants in the first official Trial held in Spain (Trial del Tibidabo, Barcelona 2 November 1964), pioneers Motorcycle Clubs (organizing the SSDT, the early Spanish rounds of the Trial World Championship, the ‘3 Days Cingles del Bertí Trial’ and the ‘3 Days Santigosa Trial’. Also to the inventors of the Indoor Trial (Barcelona 1978), recognize the Women Trial Legends and celebrate the Catalan, Spanish, European and World Champions of those times.
In addition to Pere Pi, Estanislao Soler, Pere Mas and myself we incorporated to the organizing group Joan Font and Xavi Foj, also ‘Trial Legends’. We have been working in this project during 14 months and we are very happy by the number of ‘Legends’ attending (about 248), and the positive response of Catalan, Spanish, European and World Champions.
Too young to be ‘Legends’ we invited Dougie Lampkin, Tony Bou and Laia Sanz, who together with Jordi Tarrés formed the podium with most World Champion titles, totaling 56!
Of the big names of those times Trial only Eddy Lejeune (too difficult to get him travelling) and Mick Andrews (injured) did not attend.
It was a great day, and looking to the happy faces of the people attending we feel rewarded for the effort made. In total, about 400 people attended the event last Friday.”



Oriol Bultó compiled the following shortened history of the sport:


Like in all the beginnings there are some doubts about the origin of Trial, the exact place where it started and by whom. On one hand, it is known that there was an event in Scotland, on the other hand there was the Scott Trial on an unspecified date, and in 1914 a similar competition of skills named “Litton Slack”, with the participation of 132 riders, that feat was important as the motorcycles did not have a clutch, they had a single gear, pedals and belt transmission, and climbing a normal hill was already an accomplishment.

In 1909, in Scotland, after having the idea of organizing a tough competition through the mountains of the Highlands, a group of young people created the Moto Club Edinburg to organize the first Five Days of Trial. The course was about 1000 miles long (1.600 Km) with the participation also of cars and motorcycles with sidecar. In 1911, it already turned into the well known Six Days SSDT up to the present times, although with a halt from 1914 to 1918 during the First World War. In similar dates, Mr. Scott, who had a company under his name, organized the “Scott Trial” only for his employees, with start and arrival at the factory’s own door. In the first edition, 14 riders participated and 9 finished.

During the first few years there was only British participation in the SSDT, because travelling to a foreign country was too expensive and the prices were a medal  and a piece of Scottish fabric hand embroidered. From 1940 to 1945 there was another halt due to the Second World War.

It wasn’t until 1955 that the British brands took a real interest in Trials. The BSA factory prepared its Moto Cross rider Jeff Smith to run the SSDT and he won. In 1956, Gordon Jackson set the unbeaten record of losing only one mark in all 6 days. It would have been nice to have Gordon Jackson here with us today. The companies that showed interest were: BSA, Rudge, Ariel, Norton, Velocette, Triumph, AJS, Matchless and Royal Enfield. Almost all of those won the SSDT until the arrival of the light Bultaco motorcycles in 1965 at the hands of Sammy Miller.

At the end of the Second World War, Trial started in Belgium and from there expanded to the rest of Europe. It was November 1962 when Joan Soler Bultó and Oriol Puig Bultó decided to go to Saint Cucufa (France) to participate in a new modality called “Trial” with Bultaco motorcycles that had been modified according to what they had seen in British, French and Spanish motorcycling magazines. When they returned they decided to introduce this new modality into Spain, organizing an experimental competition in the estate of Sant Antonio owned by Don Paco Bultó. It was beginning of 1963, and that would be the first initiation Trial in Spain (Catalonia). There is also information about “Trial” competitions in 1961, one in Viladrau (Barcelona) won by Oriol Puig Bultó, and another in Sant Vicenç de Castellet, both with regulations that rewarded the speed and the ability to negotiate the sections.

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The most famous of all trials riders, Sammy Miller MBE – Photo: Joan Font Creixems

In 1964 the FIM created the first international Trial championship, the “Challenge Henry Groutards, won by Don Smith on a Greeves. In 1968 there was the first “European Championship” won by Sammy Miller on a Bultaco, and in 1975 the first “World Championship” won by Martin Lampkin on a Bultaco.

In order to promote Trials in the European southern countries, the FIM favored a Trial short course in Laffrey (Grenoble) directed by the French rider Claude Peugeot on 10-11 October 1964 for riders from France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy.

A few weeks later, on 2nd of November 1964 the Real Moto Club de Cataluña organized the ‘Trial del Tibidabo’ near Barcelona, being the first official Trial in Spain. It was won by Joan Soler Bultó on a Bultaco. In 1965 there was the first “Catalonia Championship” won by Joan Soler Bultó on a Bultaco, and in 1968 the first “Spanish Championship” won by Pere Pi on a Montesa.

