Category Archives: Obituaries

Tony Bingley 1940 – 2022

On the same day as the British nation lost their Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, the sport of motorcycling lost a veritable character and all round sportsman, Beetham born, Kentmere raised, Tony Bingley.

(Main Cover Image courtesy of Eric Kitchen)

SSDT 1980 – Tony Bingley on his 325 Bultaco tackles Muirshearlich (Trotter’s Burn) – Photo: Iain Lawrie

Known throughout the trials world as ‘Bing’, he rode many Scottish Six Days Trials on Bultaco machinery. ‘Bing’ became good friends with Sid Lampkin and Malcolm Rathmell and he gained some support from Shell during his trial career. He also took up racing in his motorcycle sporting career.

Sid Lampkin got to know ‘Bing’ as teenagers when Sid competed in trials up in the Lakes: “Tony was an infectious character, everyone liked him and he was good company. He used to bring Libby’s products with him when he visited us, when he lived near their factory at Milnthorpe.”

Tony also competed in classic racing on a 496cc Seeley G50 Matchless and was no slouch at the tarmac game, posting an 88.72 mph lap in the 1994 Manx GP Classic Senior race. However, Tony suffered a major accident at Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount circuit which, having a physical impact, curtailed his activities somewhat.

He was also a keen supporter and eventually became a director of Carlisle United Football Club, at one time their Commercial Director. But his main occupation was at Leyland Motors in Lancashire and most of his working life was motor trade based.

Tony on the Harrison Montesa 200 in 1981 (Photo: Jimmy Young)

Tony Bingley was a friendly character, he enjoyed interacting with fellow competitors and organisers, it is true to say he was a likeable individual with an outgoing personality.

Tony’s son Gary was also an accomplished trials rider and in May 2022, Tony had great pleasure watching his Grandson, Jamie Bingley riding the Scottish Six Day Trial. Over a 50 year period, the Bingleys had a Grandfather, Father and Son competing in the same event.

Photo courtesy: Bingley Family, Carlisle.

Death of Mike Davies

Suddenly, after a short illness, Michael Cyril Davies died on 13th June 2022.

Mike contacted Trials Guru and offered his photographs that he had taken as a schoolboy for display on the website.

Mike Davies in action on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1964 SSDT on his Triumph Cub.

His friend John Davies wrote:

Mike davies from Rhayader, Mid-Wales has passed away after a short illness which he failed to overcome. Mike was a very keen Motorcyclist and handy with a camera and competed right up until recently and was also a very competent cyclist and had a famous son Tim Davies who was world class and rode for the Alpine Stars team.

His funeral will take place at Aberystwyth Crematorium (No Church service) on Wednesday, 29th June 2022 at 2pm.

Mike’s photographs can be viewed HERE

Death of Dick Walker (WES Exhausts)

Statement by WES Exhausts, Madrid, Spain:

It is with deep sorrow that we inform all the trials enthusiasts about the passing of Jeremy Richard ‘Dick’ Walker, founder and Honorary President of WES silencers, on 20th June, 2022 at Brecon, Wales.

Dick was a pioneer in the development of special parts for motorcycles.

A trials rider from his youth, he started his business in Birmingham in 1973 producing special silencers and other components, such as mudguard stays and brake arms, all in aluminium alloy, for the trials motorcycles of the period.

In a short period of time, the success of the silencers took him to specialise in these parts that became a reference for the improvement of any trials motorcycle.

From Birmingham he then moved his ‘WES silencers’ business to premises in Brecon, Wales in the mid-eighties, until his retirement when he sold the company to ARS Trial Parts, his Spanish importer from the beginning of the nineties.

Dick continued then with the new company as design and quality adviser and is made Honorary President.

His passion for trial sport continued for the rest of his life. After a large number of participations in the SSDT, some with works supported Kawasaki machines, he continued spectating at the competition annually, both the six and two day events.

He was also a regular visitor to the Telford Show.

His friendship with the Spanish importer took him to many trials in Spain, namely several editions of the Robregordo Two-Day, a name that he never reached to pronounce properly.

With a very independent character and great vitality, Dick was also a big enthusiast of steam railways and he travelled the world chasing them with his camera.

