The history of the Scottish Six Days Trial on Trials Guru:

Trials Guru website maintains the most comprehensive history of The Scottish Six Days Open Reliability Trial. You will not find even a fraction of the event’s history on the official website of the SSDT. But you will on this page and also the SSDT Archive, which is being added to all the time.

SSDT 2017 Video Montage By Trials Guru:

The 2023 Scottish Six Days Trial will take place on May 1 – 6.

… 2017 SSDT ~ Lost But Won’ The Extended Version

“The Sporting Holiday in the Highlands”

Welcome to Trials Guru’s Scottish Six Days Trial special section. A space dedicated to one of the most famous of all trials events. Known throughout the trials world as a unique event, a test of man and machine against the course and usually the elements.

To go to the SSDT Archive, follow this link:

SSDT Archive on Trials Guru

DL - Leanachan - Kimages
Dougie Lampkin (Vertigo 300) on Leanachen, 2016 – Photo Credit: Kimages/Kim Ferguson


This special section contains ‘links’ to other articles and pages on Trials Guru, please feel free to click on the blue coloured link for more information.

Known as the Sporting Holiday in the Highlands, the modern Scottish is no longer a holiday, but a serious competitive event which utilises hundreds of miles of private property, traverses a variety of moorlands, rough country and public highways.

1950 - J D Williamson - Mamore - WST
1950 – Jack Williamson from Newtongrange, Midlothian (347 AJS) on Mamore, watched by Ian Pollock (white paper in pocket) – Photo: W.S. Thomson, Fort William

Centred in Fort William, Inverness-shire, it was not always so. Let us examine how it all began, how it developed and transformed and look at as many facets of this unique event as possible.

Doug Lampkin with official, Mick Gover at the 2011 SSDT – Photo: Trials Guru/Jean Moffat
History of the ‘Scottish’
Part One – The early years:

Since 1909 there has been in effect a Scottish Trial, first a five day event which was then increased, because if its popularity to six days in 1910. The official title being ‘The Scottish Six Days Open Reliability Trial’.

1911 - National Hotel - Dingwall - SSDT
1911 photo of the Scottish Trial at the National Hotel in Dingwall
2011 - National Hotel - Dingwall - SSDT2
2011 – The National Hotel in Dingwall, with members of the Inverness & District MCC recreating the 1911 scene

There is a popular misconception in that the event is sometimes referred to as the ‘Scottish Six Day Trials’, whereas it is one event, a trial which lasts six days, hence the ‘Scottish Six Days Trial’.

The Edinburgh & District Motor Club took over the organisation of the event from 1911 onwards, this was the reason why the SSDT ‘centenary’ was celebrated in 2011 and not 2009.

The first event, the five days version, was regarded as the most serious test of rider and machine. The route, with approximate mileags covered for the very first Scottish Trial (5 Days) was as follows:

Day One – (187 miles) – Stirling; Crieff; Sma’ (small) Glen; Amulree; Aberfeldy; Pitlochry; Newtonmore and through Carrbridge to Inverness.

Day Two – (177 miles) – Inverness; Dingwall; Tain; Bonar Bridge; Mound (Rogart); Brora; Berriedale Braes; Wick; John o’ Groats and Thurso.

Day Three – (141 miles) – Thurso; Bettyhill; Lairg; Bonar Bridge; Alness; Dingwall and Inverness.

Day Four – (105 miles) – Inverness; Nairn; Forres; Elgin; Huntly and Aberdeen.

Day Five – (149 miles) – Aberdeen; Laurencekirk; Brechin; Perth; Stirling; Murrayfield, Edinburgh.

The First World conflict (World War I) took a hand in global events, so the trial ceased in 1914 and was not organised again until 1919.

