Category Archives: Obituaries

Alan Morewood’s final section

Words: Trials Guru

Photos: Malcolm Carling; Eric Kitchen; Iain Lawrie

It is with sadness that we have to report on the passing of yet another well-known trials rider and sidecar driver, C. Alan Morewood from Sheffield on 24th August 2020 after a long illness.

The name Morewood always seemed to be associated with Ariel and indeed he was one of the very last riders to compete in the Scottish Six Days Trial on an HT500, way back in 1976 when the Selly Oak machines had long become museum pieces and their resurrenction in Pre’65 events was still five years distant. The last recorded ‘finisher’ on an Ariel was Scot, Ernie Page the very same year.

Alan Morewood on his 500cc Ariel in the 1984 Pre’65 Scottish Trial at Kinlochleven – Photo Copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Alan’s first SSDT ride was in 1957 on an Ariel and was awarded the famous P.S. Chamberlain Challenge Trophy for best first timer. He was entered under the Ilkeston & District MCC. Alan was also a noteable sidecar driver, sometimes accompanied by his wife, Merle, they had two trials riding sons, Robin and David.

The Morewoods were long-time members of Sheffield and Hallamshire MCC and both Alan and his wife spent many seasons following the FIM World Trials series, their motorhome becoming a fixture in the paddocks across Europe.

Margaret Muirhead dies aged 82

M Muirhead
Margaret Muirhead (centre) pictured here with Tommy Milton Jnr (left) and Edinburgh Southern stalwart, Jock Hurst (right) – Photo courtesy, Peter Bremner

Margaret Muirhead, a stalwart of the Edinburgh Melville MCC, Scottish Six Days Trial official and Scottish International Six Days Trial supporter has died aged 82. Margaret worked for the Bank of Scotland’s Treasury Department in Scotland’s capital, arranging the carnets for the ISDT teams to allow machines to be taken overseas. She also was a support crew member at several ISDT events for the Scottish ACU teams.

She was also Trials Secretary of the Melville MCC for many years as well as being a member of the RAC/ACU Rider Training Scheme held in Edinburgh in the 1960s and 70s.

Charlie Cope dies

Charlie Cope from Midlothian on his home built Honda – Photo: Jimmy Young, Armadale

Midlothian based trials and racing enthusiast, Charlie Cope from Balerno passed away on Sunday, 5th April after suffering a stroke.

Cope was a well-known face at Scottish trials on both solo and sidecar machines in the 1970s and 1980s. His machines were usually well-modified and purposeful, but never highly polished. He was a member of the Scottish Classic Racing, Edinburgh St. George and Melville motor cycle clubs.

Very much an innovator, Cope also raced a Windrick Imp sidecar outfit with daughter Louise as passenger and raced throughout the late 1980s through to 2012. When a few enthusiasts, including the late Fred Hendry tried to get trials sidecars going in Scotland in the late 1970s, Charlie used a Kawasaki KT250 to power his home-built outfit.

One of his ambitions was to reach the first petrol check at the famous Scott Trial.

Charlie worked at Napier University, Edinburgh as Chief Technician of their Civil Engineering department and he also worked on two-stroke barrels for former Scottish champion road racer, Donnie Mcleod.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat said: “I knew Charlie Cope from when he first appeared on the trials scene and he was very much an unpretentious, grass roots sportsman type of chap who really enjoyed his trials riding. He loved the cameraderie that the sport provided, he was always good-humoured and a true enthusiast of the sport of motorcycling. He served for many years on the SSDT committee and was very much a club supporter. I always enjoyed a good natter with Charlie and latterly we would meet once a year at the annual Scottish Motorcycle Show where he would take a traders stall to sell various parts and accessories to fellow enthusiasts.”

We send our heartfelt sympathies to his widow Marie, son Charles, daughter Louise and son in law Brian Nichol and the extended Cope family.

Eric Adcock dies

We are saddened to report that Eric Adcock, the famous Dot factory Rider, ACU President of the North Western Centre and long standing ACU official and President of the Dot Owners Club passed away peacefully at his home in Manchester on Wednesday 18th March 2020.

