Mike Davies – Memories of a schoolboy

Mid Wales enthusiast, Mike Davies looks back into his youth and the photos he took at events of his heroes and local riders in the 1960s.

Mike Davies in action on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1964 SSDT on his Triumph Cub. (Photo copyright Holder & Osbourne, supplied by Mike Davies)

Mike was a trials and scrambles competitor and we are delighted to showcase his schoolboy memories here on Trials Guru website.

We will be featuring both solos and sidecars, with some scrambling and road racing images for good measure. The 1960 British Experts and the 1963 Scottish Six Days are featured.

Mike told Trials Guru: “I have had these photos hidden away and only recently scanned them, in an attempt to have them seen and enjoyed by fellow enthusiasts, especially as they feature some famous competitors and machinery as they were ridden back in the day.”

Please respect Mike’s copyright, all these images remain his property.

We start off with black and white images, followed by colour transparancies.

BRITISH EXPERTS TRIAL, Llandrindod Wells, Wales – 1960

Roy Peplow on his factory 199cc Triumph in the 1960 British Experts at Rhayder, Wales – Photo – Mike Davies.

Bill Wilkinson from Kettlewell who won the event on ‘L’ plates on his 250cc Greeves – Photo: Mike Davies

A confident Sammy Miller on his Ariel HT5 (GOV132) at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Brian Martin (BSA), he was competition manager at BSA and was an accomplished trials and scrambles rider – Photo: Mike Davies

Dave Langston on his factory BSA at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

AJS factory rider, Gordon McLaughlan on WJJ580 at the British Experts 1960 – Photo: Mike Davies

Billy Hutton on his Triumph Cub – Photo: Mike Davies

Bill Martin on his factory 250cc James in the 1960 British Experts, professional photographer Brian ‘Nick’ Nicholls on the left – Photo: Mike Davies

Arthur Pullman and his passenger ‘Lyn’ who was simply entered as just ‘Lyn’ on their semi-works Matchless outfit in the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Arthur Pullman and ‘Lyn’ at another section the same day on the Matchless, going by the spume of water, the motor is being worked hard – British Experts 1960 – Photo: Mike Davies

J. Ray Sayer from Bellerby, North Yorkshire on his factory Triumph Cub (UNX51) at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

G. Milton and passenger (Ariel). ‘Cefnllys’ Section. British Experts 1960 – Photo: Mike Davies

E. Small and passenger (BSA Gold Star outfit) British Experts 1960 – Photo: Mike Davies

Dick Langstone and John Wright on their Matchless outfit put the effort in to keep the plot moving – British Experts Trial 1960 – Photo: Mike Davies

Dick Langstone and John Wright again, this time outside their Matchless outfit during the 1960 British Experts – Photo: Mike Davies

Two times a World Motocros Champion, Jeff Smith on his factory BSA C15T (XOJ809) at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

John Draper, Jeff Smith’s brother in law on a similar factory BSA C15T in 1960 at the British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Midlander, Scott Ellis on the factory supplied Ariel HT5 at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

BSA rider, John Harris on the BSA B40 (350AOA) which eventually became the factory mount of Dave Rowland, seen here at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Royal Enfield supported rider, Pat Brittain, the younger brother of Johnny, seen here on his factory RE Bullet at the 1960 British Experts Triual – Photo: Mike Davies

DOT factory rider, Eric Adcock at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

T. Wakefield and passenger on their Triumph twin powered outfit in the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

A Norton marque expert, Peter Roydhouse and passenger, Colin Pinder on their Norton outfit in the 1960 British Experts Trial. Pinder also passebgered for Arthur Lampkin in the 1970s – Photo: Mike Davies

Mike Smith on his Cotton in the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

B. Lamb on his DOT at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

J. Maslem and passenger on their Ariel twin outfit – Photo: Mike Davies

D. Andrews on his Greeves at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Specials builder, John Catchpole and passenger on his JCS outfit in the 1960 British Experts Trial. Catchpole was an innovative engineer, the engine in this outfit may well be the two stroke he built, using a four-stroke motor as a starting point – Photo: Mike Davies

Frank and Kay Wilkins on their Ariel outfit at the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Londoner, Frank Darrieulat and passenger, Bill Warner on the factory supported BSA Gold Star outfit which at one time became the property of Arthur Lampkin. This outfit sported a special set of front forks designed by Ernie Earles and made by Ken Sprayson at Reynolds Tubes. Darrieulat was twice an ACU Gold Star (British Championship) winner and the most successful sidecar driver for BSA in the 1950s. Photo: Mike Davies

Ken Kendall gets his Ariel outfit into a spot of bother during the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

Peter Wraith and passenger helping their Ariel outfit to find traction in the 1960 British Experts Trial – Photo: Mike Davies

The 1963 SCOTTISH SIX DAYS TRIAL

Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson (Greeves) on Loch Eild Path – 1963 SSDT. Wilson was a Comerfords employee and laterly a manager of Bultaco UK and then became UK importer of the Italian SWM brand and British ISDT Team manager – Photo: Mike Davies