The 1914 Scottish Trial route:

Monday, June 15, 1914 – Edinburgh to Perth – Via: Crieff; Amulree; Kenmore; Trinafour; Dalnacardoch; Dunkeld. – 157 Miles

Tuesday, June 16, 1914 – Perth to Inverness – Via: Brechin; Cairn O’ Mount; Cockbridge; Tomintoul. – 168 Miles

Wednesday, June 17, 1914 – Inverness to Inverness – Via: Abriachan; Beauly; Gairloch; Garve. – 179 Miles

Thursday, June 18, 1914 – Inverness to Inverness – Via: Applecross. – 179 Miles

Friday, June 19, 1914 – Inverness to Grantown – Via: Abriachan; Drumnadrochit: Cluanie; Tomdoun, Glendoe. – 145 Miles

Saturday, June 20, 1914 – Grantown to Edinburgh – Via: Cockbridge; Braemar and Amulree. – 185 Miles

Trials as a sport was in its infancy and the Scottish Auto Cycle Union was formed in 1913, being a union of motorcycle clubs to promote the sport and past-time of motorcycling.

The Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd, whose Scots motto is ‘Haud Forrit‘ which in English means simply ‘to go forward‘ has been responsible for the promotion and organisation of the event since 1911. There was a celebration in 2011 to mark the centenary achievement.

Of course there were breaks, again another World-wide conflict (World War II) 1939-1945 and once more a non-event year being 2001, when there was a UK Foot and Mouth disease outbreak which saw the cancellation of the SSDT once more.

The early Scottish compared to the modern day trial was a very different affair. There were no ‘sections’ as such, as the event was heavily geared to the reliability of the machines. Many of the roads in the early 1900’s were no more than dirt roads, what was referred to as ‘water-bound’ surfaces, their construction did not involve bitumen but ‘fines’ on top of road material or hard-core. Steep gradients were where sections were originally established, so hence to this day they are referred to as ‘hills’.

The holiday event:

From the earliest events up to the mid-1950’s, riders rode their machines to events, competed and rode back home. Few used vehicles to transport their mounts to events, with the exception of railways. It was usual for a trials machine to be hoisted into the guard’s van and removed when the rider had reached the railway station nearest the event.

As for the description of the sporting holiday in the highlands, it probably was for most if not all the competitors. Given that it was a six days event, this necessitated annual leave of at least a full week off work.

Up until 1969, the trial secretary arranged for accommodation and the transfer of luggage, limited to one small suitcase of clothes, for all the competitors and officials. In the late 1960’s a livestock lorry was sourced locally in the Edinburgh area and this was used by the organisers to convey the luggage from Gorgie Market, Edinburgh to Fort William’s MacBraynes Garage.

Early Scottish trials were open to not only solo motorcycles, but motorcycle and side-cars, three-wheelers such as Morgans and light cars.

A Morgan three-wheeler depicted in artwork specially commissioned for Tommy Sandham's first book on the Scottish - Courtesy of Tommy D. Sandham, Magor.
A Morgan three-wheeler depicted in artwork, taken from a faded photograph of G.C. Harris on the old Mamore Road between Kinlochleven and Fort William specially commissioned for Tommy Sandham’s first book on the Scottish – Courtesy of Tommy D. Sandham, Magor, Newport, Gwent.

With relatively modest front suspension, belt-drive, single speeds, rod-operated rim brakes and machines that were merely bicycles fitted with engines, it was an achievement to keep a machine together when traversing Scotland’s roads in the 1900’s.

Many motorcycle manufacturers were supportive of the Scottish as it was a test of machine and the winning machine benefited from the resultant accolades, often translated into suitable advertising material after the event.

Results: 1909-1914:

1909 – H.H. Salveson – Triumph; S.J.K. Thomson – Triumph

1910 – W.W. Douglas; G.L. Fletcher; P. Phillips – Douglas

1911 – 15 Gold Medals

1912 – Jimmy Alexander; G.E. Cuffe; B. Hill – Indian

1913 – F.C. North; L. Newey; V. Busby – Ariel

1914 – 1918 First World War – No Trial

In the events’ history there has only been one Scotsman to win outright the ‘Scottish’ which was Bob MacGregor, a greengrocer from the Perthshire village of Killin. MacGregor was a factory supported rider for Rudge and won the event twice, in 1932 and again in 1935. In fact 1932 was the first year the event had an overall winner, as prior to that it was very much a team oriented event. There had been winning team members who were Scots, but only after 1932 was there an outright winner, MacGregor being the first!