Adcock E 1966 SSDT
Eric Adcock in the 1966 Scottish Six Days, negotiates the Caillich Path high above Kinlochleven

He remained loyal to the DOT marque having been born into a motorcycling family, taking up the sport of trials in 1952, finishing tenth overall and taking the best novice award in the Oldham Ace Trial.

Adcock 1955
Eric Adcock with his DOT at the finish of the 1955 Scottish Six Days Trial, with Jeff Smith looking pensive.

He was also sent a 350cc Matchless from Hugh Viney at the AMC factory in October 1959 to evaluate, but returned it soon after, preferring the two-stroke DOT.

Eric Adcock aboard WJJ578 on Hawks’ Nest in Derbyshire where he tested the Matchless against his DOT – Photo courtesy of Eric Adcock

He also declined an offer in 1956 from Norman Cycles in Kent.

1966 Weigh In Adcock
1966 – Weigh in at the 1966 Scottish Six Days

Eric’s funeral will be held at Agecroft Crematorium, Salford on Wednesday, 25th March at 2.20pm.

Due to the current Corona Virus Emergency it is understood that there are guidelines in place which limit severely the number who can enter the crematorium chapel for the service and this will be limited to family members
Trials Guru extend our sincerest condolences to Eric’s widow, Dorothy and his family.

Pete Simpson, Richmond Stalwart

Pete Simpson

Pete Simpson obituary:

By Barry Robinson

Motor cycle trial sport in North Yorkshire lost yet another stalwart with the passing of Wensley farmer Peter Simpson early this week. Pete, as he was best known in the Richmond Motor Club circles, was a true all-rounder on two and three wheels. His trials riding on two wheels took him to the Scottish Six Days Trial on three occasions in the seventies when competitors assembled in Edinburgh then rode their machines up to Fort William and back!  He also spectated at the Highland trial on many occasions. Ironically Pete was twenty nine years old when he got his hands on motorcycle as his father prevented him from two wheeled transport. A move out of the family home and a marriage to Beryl released Peter They brought up sons Gary and. Mark. Many a weekend he would travel with Ray Sayer and watch trials riders in action. In a very short time he competed in a trial on Gandale Moor then really dived in at the deep end by entering the Scott Trial but the BSA machine he rode fell by the wayside with a blown engine. Undeterred Pete was back for more a year on and gained Finishers Certificate which in those heady days was akin to winning the trial. After five Scott Trials he joined the refuelling teams and also observed the sections. Later in the seventies an ex Arthur Lampkin joined the Simpson stable plus a sidecar and that outfit was replaced a Montesa 310 cc machine with Michael Orde-Powlett in the hot seat. Another event on the calendar was the Manx Two Day Trial in which he competed and sponsored other competitors. Pete, in his later years, was a regular trials observer and as an official he will be missed by all who knew him.

The funeral service will take place at Wensley Church on Monday 10th February at  2.00 pm.

Rob Edwards 1945 – 2019

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of former factory Cotton and Montesa trials rider, Rob Edwards at the age of 73 years. He slipped away peacefully in the afternoon of Sunday 6th October 2019.

His widow, Bev was at his side and she told Trials Guru’s John Moffat that he “… smiled and was happy right to the end”. This is a fitting tribute to a man who won the hearts of trials enthusiasts the world over.

Born in Thornaby-On-Tees in December 1945, his father was a trials enthusiast and Rob’s great ambition as a small boy was to become a professional trials rider, which he achieved in 1969 when he signed a contract to ride for Montesa, the Spanish motorcycle manufacturer. Edwards became the world-wide brand ambassador and was a pioneer of ‘trials schools’ which also assisted in the promotion of the Montesa Cota trials machine.

Rob’s life as a professional trials rider was told exclusively to Trials Guru in 2014, but it almost didn’t happen.

