Popular TV commentator, Grahame Murray Walker OBE, has died aged 97 years.
Born on 10th October 1923, he was known throughout his life as Murray Walker, he was the son of racing motorcyclist Graham Walker who was also a motorcycle journalist and early radio commentator. Graham also won the Lightweight TT in 1931 on a Rudge.
Murray’s first experience of motorsport was actually motorcycling and he took up trials riding and competed in the 1949 Scottish Six Days in which he finished on 182 marks riding his privately entered 490cc Norton and took home a first class award. He also competed in an ISDT in which he won a gold medal.
Known as the ‘voice of Formula 1’, Walker was a well respected character in the Grand Prix movement and was well-known amongst drivers, constructors and the Formula 1 management.
He also commentated on many scrambles events in the 1960s for the BBC Grandstand Winter Scrambles series.
Although he was known world-wide for being a motorsport commentator, his main employment was in advertising.
Peter Fletcher, the former Royal Enfield works trials rider has passed away aged 83 years at his home at Nidd, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire on Friday, 22nd January 2021.
Fletcher who was nicknamed ‘Fearless Fred’ was a motor dealer from Leeds, son of road racer Frank Fletcher from whom he inherited the business.
Peter did his National Service along with BSA factory star, Arthur Lampkin and they remained friends for life.
Fletcher formed OSSA Moto UK in 1970 with partner Alan Kimber to import the OSSA trials and enduro machines from Barcelona, Spain when Mick Andrews was their official factory rider. Fletcher formed the OSSA Moto UK trials team comprising of Andrews, Dave Thorpe and Bill Wilkinson.
No details as to Peter’s funeral arrangements were available at this time.
It is with great sadness that we have to report the sudden passing of former Spanish National Trials Champion, Manuel Soler in the early morning of Wednesday 20th January 2021, aged 63 years.
Born on 9th March 1957, Manuel was the grand-nephew of Bultaco founder, F.X. Bulto, he was the son of Juan Soler Bulto, the nephew of Senor Bulto and played a huge part in the development of the Sherpa trials models.
Manuel started trials riding at an early age on a specially built small scale Bultaco and was nicknamed ‘El Monstruito’ (the Little Monster) by his close friends and family. He became the first Spaniard to win an FIM World Championship round at Espoo, near Helsinki, Finland on a 325cc Bultaco in August 1979. He was Spanish National Champion four times in succession, from 1974 to 1977, taking over the coveted title from his cousin, Ignacio Bulto.
The 1975 Sherpa model 159 is refered to in Spain as the ‘Manuel Soler’ model as much of the bikes development was down to Soler’s input when riding the prototype version in national and then world trials.
Soler was responsible in testing and writing reports for the factory technicians to make improvements and once said that the Bultaco factory at San Adria De Besos was in effect the family garage.
Manuel Soler told Trials Guru in 2013 when on a visit to Scotland: “The Bultaco factory was our garage, all our motorcycles were stored and worked on there by the firm’s mechanics. Even my little bike was there for a long time. When the factory closed, all my bikes and those of my cousin Ignacio were sold by the liquidators. I was a development rider and every day I tested Sherpas, made a written report and made suggestions on how to improve them, it was my job”.
With the demise of the Bultaco company in 1980, Soler moved camps to ride for the rival Montesa manufacturer and latterly the Merlin, under the control of Ignacio Bulto.
More on Manuel Soler in an interview in 2019 by Todotrial
Frank Hildrick, from Helmsley, North Yorkshire, died at York Hospital, on Sunday, 8th November, aged 75.
On leaving school, Frank fully intended going into journalism but, for whatever reason, he got side-tracked and worked as a travelling mechanic for the Forestry before beginning his own garage/taxi business. He then worked at Perry Slingsby Systems building underwater equipment until retirement.
His passion for motorcycles, especially off-road, lasted his entire life, competing first at grass track on a C15, then a full blooded 500cc J.A.P. Speedway and sand racing followed with a fair amount of success before joining the trials scene.