It is remarkable his countless trips to China for this reason. He experienced firsthand the explosive development that this country has experienced recently… and the disappearance of the steam trains.

José Franqueira, CEO of WES Silencers: “We are going to miss very much the powerful and beloved personality of Dick Walker. One year before celebrating the 50 years of the beginning of WES silencers activity, I think that the best tribute that we can offer him is, to be guided, when we start a new project, by his preferred requirements, simplicity, efficiency and strength.”

Alan Ketley death

The trials world on the south east was saddened by the death of well-known trials rider, Alan Ketley.

Alan was an accomplished rider in the SE ACU centre and at one time worked for Comerfords/Bultaco UK as a sales representative, looking after the many Bultaco agencies throughout the UK.

Alan Ketley (325 Bultaco) – Photo: Mike Rapley

He had been sufering from Parkinson’s Disease for some years and was from Erith, South East London..

Details of Alan’s funeral arrangements are:

Friday, 29th October 2021 at Beckenham Crematorium at 09.30 am.

Trials Guru wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his daughter at this very sad time.

Tribute to Alan Ketley from his friend Bob Adams:

The passing of Alan KETLEY “ Ketters “ is a huge loss to the trials scene. We travelled the UK & continent in his mini pick-up as well as tackling National trials. His most remembered achievement was beating Sammy Miller to win his first National.

Al rode for the South Eastern Centre team many times but the North Kent combine was his favourite scene. He was a champ in every class, Ariel, James , B40. He was a wiz on long steep hills where throttle control was key. He was truly a class act Brands Hatch in 1965.

Al was asked to ride the Bultaco Sherpa and rode it brilliantly. His dad only ever came to one trial, Weavers Down, and Al finished on clean THATS the way to show your dad how good you are! He worked for Comerfords in his younger years selling Bultacos all over the UK and servicing the dealers. Parkinson’s put paid to a trials return in the last decade. Al leaves a daughter “Amanda” and two grandchildren.

Bob Adams

Hamish Combe 1935-2021

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Scottish Trials rider, Hamish Combe a member of the Dunfermline & District Motor Cycle Club, he was aged 85 years.

Hamish was an active trials rider in the 1950s and 1960s and while not a Scottish Champion, he always finished well up in the championships and was a Scottish national trials winner.

He was the Scottish Experts winner in 1961 when the event was a qualifier for the ACU British Experts.

He owned for a time an ex-factory 250cc Francis-Barnett trials machine, MWK498.

Hamish was an active member of the Scottish Six Days Trial organising committee after retiring from competition. He was responsible for restoring the ex-Ron Thomson/Duncan Smith 500cc Triumph Trophy twin GAM686 which eventually became the property of Mike Bell.

His funeral will be held at Falkirk Crematorium on Monday, 23rd August 2021 at 2.30pm.

Main Photo: Scottish Clubman January 1959, shows Hamish Combe being presented with his winnings at an Edinburgh Southern MC award ceremony.

Derek Rickman

Derek Rickman of Rickman Brothers fame on his Royal Enfield Bullet – Photo: Ron Custard

Derek Rickman, one of the brothers who created the Metisse brand of bespoke motocross machines in the late 1950s has died today, 3rd July 2021 after a short battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully at Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington in the New Forest.

The Rickman brothers, Derek and Don were dominant in 1960s European motocross and developed their own purpose built machines using both Triumph and Matchless engines, having raced for Royal Enfield previously.

Dave Gittins in his book The Rickman Story captured the whole saga perfectly and their machines are classed as collector’s items in the current period.

Photo credit: Ron Custard

Ludo More 1937-2021

Lewis ‘Ludo’ More from Currie, Midlothian has passed away at the age of 84 years after a long illness. He was a long- standing member of the Edinburgh St. George Motor Club and competed in Scottish Scrambles and trials from 1954 until 1972.

Known universally as ‘Ludo’, he was Scottish 250cc Scrambles Champion in 1958 on a Francis Barnett when he was 21 years old and first worked as a salesman in the Edinburgh motorcycle trade in 1952, when he joined the large Alexanders dealership in Edinburgh. Eventually being told to quit scrambling as he may become injured, and the company would not pay for him being off work.

