Highland Classic 2 Day Trial

Alvie Estate hosted the ‘Honda Edition’ of the annual Highland Classic in 2017, which is the ‘must do event’ in Scotland – Photo: Jean Caillou

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“I like the Highland Classic Two Day, it has a continental feel to it” – Mick Andrews, 2016.

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Iain Duffus has won three Isle of Man TT Races, he now rides trials for his enjoyment, seen here in 2017 on his 240 Fantic – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

“An amazing event! The quality of riders and bikes matches the well set out sections. Thanks to everyone involved. Can’t wait for next year, gives me plenty time to improve – I hope! – The 2 Day HIGHLAND CLASSIC ROCKS”. – Iain Duffus, 2017 – (Three times winner of the IoM TT races)

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Words: Trials Guru
Photographs: Jean Caillou (France) – Iain Lawrie (Kinlochleven, Scotland) – Claudio Pictures (Jean-Claude Comeat) – Lorna Brakenridge/Feetdown Trials (Falkirk, Scotland) – Rene Opstals (Netherlands)
Video: Fin Yeaman

Ceud Mile Failte –  ‘A Hundred Thousand Welcomes’

With the Inverness & District MCC Ltd hosting their now well established event for over ten years, the Highland Classic Two-Day Trial has become the ‘must do’ event in Scotland.

The event was developed from an idea thought up by the club Chairman, Malcolm Smith in 2002 when some Scottish riders failed to get a ride at a Pre’65 event which was oversubscribed. He realized that there were precious few Pre’65 type events in Scotland and there was a ‘gap in the market’ so to speak.

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Presentation of awards at the ‘Friendliest Classic Trial in Scotland’ – Photo: Rene Opstals

Alvie Estate provided the ideal solution, so a Pre’65 trial was planned initially as a one day affair. Former SSDT committee man, Jock McComisky was one of the entrants and was impressed by the location and organisation, he immediately suggested a two day event the following year which would attract a wider competitor base.

In 2004, the first Highland Classic Two-Day was organized and it was open to both Pre’65 and Twin-shock machines. This helped swell the entry list, but the demand for mono-shocks to be included was resisted by the committee and this decision continues to this day.

The event continued to grow in size and popularity and in 2013 the trial received a well-earned boost when they decided to invite a Guest of Honour to add a bit a sparkle, following the continental approach to events. The committee chose to invite three times FIM World trials Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen and gave the event a theme, ‘The Bultaco Edition’ in Vesty’s honour as he was loyal to the brand and produced the three titles riding the Bultaco Sherpa.

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A typical Highland Classic section, seen here in 2013 during the ‘Bultaco Edition’ with Steven Moffat on a 325 Bultaco Sherpa

Vesty had an idea and passed it to committee man, John Moffat, in that he had access to the original Bultaco factory team and Spanish supported riders. So Manel Soler, Charles Coutard, Jaime Puig, Javier Cucurella, Ignacio Bulto, Dave Thorpe and Oriol Puig Bulto were invited to join in the celebration of the marque.

This set the scene for the Inverness club and from then on they have hosted The Thorpe Edition 2014 (Guest: Dave Thorpe); The Tenth Edition, 2015 (Guest: Bill Wilkinson); The Yamscot Edition, 2016 (Guest: Mick Andrews) and The Honda Edition, 2017 (Guests: Rob Shepherd and Nick Jefferies).

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Alvie Estate as seen from Loch Alvie – Photo: Rene Opstals

The event is still run on ‘Alvie’, a traditional sporting estate near Aviemore, and is supported by their Laird, Jamie Williamson who each year welcomes the riders and officials to his land with his friendly ‘address to the trial’. The Inverness club have an excellent working relationship with the estate management team as they work hand in hand with direct input from club chairman Malcolm Smith. Described by one rider as ‘Trial Heaven’, the Alvie Estate has been used by the club for trials since the mid-1970s, pioneered by former clubman, Ray Sangster from Aviemore, who approached the Laird about using the ground for permitted events.

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Joe Buckworth (SWM) is a regular competitor at the Highland Classic – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
History of the event:

The event itself can trace its roots back to 1950 in the Highland Two Day Trial, which was organized by the Highland Car and Motor Cycle Club, based in Inverness. Eventually the club split into two as the two components, motorcycle competition and car competition and rallies went their separate ways. The Highland Car Club still exists and continues to promote the annual ‘Snowman Rally’ in February each year.