Pete Clements, a close friend relates a tale which describes Frank`s appetite for riding. Frank and his wife Sally had gone to watch Pete ride his first trial and on his last lap, Pete went a right purler, his ankle swelling up like a football. Pete, thinking Frank was going to help him, couldn`t believe it when he pulled the wellies on and finished the lap. They got a second-class award.
A marvellous bike builder, he fettled a little Minarrelli road race/sprinter, competing at the Isle of Man Ramsey Sprint not that long ago. Later in life Frank slipped off and broke a hip at Scarborough. Before anyone reached him he`d ridden side saddle back to the pits. Typical Frank, hard as nails.
I`m sure motorbikes were invented for the likes of Frank Hildrick. Always riding, helping, fettling, plotting sections, or supporting son Richard, he just loved being involved. Clerk of Course for the famous Colonial in the seventies and eighties, he then became major course plotter for the Scarborough Sporting Weekend almost thirty years ago. He and his loyal helpers made it into a must ride event.
One of the finest pleasures derived from the trials scene is meeting larger than life characters such as Frank Hildrick. The best of company to be with, a great storyteller with the sharpest of wit. A man whose optimism and enthusiasm for the sport rubbed off on many. He will be greatly missed.
Frank was a loving husband to Sally, father to Rachel and Richard and grandad and great grandad to his four grand-children and great granddaughter.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Costa Rican trials super-enthusiast, Felipe Koberg after a short battle with cancer.
Felipe is the only Costa Rican rider to have completed the course at the Scottish Six Days Trial in 2019 and was known with his fellow countrymen by their taking part in the Sunday parade dressed in Dinosaur suits to promote their Jurassic Three Day Trial in Central America.
Felipe was the driving force in the promotion of the Costa Rica event and he enlisted the help of SSDT Spanish Ambassador, Carlos Casas to help plan the route and section design.
Trials Guru’s John Moffat said: “Felipe was a true enthusiast of trials, he was so excited about riding the Scottish Six Days Trial and of course the subsequent organisation of his brainchild three day event in his home country. He was always willing to be interviewed live on Nevis Radio during SSDT week and his love of the sport was simply endless. Felipe was such a friendly man, his enthusiasm was truly infectious. He will be sorely missed by all who got to know him at Fort William and in the wider trials world. Felipe was a great family man and I send my sincere condolences to his relatives at this very difficult time.”
(Photos courtesy of Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven)
Words of gratitude from Felipe Koberg’s Mother 07/11/2020:
“Dear friends and friends of my son Felipe Koberg, family, doctors who cared for him, paramedical staff, employees, people who knew and estimated him, people who prayed for him.
With my deepest gratitude, I wish to send each and every one a very special blessing of Love, Faith, Joy, Health and Prosperity, extended to their respective families.
I thank God for giving my son Felipe the gift of meeting them. He was a truly amazing person in the different aspects of his life. I firmly believe that what determined the course of his life was the fact that he received, at the age of 6, our Lord Jesus Christ in his heart, and so also, Christening in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Scriptures tell us, in The New Testament, that in order to appropriate, on a personal level, the work of Christ Jesus, we must have a personal encounter with Him and, right away, receive the fullness of Him Holy Spirit, for it is He who us Power to live a victorious life, ′′ despite what may happen at different times throughout our lives “. This reality greatly facilitated Max, his dad, and me, his mother, his training. And at this point, I wish to mention, with great gratitude, Mr. Otto Silesky’s role as Director of the Institute of Comprehensive Education. A very special greeting to him.I ask the Most High God for his protection continues for each and every one as well as for each member of their respective families And it’s like this, how, trusting that one day you can meet again, I say goodbye to you with a hug full of affection from the depths of my heart.
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’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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He also declined an offer in 1956 from Norman Cycles in Kent.
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.
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.
The Premier Trial Website – Recording the History of the Sport 'Since 2014'