Undaunted, Ludo quit scrambling at the age of 25, simply continued to compete in Scottish trials instead and that seemed to satisfy his employers terms.

Ludo worked for Messrs. Alexanders, Tommy Hughson at Meadowbank; Reid Allan & Paterson at Broughton Place Lane and Ernie Page Motors in Polworth.

Ludo was to become famous with the Golden Jubilee Scottish Six Days Trial in 1959 as he was a team member of the Lambretta scooter team which included Alan Kimber and Geoff Parker.

1959 – Lambretta scooters fielded a team of three riders: From left: Geoff Parker; Lewis ‘Ludo’ More and Alan Kimber, seen here at the Gorgie Market start area.

The trio finished the event intact, which was a feat in itself as they must have ridden the most unsuitable machines ever to have entered the trial.

The three Lambretta Li models were entered for the 1959 SSDT as a publicity stunt to highlight the reliability of the Italian made machines. These were imported into the UK by Lambretta Concessionaires, which eventually became part of the Suzuki importer ship headed by Peter Agg.

In later years, Ludo had become a bit of celebrity in scooter circles due to the many cine films that were made at the time of the SSDT effort and in recognition of his achievement in 1959, was invited by the SSDT Committee to present the prizes at the awards ceremony in 2015.

Ludo is survived by son Colin and daughter Sandra.

Funeral Arrangements:

Ludo More’s funeral will take place on Friday, 2nd July at Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh at 11am. Attendance will be by invitation only and available online, see below.

OBITUS

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Gwyn Chambers 1934-2021

Words and photos – Mike Davies

Trials and Scrambles rider, Gwyn Chambers from Brecon in South Wales passed away on June 1st 2021.

Gwyn had ridden a variety of different makes of trials machines and appeared on the scene as a teenager in 1953 when he started winning awards.

That year he was selected to to represent the East South Wales Centre in the Inter Center team trial held near Luton. It would appear that he started riding on a 125cc Tandon followed by a HJH, several James models then a 250cc Greeves before gaining sponsorship from the Cotton factory who supplied him with scrambles and trials machines.

Gwyn trained as a plumber when he left school but in 1956 whilst serving in the Army on his National Service, he was selected to ride a 350cc BSA Gold Star in the ISDT held in West Germany where he gained a silver medal.

One of Gwyns favourite events was the Scottish Six Days Trial in which he competed several times winning special first class awards.

In 1965 he gave up motorcycling for a while and followed his brother into competing in car road rallies. He started in a most unlikely vehicle being a Ford Cortina Estate, quickly followed by a very trick Ford Anglia with a special engine provided by the Ford Factory.

Gwyn ran a garage and tyre depot in Brecon until he retired at the age of 65 and took up golf as a hobby as well as enjoying skiing holidays with his family.

I am grateful to Gwyn’s family for loaning me pictures of Gwyn that he had obviously treasured.

Peter Valente 1953-2021

Peter Valente enjoying the Highland Classic – Photo: Iain Lawrie

Funeral Arrangements:

Peter C. Valente’s funeral took place on Friday, May 28th at 2.00pm at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh, EH7 4HW (off Ferry Road). Due to ongoing Covid restrictions, attendance was limited and by invitation.

The Scottish Trials community was both saddened and shocked by the sudden passing of Peter C. Valente on Sunday 2nd May 2021.

Peter Cosmo Valente was a trials rider from Edinburgh who rode his first trial in April 1971, The Campbell Trophy Trial organised by the Dunfermline and District MCC on his four-speed Bultaco Sherpa.

Sadly, Peter died after suffering a suspected heart attack at a trial run in Fife, exactly 50 years later. He competed every season from 1971 to 2021.

He had ridden events for 50 years and died doing what he not only enjoyed, but was passionate about.

Peter had been participating at the East Neuk club’s trial at Drumcarro, near St. Andrews in Fife when he felt unwell, returning to his vehicle. There were first aiders present and then Paramedics who did their utmost to revive him, but sadly he slipped away peacefully.

