Photos: Scottish Television; Jack Williamson & Iain Lawrie
Some good news for a change!
89 year old former trials rider and SSDT competitor, Bobby MacLeod from Fort William who now resides in a Stirling care home, has survived Covid-19.
Featured in a Scottish TV mid-evening television programme ‘Scotland Tonight’ Bobby looked well after recovering from the life threatening contageon at an Abbeyfield House care establishment.
Bobby rode the Scottish Six Days Trial several times and was usually in company with his brother, the late Billy MacLeod.
He was given the honour of being the ‘official starter’ at the 2011 Scottish Six Days Centenary event, which he enjoyed immensely as he was able to chat to the riders as he flagged them away from the West End Parc Ferme. He was later interviewed on local Nevis Radio.
The ACU issued a statement on Monday 8th June 2020 which criticised non-affiliated organisations who are organising group events or gatherings which they claim are putting the sport in a bad light with authorities during the Covid-19 contageon.
The full statement reads:
“As we carefully steer ourselves through the current pandemic of Covid-19, the UK Government and the respective devolved governments have and will continue to ease restrictions (subject to their not being a second peak of the virus) which will allow our various sports to commence.
We have now issued risk assessments templates which gives guidance/advice across all disciplines about the various Control Measures to be put in place to mitigate, as far as is reasonably practicable, any risk to our volunteer Officials and our competitors.
Furthermore, Organisers are to be mindful that as is currently outlined in the various Standing Regulations for our Sports contained in the ACU Handbook and in the National Sporting Code under article 8.02 in which it states ‘No competition shall be promoted on either a public or private road, track or elsewhere until the Organisers have obtained the necessary lawful authority from the appropriate public authorities or private individuals and landowners’, all necessary notifications/permissions should be obtained from Local Authorities/statutory authorities (police), local hospitals that an Event is taking place, and/or have written confirmation from the Circuit/landowner that the necessary permissions are in place for the Event to commence.
We have all seen reports of police turning up at events in recent times and we have seen reports of Organisers who are not affiliated to the ACU blatantly disregarding UK Government Advice and Guidance which has undoubtedly put Off Road motorcycle sport in a poor light.
Finally, please remember that until the UK and devolved Governments lift restrictions on camping and overnight accommodation, planned events should be restricted to one day events to eradicate overnight stays.
Please help us to help you restart and organise the sport and in doing so let us work with the respective Authorities and furthermore not attract unwanted or bad press to motorcycling.”
A unique opportunity has arisen to purchase a true ex-factory AJS from the late 1950s!
The machine once the issue of former British Expert and ACU Star rider, Gordon L. Jackson, registered in 1957 by Associated Motor Cycles as TLP686, a 347cc AJS 16C.
The machine was ridden by Jackson in the 1957 British Experts trial and Scottish Six Days. The vendor has written confirmation from Gordon personally of the machines authenticity.
Lancashire’s Ben Butterworth is handling the sale for a close family friend who has owned the AJS for many years.
Ben said: “I’ve been asked to help with the sale of the Ex-works trials AJS 350 which was Gordon Jackson’s machine, the owner is open to sensible offers and would consider a part exchange.
Loads of history, letters from Gordon himself stating it was his bike, it is road registered, has the correct engine and frame numbers. This was the bike which won The British Experts Trial 1957, he also rode the SSDT on this machine.
The bike runs and rides very well, I’ve been lucky enough to have a ride on it myself after my Grandad has worked on it for the last two weeks, making sure it runs and polished it up for sale.”
The AJS has been put up for sale as the current owner stated to Trials Guru that “I’m not getting any younger and will never use it so I’d like it to go to somebody who would appreciate it for what it is with the history.”
The ex-factory machine is expected to fetch a high price and it has generated significant interest by both private collectors and museums.
Trials Guru’s John Moffat a enthusiast of the marque added: “This is indeed a unique opportunity to own a piece of SSDT, AJS and British Trials history that doesn’t happen very often.”
The Auto-Cycle Union has released a statement on Wednesday 27th May, outlining a partial and restricted return to motorcycle sport.
Youth sport is not included and non competitive meetings will be allowed initially with competitive events coming on stream in early July.
It was forecast by many commentators that a full scale return to racing and competition would not be possible and that it would be some time before events could get back to what was perceived as ‘normal’.
The ACU have stated that training and practice will be allowed, but only for riders aged 16 years and above, this is in keeping with UK Governmental guidance.
You will all remember the superb 2020 ‘Virtual Scottish Six Days Trial’ run in association with Trial Magazine and Michelin along with the superb guys from Nevis Radio a few weeks ago. It was a huge hit with the many listeners around the globe.
Nevis Radio have their crowd funding effort on the go and have found a funder who has made a committment to match fund their total amount. They have a month left to try and up the total and then to double it.
Yes we all know it’s challenging times at the moment, but if anyone can help could you please click on the link below and donate an amount of your choice and support such a worthy cause.
