Virtual SSDT 2020

Words: Trials Guru
Photo credits: Nige Pearson/TrialsMedia UK; Iain Lawrie/Kinlochleven; Peter Bremner/Inverness; Heather Mead Photography/Dingwall; Ray Foulds/Glasgow; Roz Price/Abergavenny; Alastair-Anthony MacMillan Studio/Fort William; Ian T. Robertson/Lasswade Iain C. Clark/Fort William; Eric Kitchen/Carnforth; Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic; Ray Biddle/Birmingham; Kim Ferguson-Kimages/Spean Bridge. (all photographs are world-wide copyright).
Thanks to the committee, SSDT and the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd (organisers of the Scottish Six Days Trial since 1911)
Special Thanks: To all the landowners who provide the ground for this amazing event, the local station Nevis Radio and the accommodation establishments and the people of Fort William.

In the first full week in May, we are usually camped up at Fort William in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. However 2020 was to be the year when the actual Scottish Six Days Trial event could not take place because of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

Marshall and Pearson 2016

Trials Guru decided to have a virtual SSDT instead, using some photographs from previous events just to remind readers what a unique and special event the SSDT really is.

Hold on tight, feet up, LET’S GO!


Let the SSDT music Burst Out!


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Mike McCabe - 1973 - SSDT

Colin Dommett - Running repairs on the Ossa - SSDT

ssdt 1970 Luft Puch B

The Town of An Gearasdan (Fort William) is alive!

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DSC_0170 - Red

DSC_0165 - Red

DSC_0173 - REd

DSC_0169 - REd

Machine Examination:

Tommy Ollerton - 1962 SSDT


Park Ferme 1999 1

The Parade:

Evans Debbie 1978 3

Ash Davidson - 2016 - Kimages

Parade 1999 1

MacDonald Gary(Parade) 06

MacDonald Duncan & Son_ Parade Sun 53

Sandra Gomez 2016 - Parade - Kimages

Bultaco 340 - SSDT

Day One, the start:

1963 SSDT

Start SSDT 1999 2

Start 7 30 AM 1997 1




No1 Start Gibson Dougie(Scorpa)First Kick) 05


All systems go!

SSDT 2017 - Ross Noble Trials UK photo


SSDT - Women Competitors



1970 SSDT - Edramaucky


AG B 2013 SSDT Day 1 NS

Dabill - Nevis Forest - K

Coutard SSDT

Sam Fack - Lagnaha - Kimages

Ouch! - Kimages

Lagnaha under - Kimages

200 - Nevis Forest - K

Oliver Stampfli - 2015 - Kimages

Jack Sheppard - Nevis Forest - K

2015 ssdt - kimages

Adam Norris 2 - Nevis Forest - K

James Duxbury - day 1 - kimages

99 - Graham Jarvis'99 Creag Lundie

Jack Styines - Nevis Forest - 2016 - K

Ken Perry - Kimages

Caros 2015 - Kimages

BHM Viney - SSDT 1955 (2)

Coalasnacoan - 1966 - SSDT

Adcock E 1966 SSDT

Billy Tiffen 1954 SSDT

Carlos Casas Fersit SSDT 2000

Olga K - SSDT

Mario Candellone - SSDT 2000

SSDT 179 - Colin Bullock Photographic

Mick Andrews - Yamah - 1977 SSDT

1983 - SSDT - Vesty - CB pic

Kinloch Rannoch - 1953 SSDT - TR - Ray Biddle

1978 SSDT MC Rathmell - JY

1988 - SSDT - Steve Saunders - Fantic - Ben Nevis - JH

Gordon Farley - PB - SSDTcrop

Lampkin Martin SSDT76 44

John Luckett  (Bultaco) Grey Mares Ridge 1968 SSDT

Killin SSDT

1977 Schreiber SSDT

1953 SSDT - Inshriach - Creag An Eilein - Ray Biddle

1959 - SSDT - Glenogle - John Davies Photo

Donald Buchan - 2019 SSDT Windows

1971 - SSDT - 1

SSDT 1958 - J D Williamson & TAM

Bill Wilkinson edramucky

Josep Jo Montesa 1981 SSDT

Rob Edwards - 1976 SSDT - Eric Kitchen Worldwide Copyright

1961 - SSDT - George Noble - Grey Mares Ridge - Ray Foulds Photo

Rob Shepherd - Honda - 1977 SSDT

1971 SSDT - Laggan Locks

MacNiven Neil(Montesa315)TS)D4 101

The Finale!

