Category Archives: Feature

Ian Robertson UNEARTHED

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Hawick rider and former Scottish Champion, Graham F. Smith (240 SWM) at the Lanarkshire Valente Trial at Kilsyth in 1979 – Photo: Ian Robertson, Midlothian
We at Trials Guru are always looking for new material and old material for that matter, well we just found some for you!
Scottish trials enthusiast Ian T. Robertson from Midlothian has been friends with Trials Guru’s John Moffat for over 40 years and he has opened up his personal archive for us to see.
Please, as usual, be respective of Ian’s copyright, he is the legal owner of these images, please do not share without permission.

Go straight to see the photos that Ian has ‘unearthed’ on Trials Guru… Here!

 

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Midlothian rider and joint Scottish Champion in 1978, John Winthrop (348 Lloyd Montesa) Valente Trial, 1979 – Photo: Ian Robertson, Midlothian

UP NORTH – White Heather Magic

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1967 – Start of the White Heather Trial at Rogart. On the far left is rider, George Hunter (Loch Lomond MCC) on the far right are the Grant twins, Bill (third from right and John (far right in blazer)
Words: Trials Guru – KK Cameron – Rob Sutherland – Tommy Sandham – Raymond Leitch – Mairi Grant
Photos: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven – Grant Family Archive, Rogart – David Sutherland, Brora

 

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John Little, originally from Edinburgh, now Elgin on his Bultaco Sherpa (FFS169D) on Sciberscross in the 1967 White Heather Trial – Photo: Grant Family Collection

Back in the mid 1960s and up to the late 1970s, there was a unique event organised in the rural county of Sutherland in northern Scotland. It was called the ‘White Heather Trial’ promoted by the Sutherland Car & Motor Cycle Club and was the most northerly permitted motorcycle trial in the United Kingdom.

Held on a Saturday because of the deeply religious area being predominantly Free Church of Scotland which scorned sporting activities on a Sunday, the organisers respected this and therefore capitulated.

This allowed the Lochaber club, based in the Fort William area, to organise a Sunday event where the Free Church influence was not quite so strong and this made for a unique trialling weekend in the north of Scotland. This created a weekend of events in the Highlands of Scotland, not a two day event as such, but two days with events.

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Jock McComisky on his ex-Jack Duncan 500 Ariel HT5 at Sciberscross in the 1966 White Heather Trial – Photo: Grant Family Collection

Centred at the hamlet of Rogart, which means: ‘great enclosed field’ it was a somewhat dispersed crofting community with the nearest village being Golspie, some nine miles distant. However Rogart does have a railway station and this had opened up the area somewhat over the years.

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The late Charlie Dobson from Glasgow on his AJS16C in 1966 at Sciberscross – Photo Grant Family Collection, Rogart

The trial started at Rogart and used sections at Davoch; Rhemusaig; Reidchalmie; Pitfire; Sonny’s; Kinnauld; Kerrow and Sciberscross in the Glen of Strath Brora.

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1965 Scottish Trials Champion, Kenny Fleming from Dunblane seen here at the 1966 White Heather on his 250 Bultaco Sherpa (model 10), bought from Comerfords, Thames Ditton – Photo: Grant Family Collection

Scibercross Lodge was built in 1876 and was one of the many hunting lodges built for, and by, the Third Duke of Sutherland.

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Alex Smith from Bathgate on his ex-Tiger Payne AJS (YNC526) in the 1965 White Heather Trial – Photo: Grant Family Collection
The Grant Brothers – The Prime Movers:

Whilst there were a number of local club members that assisted in the running of the trial, the prime movers of the Sutherland & District Motor Club, White Heather Trial were undoubtedly the Grant brothers, John and Bill.

John was the older and Bill the younger, twin sons of Ian Grant and Jessie Magarry, born on 4th July 1928 at Dalmore, Rogart.

The family home called ‘Rowallan’ was built in 1889. Ian Grant moved along the road to the Bungalow when he married Jessie as his father was still Rowallan. They were only out of Rowallan for a year or two, but it was never bought. This is where the Grants ran their grocery business for many years.

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Bill Grant draws on a ‘Benson & Hedges’ cigarette for concentration as he takes a wide line on his 250 Royal Enfield Cruiser in the 1965 White Heather – Photo: Grant Family Collection

They lived in Rogart all their days, the only exception being the time they spent in the Middle East during a stint in the obligatory National Service.

John and Bill left Rogart to train at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, serving as motorcycle dispatch riders as part of the Royal Signals, until 1949. They then returned home to help their parents run the family business.

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Bill Grant on his DOT playing in the snow near Rogart around 1960 – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

John and Bill Grant’s connection with the Scottish Six Days Trial began with Bill becoming an observer in 1967. This was followed by a commitment as Chief Marshall before Bill became the Assistant Secretary to Ally Findlay where his in-depth knowledge of the event was invaluable.

The SSDT ‘influence’ was evidenced with the type of competition numbers allocated to competitors at the White Heather. The riders had a large numeral on black background fixed to the front and nearside of their machines in the late 1960 events. An idea taken from the SSDT at that time.

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The late George M.B. ‘Geordie’ Shaw from Perth was also a Loch Lomond memberand SACU Trials committee man, seen here on his 246 Greeves in the 1967 White Heather Trial

Not ‘medically identical’ twins, the Grant brothers were fiendish practical jokers. Some may remember the pranks that John and Bill played when they took their turn at attending the SSDT in alternate years, because the ‘absent one’ stayed at Rogart to run the family business in the village. Many people, including riders and officials didn’t realise there were two Grant brothers, because they were so alike in both appearance and mannerisms!

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Bill Grant on his OSSA high up on the hills above Rogart around 1974. Brother John used to ride to work on this machine over the moors – Photo: Grant Family Collection

Daughter of John Grant, Mairi, former SSDT Secretary told Trials Guru: “They generally took their bikes down to the SSDT at Fort William.  They would head down the main road to Beauly, then cut over the top to Drumnadrochit before heading on down to Fort William, a delightful run even today“.

The Grants had a preference for Velocette road motorcycles, which led to them to convince the marque owners club to hold their national rally at Rogart, run in the August.

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The Grants twins of Rogart sit proudly on their Velocettes, (from left) Ian (Royal Enfield) with sons, Bill & John – Photo courtesy of Mairi Grant, Inverness

John Grant passed away in 1998 aged 70 and ten years later, brother Bill aged 80 years in December 2008.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat: “I got to know Bill and his twin brother John through the friendship they struck up with my late father, many years before I found myself working with Bill in the SSDT office at the Milton Hotel in 2002. When I was 18, I observed at the SSDT in 1976 and Bill was Chief Marshall that year and his nightly ‘Briefing Meetings’ were a mandatory part of the duties and that was where he imparted his direction and knowledge to the officials and observers.