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The proceedings for the event were as follows:


– Identification of the Legendary riders and accompanying persons

– Signature of the Legendary Sheet

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– Exhibition of a selection of Legendary Trial Motorcycles

– Photo-call

– Drone photo of the world’s widest gathering of the Legends

– Entrance to the restaurant. Collection of the magazine MotoCiclismo Clásico and the program of activities.

– Lunch

– Presentation of the party by the Legendary Xavier Foj

– Book of Honor: Where all Legends had the opportunity to make a dedication

– Reading of the “History of the Trial” in Spanish and English

– Presentation of the riders of the modern history of the Trial

– Toni Bou thanked the Legends of the Trial

– The building of the podium with the most titles of “World Champions in all sports” (43 / 56).

– Tribute to the “Champions who have left us”

Pere Pi; Sammy Miller; Jordi Tarres; Isobel Lampkin & Dougie lampkin, tribute to the late H. Martin Lampkin – Photo: Joan Font Creixems

– Presentation of the trophy “Trial Legends” to the relatives of the Champions who have left us.

– Recognition of the riders present, participants in the first official Trial in Spain (Catalonia)

– MotoCiclismo Clásico opens an account to rebuild the monument to Ramón Torras

– Awards to Motor Club Terrassa, Moto Club Cingles de Bertí and Moto Club Santigosa

– Recognition of the representatives of the Legendary Motorcycle Brands

– Recognition of the first Trial Indoor Solo-Moto

– Recognition of the Legendary Women of Trial

– Surprise: “You are the Trial Champions”

– Recognition of the first Catalan Trial Champions

– The hostesses will hand the bracelet “Trial Legends” of concord

– The hostesses will deliver the text “History of the Trial”.

– Recognition of the Spanish Trial Champions

– Recognition of the European Trial Champions

– Recognition of the first Trial World Champions

– Delivery of the sheets to all Legendaries

– Delivery of the photo of the world’s widest hug

– Finale (with music for the occasion)

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Sammy Miller with Bernie Schreiber at the Trial Legend celebrations

Trials Guru is indebted to Oriol Puig Bultó for allowing us to share the details of this fantastic event with us, and to Bernie Schreiber and Yrjo Vesterinen for allowing reproduction of their speeches from this magnificent event.

Trials Guru commented: Oriol Puig Bultó is a very modest gentleman with an incredible knowledge not only of the Bultaco brand, but also the sports of trial, motocross and enduro. However he insists that the Trial Legends Fiesta was the result of a team:

Oriol Bultó : “The Trial Legends was organised by a small group, originally formed by Pere Pi, Estanislao Soler, Pere Mas and myself. Soon after, we were joined by Joan Font and Xavi Foj. From the very beginning we have worked together as a team“.

Oriol continued: “The speeches by Bernie Schreiber and Yrjo Vesterinen were very toching, they are both great persons and champions“.

Powerpoint of Trial Legends Presentation – click on this link:



Westmorland plan John Holmes Tribute

The Westmorland Motor Cycle Club Ltd are planning a tribute edition of their annual Bob MacGregor road run in Perthshire. This will be a tribute to John Holmes.

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The late John Holmes looks rightly pleased with one of his beautifully built Triumph Tiger Cub trials bikes – Photo: John McCrink

Details are given below:
Held under SACU regulations and social permit, it takes place on Tuesday 30th April 2019
at the start of the Scottish Six Days Trial period.
The run will be for Motorcycles (Pre 75 – preferred) or something special.

The start & finish of the run will be at the McLaren Hall, Main Street, Killin, Perthshire, FK21 8UH, Scotland.

Bob Mac Route 2019

Entry details:
37 miles North of Stirling
Circular Route, Killin-Blair Atholl -Loch Rannoch Area
Route follows A & B Class Roads Alternative Off Road Sections for those interested
The first motorcycles will leave at 10.00am & the remainder to follow in groups of 5 – 10 approx. at one minute intervals
There will be a lunch break on route
Attached entry form to be completed & returned with £15 entry fee to:- (includes £2 donation to Bob MacGregor Trials Club)
Peter Remington, Kenbrig, Levens, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8DT
Tel No. mobile: 07891076320 Email:
Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for acceptance of your entry.

Entries to be received by Monday 11th April 2017
Entries will be limited, so please enter early to avoid disappointment.
The organisers reserve the right to amend the event or to refuse entry without giving a
reason for such refusal.