Bob would ride his machine from Killin all the way to the Coventry factory to have it modified and fettled by the works mechanics, he would then ride it home again, perhaps taking in an event on the way.

During the war years, MacGregor and his trials riding comrades were enlisted and many became Army dispatch riders and motorcycle instructors. Their off-road riding skills being put to very effective use by the British military. The Rudge factory directors were so enamoured by MacGregor’s achievements in the Scottish that they presented a trophy named the Peter S. Chamberlain Trophy, which was a scale model Rudge racing motorcycle made in silver, to the Edinburgh club and for many years it was used as a best first time rider award, until the cost of insurance resulted in the club retiring the award to safe keeping, such was it’s value.

PS Chamberlain Trophy
The Peter S. Chamberlain Trophy – a scale model Rudge motorcycle made out of silver – the wheels turn and the chain has individual links. Former SSDT Clerk of Course, Mark Whitham, a Rudge enthusiast confirms this is an exact model of the Rudge ‘Ulster’ with four-valve head and twin exhaust pipes.

The system of scoring riders changed over the years and in the early years, riders were prevented from standing up whilst tackling an observed section. Marks were added to a riders score if they were not properly seated on the motorcycle. This practice was changed after the second world war, when standing up on the machine was allowed.

George F. Simpson, a painter and decorating contractor from Edinburgh, who rode the Scottish and a keen movie-maker began taking cine films of the Scottish. His films were of reasonably good quality, the earlier versions being in black & white. Simpson’s films were shown in Fort William the following year and by all accounts the annual mid-week film show was well attended. Simpson later became Chairman of the Edinburgh & District club.

The National Library of Scotland holds the 1925 film by George Simpson which runs for 12 minutes under their Moving Image Archive.

Bound report books of each event were issued after the trial by the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. This was a real challenge for the printers and book binders who had only a few hours to get the job done. The trophies were also engraved on the evening of the Saturday after the results were tabulated. The presentation of awards, usually held in an Edinburgh hotel was very much a formal, dinner dress code affair.

Results: 1919 – 1939

1919 – 11 Gold Medals

1920 – 26 Gold Medals

1921 – G. Cumming; A. Brown; J.R. Fellows; George Dance – Sunbeam (Solo Team); R. Brown (Sidecar)

1922 – E.W. Chalcraft; Mrs. Knowles; J. Stirling; R.M. Wilson – AJS; Matchless & Martins (Sidecar)

1923 – B.L. Bird; J.H. Walker; H.S. Perry – BSA (350cc Team); L. Newey; A.E. Rollason; W. Woodcock – Ariel (Sidecar Team)

1924 – B.L. Bird; H.S. Perry; K.J. Davis – BSA (350cc Team); G.S. Arter; J. Lidstone; G. Kimberley – James (Unlimited Solo); A.F. Downie; C. Collins; F.W. Giles – AJS (Sidecar Team)

1925 – Miss. Marjorie Cottle; Bob MacGregor; H.W. Clark – Raleigh (350cc Team); R.B. Clark; K.J. Davis; George McLean – BSA (Unlimited Team)

Click on this link for early film footage of the SSDT from 1925:

Haud Forrit Film by George F. Simpson

Credit & Copyright: National Library of Scotland – Moving Image Archive

M Cottle
Miss Marjorie Cottle on her BSA negotiates ‘Town Hall Brae’ or as the locals in Fort William refer to it as ‘Rocky Brae’ – Marjorie was a pre-war rider for Raleigh and BSA motorcycles who rode in many Scottish and International Six Days Trials. – Photo courtesy: Alex Carmichael, Inverness.