Euan Campbell - Kimages

Final Machine Inspection:

1978 SSDT - Debbie

The Finish Interview:

JOM - Gary Mac 2013 - Kimages

The Winners!

M C Rathmell - Winner - 1973 SSDT

Trials Guru - Winner - K

SSDT Winners - 2011

‘Cead Mile Failte’ – THE SSDT WILL RETURN – for THE 2021 EDITION!


Escuyer Bultaco 125

We are always on the lookout for something different on Trials Guru and French Bultaco enthusiast Gilles Escuyer never fails to produce something special.

This time it is a monoshock 125 ‘Bultaco’ as he has a brand affinity that goes back to his father Pierre’s age.

Bultaco 197E

It is in effect a rare Gas Gas model with a 125cc Cagiva motor from a Merlin DG7 model that was produced in very low numbers around 1985. The fuel tank/seat unit is custom made. Front suspension are the well tested Marzocchi M1 items including yokes.

Carburation is taken care of by an Italian Dellorto unit. Swinging arm is in aluminium alloy.

IMG_6716 - R
Creator and Bultaco enthusiast, Gilles Escuyer with his Bultaco 197E

Gilles told Trials Guru: “It is a bike that the Bultaco factory could have and should have made if it had not suffered financial ruin in the 1980s. I think most will find it an interesting air-cooled monoshock trials machine, with the Bultaco spirit.

We have called it the 197E because the 250 Sherpa was 198 and this is a smaller capacity. The Sherpa range ceased production with 198/199B and it would have been acceptable to continue with 198/199C then D and so on.”

Photo call for the Bultaco 197E:

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IMG_6720 - R

IMG_6680 - R

IMG_6698 - R

IMG_6699 - R

IMG_6705 - R



SSDT 2021 decision on entries

With the cancellation and postponement of the majority of events due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused much disruption to the sport of trials since February, the committee of the annual Scottish Six Days Trial has made an unusual but fair decision to deal with the cancellation of their 2020 event which was to be held on May 4-9th.

in a statement which was released on social media platform, ‘facebook’ on Thursday 16th April, just over two weeks prior to when the event was to be run, it read:

So many of you have been waiting to see what will happen with regards to entries for 2021. Here is the news you have been waiting for… Everyone who had a confirmed and paid for entry for this year’s event is in the process of getting a full refund.

We will open online entries for the 2021 event as normal in October. We felt it is only fair that all 2020 entrants* who put in an application for the 2021 event will be offered a place before the remaining places are chosen by ballot from the remainder applicants.

*2020 entrants are those who had paid up entries as of the 16th March 2020.


What this means is that bona fide 2020 entrants will be granted preference to secure an entry for the 2021 event planned for May 3-8, 2021.

The only previous time the event had been cancelled, other than because of global warfare, was in 2001, this was caused by the UK ‘foot and mouth’ outbreak. At that time all entry fees were returned to entrants by the then SSDT Secretary, the late Ali Finlay. Entrants had subsequently to reapply the following year with no concession and a fresh ballot undertaken due to oversubscription.



Chris Griffin from Knaresborough

84runner up in the 1985 wetherby group trial chris griffen on his 125 fantic
Runner up in the 1985 Wetherby Group Trial, Chris Griffin on the 125 Fantic – Photo: Barry Robinson

Chris Griffin

Words: Trials Guru & Chris Griffin

Photos: Barry Robinson; Bob Gollner Ltd.