Westmorland Motor Cycle Club Limited
Held under SACU social permit
Bob MacGregor Motorcycle Run
Tuesday 30th April Official Entry Form
Name……………………………………… e mail address………………………………………. Address…………………………………… Tel No………………………………………………… …………………………………………….. Mobile No……………………………………………. ……………………………………………..
Machine……………cc ……………………… Year……… Registration No…………………………
I declare & undertake,
i) That the above vehicle is well maintained & in a fit condition to be entered in the
above run.
ii) Vehicle Insurance
The vehicle has current vehicle road tax & is cover by an operative policy of insurance for road use & third party risks & said policy will be available for inspection by the organiser upon request.
In default of the above undertakings or any one of them I agree to save harmless and keep indemnified the Organisers of the above run, and it’s officials, servants and representatives, from and against all actions, claims, expenses and demands in respect of death or injury or loss of or damage to property, however caused arising out of or in connection with my entry or my taking part in this run.
Riders Signature……………………………………………………….. Date…………………….
£15 Cheque / P.O. Payable to Westmorland MCC
Send to Peter Remington, Kenbrig, Levens, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8DT with S.A.E

John Holmes, more than a specials builder

This article first appeared in the April 2018 edition of Old Bike Mart, and is reproduced here with permission and as a tribute to John Holmes.

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A Holmes-spun Triumph…

Recalling being blown into the weeds by a sharp-sounding and decidedly rapid JH Special Triumph Tiger Cub, John McCrink visits the man who created it and marvels at his home-brewed craftsmanship.

About ten years ago, while taking part in one of Pete Remington’s excellent Nostalgia Road Runs in the Lake District, I was riding out of Ambleside on my Triumph 500 and quickly found myself on an extremely steep, uphill climb (1-in-4 no less) known locally and most aptly as ‘The Struggle’.

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John (seated) is flanked by David ‘Spud’ Tatham (left) and Pete ‘Rem’ Remington – Photo: John McCrink

As the revs plummeted and I was about to drop down a gear, I was suddenly overtaken by a decidedly rapid and fantastic-sounding Tiger Cub trials bike that was making easy meat of the gradient. I got only got a quick glimpse of bike and rider before they disappeared in the direction of the Kirkstone Pass, but it was enough to tell me that I’d been blown into the weeds by none other than John Holmes from Natland, near Kendal, on one of his famous JH Specials.

I first saw John competing on one of his Cubs back in 1991 when we were both riding in the Saturday night trial at the famous Nostalgia Scrambles track near Sedbergh, Cumbria. His bike certainly lived up to the title ‘Special’ as it simply bristled with innovation and inventiveness. That was the first of John’s specials that I had ever clapped eyes on, but a few more have been built since then, all of them demonstrating the Holmes hallmarks of originality, ingenuity, uniqueness and pure craftsmanship. John’s bikes have become extremely well-known and widely admired in the classic trials scene, not only because they look superb, but also because they perform so brilliantly, but we’ll come to that later.

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A trio of beauties – the amazing 500 BSA Special lines up with two Holmes Trials Cubs – Photo: John McCrink

It’s difficult to know where to start when trying to best describe John’s bikes. His trials Cubs are lightweight indeed, consisting of numerous home-fabricated components. The engines are meticulously assembled using his own-manufactured barrels, and here’s the thing: they are created from solid billet using hacksaws and files, as are the connecting rods – a real labour of love. There are no fancy, high-tech milling machines in the Holmes workshop, just honest toil, and patience is a virtue. The frames and swing-arms are altered to improve handling and, where necessary, to accommodate John’s own oil tank/airbox needs as well as the home-brewed exhaust and silencer.

All these mods are done within eligibility rules and in the spirit of classic trialling, for after all, hacksaws, files and metal working tools were all available before 1965.

Unlike many of us, John is not put off by dealing with electrics, and where necessary he has created his own systems that work really well, but I’ll not get into technical details here because in truth it’s way beyond me! Undoubtedly they’re far superior to anything Joseph Lucas would have offered back in the day.

Most ‘special’ builders, having successfully shoehorned the modified engine into the modified frame, could be forgiven for then purchasing ‘over the counter’ items such as fuel tank, footrests, kick-start, control levers, rear suspension units and so on, but not John Holmes. Instead, out come the hand tools again.

Undoubtedly his background as a panel-beater, working on high-end vehicles, honed his metalworking skills and allows him to create such quality items as his petrol tanks. He originally made a wooden former for this task, but has developed his technique to a point where a former is no longer required.

Although John’s Tiger Cubs are unique, many people will remember the incredible BSA 500 trials bike he built, mating a B31 bottom end to a B25 cylinder-head, joined together with a barrel of his own manufacture which utilised a VW liner and piston. It created quite a sensation not just because of the hybrid engine but also due to the incredible inventiveness of the rolling chassis and other component parts all too many to mention (but please see the photograph). Some readers might remember that Trials & Motocross News did a detailed feature on this machine a few years back.