Bill‘s advice was always positive and he was a very knowledgeable chap to have on call as his experience gained through many years helping both Jim McColm and Ali Findlay, indeed steered me through a very adventurous week in Fort William in 2002.

We had great fun in the office, as he always had some story or other to tell in the short lull between the workload. As most of the stories he told me involved previous Scottish Six Days Trials, I must say I was always enthralled by them! He usually began his ‘lesson’ by saying the now immortal words: ‘Now, let me tell you this … ‘

I for one listened intently to what Bill had to say for this was the time to learn. I didn’t interrupt him. He had such a relaxed style that anyone who ignored him probably did so at their peril and no doubt came ‘unstuck’ shortly after!

The motto should read: When an experienced person speaks, it pays dividends to listen.

The Grant brothers have now passed into Scottish Trials folklore, they were true motorcycle enthusiasts“.

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Gordon Morell on his 500 AJS in 1965 – Photo courtesy of Mairi Grant, Rogart

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Glasgow Lion member, Bill Varty in 1966 on his Greeves at Sciberscross – Photo courtesy of Mairi Grant, Rogart

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John Winthrop conducts a trials school at Rogart in 1977. Riders include: Ray Leitch (goggles on helmet); Gavin Milne; Phil Paterson (fourth from right); Rob Sutherland (third from right); John Moodie (second from right) – Photo supplied by David Sutherland, Brora

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John Winthrop (left) watches Rob Sutherland (348 Montesa) at a Rogart trials school in 1977 – Photo: David Sutherland, Brora
Competitors memories of the White Heather:
Kenneth ‘KK’ Cameron, from Fort William:

 

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Kenneth ‘KK’ Cameron from Fort William hits a spot of bother on his Montesa Cota 247 at ‘Sonny’s’ section in 1969

The bike you see in the photo came from Donald Buchan dealership in Perth, most of my bikes were from either Donald or Jimmy Morton at Sorn, Ayrshire. My memories of the White Heather are that it was a great trial and one I rode many times. The one thing that I remember well was riding with Allie ‘Beag’ Cameron and ‘RM’ – Roger Mount, Allie affectionately called us by our initials.

We were looking a difficult section up on a steep hillside, that no-one was cleaning. After looking at it for a while, Allie told us how to ride it. Approach quite fast in second, shut off power till you reach here, then give it a wee squirt here and shut off again, then another and so on. I can’t remember how many ‘wee squirts’ were needed but there were quite a few. Allie then gave us a ‘master class’ on how to do it. Allie was a brilliant rider, needless to say neither ‘RM’ or ‘KC’ followed his example“. – Kenneth Cameron, Fort William

Tommy Sandham, author – Four-Stroke Finale, The Honda Trials Story, originally from Airdrie, now Magor, Monmouthshire:

I remember the White Heather trial. I think I did it twice and recall it was held on a Saturday, so that meant either a day off or a half-day on Friday to travel up to Sutherland. I was based in Airdrie then so it was
quite a trek with a trailer.

I well remember riding round and coming into a village and there was a Policeman standing in the middle of the road waving the trials bikes through! The first and only time I recall this happening. Then we had a lunch stop which again was unusual and the village hall was filled with cakes, sandwiches etc made by the local people. Everyone seemed to be involved!

When the White Heather was finished it used to be a rush back South to Fort William where there was another trial on the Sunday.

The weekend involved two bed & breakfasts and a lot of miles to cover but it was once a year and I remember it very fondly“. – Tommy Sandham, Magor, Wales

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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 in 1967.
Rob Sutherland from Brora, now living in New Zealand:

I’ve spent some time trying to recollect the goings on of the White Heather so here they are”.

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1967 – John MacDonald the local postman on his AJS (YNC526), previously owned by Alex Smith and Tiger Payne, seen here on Sciberscross – Photo: Grant Family Collection

“My uncle, John MacDonald, my Mums brother who resides in Rogart to this day, was a clubman rider and former SSDT competitor on an ex- Brian Payne AJS (YNC526), which he bought from Alex Smith. I spent much of my early years with my grandparents in Rogart so the ‘WH’ was an on your tongue word being probably the biggest one day event in the Parish, apart from the annual sheep and cattle sales”.

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David Sutherland, brother of Rob on their Uncle John MacDonald’s 350 AJS (YNC526) – Photo: David Sutherland, Brora

“Uncle John had become an organiser along with Billy and John Grant and with others whom I cannot remember the names of now. By the time I started riding the event in 1976 on my brand new 348 Montesa Cota, I had been an active spectator prior to then and from memory, to me it could have been a world championship having riders of note travelling up from the North East of England which back then was to a young boy another country. They competed along with the prestige of Scottish riders such as Roger Mount, Ally Macgillivray and riders of their era.

Not forgetting that weekend was a double-header as the Lochaber trial was held on the Sunday, which I suppose made the long trip more worthwhile for the far travelled riders.

I had followed the trial on my late 1960s 250 Cota from the age of fourteen as I was very familiar in getting to see the Rogart side of the trial without riding on the public roads so you can imagine how I yearned to be sixteen and get in there with the stars who could clean what a young boy thought impossible“.

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Rob Sutherland (Montesa 348) at the 1979 White Heather Trial at Rogart – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Sutherland continued: “I bought my 1976 348 with a five hundred pounds loan and topped the massive £799.00 purchase price of with my apprentice wages. The bike came from McGowans Motorcycles in Inverness and the salesman was Billy Lumsden who was, at that time, one of the top local riders and rode a Beamish Suzuki. Billy tragically lost his life in a road bike crash in Inverness. His younger Mike continued the tradition, as he rode trials with Gavin Johnson in the early days.

My first ‘WH’ was the 1976 event as I had just turned seventeen two weeks prior and as I think it may have been the first year schoolboys were allowed to ride, as long as our parents collected us for the public highway part of the trial which ran from Rogart North West to the Kerrow and Scriberscross, then down the Glen into Golspie before heading back to the Mound for the Aberscross and quarry group of sections.

The trial route changed yearly although some of the hardest sections were kept, but it did give the diversity with different sections to ride. It may just be my memory but I seem to remember large numbers of spectators at sections which only added to the competition a young sixteen year old from the Highlands could dream of, having spectated at the SSDT and having some of the big names from the SSDT ride in my own backyard.

I rode three White Heathers I think before getting into motocross, but had so much fun riding and practicing with John Moodie, Ray Leitch and the travelling adventures attending all Scottish championship trials. In fact I think the last ‘WH’ I rode in, a young John Lampkin was there on an SWM along with Glen Scholey and Rob Edwards taking in the double header weekend.