John Moffat explains: “Having known Rob for quite a few years, I met up with him and Bev at the 2014 Centenary Scott Trial and suggested that we did his life story on this website. Rob said that no-one would be interested, to which I replied that he was totally wrong as many people were eager to read about his career. Within a few days after the event, we started exchanging e-mails at a rapid rate, accumulating all the information, facts, figures and anicdotes to compile the ‘Rob Edward’s Story’ on Trials Guru. I am really glad we Rob’s story as it was all in his own words and recollections and will remain online to preserve his memory for future generations of trials enthusiasts.”

Rob Edward’s funeral will taken place on Monday 21st October 2019 at 11.45 am at St Hilda’s Chapel, Teesside Crematorium, Acklam Road, Middlesbrough TS5 7HD. Donations in aid of charities will be taken for Richmond Motor Club (Yorks) Ltd.

1981 - Scott - Rock Garden - Barry Robinson
The 1981 Scott at ‘Rock Garden’ section on the 200cc Montesa – Photo: Barry Robinson

Trials Guru conveys sincere condolences to Rob’s widow, Bev Edwards at this difficult time. It is thankful that we were privileged to be able to showcase Rob Edward’s story to the world during his lifetime, something that brought him great pleasure knowing he had so many followers of his career in the sport of trials world-wide.

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Rob Edwards relaxes in 1981 at the end of the Scott Trial – Photo Copyright: Barry Robinson

The full story of Rob Edwards life as a trials rider can be found HERE

Main photo: Copyright Eric Kitchen

1971 SSDT - Laggan Locks
1971 – SSDT – ‘Laggan Locks’ – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

John Little, Scotland’s Enduro Supremo

JOHN LITTLE 13th May 1935 – 8th September 2019

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of John Little, former trials and enduro rider who had suffered two dibilitating strokes recently and slipped away peacefully on Sunday, 8th September 2019, aged 84 years.

John was originally from Edinburgh, but made his home at Elgin, Moray in the 1980s with his wife Eileen.

John Little on his 1966 Bultaco Sherpa seen here in the 1967 White Heather on ‘Sonny’s’ at Rogart – Photo: Grant Family Collection, Rogart

Father of top Scottish enduro rider Derek Little, John or Johnny as he was also known was a prime mover in the Grampian MCC and Elgin Enduro clubs with his friend Gilbert Rae. He was a passionate supporter of both trials and enduros.

27E - 1995 - ISDE - Poland - Group DL - MT - Richard Reid - Graeme Farish
1995 ISDE Poland – John Little was an enthusiastic supporter of the ISDE squad for many years.

He rode in the 1973 International Six Days Trial in the USA at Dalton, Massachusetts on a 169cc Greeves Pathfinder enduro, then switching to Laverda for the 1974 ISDT and finally Husqvarna machinery. John was a regular competitor in the Welsh Three Day Trial.

31E - John Little - Husqvarna - JY
John Little on his Husqvarna at a Borders Enduro – Photo: Jimmy Young

He was life-long friends with Jimmy Ballantyne who also died earlier this year.

John Little - Jimmy Ballantyne
An early 1960s photo of John Little (left) and Jimmy Ballantyne (right) taken in Edinburgh. Machine is a DMW.

John Little - Jimmy B ISDT Reunion Carlisle
John Little and Jimmy Ballantyne at the ISDDT ReUnion at Carlisle – Photo: Campbell Chatham

After retiring from active competition, Little took up support work for the Scottish ACU ISDE teams along with friend Ballantyne.

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John Little (Husqvarna) – Photo: Jimmy Young

John Little also served on the SACU Enduro committee and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by the SACU management some years ago.

My beautiful picture
John Little was a keen trials rider, seen here on his Bultaco Sherpa (FFS169D) on Sciberscross in the 1967 White Heather Trial – Photo: Grant Family Collection

Trials Guru’s John Moffat said: “I have known John Little for well over 50 years. He was one of those people who rode competitively for many years, but put more into the sport than he took out. He worked tirelessly for the sport and encouraged many riders to take up enduro racing, that included myself. It was Johnny that insisted that I try my hand at enduros and I was grateful for his encouragement. I spent time in his company in 1976 at the ISDT in Austria and it was then as an 18 year old that I realised how helpful he was in supporting the Scottish ACU riders in that event. He had the ability to talk to anyone, of any age and his enthusiasm was infectious. He told me many times that motorcycling was a ‘disease’, to which there is no cure.