Sammy Miller (Ariel) on Grey Mares Ridge, high above the village of Kinlochleven – 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Mary Driver (Comerfords Greeves) on Laggan Locks in the 1963 SSDT. Mary became Competitions Manager at the ACU, a job she held for many years and was a highly respected official of the ACU – Photo: Mike Davies

John A. Davies (DMW) on Grey Mare’s Ridge, who finished with a Special First Class award – 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Jim Sandiford (BSA) 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

AJS teamster, Gordon Blakeway on 187BLF tackles Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Sammy Miller (Ariel) tackles Loch Eild Path in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Miss Olga Kevelos (James) on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Don Smith (Greeves) exits from Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Gordon Blakeway on Annat in the 1963 SSDT, his AJS was the same machine that carried Gordon Jackson to victory in 1961 – Photo: Mike Davies

Mary Driver (Comerfords Greeves) on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Gwyn Chambers (Triumph Cub) on Annat in the 1963 SSDT, Gwyn finished with a Special First Class award – Photo: Mike Davies

Tony Chamberlain on his 250cc Greeves drops a dab on Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photor Mike Davies

Carl Johns from Swansea (350 Matchless) on Laggan Locks – 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Carl Johns (Matchless) on Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Carl Johns (350 Matchless) on Loch Eild Path – 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

John A. Davis (DMW) on Laggan Locks 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Gordon Samuel (Triumph Cub) on Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

The Gordon Samuel 1963 SSDT tale! – By Mike Davies

It’s probably safe to tell this now!

Everything was going well for Gordon Samuel until the Friday night, then it all went a bit ‘downhill’ – Read Mike Davies account of Gordon’s Saturday run back to Edinburgh in the 1963 SSDT!

“I lived in a hamlet a few miles north of Brecon in Mid Wales. My father was a carpenter and undertaker and he used a Matchless sidecar outfit with a V-twin J.A.P. engine to carry his tools in a box sidecar.

Most Friday nights, the box would come off to be replaced with a double adult sidecar, this was attached by four bolts through the plywood floor to the chassis. If the brakes were efficient not sure how mother would have guided a chassiless sidecar.

Father was a useful mechanic, modifying the outfit and always took “The Motorcycle” magazine. I used to get into trouble cutting out pictures of competition machines, soaking them in water and pasting them on cupboards and doors around our house.

On a Saturday morning it was a trip to Brecon for shopping. Father parked the outfit in the yard of Trevor Brooks Motorcycles in Lion Street whilst mother went shopping. Father would go to talk to his mates in the workshop and I used to wander around the motorcycle shop and showroom looking at trials and scrambles bikes awaiting collection.

In 1954, great excitement as Father found out that there was a check in the International Six Days Trial at Upper Chapel some ten miles from home and we would go and watch. Off we went and I was delivered back to school just before lunch. Lunchbreak came and the teacher seemed delighted to keep me in to write a story about what I had seen. She filled the inkwell on my desk, gave me pen and paper and I wrote about the stars I had seen including the local baker who had changed a wheel on his BSA Gold Star Outfit. The bell rang and the other pupils came in, the teacher made an announcement that Michael had seen fit to miss school to see some motorcycle event, she then proceeded to rip my story up in front of the class! Oh well, never mind.

Brecon Motor Club held the annual ‘Gremlin Trial’ and a few times I observed there and, I think it was 1959, I cycled from home to the outskirts of Builth Wells where there was a section in the British Experts Trial. I parked my bike and an official came along and asked me to observe as the observer had not turned up. After the section closed, I rode back to Builth railway station and caught the train back to Brecon.

I really had the bug for bikes by now and visits to Aberdare Park road races and scrambles at Builth I wanted a camera. I got a job cutting lawns at a local mansion House and earned 10 shillings for four hours work (50 pence now!) With help, I was able to buy a Kodak camera for £15 and took many pictures which I am now sharing on Trials Guru for your enjoyment.

I noticed that our local ace, Gwyn Chambers had ridden in Scotland a few times and had special first class awards. As a teenager starting work, I persuaded Father who knew the Chambers family well, to ask  if I could have a lift to Scotland to watch the 1963 event. Gwyn was happy as his mate that usually went with him couldn’t make it and for some reason, he needed his car in Fort William.

Saturday pre-trial arrived and Gwyn’s bike loaded, then Gordon Samuel’s bike loaded then we headed off to Llandrindod Wells to pick up John Davies. John had the loan of a 250 DMW (pictured on the front cover of Don Morley’s book, Classic British Two-Stroke Trials Bikes) and eventually we arrived at the digs in Edinburgh where we met up with other Welsh Guys, Alan King, Norman Hawkins, Don Page and Carl Johns.

Alan at that time was into road rallying in a VW Beetle. Moveable spotlight on the roof and other bits. Far too many of us loaded into Alan’s car but he knew a local restaurant and we went with him as he proceeded to show us how he could drift his car on the Edinburgh cobblestones. He wasn’t the only one doing that as we saw a couple of Greeves works riders doing similar!