I remember these riders taking part… Steve ‘Butch’ Robson, who would become my best man; Gordon Butterfield; Dave Younghusband; Rob Stamp; Geoff McDonnell; Ray Crinson; John Winthrop; Robin Cownie; Walter Dalton; Keith Johnston; Casper Mylius; Alan Adamson; John White; Billy Matthews; Roy Kerr and Graham Smith from Hawick“. – Rob Sutherland, New Zealand.

Douglas Bald, Scottish Trials Champion in 1968:

I have very happy memories of the white heather trial , can’t remember much about the actual event itself, but I do remember this occurrence no names but his initials were I. D. B. M; he liked a serious ‘swallie’ (drink) and as always l was the chauffeur.

We decided to go to the local barn dance and as would happen, we got back to our digs late to find the place dark and lock fast. This gave us no alternative but to gain entry, it unfortunately coincided with the local ‘Bobby’ doing his beat.

It took some explaining I.D.B.M was always a little argumentive after a drink and to this day it was the nearest l have ever been to being lifted by the Constabulary!

I can’t remember the date, but the police car was a Morris 1000!

Iain Lawrie captured the action in 1979…

 

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Watched by ‘Big Phil’ Paterson, Raymond ‘Ray’ Leitch from Culloden on his Bultaco, sponsored by Cawdor Castle in the 1979 White Heather Trial at Rogart – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Ray Leitch who lived at Culloden, near Inverness:

My very first White Heather trial I ever rode was in 1976 and I was number 1, but I lost the kick start on my Montesa Cota 247 half way through the event. Lots of ‘bump starts’ later and I finished about second last! I got betetr after that though.

I was sponsored by ‘Cawdor Castle Tourism’ and my brother Sid hand painted their monogram on the tank. That is the Bultaco you see here supplied originally by Stodarts of Oban, but later fitted with the Steve Wilson frame and swinging arm.

Those are Marzocchi air shocks which were modified from a set off a KTM motocross bike. Also riding round the trial with Rob Edwards was for me the highlight of all the White Heather trials I competed in“. – Ray Leitch

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1979 ‘White Heather Trial’ with Rob Edwards (310 Montesa) on his way to winning the event – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
Simon C. Valente from Edinburgh, now in Yorkshire:

My first ride in the White Heather was I think in 1975, in 1977 I returned, travelling with my elder brother Peter and Graham Smith of Hawick, who was then an up and coming rider working towards his peak of winning the Scottish championship a few years later, in Graham’s Volkswagen camper van.

A few minutes before the start, opposite the Rogart Hotel, a small crowd had gathered to watch Willie Dalling who was on a 348 Montesa at the time, flailing away with a foot pump to square up his rear tyre on the rim. Suddenly an almighty bang, reminiscent of the one o’clock gun going off at Edinburgh Castle, reverberated around the village, as Willie’s inner tube exploded inside the tyre.

Being a strong and sometimes fiery character, you could almost see the steam exuding from Willie’s collar as, without a word, he unbuckled his watch and handed it to his wife Creena before starting the task of replacing the tube.

Meanwhile the audience turned away in respectful silence to leave Willie to work off his temper with the tyre levers!

That year was the first when Rob Edwards came to Rogart to take on and of course beat Scotland’s finest of the time, Alan Poynton, John Winthrop, Robin Cownie et al, and local favourite John Moodie from Rovie Farm. I collected a first class award on my TY175 Yamaha.

The trial was a heck of an adventure, after an early start it must have been past 5 o’clock when we were tackling the final section, before packing up and joining the charge towards Fort William for the Lochaber trial the next day – Great days!” – Simon C. Valente

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Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven (Rider 72 is Mark Whitham, Suzuki)

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Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

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Watched by Keith Johnston and Jock Fraser (in helmet), Peter Valente on his 310 Montesa – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Peter Valente from Edinburgh:

I recall Rob Edwards offering me his spare front brake for the following day’s trial after the linings came off mine on the 348. I should have taken it as riding without a front brake was a bit hairy – not to mention getting down from the top of Sciberscross.

Still the strongest memory of the trial is Willie Dalling using a footpump to square his rear tyre on the rim just before we were due to start. One of the bystanders asked Willie how he would know when he had got the tyre hard enough. Someone (it might have been me) said that when it went bang you would know that it was just too hard, at which point the tube burst. I’m sure you can imagine Willie’s reaction as he set to while the trial departed.

Then there was the rope with a bit wood on the end to go behind the stanchions to haul riders up a waterfall section that many fived. No doubt we’d find that one easy enough nowadays“. – Peter C. Vanente

White Heather Photo Collection of the Grant Family, Rogart:

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The late Willie Pitblado from Dunfermline on his Pitrite (DSP47D) in the 1966 White Heather Trial. Willie painted the SSDT number plates and owned Motor Cycle Spares at Golfdrum Street in Dunfermline – Photo: Grant Family Collection

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Tommy Milton Junior from Edinburgh, on his Bultaco Sherpa M.27 at ‘Sonnys’ in 1968 – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

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The late Jock Fraser from Carrington, Midlothian (1964, 250 Greeves TFS – BSF432B) in the 1967 White Heather – Photo: Grant Family Collection

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Tommy Milton Junior from Edinburgh on his 500 Ariel (RFS651) which he later ‘Millerised’ for the 1967 SSDT. Tommy now lives in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, USA having worked for the World Bank. ‘Sonny’s’ section in 1967 – Photo: Grant Family Collection
Tommy Milton Junior, originally from Edinburgh now Northern Virginia, in Washington DC:
“A great dip into nostalgia remembering the trial at Rogart. I believe it became one of the events that counted towards the Scottish Championship.
I know I took part in it at least twice; you have produced the evidence for that, but I  cannot remember if I rode a third or even fourth time.

By the autumn of 1968 I was only back in Scotland intermittently, as I had started working for British Road Services based in Oxford.

I really liked this trial. Attractive area, welcoming local people, well organised event, with the Club even fixing accommodation. I stayed with a very nice couple and I remember the lady made a terrific breakfast.
And, finally, the sections were mostly rocky climbs, which suited me and, especially, my Ariel”.
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Tommy Milton Jnr on the 500 Ariel (RFS651) powers his way through a mud slot in the 1967 White Heather – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart
 
“I also remember the trial finished at what I think was the local cattle market. The first time I rode, many people came to join in the general socialising, including a number of pretty teenage girls all dressed in Highland gear. I remarked to one that it was very nice of them to have welcomed us lowlanders by dressing up. Oh no, she smiled, we’ve just got back from a dance competition in Golspie!
I am grateful to see the photographs of me on my Ariel, RFS651, which I still have. I bought this bike from Davy Dryden from Uphall, West Lothian.
I had always wanted an HT5 since, as a kid, I had watched Laurie McLean practising on our pushbike trials area, and when we were all at the E&D clubroom one Sunday night after a trial I overheard Davy complaining that he could not get to grips with it.
So later we agreed a deal. I was very happy and I think I won two or three trials with it in 1967/68 season. I have always wondered if anybody has won a Scottish open event on a Classic 50’s four stroke since then?“.