John was a true enthusiast, he rode trials, enduros and road bikes, he restored and prepared machines to a very high standard. There are many stories I could tell which involved Johnny, but this, for me, isn’t the time. I will miss his enthusiasm, I will miss his friendship. Johnny Little was one of the good guys.”

John’s funeral will be held on Friday 13th September 2019 at 2.30pm at William Watson Funeral Directors, 17 Blackfriars Road, Elgin, IV30 1TY – all welcome to attend.

Our sincere condolences go to the Little family at this difficult time.

John Little (2)

Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson dies

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Peter Cameron ‘Jock’ Wilson of Tolworth, Surrey, formerly of Comerfords and Bultaco UK, Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton and latterly director of SWM UK. He was 85 years of age.

Jock Wilson - 1966 - Comerford BSA 441 - Photo - Don Morley
Jock on the 441 BSA prepared at Comerfords in 1966 – Photo: Don Morley

Jock was born and brought up in Glen Lyon, Perthshire and moved south when he joined the army to do his national service based at Aldershot.

Jock was a former Trials and ISDT competitor and went on to manage the Scottish ACU ISDT Vase teams and then the Great Britain ISDT Trophy teams for the ACU.

Details of Jock Wilson’s funeral arrangements are cremation on Tuesday, 10th September at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 OAG at 14.45pm.

Trials Guru send heartfelt condolences to his widow Patricia, son Gordon and the Wilson family. His son Andrew died some years ago.

A full article on Jock Wilson is available on this website: HERE

Peter Stirland, Royal Enfield factory rider dies

Peter Thomas Stirland (22nd April 1935 – 2nd August 2019)

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of former James, Royal Enfield & Greeves factory trials rider, Peter Stirland of Hungerford.

Peter’s death has occurred in the same year as Johnny Brittain who also rode for the Reddich manufacturer when the UK dominated the trials market with machinery and factory riders.

Prior to Royal Enfield, Stirland rode for James in 1954 and then after the Enfield years, he switched back to two-stroke power, riding for Greeves in 1964 on their TFS machines.

P Stirland Ben Nevis1957
Peter Stirland on his factory Royal Enfield on Achintee/Ben Nevis in the 1958 Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo: Ray Biddle

Stirland was not only an accomplished trials rider, he also represented Great Britain in the International Six Days Trial on many occasions.

Jeff Smith - Peter Stirland
Jeff Smith (Left) on his wedding day with best man, Peter Stirland (right) at St Mary’s Church in Prestbury, Gloucestershire on July 6th, 1957 – Photo Courtesy of Jeff Smith.

Stirland was the proprietor of Peter Stirland Ltd in Hungerford, Berkshire which was a main Ford car dealership which he founded in 1958 and has been a family owned business to the current day.

Jeff Smith - Peter Stirland - 2018
Jeff Smith (left) with daughter Chris (centre) and Peter Stirland (right) in 2018. Peter was Jeff and Irene Smith’s best man. Photo courtesy of Chris Smith, Wisconsin, USA.

Trials Guru sends sincere condolences to the Stirland family at this difficult time. Peter’s memorial service was held at St. John’s Church, Stockcross, Newbury on Friday 23rd August, 2019.


SSDT Stalwart Alex Smith passes

It is with regret that Trials Guru has to announce the passing of Edinburgh & District, Dunfermline & District, Scottish Six Days and Pre’65 Scottish stalwart, Alex Smith after a long and brave battle with cancer.