The name was taken directly from the old ‘Highland Two Day Reliability Trial’ and the club added the word ‘Classic’ to it. The original Highland Two Day was run one year after the club was founded in 1949.

Only recently and thanks to Mairi Grant from Rogart, a former SSDT Secretary, she discovered an original programme from the 1957 event which gave the Inverness committee an insight into the ways and workings of that historic event on which the Highland Classic trial is now based. The trial headquarters was the Palace Hotel in the centre of Inverness city (or town as it was in those days). A tenth anniversary programme was also discovered for sale on ebay by former BSA works rider, Alan Lampkin. The copy was purchased for its historical content in 2019.

Front cover from the 1959 Highland Two Day Trial official programme

The Highland Two Day was a popular trial with many southern riders taking part and one of the winners was BSA factory supported rider, Tom U. Ellis from Ripon, North Yorkshire. Ellis was a very good rider in his day and was mentor to a young Arthur Lampkin. Tom had transported his factory machine by rail from Yorkshire to Inverness in the guard’s van.

Thanks to motorsport enthusiast John Mackenzie from Fortrose, he recently discovered the following information about the Highland Club. It was an extract from the ‘Scottish Clubman’ magazine of January 1960: 

“A new Highland Motor Cycle Club has been formed in the Inverness area and following the A.G.M. in November of the Highland Car and M.C.C., it is expected that a new Highland Car Club will emerge. We understand that it was mutually agreed in September that the car and motor cycle interests in the 11 year old original club should go their separate ways, but, at the same time, retain a friendly association. The formation of the Highland M.C.C. was fostered greatly by some of the ‘old hands’, and chairman at the inaugural meeting, attended by about 30, was Mr. Jack Gregory, founder secretary of the old club. He left the uninitiated in no doubt as to what was required in terms of discipline and good behaviour for a club of standing. There was no room for Promenade Percies or Café Corner racers, he said.”

Find out more:

Photos of the 2017 HC2DT by Lorna Brakenridge HERE

Article on the 2017 event on the Spanish Todotrial website: HERE

Videos of The ‘Highland Classic’:

FIn Yeaman’s Day One 2017 VIDEO

Fin Yeaman’s Day Two 2017 VIDEO

Photos of the 2017 Highland Classic from Trials Guru photographer, Iain Lawrie:

Allister Stewart (Triumph Cub) 2017 – 2nd place Unit Construction class – B Route – Photo Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Calum Murphy (200cc BSA Bantam) – 1st Place Two-Stroke class – A Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

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Alan ‘Chips’ Crayk (310 Montesa) – 2nd Post 1977 Twinshock – A Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Chris Haigh (350 Velocette) 1st Pre-Unit – B Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Gary Macdonald (Honda TLR200) 1st – Post 1977 Twinshock and Best Honda – A Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Gerry Minshall (250 James) – 2nd Two Stroke class – B Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Hanna Vesterinen (200 BSA Bantam) – Best Female and 3rd Two Stroke Class – B Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Ian Myers (Triumph Cub) – 1st Unit Construction Class – B Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

John Charlton (BSA B40) – 1st Unit Construction – A Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Leo Salvadori (500 Ariel) – 2nd Pre-Unit – B Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Martin Gilbert (63cc Honda) – 1st Post 1977 Twinshock – B Route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Matthew Giblin (250 Bultaco) – 2nd Pre 1977 Twinshock – A route – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Steven Ainslie (Ossa) 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Alan Wallace (156 Fantic) 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

IDMCC club member, Ashleigh Davison (Yamaha) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Harry Stanistreet (Ariel/Zundapp) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

A great supporter of the event, Javier Cruz (Honda TLR250) from Madrid – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Jean Caillou (Honda RTL360) from France brought some of his collection of factory Hondas to the 2017 event – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Putoline’s John Hayden (Honda) not only supports the trial, but rode in it as well – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Mark Watmore (400 Triumph) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

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Mark Whitham (280 SWM) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Nigel Greenwood (TLR250 Honda) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Stuart Crayk (200 Montesa) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

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Inverness Secretary, John Moffat (325 Bultaco) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

IDMCC committee man, Alex Carmichael is also the Vice-Chairman of the organising club – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Jake Ingram (BSA) – 2017 HC2DT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

British Motocross Champion in 1974, Vic Allan (148cc MV Augusta) – 2017 HC2DT Guest Rider – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Product support and publicity for the Highland Classic 2 Day Trial provided by Trial Partners:




More information and Photographs to follow shortly.

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