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From Linlithgow, West Lothian, Robert ‘Bob’ Ashenhurst on the 1956, 500 Ariel (NWS405) which was owned by George Hodge; Archie Plenderleith and Ernie Page and is now back in the ownership of 7 times Scottish Scrambles Champion, George Hodge – 1967 White Heather at sciberscross – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

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Unlucky 13? – Bob Ashenhurst comes to grief at Sonnys section on his 500 Ariel (NWS405) in the 1967 White Heather – Photo: Grant Family Collection

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John Little (Bultaco) takes a breather up the Scibercross hill in 1967 – Photo: Grant Family Collection

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Aberdonian George Forbes on his Bultaco Sherpa (mod.10) on Sciberscross in the 1967 White Heather – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

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The AJS (YNC526) of John MacDonald being ridden in 1966 at Scibercross by a younger rider (perhaps someone can identify him?) – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

More images and information on White Heather Trial to follow shortly.

Credits:

Photos:

  • Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
  • Grant Family Collection, Rogart

Special thanks to all the contributors, photographers and riders who have shared their memories of the White Heather on Trials Guru.

This article and photo-feature is dedicated to the people of Sutherland in north Scotland and in particular the Grant family of Rogart. It now sits in the Trials Guru ‘special section’ entitled ‘Great Scots’.

Did you ride at Rogart in the White Heather? Then tell us about it, maybe we can add your memory on this article.

 

Interactive Trials Guru:

Riders’ memories of The White Heather:

Richard Mackintosh, Inverness:

My first ever competitive trial was the 1976 White Heather. An event that was to kindle a lifelong interest in the sport albeit sometimes interrupted by that nasty thing called work. I learned the rudiments of riding in a local woods and streams in and around Beauly from late 1975 on my fairly decent Ossa Mar, a £300 purchase from A. N. Other! Finding some out some months later that another Beauly lad John ‘Bull’ Davidson who by this time lived in Inverness was right into the sport too and palled around with previously spoken about Billy Lumsden. That led to getting some tips, advice and garnering further interest and being able to get a wee bit more practice in I guess. Anyway, trying to run before I could walk I entered the trial and had so much fun. I have a recollection I was about 38th or so out of about 80 riders. Dropped a barrowload of marks but there were plenty of also rans behind me. I can’t recall but it was probably the following year I became aware of the luminaries such as Rob Edwards being there too although it could have been that very year. Rob, a delightful fellow who I met briefly a number of times including my soon to follow 3 x SSDTs – another case of me trying to run before I could walk, had a great memory for faces and always had a few kind words. Back to the trial, it really was a great mix of sections, people looking on and you really felt part of something especially as a sport newcomer. All these cracking riders coming to participate and little old me being part of it. Just magic! The double-header of being able to shoot off to Fort William the following day , a bonus. Something,I’d forgotten about until I started reading this fine article. I think maybe 3 times or so I participated, Who could forget Robbie Sutherland in the coming seasons who really started to make his trials bike ‘speak’ and made us all envious when he got his 4 stroke CCM. Oh my, the sound! Ray Leitch, a fine rider often in the points. A shoogle here, a shoogle there, but feet firmly on the pegs. We travelled together to a number of trials and believe me, there weren’t many people who could get a Mk 3 Cortina and trailer chapping faster on the way home. Anyway, the White Heather, there couldn’t have been a better intro to the sport could there?”Dick Mackintosh

Peter Bremner, Chairman Edinburgh & Disrict Motor Club Ltd:

Well, this article brings back some great memories as Tommy Sandham said, it was a long drive up. Myself and Stan Young did that journey, we left Edinburgh about lunchtime and after a brief stop in Inverness at the West End chippy, non stop to Rogart in time for a couple of pints and it was 10.00 pm closing time in those days.

Seeing the picture of Tommy Milton Jnr, ‘Kerrow’ was one of his favourite sections. I managed it once for a dab, not only did I ride the trial, but was SACU steward a couple of times. On one occasion I came across Jock Fraser on the down side of the ‘Struie’ he had been involved in an accident. All the trials guys that were there duly helped get the bike on another trialer with Jock and his wife in another car.

His car was not driveable so what could be done with his trailer? I had my works van but no tow bar, but a single bike trailer can be wedged into a Ford Escort van with the doors only slightly open. There it stayed all the way back down to Fort William on the Sunday. And yes, the drive down to Fort William was interesting with trials bikes on trailers and pickups at various speeds!

My abiding memory is the way the whole village helped to put on the event“. – Peter Bremner

Ian ‘Midge’ Middleton of Dumbartonshire, an organiser of the Loch Lomond 2 Day Trial:

I have recollections of the White Heather Trial and rode it from 1975 to the last one in 1983.

I was amazed to see the photograph of Geordie Shaw of Perth and Loch Lomond Clubs riding at the ‘Scriberscross’ sections on his Greeves in 1967″.

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George ‘Geordie’ Shaw (246 Greeves) was a true enthusiast and hard working clubman in the Scottish trials scene in the 1960s and 70s. Seen here on ‘Scibercross’ in the 1967 White Heather – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

“That was quite a bit before my time, but I recognised him straight away, even before I saw the photograph caption. Geordie Shaw was great mentor to me and I couldn’t wait to have a go at the Trial, having heard all the tales from Geordie. Sadly Geordie passed away in 1975 when still quite young, probably aged mid-thirties or so.
After a long and arduous drive in 1975 on roads that had not yet been upgraded or improved in any way it was tremendous adventure even just to get to Rogart, the Trial epicentre. There was no Dornoch or Kessock bridges, no improved A82 or A9 roads, and it was very much the long way round, traveling through many small villages and towns.

Once there myself and my two travelling companions ventured into the pub to be greeted by Pete and Simon Valente whose first words to me were..’you look absolutely shattered’. I certainly was bit tired having driven 225 miles on fairly primitive roads in a very slow van. I was even more shattered after the event, but very happy at having completed my very first White Heather Trial.