A Smith - 1965
Alex Smith aboard the ex-Tiger Payne 350 AJS at the White Heather Trial in 1965 – Photo Grant Collection, Rogart

Alex Smith was a personal friend of Trials Guru’s John Moffat who said:

“Alex was known to me from an early age as he was a ‘Bathgate Bairn’ raised in Bathgate, West Lothian and was also a keen trials rider who lived in Colinshiel Street and rode a variety of machines from around 1961 to 1975. I used to take hand written messages to his mother’s house from SSDT Clerk of the Course, Geoff Smith in Edinburgh, relayed through my Father’s telephone as the Smiths didn’t have a phone in their house up until around 1970.”

John Graham; Willie Pitblado; Tommy Ritchie; Eric MacNamara & Alex Smith on route marking duties at the SSDT in 1972

Alex Smith was an Assistant Clerk of Course of the SSDT and Clerk of Course for the Pre’65 Scottish Trial and, at one time, a member of the SACU Trials committee in the 1990s.

He once owned the ex-Brian ‘Tiger’ Payne 350 AJS (YNC526) on which he rode the 1963 SSDT. The machine was later owned by Rogart man John MacDonald, the local postman. In his riding days, Smith rode Triumph Tiger Cub, AJS, Cotton, Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa machinery. He also maintained many of the machines that were used to route mark the SSDT.

Alex served his time with the National Coal Board and later worked life with Wimpey Construction as a Quantity Surveyor/Engineer and was meticulous about records and recording data, a skill that would come in useful when assisting at the SSDT and as clerk of course of the Pre’65 Scottish at which he excelled.

Fifty years ago, Alex was one of the SSDT team, led by Clerk of Course Johnny Graham, who constructed the famous ‘catch net’ up the Blackwater (Ciaran Path) high above Kinlochleven in 1969, which over the years has saved many a wayward trials and mountain bike from falling 100 feet into the river below.

Blackwater Path catchnet - JJM
The Blackwater (or Ciaran Path) ‘catch-net’, constructed by members of the Scottish Six Days Trial committee in the late 1960s. – Photo Jock McComisky

He was accompanied by Willie Pitblado, Tommy Ritchie, and Eric MacNamara to construct the catch net with scaffold poles, cement and plastic safety netting and it is still there to this day.

Building the famous Blackwater Path (Ciaran Path) ‘catch-net’ in 1969 are from left: Alex Smith (Bathgate); Eric MacNamara (Edinburgh); Willie Pitblado (Dunfermline) & Tommy Ritchie (Edinburgh) – Photo: Johnny Graham, Bonnyrigg (Johnny Graham was a former clerks of course SSDT)

In the 1960s, Alex and his friends Willie Pitblado and John Davies set up a bike breaking business in Fife which eventually became Willie Pitblado’s Motorcycle Spares Scotland business in Golf Drum Street in Dunfermline.

Alex Smith was also great friends with Jock McComisky and took delight in telling people that he (Alex) was the ‘brains’ and Jock was the ‘brawn’! Of course it was all in friendly terms and good banter.

A Smith - Jock McComisky - Dam Road
Jock McComisky (left) and Alex Smith were good friends for many years. Seen here during an early Pre’65 Scottish on the Dam Road above Kinlochleven.

Alex Smith was an true enthusiast of the sport and enjoyed many trips up to his beloved Rogart to meet up with the Grant twins and Willie Pitblado for runs over the hills and not only plotting but attempting sections, as well as participating in the White Heather trials that were run in Sutherland in the 1960s and 1970s. His wife Bett (Hopkins) died a few years ago.

Alex Smith - Montesa - Rogart
Alex Smith on his 247cc Montesa on ‘Kerrow’ section at Rogart in a White Heather Trial organised by the Sutherland Car & Motor Cycle Club in the late 1960s.

Moffat added: “From a personal perspective, I always enjoyed thoroughly my conversations with Alex over the years as he had a great knowledge of the sport and the SSDT in particular.

He will be sorely missed by those who knew him in Scotland and further afield in the sport.”

Alex Smith’s funeral has been arranged for Thursday, 25th July 2019 at Mortonhall Crematorium, 30B Howden Hall Road, Edinburgh EH16 6TX at 14.30.