1926 – E.W. Spencer; V.C. King; C.H. King – Douglas (350cc Team); H. Sangster; E.H. Littledale; Peter Chamberlain – Ariel (Unlimited Team)

1927 – C.H. King; V.C. King; E.W. Spencer  – Douglas (350cc Team); J. Lidstone; G. Kimberley; B. Kershaw – James (Unlimited Team)

1928 – V.C. King – Douglas (Best Solo); G.W. Shepherd – Scott (Best Sidecar)

1929 – H.S. Kershaw – James (200cc); F.E. Thacker – Ariel (250cc); J.H. Amott – Rudge (Over 350cc); G. Butcher – Rudge (Unlimited); P. Cranmore – BSA (Sidecar)

1930 – George Rowley AJS (350cc); Graham Goodman – Velocette (Unlimited); H.G. Uzzell – BSA (Sidecar)

1931 – Len Vale-Onslow – Francis Barnett – (200cc); Jackie White Ariel – (250cc); Graham Goodman – Velocette (350cc); J.H. Amott – AJS (Unlimited); H.S. Perry (Sidecar)

In 1932 the results changed to individual winners of both solo and sidecar classes –

1932 – Solo: Bob MacGregor – Rudge – 4 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – Norton

1933 – Solo: Len Heath – Ariel – 2 Marks – Best Sidecar: T.A. Morris – Baughan

1934 – Solo: Jack Williams – Norton – 2 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – BSA

1935 – Solo: Bob MacGregor – Rudge – 2 Marks – Best Sidecar: A. Calder – Triumph

1935 results
The Scottish 1935 results – courtesy of the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd – SSDT Archive.

1936 – Solo: W.T. ‘Billy’ Tiffen – Velocette – 4 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – BSA

The 1936 Scottish winner W.T. ‘ Billy’ Tiffen from Carlisle seen here in the 1954 trial tackling Martuim, still loyal to the Velocette brand – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

The SSDT Route 1936: 

Monday: Edinburgh; Hilderston (near Bathgate); Dunblane; Comrie; Lochearnhead (Lunch Stop); Tyndrum; Glencoe Pass; Bridge of Coe; Kinlochleven; Onich; Fort William.

Tuesday: Fort William; Ardgour; Strontian; Kinlochmoidart; Devil’s Staircase; Bay Hill; Glenuig bay; School House; The Ravine; Lochailort; Mallaig (Lunch Stop); Lochailort; Glenfinnan; Fort William – Mileage: 140.5

Wednesday: Fort William; Fort Augustus; Inverfarigaig; Boleskine; Farr House; Garbole; Carrbridge; Tombain; Grantown on Spey (Lunch Stop); Aviemore; Newtonmore; Loch Laggan; Roy Bridge; Fort William – Mileage: 177.

Thursday: Fort William; Loch Laggan; Dalwhinnie; Dalnacardoch; Daloist; Fortingal; Bridge o’ Balgie; Killin (Lunch Stop); Taymouth; Amulree; Stoney Brae; Bankfoot; Perth (Night stop) – Mileage: 156.

Friday: Perth; Tullymet; Ballinluig; Aberfeldy; Cambusshurich; Killin; Lochearnhead; Aberfoyle; Dunblane; Perth – Mileage: 146.

Saturday: Perth; Abernethy; Milnathort; Menstrie; Stirling; Linlithgow; Edinburgh, Blackford Hill – Mileage: 78.

1937 – Solo: Jack Williams – Norton – 10 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – Norton

1938 – Solo: Fred Povey – Ariel – 4 Marks – Best Sidecar: W.S. Waycott – Velocette

1939 – Solo: Allan Jefferies – Triumph – 23 Marks – Best Sidecar: F.H. Whittle – Panther

Bob MacGregor 1939
Bob MacGregor from Killin, twice winner of the Scottish (1932 & 1935) seen here in the 1939 event on ‘Kinloch Rannoch’.

Part Two – The post-war period:

When the Scottish re-started after the second world war in 1947, the United Kingdom was still suffering the after effects of the conflict and fuel, particularly petrol was in very short supply. The Scottish recommenced with a much smaller entry list, but at least things were getting back to normal. The factories had been producing machines for the war effort and competition models were in short supply. However, the Scottish was a trade supported event and was seen by the manufacturers as a good way of creating demand for the domestic market once again.

Motorcycles were still accepted as a cheap mode of transport in the late 1940’s.

The 1948 Scottish as filmed by George F. Simpson, featuring B.H.M ‘Hugh’ Viney who is the winner for the second time – Clip courtesy of ‘ssdtfan’ on youtube.