Even more amazing for me was to encounter the lads from County Durham, Weardale and North Yorkshire who would have had to travel at least twice the distance to get to Rogart. The well known folks from the far South from where I am sitting were ‘Big’ Billy Maxwell, Ray Crinson, Walter Dalton, Rob Edwards, Gordon Butterfield and Colin Ward Senior. After finishing the Trial, the next task was to get everybody packed up and into the van for another arduous drive South on Saturday evening to Fort William, for the Sunday Trial run by Lochaber Club.
The White Heather was always a special and fantastic event, because it was a massive one lap trial with probably about 50 sections or so, and you were lucky to be finished at 5.30-6.00pm having set off at 10 in the morning. It seemed to closely resemble a day in the SSDT. I also remember lunch halts at a local school house which must have been opened up specially for the Trial. With the local ladies providing soup, sandwiches and tea. You had to be quick because time was short to get round the long lap.

The Grants also provided a route card with a sketch map of the route and the names of all the sections and section numbers. This was presumably all influenced by the SSDT processes, which having read the previous articles, the Grants were also already heavily involved with.
Being a very long one lap fifty section Trial it was very challenging, but immensely enjoyable. For me, it was ‘not a walk in the park’ and that was all part of the challenge in taking part and actually finishing. There is probably nothing like it in today’s world, and it was a shame that it finished in 1983, because the younger lads of today are missing out on something really special.
The sections called ‘Quarry’ was always pretty scary for me and they were always the last group at the end of the Trial when you were very tired. The group was just at the side of the main road leading to Rogart. You always had to be very careful to get the best line at the Quarry sections and have a really good blast up the steep rocky and narrow path, because if you were unlucky enough to fail and get a five, there was no way of restarting or going off to the side to get out of the sections.

If you took a five the only way out was to turn around and go back down which would have been a nightmare. That worry was the best incentive to get the right line, open the bike up and make bloody sure you got out the ends cards.I think I got through the Quarry sections without ever getting a five“. – Ian Middleton.

Ian Middleton kindly supplied Trials Guru with the official results for 1975/76/77/78 & 79:

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Trials Guru – the Premier Trial Sport Website for photos, articles, news and the history of motorcycle trials

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Rob Edwards’ AJS 16C

Readers of Trials Guru will know of Rob Edwards and if you don’t then may we suggest that you have a read through Rob’s story by clicking on the link here on Trials Guru

 

Rob was probably best known as a factory rider and brand ambassador for the Spanish Montesa, but he started off as a local rider who competed on the international stage as his skills were honed.
Rob did however ride a multitude of machines in his early years, one of which was a 1963 350 AJS 16C which he bought from the Surrey dealers, Comerfords.

 

Words: John Moffat & Rob Edwards
Photos: All from Rob Edwards’ Private Collection – Photographers credit where known on each photograph, all rights reserved.
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Rob Edwards cut his teeth on this 350cc G3C Matchless, winning his first award on the machine that was borrowed from his elder brother – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

Edwards was to ride his AJS week in – week out and, having cut his teeth on his elder brothers’ Matchless, he knew how a big four-stroke performed.

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Rob Edwards on his 350 AJS – 970PL in the 1964 Cleveland trial which he won.

 

A lucky break came in 1965, when Rob’s name was put forward to the AMC competition chief, Hugh Viney by factory riders, Gordon Blakeway and Gordon Mclaughlan who rode works machines for the Plumstead factory.

Rob was well known to the two Gordons as he lived in Thornaby with local noteable riders Blakeway and Mclaughlan, who had a business in Guisborough, young Edwards was a known quantity.

Rob had ridden the AJS registered as 970PL as a private entrant in the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1964, the following year, factory rider Mick Andrews had moved over to ride the two-stroke James, which was part of the AMC group, this left a spare berth in the AJS team for the 1965 Scottish.

Rob Edwards takes up the story:
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At the start of the 1964 SSDT at Edinburgh’s Gorgie Market, Rob Edwards on his 16C AJS that was to be updated to woks specification for the 1965 SSDT – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection
“I was allocated number 210 in 1964 on my AJS 350 that I bought from Comerfords, I entered as a ‘privateer’ and rode under the Middlesbrough & District, my home club. The event still started and finished in Edinburgh. On the Thursday, we went over the Corrieyarrick Pass. I think I had been following behind Peter Gaunt and what happened next I wasn’t to find out until sometime later. I found myself sat on a banking at the side of the Pass, which is an old General Wade military road. I had no idea at all how I came to be sitting there.

Alan Morewood from Sheffield, who became a top sidecar driver, came along on his 500 Ariel as he was number 205 that yea. He stopped and asked if I was Okay? ‘Yes, fine’ I said; ‘Bye’ he said and rode off”.

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Loch Eild Path in the 1964 Scottish Six Days with Rob Edwards on his AJS 16C – Photo Brian Holder, Teddington (Supplied by Rob Edwards)

“A couple of minutes later and Alan was back. ‘Rob, are you sure you are all right, you look dazed?’ said Alan. ‘No problem’ I said and off he went again. Somehow I managed to get back to Fort William to finish the day’s run.

The first person I spoke to asked what I had been doing to scratch my face? Then someone said, ‘never mind his face, look at the back of his bike!’

The rear end was totally out of line. I then realised that I must have hit a pothole in the road with the front wheel over Corrieyarrick, cartwheeled and that explained my rest on the bank.

We pulled the bike back into line with a length of pipe that we found. Apart from a bit of a headache, it was back to business as usual.

The rest of the week was not as eventful and had a good old needle match with my mate Sid Lampkin who was on a factory Cotton that year”.

1965 SSDT:

 

Edwards:“A few weeks before the 1965 SSDT, I had an out-of-the-blue phone call from Hugh Viney, the competitions manager at Associated Motorcycles (AMC) who owned the AJS & Matchless brands; wanting to know if I would ride in the ‘works’ team in the forthcoming Scottish.