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John Holmes with one of his beautifully built Triumph Tiger Cub trials bikes – Photo: John McCrink

So John’s bikes are unusual in their originality and look fantastic. They are well fettled and beautifully turned out with all that alloy and stainless steel glistening – but how do they perform in the heat of serious competition? There can be no better testament to John’s engineering skills and the reliability of his bikes than to take the honours at that most famous and demanding of classic trials, the Pre’65 Scottish Two-Day Trial at Kinlochleven.

To win such an arduous event you need not only a good bike but also a good rider, and in 2007 John had that winning combination when Yorkshireman, Tony Calvert piloted the JH Special Cub to a fantastic win, dropping only one mark on the first day and zero on the second – quite an achievement. At the time Tony said: “I was chuffed with the win for John as much as myself.”

John’s bike impressed Tony so much that he had to have a Cub of his own, and managed to find one. The bike was then prepped by John in readiness for the 2008 ‘Scottish’, and guess what? History repeated itself and Tony triumphed once again, with only one mark dropped over the two days. What a team!

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This original JH Special was John Holmes’s favourite – Photo: John McCrink

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word ‘modest’ as meaning “unassuming in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements” – and that perfectly sums up John Holmes, for he would never consider crowing about his bike-building skills.

Similarly, he keeps quiet about his competition successes over many years of participating in trials. He joined the Westmorland Motor Club in 1958 and was still competing 40 years later. Some people might be surprised to find that back in 1963, 64 and 66, John not only rode in that most demanding event, The Scott Trial, but also finished in the awards and won a coveted Scott Spoon on each occasion. So what happened in the 1965 Scott? That’s another story.

In 1965 the International Six Days Trial took place on the Isle of Man, and well-known North West scrambler Tony Sharp was down to ride the event on an Eddie Crooks-sponsored 175 CZ. Unluckily for Tony, just before the event he was injured and John took over the ride. It turned out to be one of the wettest and hardest ISDTs on record.

Out of 300 entrants, only 77 were British, of whom only nine finished – quite a rate of attrition, with lots of established factory riders dropping out – but John Holmes was one of the few finishers, and still has the bronze medal to prove it. Although not over-keen on two-strokes, he does concede that the wee Czech buzz-bomb did go well over the six days.

Perhaps the demands of that ISDT had taken it out of John because, come the autumn, although he rode in the Scott Trial, on that occasion he missed out on a spoon.


Sadly John Holmes passed away after a long battle with cancer on 3rd October 2018.




By George he’s got it

Words: George Gage & Trials Guru

Photos: George Gage & Fin Yeaman

A young George Gage with his original Yamaha in the 1980s

Oban trials enthusiast, George Gage is a joiner by profession and started riding trials bikes with a TY250 Yamaha. The bike disappeared many years ago, but he wished he had kept it as many enthusiasts of the sport do!

George Gage gives the 250 Yamaha a thorough test at the Inverness Club’s Paul Kilbauskas Trial in September 2018 – Photo Fin Yeaman

It comes as no surprise then that when Scottish trials dealer Garry Coward of Highland Leisure Sport had sourced a similar machine, George had to have it.

George was unlucky to develop Testicular cancer which then spread to his lungs, which resulted in 3 months of chemotherapy treatment. George Gage is a cancer survivor.

Goerge takes up the story:

Garry Coward sourced the bike for me, he knew where the machine was as he had serviced it for a customer for some years. The owner had the bike from new and bought it from an old motorcycle dealer in the Highlands. The owner moved overseas, so the bike came on the market. I bought it with the intention of using it unrestored, but this soon changed when I started working on it. Before i knew it, the Yamaha was stripped and the frame was getting prepared for painting.

Much work was undertaken on the well used machine

George began work and did the following tasks:

– resprayed the frame and had the metalwork tidied up
– lowered the foot rests
– rebuilt the forks with magical suspension upgrade fitted
– electronic ignition fitted
– new reeds
– new dellorto carb and rejetted to suit
– modified the airbox
– full stainless exhaust
– engine rebuild
– new plastics
– seat base professional rebuilt and original foam kept
– seat recovered
– new rear nitrogen shocks
– top yoke cut and angle changed slightly
George told Trials Guru:
“I had many bikes growing up but this was the one bike I regretted selling, I gave up riding trials bikes and got distracted by fast cars and other teenager distractions.
“I want to become a better rider and I believe the Yamaha can help me and will give great fun along the way.”
“I have no intention ever selling it and hope my daughter will continue to use it.”
George, we here at Trials Guru wish you many happy hours on the TY250. Thanks for sharing your story with us.