At fourteen years of age a second-hand 125cc Dalesman Puch 125T gave Chris Griffin his first taste of trials riding, a popular choice at the time in Yorkshire as the machines were produced in Otley by Pete Edmondson.

Passing his driving test in February 1974 helped immensely as his father worked through weekends and Chris could only get to events if his friend rode, so that he could cadge a lift to trials.

Joining the Wetherby Motor Club introduced him to John Reynolds who was to become a lifelong friend. Griffin was at college as an apprentice motor engineer, discovered that on a Wednesday, Malcolm Rathmell and Martin Lampkin with some other riders assembled at Rob Shepherd’s farm at Pately Bridge for practice. He enquired if he could tag along to watch with his bike. When they had moved on to another section, Chris would try and emulate the established stars.

Chris: “Watching Malc and Mart really brought my riding on, it was like a crash course in trials, watching them carefully and doing what they did really helped my own riding skills. I was amazed how quickly I improved.

Moving swiftly from a Novice through the ranks of Intermediate and then onto expert status, Griffin started to catch the eye of other established riders. In 1978, Chris finished fourth in the Lakes Two day and was a regular top twenty performer at national trials. Four days before the 1978 Scottish, John Reynolds appeared at OSSA UK to collect his new SWM for the SSDT and telephoned Griffin to ask if he would like to take over Geoff Guy’s entry in the OSSA team as Guy had broken his wrist. ‘JR’ had named dropped Chris to importer Cliff Holden who at that time had two importerships, the Spanish OSSA and Italian SWM. Holden agreed that Griffin would ride Reynold’s old cantilever Ossa, so the machine was despatched up along with Reynold’s new SWM for Griffin to ride as a full team member of OSSA UK.

After a quick check over, Chris collected the OSSA on the Friday before setting off for Fort William and came home a very creditable twenty-second place in the event. Not bad for a first attempt at the toughest trial in the world! He also picked up the best 250cc cup and Best Newcomer award for his efforts.

Chris continued with the OSSA until the September that year, when he was approached by Beamish Suzuki to join their team.

Chris: “My results just got better and better, in 1979, I finished fourth in the Lakes Two-Day, fourth in the Colmore, the first round British championship, nineteenth in the Irish world round, twenty-second at the English world round, thirty-forth at the Belgian round where I had a problem with engine when I cracked the crankcase which was drawing in air. I managed a fifteenth in the Netherlands, a twenty-second in France and twenty-eighth in the SSDT.

On the 325cc Beamish Suzuki, Griffin made some changes.

Griffin: “Everyone struggled with the 325 Beamish Suzuki until I had them fit the 250 model swinging arm to my bike before the Christmas in 1978. It transformed the bike into a winner. ‘JR’ and Chris Sutton could not believe the difference it made. If only Malcolm Rathmell had tried one on his bike before he left, things might have been different for him with the Suzuki. The 250 swingarm was longer with a different shock angle and that made such an improvement to the handling characteristics.”

Griffin’s involvement with the development of the Gollner-Griffin TLR250 Mono-shock:

Bob Gollner advert

Honda produced its TLR series which comprised of both 200 and 250cc versions. The 200cc machine would be produced in quite large quantities as a trial/trail machine over a period of years. The 250cc TLR was produced in smaller quantities making them more desirable than their smaller sibling.

In 1985, Honda Racing Corporation, the competition division of the mighty Honda Motor Company would take charge of producing the mono-shock RTL or ‘Racing’ TL version which were developed by Eddy Lejeune and latterly Steve Saunders. Saunders would ride the TLR 250 until his new RTL250 had been built in Belgium at the HRC Europe headquarters. The machines of Saunders and Lejeune were actually 270cc motors coded as ‘RTL270SW’ with an offset exhaust port which allowed for a single downtube frame as opposed to the centralised exhaust of the production RTL250 which had a twin spar downtube frame. Their campaign was sponsored by Rothmans, the tobacco company and their machines were in Rothmans livery for the 1987 season.