It seemed that they wanted Mick Andrews to concentrate on scrambling and ride the 250cc James in trials, which AMC’s also owned.
And so it came to pass that I became the third member of the AJS factory team.
However, there was no time for them to prepare me a bike and Mick’s bike 644BLB wasn’t available for some reason, so I would need to ride my own AJS which for me was not a problem.
Both the ‘Gordons’ – McLaughlan and Blakeway, had put my name forward to be in the team to Hugh Viney, so a big ‘thank you’ to them both for that gesture, which I have treasured all my life since.
My week was going well, I was clean on the Tuesday.
Later in the same day, we were looking forward to riding the new section ‘Pipeline’, introduced the previous year.
There were so many stories about ‘Pipeline’ that I wasn’t really sure if it had been cleaned yet or not.
I had teamed up with Alan Chant from Bexley-Heath who was on a 350 Matchless.
In those days all the ‘big bikes’ were grouped at the back of the field.
As we rode up to ‘Pipeline’, the spectators were all heading back into Kinlochleven.
Alan and myself walked the hill and both agreed on bottom gear.
Alan went first and he cleaned it.
I went next and after a bit of a shaky start, by trying to go too fast too soon.
I settled down and at the right speed things were a lot easier and guess what, I cleaned it.
I bet the spectators who left early were a bit peeved!
On the Thursday, I parked my bike close to the first section on ‘Mamore’ and went off to view the sections.
When I returned to my bike, there was a large pool of oil on the floor underneath!
A stone must have flicked up from the front wheel and hit the small alloy casting that the oil feed to the cylinder-head connects to and smashed it.
There was no way of fixing it, so I set off free-wheeling down to the road, expecting to retire from the trial.
I was sitting by the road side at the gate, that is the entrance to the famous Mamore path, when a car and trailer pulled up.
‘Whats up Rob’ the chap shouted over, I explained my plight.
‘No problem mate, give me two minutes and I will take the one off my bike’ he said.
In all the confusion and despair, I hadn’t noticed that the bike on the trailer was a 350 AJS, what a stroke of luck – for me anyway.
The engine had ‘gone bang’ and the fellow had retired from the trial.
You don’t have to be good with luck like that!
He got me going and I forget the lads’ name but I am indebted to his sportsmanship and generosity that day.
On the sixth day, we did Town Hall Brae in the centre of Fort William. We were then faced with the long ride back to Edinburgh.
For me it had been a great week thanks to Gordon Blakeway and Gordon McLaughlan”.

In the 1965 Scottish, Rob Edwards rode number 207 as part of the works AJS team comprising of Edwards, Gordon S. Blakeway (No. 178) and Gordon O. McLaughlan (No. 177).

Rob rode his own machine registered 970PL with many of the works style modifications carried out.

However, history records that it was Triumph that won the 1965 Manufacturers Team Prize, the Blackford Challenge Trophy.

Taken from the Official Results of the 1965 Scottish Six Days Trial:

Award 16 – For the best performance by a competitor on a solo motor cycle from 251-350 c.c. – R. Edwards (A.J.S.).

In the 1965 Scottish, Rob lost sixty-three marks and gained a Special First Class Award, just six marks behind his friend Alan Lampkin who went on to win the following year.

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Rob on his 350 AJS at Achintee Farm, Ben Nevis, in the 1964 Scottish. The AJS supplied by Comerfords, hence the Surrey registration number 970PL. If you look closely the front wheel spindle nut has the ISDT type tommy-bar, obviating the need for a spanner. It also has the works style prop-stand tied to the front downtube by rubber bands and a small spigot mounted on the lower-most engine bolt and the attachment spigot mounting on the magneto mounting plate. Rob used this bike as a works supported entry in the 1965 event. Photo supplied by Rob Edwards. Photo copyright: Brian Holder.
Rob talks about his AJS 16C:

 

Edwards: “When the SSDT started and finished in Edinburgh, on the sixth day after the lunch check at Crianlarich there were no more sections until the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill in the city. This was purely to see if your clutch still worked. You had to stop between two yellow lines and when the official dropped his flag you could move on – simple.

When you passed a third yellow line, that was the end of the observed hill. The path was so flat, nobody actually treat it like a section. However, I did see a rider who when the flag dropped he picked up the front wheel and tried to wheelie to the ends cards unfortunately he tipped his bike over backwards and his score went up by five points”.

Technical issues:

 

Rob: “After the Blackford Hill stop/restart test at the SSDT, was the final scrutineering test when you wheeled the bike onto a wooden workbench for inspection.
The AJS had one big problem, the swinging-arm bushes, they wore out at an alarming rate”.
Rob Edwards: “If the scrutineer thought that there was excess movement in the bushes, your score could go up by five marks.
I can still see my Dad, Bob at the bottom of Blackford Hill, with a cup of tea in one hand and an industrial grease gun in the other.
After my cup of tea, I pumped the swinging arm full of grease. It only lasted for 100 metres, but it was enough to get through scrutineering”.
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In 1965 Rob Edwards had fitted a Royal Enfield primary chaincase to his 16C AJS which prolongued the life of the primary drive chain – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection
Our thanks to Rob Edwards for his recollection of his AJS and suitable photographs from his private collection of memorabilia for our special section on AMC trials machines. All photographs are copyright with permission to display granted for this article and the Rob Edwards Story only.
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1983 SSDT Gallery by Masao Nagata

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Masao Nagato has kindly given permission for us here at Trials Guru to share his gallery from the 1983 SSDT … A few can be seen below, click to enlarge.

Click the header image above to be taken to his complete 372 photo gallery from the event on ‘Flickr’.

As always, please respect the copyright on all Masao Nagato’s photos.

CCM – Built in Britain

Back in 1977, having previously acquired the tooling and stock of the BSA competition shop at Small Heath, Alan Clews decided to create a trials machine. It is believed that Sammy Miller had already approached Clews to supply him with BSA motors to power a trials machine of Millers own design. Clews’ CCM (Clews Competition Machines) brand was by then already well established, having risen from the original ‘Clew-Stroka’ motocross concept from 1971, by using BSA B50 motors as the power-plant, but with the capacity increased from 498cc to 600cc.

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CCM had built their motocross brand from the 1971 concept of ‘Clew-Stroka’ which at heart was an uprated 498cc BSA B50 motor – Photo: Justyn Norek, Turin

Clews had built a reputation of making high quality motocross machinery which performed as well as they looked. In the hands of Lancastrian, Bob Wright; Cumbrian Mick Barnes and later Vic Eastwood and Scot, Vic Allan, the CCM was a serious racing motorcycle.

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1978 CCM 350T MKII – Photo: Justyn Norek, Turin

Based in Bolton, Lancashire, England the company had grown considerably from modest beginnings. Mike Eatough made the frames, before setting up his own venture called EMC.

There seemed to be a market for a four-stroke trials machine and Clews was eager to fill the void and to produce one, Made in Britain! Honda had already launched their TL125 and for the US market, the TL250 trials models, developed with the help of Sammy Miller and the company’s ‘Bials for Trials’ programme.

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Drive side shot of a 1978 MKII CCM 350T

The eventual CCM production run of their 350T machine was very modest, with just over 100 machines ever produced by the factory. It utilised a variant of the BSA B40 – 343cc unit single, which CCM claimed the capacity as 345cc by using a bore of 79.25 mm and stroke of 70 mm, with compression ratio as 6.2:1.