‘Weigh-in’ at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh for the 1963 SSDT on the Sunday for Triumph Cub rider Gwyn Chambers – Photo: Mike Davies

Sunday – what excitement seeing all the bikes at the Gorgie Market where scrutineering was taking place. Jackie Icxs from Belgium who later became top-class Formula 1 and Le Mans driver was entered on an entirely unsuitable Zundapp which was rather noisy. Think he must have caught the attention of the local police as several times they were in the market looking for him.

John A. Davies setting off on his DMW from Edinburgh’s Gorgie Market at the start of the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Monday came, the bikes set off and my instruction was to drive Gwyn’s nearly new Cortina Estate to Fort William and I was to follow Carl Johns wife in her Austin A40.

We arrived at the digs and eventually the riders returned. During the week I spectated and took pictures at many sections. On one of the days I was at the Town Hall Brae section holding John Hartley’s Cub as he had brought it up to ride around on. Triumph works rider, John Giles approached and asked to borrow the front wheel as it was needed for Roy Peplow who had crashed and wrecked a wheel on the Mamore Road.

Each night more and more alcohol was consumed. It was May and one publican was asked when he closed to which the reply was: ”October”. One of the nights there were probably about a dozen of us having a wee on the pavement when two policemen arrived. I am sure they were about 7 foot tall. Those of us that could run, ran back to the digs but one who later became a senior ACU figure got arrested, given a talking to and released!

John A. Davies on the left with Gordon Samuel who was ‘replaced’ on the Saturday run back to Edinburgh by Mike Davies. You can see Triumph works rider, J. Ray Sayer working on his Triumph Cub on the right. This photo was taken at the fuel station owned by MacRae & Dick in Fort William’s Gordon Square – Photo: Mike Davies

On the Friday night more drinks and Gordon Samuel was so ill that he couldn’t ride the Saturday back to Edinburgh. Gwyn Chambers blamed John Davies and me for getting him drunk so they dressed me in Gordon’s Barbour and told me I had to ride the last day.

It was hush, hush for bike 20 in 1963! John A. Davies (DMW), Mike Davies (replacing Gordon Samuel on Triumph Cub ’38’), Tony Chamberlain (Greeves), Alan King (Royal Enfield) and Gwyn Chambers (Triumph Cub). Photo taken at the end of the 1963 SSDT when usually the number plates were taken off and returned to the organising club.

I had never ridden a bike on the road, didn’t have a licence but off I went. Must have looked a prat as Gordon was about five inches taller than me and his boots were at least four sizes larger. Great fun finding the gears on the famous Mamore Road and going down the section. One guy who had ridden all week with Gordon said: “I know it’s been wet but boy you have shrunk!” refering to the fact Gordon was several inches taller than me.

Welsh Rock! – Gwyn Chambers (Triumph Cub) in Edinburgh’s New Town where he had overnight accommodation after the finish of the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

We never used to see Gwyn at night but just as well his car was in Fort William because Gordon was able to drive it back on the Sunday. Gwyn told us that he had a female friend in Fort William. I thought he said she liked Welsh rock. I thought what a kind man Gwyn was taking sweets for his friend!

But Gwyn was a very kind man, shortly after we returned, the owner of Brooks garage died and the place was up for sale. Gwyn bought a 1959 Greeves for me and allowed me to pay him back at £2 per week.

John Davies, a friend for life. In 1965, I was best man at his wedding and 1966 he did the same for me.

John Davies trying out Carl Johns’ Matchless at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh in 1963, prior to the ‘Weigh-in of the Scottish Six Days Trial. This part of the market was actually the spoil tip where the sawdust and wood shavings used to bed the cattle was dumped after use in the auction pens! – Photo: Mike Davies

After nearly 60 years of competing in several different types of motorcycle (and cycle) sport, I look back to how it all started, what fantastic memories.

I rode in 1964 and again in 1965 in the ‘Scottish’ and the Pre’65 event seven times. I hope to attend the Pre’65 event in 2021 when again will follow around on my KTM e-bike and taking photographs but I am too old now to take Welsh rock there as presents!

Cheers – you only live once, so make the most of it!”

Mike Davies.

Don Smith (Greeves) on Loch Eild Path in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

A young Mick Andrews (AJS) takes a long dab on Loch Eild Path in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Mick Andrews (AJS) on Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Sheffield’s Alan Morewood on his 500cc Ariel on Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Sammy Miller (Ariel) comes to grief at Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Bill Wilkinson (Greeves) on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Bill Wilkinson (Greeves) on Loch Eild Path in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

The winner of the 1963 SSDT was Arthur Lampkin on his 250cc BSA C15 (XON688) seen here at Annat – Photo: Mike Davies

Royal Enfield rider Johnny Brittain was a twice winner of the SSDT, seen here on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1963 event – Photo: Mike Davies

Sammy Miller (Ariel) makes short work of Annat in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Sammy Miller (Ariel) on Laggan Locks in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

Triumph factory rider, John Giles (350 Triumph Twin) on ‘Achintee’ on the lower slopes of Ben Nevis in the 1963 SSDT – Photo: Mike Davies

… More images and events being added shortly

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