George F Simpson, maker of many of the old SSDT films from 1925 onwards.

The post-war Clerk of Course was Andy Pattinson from Inverkeithing in Fife. Pattison was an Ariel supported rider pre second world war and was also Chairman of the Scottish ACU at the time.

Andy Pattison, a former works supported Ariel rider pre-second world war became clerk of course SSDT in 1947.

The post-war Scottish was dominated for three successive years by an ex-Army sergeant, Hugh Viney who rode for the Plumstead, South-East London based, Associated Motorcycles (AMC) factory, on their 347cc – AJS 16MC models. Viney who won the event 1947 – 1949 and again in 1953, was a very sombre character, who rarely smiled and was a serious and very clever rider.

HXF641 - 1 - David Lewis photo
Hugh Viney’s factory AJS HXF641 on which he won three successive SSDTs post-war – Photo: David Lewis, London
HXF641 - 2 - David Lewis photo
Hugh Viney’s AJS with some details painted on the front plate of HXF641 as it is to this day – Photo: David Lewis, London

Many of the steel components on his factory AJS were replaced by light alloy versions, suitably painted black to conceal their light weight.

An AJS (AMC) advert from the late 1940’s showing B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney on his factory AJS on the right hand side.

Viney was nick-named ‘The Maestro’ because of his skill and his ability to ride his AJS so slowly in a section, not using the throttle, but by varying the ignition timing by moving the advance and retard lever, of which he had always fitted the older longer type.

Viney never used an air-filter on his bike, he merely fashioned a piece of car inner tube to create a waterproof cover. The belief was that by using an air-filter this richened the fuel/air mixture and thus the machine lost the ability to respond quickly to throttle openings.

In 1951, the club issued a members ‘Year Book’ as the Scottish ACU at that time shared accommodation with the Edinburgh & District club at 28 Nelson Street, Edinburgh, 3.

The year book, published by Fullerton & Lloyd, Liverpool, also acted as an SACU fixtures list of ‘open’ events for the coming season. The SACU and Edinburgh club honorary secretary at that time was Donald Sinclair.

Machine examination:

Around this time the trial organisers kept very firmly to the belief that this was still a ‘reliability’ trial. The competitors had to fill in a book prior to the event, carefully recording any spare parts that they carried with them during the week. At the end of the week, the book was checked against the parts unused. If a rider had obtained other parts during the week, they faced exclusion.

The marking of major components with dabs of specially mixed paint were applied to the machine pre-event and the scrutineers further inscribed the riders number in the centre of each daub of paint with a wooden lead-less pencil.

Arthur lampkin gets his 250 BSA 'weighed in' at the 1961 SSDT. Tommy Robertson is on second right examining paperwork
Arthur Lampkin gets his 250 BSA C15T ‘weighed in’ at the 1961 SSDT. The official marking Lampkin’s machine is A.M.L. ‘Laurie’ McLean from Haddington, a former Scottish Trials Champion. Number plate official, Tommy Robertson is on second right examining paperwork.

This prevented replacement of major components as well as preventing a retired rider swapping components with a team member for example.

Trade Support

The Scottish, like most national trials of the period was acknowledged as a trade supported event. The accessory and supply manufacturers recognised that to sell their wares it was necessary to support certain prestigious events in Britain. The Scottish was regarded as the event to win, by riders, factories and the motorcycle trade.

Tyre manufacturers, Dunlop and Avon were the main suppliers of trials tyres in the 1940 to 1960 era with their respective ‘Trials Universal’ and ‘Trials Supreme’ brands. The Dunlop representative was Dickie Dale who used to hold court by playing the piano in the Grand Hotel into the early hours of the morning. J. Barbour & Sons of South Shields produced their wax cotton riding suits with Belstaff following suit some years later. The spark plug companies, Champion, Lodge, AC; chain manufacturer Renolds’ representative, Vic Doyle and rivals Perrys; with Alan Lines of Amal carburettors, Norman Blakemore of Girling suspension units, all sent sales representatives to the Scottish Six Days.