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Original sales leaflet for the MK1 CCM 350T specification from 1978

Quality components were sourced from European manufacturers, From Italy, Marzocchi supplied both front forks and remote reservoir rear shocks, German ‘Magura’ controls, the Italian, ‘Grimeca’ hubs and brakes and gold anodised Spanish ‘Akront’ wheel rims. With American-made Preston Petty motocross red plastic mudguards also fitted front and rear. This particular combination, with the chromed chassis made for a ‘good looking’ machine, this in itself did not make a 100% competitive trials machine however.

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Nick Jefferies on his factory CCM 350T in the 1978 SSDT at Altnafeadh on the first day of the event – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

The B40 motor was treated to an Amal MK2 concentric carburettor and a revised primary drive alloy casing, finished in black with the CCM motif in relief, with a novel little oil breather/catch bottle fitted to the nearside crankcase. But at heart it was still a BSA B40 which had been developed from the 1959 C15 design.

Given the more modern riding position, the gear pedal was fitted in such a way that it was accessible by the rider standing up on the foot-pegs. The gear pedal passed behind the kick-start lever.

Backed by Castrol Oils UK, riders of the caliber of Dave Thorpe, (who left Bultaco to ride the CCM prototype) and Nick Jefferies were employed to develop the CCM 350T for the factory.

Jefferies entered the 1978 Scottish Six Days Trial riding number 220 on the 400cc CCM prototype, backed by Castrol, but failed to finish the event.

Thorpe entered the 1979 SSDT on the 360cc CCM factory machine with riding number 250, with Thorpe shadowed most of the week by motocross rider, Dick Clayton whose riding gear had been rumoured to be literally stuffed with spare parts.

Mel Ross 1978 - JY
Private owner, Mel Ross from Monifieth, Dundee on his CCM 350T at a Dunfermline Trial in Scotland in 1978 – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

Dave Thorpe did finished the 1979 SSDT in 95th position on 397 marks lost, which was not a good day at the office for him, having been 11th position the year before on a Bultaco!

V. R. Moyce from Wickham rode a production CCM 350 in the 1979 SSDT and finished in 190th position on 597 marks lost.

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The late Willie Dalling, former clerk of Course for the SSDT riding a borrowed CCM 350T in 1978 at the Aberfeldy Two-Day Trial in Scotland – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

Many of the Bolton built CCMs were bought by private riders who wanted something different.

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Lancashire’s Eddie Smith on a Sandiford CCM 350T in 1978 at the Aberfeldy Two Day Trial – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

In 1979 Honda launched their own British built four-stroke trials machine, the TL200E (the ‘E’ stood for ‘England’) made by Colin Seeley in England, but ‘adopted’ by Honda UK as their own model and marketed through their comprehensive motorcycle dealership network.

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The production MKII CCM 350T of 1978

The frame was made from Reynolds ‘531’ tubing, argon brazed and finished with chrome plating to both frame and swinging arm.

The wheelbase at 51.5 inches followed almost the same dimensions as the Bultaco Sherpa it was designed to beat in competition.

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A fairly original October 1978 registered CCM 350T MKII, all except for the two-tone coloured seat and red handlebar grips

Whist the CCM 350T was never destined to become a trials ‘world beater’, the machines did sell reasonably quickly. They were not produced in significantly high numbers, hence now they command extremely high prices for their rarity value alone.

CCM later became part of the ‘Armstrong-CCM’ brand, but that is another story!

 

© – All text copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2016

© – Images: World-wide Copyright Jimmy Young, Armadale, UK (All Rights Reserved) – 2016.

© – Images: World-wide Copyright Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy (All Rights Reserved) – 2016.

For a short test of CCM 350T with photographs in Italy by Justyn Norek click: Here

Trials Guru Main Index

ARIEL HT500 – Sammy Miller – 786GON

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Rear view of 786GON showing the fibreglass mouldings by Butler. The Ariel was not a replica, it was Sammy Miller’s second string Ariel he used as often as GOV132, it is rumoured that Sammy simply changed the numbers over for different events. Photo courtesy of Roy A. Kerr.

Not generally known, but here we have Ariel HT500 registered as 786GON, known as ‘Sammy’s other Ariel’. During the late 1950’s and 1960’s Sammy Miller had access to two HT500 Ariels, his famous version GOV132 and the machine pictured here. The bike is now in Italy in the possession of a collector, having been owned by Jock Wilson (Comerfords) Ernie Page, Roy Kerr and Tim Beaven, plus some other individuals

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Timing side view of 786GON when it was owned by Roy Kerr. The exhaust was made to blow mud off the rear tyre. The machine was fitted with Ariels alloy ‘Leader’ type hubs. Photo courtesy: Roy A. Kerr.

The machine was put on sale in early 1965 by motorcycle dealers, Comerfords Limited in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey along with GOV132. Comerfords having taken over the support from Ariels to Sammy Miller when the factory had ceased manufacture of trials machines. 786GON was for sale at £350, which was almost £150 more expensive than a brand new Greeves two-stroke at that time.

Arthur Fowler bought 786GON, but returned it for sale at the end of 1965 to Comerfords and Jock Wilson purchased the machine.

The motor shows its pedigree. The engine number indicates that this is no ordinary HT5, but an experimental motor. (Photo copyright: Roy Kerr)
The motor shows its pedigree. The engine number indicates that this is no ordinary HT5, but an experimental motor EXHS 99. (Photo copyright: Roy Kerr)

After selling the bike to Harry Rayner, Wilson bought it back from another owner, John Parry, at which time Jock Wilson slowly restored the machine to its former glory.

Wilson sold 786GON to Scotsman Ernie Page, himself an accomplished trials, scrambles and ISDT competitor, who owned Page Motors in Edinburgh, who at that time had a sizeable motorcycle collection. After a period of time, Page sold the Ariel to former employee, Roy Kerr, himself a former Scottish trials champion.

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After some years under the ownership of Tim Beaven, the bike was then sold to a private collector in Italy called Carlo Ramella. The Ariel lives on but in its new home in the Italian alps.

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786GON at it’s current home in the Italian Alps with current owner/collector: Carlo Ramella. Photo copyright: Justyn Norek, Turin.

Justyn Norek a design consultant from Turin, made the following observations of 786GON when a test of the machine was undertaken by the German ‘Trialsport’ magazine in March 2014, here they are:

“Frame: In Reynolds 531 tubing, modified with steeper steering angle, oil in frame.

Fuel Tank: Beautifully styled in fibreglass, very light and slim design, one bolt mounting with depression in front part to allow full lock of the steering, with the fork coming close to the tank. Perfectly done by Butler Moulded Laminates, the creation of Chris Butler. Also the builder of the Butler trials machine. It has a metal logo on the top of the tank a real work of art.