Peter was born in Edinburgh in June 1953 and was Trials Secretary of the Melville Motor Club in the 1970s. He was also a member of the Hawick & Border club and latterly had been actively helping the Galloway MCC set up their trials section.

He enjoyed road runs and took part in the annual Moidart Run and T. Arnott Moffat Memorial Run since its inception in 2017. Peter always turned up with something interesting and enjoyed the cameraderie and friendship of like-minded enthusiasts.

Peter and his younger brother Simon were active riders in trials both north and south of the Scottish border. He was the type of person that proved you did not have to be a ‘top flight’ rider to gain the respect and comradeship of other competitors and officials in the sport.

Peter also enjoyed fun at events and around 1975, he and brother Simon appeared at an Edinburgh St George trial wearing bright red jerseys that were almost identical, but written in block capitals on the backs were the words: “THIS ONE” and “THAT ONE”.

Peter was inspired to ride trials in February 1968 while spectating at the Edinburgh Southern ‘Coronation Trial’ which took place near Bathgate, West Lothian and was bitten by the trials bug.

Over the years, Peter owned just about every trials bike known to man, this included his first Bultaco Sherpa four-speeder, progressing to five 5-speed Bultacos,  one of first Mk 2 Ossa MARs in Scotland, then a Kawasaki KT250  followed by a Honda TL250 which he found overweight and didn’t keep it long. He also owned one of first Beamish Suzukis in Scotland, followed by a Montesa 348, Fantic 200, Yamaha TY250 and latterly a Montesa 4RT.

Peter competed in two Scottish Six Days Trials. His first was in 1977 on the Beamish Suzuki, but the front forks compressed heavily and failed to rebound, he soldiered on with no front suspension for a couple of days but cried enough and was forced to retire. Undeterred, Peter returned six years later in 1983 on the 156 Fantic when he finished in 206th position and he was satisfied that he had taken on and finished the historic event.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat gave his own personal tribute:

I have known Peter Valente since he first started riding, three years before I took up the sport, as I observed at Scottish trials for five years prior to riding myself. He was the sort of person that was easy to talk with and when I got a bit older, I was in Peter’s company along with his brother Simon, Graham Smith, Dave Mowat and Roy Kerr when we all were members of the Hawick & Border club which was run by the Smith family and some others.

I remember when we all went south to spectate at the Scott Trial, in 1978 and we all squeezed into Peter’s Renault 5 car and followed round the course, stopping off at various sections to watch the aces at work. We had the time of our lives that October Saturday and on several occassions Peter had the little Renault airbourne. Going up was fine, but the landing was rather interesting!

I discovered that Peter’s middle initial ‘C’ was actually ‘Cosmo’ and this highly amused us all, because there was a television character at the time portrayed by Les Dawson called ‘Cosmo Smallpiece’. We all thought it highly amusing, well all except Peter, and when he got over the initial ridicule, he actually entered a few events as ‘Cosmo Valente’.

Peter C. Valente was a keen trials rider, an enthusiastic road rider, cyclist and sportsman. He was highly regarded by all who knew him. He never lost his schoolboy enthusiasm for the sport and the pastime of motorcycling. I had heaps of respect for Peter and also his brother Simon, they were a fine pair of brothers.

We had the best of times and the best of friendships.”

G.F. Smith; J.O. Moffat; P.C. Valente & R.A. Kerr – Photo: Eric Kitchen

George Turner 1930 – 2021

George Turner, a former Chief Inspector of E Division in Lothians & Borders Police Force, who also was a committee member of the Scottish Six Days Trial and then Chairman of the SSDT and Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd, has died following a period of illness, aged 90 years on March 16th 2021 at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

George was in charge of the Police car fleet, based at Police HQ at Fettes in the City of Edinburgh.

Originally from Stockton, Warwickshire, George was a keen supporter of the Scottish Six Days Trial and Pre’65 Scottish Trial. His late wife, May who died in 2000, was a member of the SSDT results team in the 1970s through to the 1990s.

His funeral service took place at Stirling Crematorium on Thursday 25th March, 2021. Fittingly, the song ‘Streets of Edinburgh’ by The Proclaimers was played during the service.

Sincere condolences are extended to the Turner family at this sad time.