In Knaresborough Yorkshire, Chris Griffin needed a machine for the 1986 SSDT and a Honda TLR250 would fit the bill, or so he thought. Little did he know that it would create the ‘Gollner-Griffin’ machine.

Chris Griffin takes up the story: “I had sent away an entry for the 1986 Scottish Six Days Trial, which was accepted, but did not have a suitable machine or much spare cash. I scoured the Motor Cycle News classified adverts and spotted a TLR250 Honda, which was road registered for sale. I went to see it and bought it in late February and rode my first trial on it in March. I decided it had too much power at the bottom end, the rear suspension kicked off everything, so that was it, time to modify it! Mono-shock suspension was definitely the way to go.

I bought a new Beta TR33 rear damper and mounted it horizontally like the RTL Honda, but with no linkage. I had to remove the middle silencer and air box to fit it, so I was forced to mount the front pipe straight to the rear silencer and fabricate a new smaller air box. By a miracle it all worked perfectly by having to alter the exhaust and air box, it lost its aggressive bottom end and was super smooth. I forced on and rode it in 1986 SSDT, finishing in nineteenth place.

I rode in the company of Steve Moore that week, he was sponsored by Bob Gollner on a Honda RTL250S.

A few weeks later Bob Gollner phoned me up and said Steve Moore had told him about my TLR and he asked if he could put it in to production? I agreed and took my bike down to his shop Bob Gollner Ltd at Denmead, Hants leaving it with him for a couple of months. He let me have one of his special 200 twin-shocks to use until I got my 250 back.

I rode the modified Honda TLR for about a year. winning quite a few trials. My last ride on the Gollner-Griffin Honda was the 1987 SSDT. I finished twenty-ninth, by then the big factories had developed their versions on mono-shocked machines, with all the factory riders on them.”

Bob Gollner was no stranger to modified trials machines, he had prepared the Gollner BSA Bantam, been instrumental in the creation of the Cheetah with frames made by Mick Whitlock and his variant of Kawasaki’s KT250 into his ‘Yellow Peril’ version.

Cost was a contributing factor and the RTL250S was a comparatively expensive machine to purchase at £4,500, being almost double the retail price of a mono-shock TY250R Yamaha of the same year.

The Honda TLR250 was a good economic starting point as the Honda RTL250S was a very expensive machine to buy and only imported in small numbers enabling Honda franchise dealers control the allocation to higher calibre riders who had a good chance at posting some top podium results.

Gollner enlisted the help of Robin Packham of Falcon Shocks to produce an adjustable single alloy bodied damper. He also tidied up Griffin’s design and adopted the horizontally mounted damper position that Griffin had experimented with and developed in competition.

Dick Walker of Walker Exhaust Systems (WES) built the alloy exhaust systems which ran down the offside of the machines, whereas Honda’s production steel system had run down the nearside. The important centre expansion box was incorporated by Walker who had built up a reputation in the trials performance exhaust game. He later sold his business to Jose Franquera in Madrid, Spain who manufactures WES to this day.

The mono-shock machines were topped off with a smart one-piece tank/seat unit and a special decal proclaiming ‘Gollner-Griffin’ was attached to the front fork legs.

The Gollner-Griffin decal as fitted to the Honda’s front fork leg.

Bob Gollner produced two mono-shock versions, using both TLR200 and 250 Honda platforms for the modified machines. The 200cc version retailed for £1,987 and the 250 at £2,200 both inclusive of VAT. He also marketed the modified 200 twin-shock Honda-Gollner TLR at £1,585 inclusive of VAT, aimed at the clubman market sector.

Griffin, a multi-national trials winner, debuted the little Gollner-Griffin 200 at the Richmond club’s Noel Peacock Trial in late July 1986 taking the win on 17 marks, a clear 4 marks ahead of Simon Sharp on a Yamaha mono. Later at an early season 1987 Wetherby Trial on Rob Shepherd’s farm at Pately Bridge, Griffin trounced Glen Scholey on his Colin Appleyard RTL and Yamaha’s Gerald Richardson on his over-bored 330 Yamaha.