Seat Base: Integrated with the rear mudguard, another artwork in fibreglass by Butler. Very slim viewed from the top, in cream white finish, synonymous with Miller’s Ariel. It also had the integration of the rear registration number plate. The seat is perfectly designed to be light and slim, but still comfortable.

Exhaust system: Starting with the beautiful curve, extremely compact and well tucked-in to the motorcycle. It terminates with a small silencer breathing out the hot expelled gasses on to the rear tyre knobs. This ingenious idea allows for cleaning of the rear tyre from any mud and leaf-mould and also warms the tyre rubber for better grip.

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“… extremely compact and well tucked-in to the motorcycle. It terminates with a small silencer breathing out the hot expelled gasses on to the rear tyre knobs.” – Justyn Norek (Photo copyright: Roy Kerr)

Kick-starter and Gear Shift levers: Bored out to shave more weight from the machine.

Speedometer: Mounted to the engine plate and protected by the aluminium shield from mud etc. It is not the easiest to look at when in operation, but who looks at the speedometer during an event. This was merely an attempt to keep the machine street-legal.
Chain guard in fibreglass, neatly styled with simplicity, weight-saving and functionality.
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“…Chain guard in fibreglass, neatly styled with simplicity, weight-saving and functionality.” – Justyn Norek. (Image copyright: Roy Kerr)
Front mudguard: Again in cream white fibreglass by Butler. minimal and beautifully shaped and in perfect aesthetic harmony with the fuel tank, seat base and rear mudguard units. This creates an unforgettable aesthetics of this historic motorcycle.”
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Technical Specification of 786GON:

ARIEL 786GON – Technical Specifications:

Engine layout: Single cylinder, vertical cylinder in light alloy.

Capacity: 497cc

Bore & Stroke 81.8 X 95 mm

Compression ratio: 8.5: 1

Max power: 24 hp at 5800 rpm

Carburetor: Amal monobloc.

Oil system: Dry sump with double oil pump and separate oil tank.

Primary drive: Chain.

Clutch: multiple discs in oil bath.

Gearbox: Burman – separate, 4 speed ratios: 6:1; 9.5:1; 14.7:1; 19.3:1

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Gearbox: Burman – separate, 4 speed ratios: 6:1; 9.5:1; 14.7:1; 19.3:1

Frame: single down front tube in Reynolds 531 steel – Weight around 14 kg.

Suspension:

Front: Hydraulic telescopic forks with sliders shortened from Norton road-holder, yokes from BSA shortened to shorten wheelbase.

Rear: Rear swing-arm on silent-block bushes with chain oil system incorporated, Armstrong shock absorbers.

Wheels: steel rims, tyres front: 2.75 x 21, rear 4.00 x 19.

Brakes: Front: drum type 180 mm – Rear: drum side type 180 mm

Main dimensions: wheelbase 1340 mm

Ground clearance 220 mm

Seat high: 810 mm

Steering head angle 63.5 degrees

Weight: 111kg.

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The magazine Trialsport in Germany carried a full report using material from Justyn Norek Snr and his son Justyn Norek Jnr. If you can read German language, here is a link to the article on the internet, (you may need to right click on the link to open it):

Article 786GON – Trialsport ©

© PDF version of article from Trialsport Magazine DE: Ariel 786 GON (1)

© Photos courtesy: Roy Kerr, Kelso, Scotland, UK.

© Photos courtesy: Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy.

For more photos of 786GON – See Justyn Norek Photos

Please be aware that the article on Ariel, 786GON which appeared in Trialsport magazine is copyright – Trialsport March 2014 – © 2013 TRIALSPORT Verlag, Odenwaldstraße 5, 97896 Freudenberg-Ebenheid

Additional information Words and photos copyright © – Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy.

© – Article: Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2015 (All Rights reserved)

The Man they call ‘MUNCH’ – MSPORT

When Honda/Montesa launched their new to market 4RT (Four-Stroke Racing Trial) model in 2004, there was one southern English trials dealer who was particularly taken by the new fuel-injected trials machine from Montesa.

Based in Bedfordshire and with a background in the motor trade on the technical side, Mick Gallagher decided that he would find out as much as he could about the seemingly complex machine.

Mick or ‘Munch’ as he is universally known in the trials world, had been in touch with the then Montesa UK importers, Jim Sandiford Imports Ltd in Bury, Lancashire and a dealership was agreed.

The new model was brought into the UK in time for the 2005 trials season and had been rigorously tested in the previous year’s Scott Trial by factory development rider, Amos Bilbao. No apparent problems were encountered even although sceptics wondered how all that electronic wizardry would stand up to inclement UK weather, but it did, and still does!

The Montesa 4RT uses the PGM F1 fuel injected technology taken straight from Honda’s Fireblade, except it manages one cylinder instead of four. Munch began collecting as much data as he possibly could from a variety of sources and soon established himself as the oracle on the 4RT.

Over the period 2005 until 2009 when Sandifords were still importers, many riders purchased their machines from MSPORT, Munch’s dealership. Many had their bikes breathed upon for increased performance or even just detailing.

Munch himself a trials rider, on Montesa 4RT of course and each year has a week’s holiday at Fort William where he is one of the 30 strong observing groups of officials at the annual Scottish Six Days Trial.

In late 2009 the importership of Montesa was transferred to Pidcock Motorcycles, who sold direct to market and did not operate a dealer network. This didn’t upset Munch too much, for by now more and more riders were seeking him out to repair their now ageing machines and saw what improvements were possible over the standard product from Montesa. MSPORT became an independent dealer, but specialising in 4RT models and this is what they do to this day. This is a common feature of the motor trade with franchise official dealers and those who are classed as independent but use genuine parts for repair or if the customer has a restricted budget some aftermarket or non-OEM parts.

Either way, it’s the build up of knowledge over that past 10 years on this particular model of trials bike that sets Munch and MSPORT apart and still keeps the Bedfordshire dealership buzzing.

MSPORT are 100% independent and can upgrade a customers 4RT bike to M-Spec using many innovative parts, sourced from all over Europe.

MSPORT are always keen to hear of someone who is selling a 4RT or is looking to buy a new or newer model. Whether it be a decal set or a complete motor tune or re-map or suspension upgrade, Munch is your man!

Postscript:

This Trials Guru article was written on April, 3rd 2014.

Sadly, Mick ‘Munch’ Gallagher died on the evening of 16th March 2016 having suffered a cardiac arrest while playing five-a-side football. The Trials world is poorer as a result of our good friend’s passing.

Link to Munch Tribute

Munch Tribute Montesa 2018 SSDT