Let us not forget the fuel and oil companies, Shell and Esso who sent road tankers to fuel the machines. In the 1950’s the Esso representative was Geoff Murdoch and Shell had Lew Ellis, succeeded by Keith Callow in the 1970s.

The competitors were asked to sign a contract which lasted the duration of the trial or even longer, to ensure that they used specific products. Some were paid a fee and others benefited from a reduction to the retail price of the components.

The factory riders were no different, they all had legally enforceable contracts with not only the machine manufacturers and component companies, any wins were used by these companies for post event advertisement, with the carefully caveat: ‘Subject to Official Confirmation’ within the advertisement.

Entry List 1947 – courtesy of John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive

Entry List 1947 – courtesy of John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive

Teams 1947 – courtesy of John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive

Results: 1940 – 1953

1940 – 1946 – Second World War – No Trial

1947 – B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 6 Marks

1948 – B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 27 Marks

1949 – B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 18 Marks

1950 Scottish G L Millar
George L. Millar from Edinburgh on his J.R. Alexander & Co entered 350 Matchless in 1950. This photo was taken in Fort William at the Grand Hotel. George finished on 81 marks and a Special First Class award. George’s wife Ruth was one of the first women observers at the Scottish.

1950 – Solo: L. A. ‘Artie’ Ratcliffe – 347cc Matchless – 12 Marks – Sidecar – Harold Tozer – 499cc BSA – 36 Marks

1950 Matchless Advert SSDT Win
Matchless (AMC) made good use of Artie Ratcliffe’s 1950 Scottish win by taking out adverts in the motorcycle press of the period. This advert appeared in ‘The Motor Cycle’ in May 1950 – Copyright: Mortons Media, Hornchurch (Owners of The Motor Cycle title)
1950 Scottish G Duke
Geoff Duke in the 1950 Scottish on his 490cc Norton. Duke was taken on by Nortons to ride trials, but of course became World Champion at road racing. Duke’s sergeant in the army was B.H. M. Viney, the AJS factory rider who put Dukes’s name forward to Nortons. Duke finished the 1950 event on 34 marks lost and a Special First Class award.

1951 – G. J. ‘John’ Draper – 348cc BSA – 22 Marks

Tommy on his AJS in the 1950 Scottish Six Days on his AJS. This is 'Kinloch Hourn', no longer used a long climb into the hill from Loch Hourn.
Tommy Robertson on his 347cc AJS in the 1950 Scottish Six Days who lost 128 marks and gained a first class award. This is ‘Kinloch Hourn’, no longer used, a long climb into the hill from Loch Hourn. – Photo courtesy of Ian T. Robertson
SSDT - Jeff Smith - John Draper - Ray Biddle Photo
1952 SSDT – Start at Roseburn, Edinburgh shot taken by Ray Biddle, Birmingham of Rex Young; Jeff Smith & John Draper on their 500T Nortons – print by courtesy of Chris Smith, USA

1952 – J. V. ‘Johnny’ Brittain – 346cc Royal Enfield – 22 Marks

1953 - SSDT - Kirkcaldy Club - Ray Biddle - reduced
The 1953 Scottish at the finish. From Left: Peter Victory (197cc James); Dave Birrell (490cc Norton); Jack Duncan (197cc Francis Barnett); Dr. J.G. Stewart (197cc Sun); Johnny Birrell (348cc BSA); Ron Thomson (343cc Triumph) All; except Jack Duncan (Montrose) were members of Kirkcaldy & District Club. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

1953 – B.H.M ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 35 Marks

Tommy Robertson on Inshriach in the 1953 SSDT
Edinburgh rider, Tommy Robertson (200 DMW) on Inshriach, later known as Creag An Eilein, in the 1953 SSDT the first time this hill was used. This hill was one which Robertson was part of the reconnoitre team that checked it for suitability in 1952.  Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.
J N Clarkson 1953 - Matchless - Devils Staircase - Ray Biddle - reduced
1953 Scottish shot of J.N. ‘John’ Clarkson on his 347cc Matchless on Devil’s Staircase at Lochailort. Notice the ‘star’ section marker, indicating that this was a star hill. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.