Batten down the hatches and get into Trials Guru

With the Covid-19 pandemic showing little signs of being resolved for most of this year, it’s time to stay healthy and keep an interest in our sport of trials, where ever you live.

The sport has been effectively shut down and mothballed and given the comments of health professionals across the globe, unless a vaccine is developed then there will be a degree of restraint applied by governments to keep us at home for some time to come. Unfortunately as a direct consequence, our sport is suspended and will be for a considerable period of time.

So when can we start the sport back up again?

Motorcycle events by their very construction are meetings or gatherings of people, something that is now forbidden in all countries. This will probably not change until much later in the year or perhaps into 2021, it is dependent on when a tested and approved vaccine is released in commercial quantities to counteract this virus. Even if we are released from what is regarded as ‘lockdown’, this may be on a phased basis, which would still restrict the organisation of events. In truth there is no ‘magic date’.

Looking through various articles, it is impossible to establish when we can expect events to come back online. The famous Isle of Man TT races, usually in early June have already been cancelled, as has the Scottish Six Days Trial in May because of the magnitude of organisation pre-event that is required to promote such events. As for the governing bodies, to name but two, the Scottish ACU will review the clampdown on 31st May and not before. The Auto Cycle-Union are in a similar position. Events just cannot be run and there is no guidance forthcoming from any governing sport, simply because they don’t know. These governing bodies, like the general public, look to the national governments for guidance and the message for some months to come is to ‘stay home, protect the NHS and save lives’. This of course is extremely important.

So what can we do? Basically, nothing! – except to keep spirits up and to look through sporting websites, potter about in our workshops and read up about events that have taken place, riders who were at the top of their game and so on.

That is where Trials Guru website plays a small part, let’s see how we can find things – there is a search text facility:

TG search
There is a search facility, look for the magnifying glass symbol – give it a try!

There is also a large Index to let you look through what we have available:

Index Finder
Click on INDEX to take you to our extensive list of articles and pages


We will be updating the index over the next few weeks to try to make your browsing experience better. We are also working virtually to bring you fresh articles over the coming months.

Stay safe, stay well and feel free to share our articles with your club mates and trials friends.

TRIALS GURU – It’s All about Trials


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.

TMX News goes into lockdown

Cover photo: TMX News Morecambe, England

Reflecting the difficult and challenging times facing the sport at the moment, TMX News (formerly Trials & Motocross News) announced on 1st April that it had been forced to temporarily suspend production of the weekly newspaper, due to the Covid-19 pandemic which is affecting every single country on the globe.

This is the first time that the paper has ceased production since it was founded in May 1977. No date for recommencement of the publication has been given, which is understandable given the current uncertainties worldwide.

In an online statement from TMX News editor, Anthony Sutton explained that with the complete cessasion of motorcycle sport, it became more difficult to justify keeping the presses rolling.

Originally owned by Lancaster & Morecambe Press, TMX News has been part of the JPIMedia group (formerly Johnston Press) for many years, a publishing group which has many titles under its control, which was formed in Scotland in 1767, it has since 2018 been a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) owned by creditors.

Sutton said in the official statement: “… we’ve also seen a significant downturn in revenue with many of our normally very supportive advertisers suspending trading or finding the current conditions downright difficult.”

The company have also taken the difficult decision to suspend both TMX and Dirt Bike Rider magazine, online and in print. The suspension takes effect week commencing 6th April and will be reviewed in line with any changes to government advice.

TMX filled a gap in the market in 1977 when the established motorcycle papers gave less column inches to both trials and motocross events and had cut down on the number of reporters going to cover off-road events. It was founded by the first editor Bill Lawless in Morecambe, England and attracted a huge following with a dozen reporters who all rode competitively, such as Tommy Sandham, Dave Dewhurst, Mike Rapley, Mike Greenhough, Mannix Devlin, John Dickinson and brought to the fore the ace cameraman, Eric Kitchen.

Full text of Anthony Sutton’s statement can be viewed HERE

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