Three times Scottish Trials Champion, John ‘Jack’ Duncan Williamson has reached the 90 milestone on 22nd May 2020!
Jack who took over the family business of J. Williamson & Son in Newtongrange in the late 1960s from his father was a force to be reckoned with in Scottish trials from the early 1950s. He rode competitively until 1975 which included rides in the International Six Days Trial and the Scottish Six Days events.
Champion of Scotland three times, 1962-64 on Greeves machines, Jack was always quick to purchase the very latest in trials machinery of the time, which saw him ride AJS, BSA, Matchless, Ariel, Dot, Greeves, Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa over a career that lasted over 25 years.
A native of Newtongrange, Midlothian, the local community heralded Jack as their ‘hero’ and in the 1960s organised bus trips to go to events to watch him compete, such was his popularity not only as a trials rider but as a local business owner who supplied many of the homes in the area with radios and later, televisions from his firm based in the town’s Main Street.
Jack was one of the first riders to compete under the Scottish ACU in the ISDT, in 1969 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria on a 250cc Montesa King Scorpion. He did not finish that year due to a mechanical issue, but did go on to compete in more ISDT events and was awarded the Arthur Prince Trophy in 1972 as best British privateer on his 250cc Ossa. He also won a bronze medal at the event in Czechoslovakia.
We wish Jack Williamson a very happy birthday having reached 90 years of age, he will spend the day quietly with his wife, Rose at their home in Rosewell, Midlothian.
Jack would like to thank all those very much, who wished him a happy 90th birthday on Trials Guru website and various facebook pages.
The annual two-day Manx International Classic on the Isle of Man, planned for September 2020 has been cancelled. In a statement issued by the organising Manx Trials Club, the committee was faced with an organisational issue and decided to cancel the event due to riders having to arrange ferry and accommodation to get to an island which currenmtly has closed its borders.
The statement read:
“The Manx International Classic Trial Committee regret to announce that this years event scheduled to be held on 5th & 6th September has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. Our committee are all bitterly disappointed as I am sure you are but it is the only option available to us. We have delayed making the decision until now in the hope that we would reach a point where we could be confident that the current restrictions on travel, mass gatherings and the like would be lifted by September and the event could run safely. However we have now reached the point where we would need to ramp up the organising activity, and we appreciate that visiting riders need the opportunity to transfer/cancel travel and accommodation arrangements, so the decision to cancel was taken. With the information available to us at this time the following main issues exist:-
The Isle of Man’s borders are currently closed and there is no indication of when they will open – the IOM Government having stated last week that ‘the borders will not be open any time soon’
All the islands hotels, guest houses and the like are currently closed with no indication of when they will be permitted to begin operating again
There is currently a ban on all mass gatherings and there is no guarantee that this restriction will be eased sufficiently to allow the numbers of riders & spectators we normally attract to congregate
Whilst the AMCA in conjunction with the ACU are currently formulating a plan to recommence motorcycle sport in July the early indications are that this will be on a very low key basis and would not provide for a multi venue and large event such as the Manx International Classic Trial.”
The club announced that next years’ event is already planned for 4th & 5th September 2021.
Photos courtesy: Gas Gas Motorcycles & John Shirt Motorcycles Ltd
For many years the UK importer for the Gas Gas brand of trials motorcycles, John R. Shirt has formed John Shirt Motorcycles Ltd to become an authorised Gas Gas UK dealer.
Previously Shirt supplied trials dealers the length and breadth of the British isles with Gas Gas trials machines, but following the take-over of the Spanish brand by the Austrian based KTM organisation, matters have now changed dramatically.
KTM tested the trials market back in 1975, when they built a small number of prototype KTM trials machines and engaged Austrian Walther Luft and German Felix Krahnstover as development riders. Shortly after, the company decided to end the project and concentrate on development and production of both motocross and enduro machines.
John Shirt told Trials Guru: “I am excited by my new venture, Gas Gas had real financial problems since 2015, but now that the KTM organisation is fully in charge, matters have been resolved and now I am trading as an authorised Gas Gas dealer, selling bikes direct to the trials buying public at large. As an authorised dealer, we at John Shirt Motorcycles Ltd interface direct with the manufacturer, there is no official UK concessionaire any longer. I was very keen to continue with the brand which I have been loyal to for 30 years. I am looking forward to engaging with direct customers, many of whom I know are similarly loyal to the Gas Gas brand. I have already a team of great people at JSM raring to go.”
For more information, have a look at John Shirt’s official website: HERE
The Auto-Cycle Union has issued a joint statement with the AMCA regarding the current state of motorcycle sport in the UK following an ACU board meeting held virtually on 12th May, with a phased return after 4th July when Step Three of the UK Government Covid-19 plan is initiated, but this is under constant review.
In order to reflect the differences in devolved administrations, there will be no British Championship Enduro, Motocross, Trials or Speedway events to take place until travel restrictions between England; Scotland; Wales; Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man have been lifted and other factors considered, in line with Government guidance.