Unlike the entry of competitors, Scottish observers and officials were usually of male gender, it was a bit of a ‘closed shop’ as far as that was concerned. However, a couple of Edinburgh girls who were keen on trials decided to offer their services to officiate at the event in 1954. Their names were Ruth Millar (at the time Ruth Wylie) and Margaret Redpath, both rode motorcycles and had ridden in local trials events, both were members of the Edinburgh Southern Motor Club.

95 - Weem
1951 – Derek J. Ratcliffe, brother of Artie on his factory 347cc Matchess on Kinloch Rannoch in Perthshire, with the Old Church of Rannoch and the bridge over the River Tummel visible in the background. Ratcliffe finished in third position losing 27 marks – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

Undeterred, Ruth and Margaret submitted the necessary application forms to become SSDT officials, they had a cunning plan. They didn’t enter their first names on the form, simply using their first initials, so Margaret Redpath became ‘M. Redpath’ and Ruth simply ‘R. Wylie’.

When the intrepid duo turned up for their pre-trial briefing at Nelson Street it was met with raised eyebrows. The main officials didn’t have much choice they had accepted the applications so Margaret and Ruth spent an exciting holiday in the Highlands.

The officials admitted they had made a mistake, but the deed was done and after that women were accepted as official observers.

Observers and officials came to the Scottish from far and wide, some by motorcycle, some by car. The car based observers were detailed to control the sections closest to the main roads and time and lunch stops, whilst the motorcycle-based officials would ride across part of the route to cover the more inaccessible sections. Number plates were issued to bike officials and boards were given to their car-based colleagues for identification purposes as officials of the trial.

Many of the observers attended the Scottish for many years, such as James Allen, James ‘Tubby’ Thompson who was a Haig Scotch Whisky representative and a certain Ed Stott from Pinner, Middlesex who was a rider who scrubbed his entry one year as he couldn’t prepare his bike in time and was asked to observe.

Section discovery:

E.B. ‘Ed’ Stott or to some in the SSDT committee, ‘Eddie’ Stott, who was a graphic designer and caption writer, wrote a series of very precise and accurate articles for The Classic Motor-Cycle in later life, one of which was the discovery of the group of sections to be named ‘Inshriach’ and later, ‘Creag-An-Eilean’. The article appeared in the June 1984 edition. It was a hill that was discovered by a local photographer in 1952 who was taking photos in the Aviemore area to illustrate a book about the Wolf of Badenoch. When the photographer looked at his negatives, it showed a zig-zag white line, he at first thought it was a flaw on the glass negative, but it was a path on the hillside.The photographer passed on the information to the Edinburgh club who dispatched a reconnoitre team consisting of Tommy Robertson, Geoff Smith, Arnott Moffat and Jackie Williamson to investigate its suitability for the trial. Creag-An-Eilean was discovered by accident and never cleaned over it’s entire length.

John Moffat knew Eddie Stott very well, having been introduced by his father, T. Arnott Moffat in the early 1970’s when Stott had retired from observing duties which lasted more than twenty years.

Moffat wrote: “Ed Stott was a veritable walking encyclopedia on the Scottish Six Days, his knowledge of the ways and workings of the trial was simply legendary. He was first a competitor, then an observer and finally a spectator and supporter of the trial. In the 1970s and 1980s, Stott would be seen in company of brothers, Geoff and Derek Murdoch watching riders through many sections each year. They followed the trial round on the road with their AJS, Matchless and Royal Enfield trials machines with road tyres fitted”.

1965 Scottish Six Days on Callert, riding the ex-Sammy Miller Ariel 786GON, which Wilson owned and rode for several years. The machine is now in Italy.
Ed Stott on the left, at the 1965 Scottish watches Jock Wilson 498cc Ariel on Callert. This is the ex-Sammy Miller Ariel 786GON, which Wilson owned and rode for several years. The machine is now in Italy. – Photo: Brian Holder

Ed Stott was well known to the Six Day hierarchy and his knowledge was called upon many times by them over the years. Stott had the ear of many of the top-ranking trial officials of his era, he earned a respect few could bost then and now. Few, if any, could match Ed’s in-depth knowledge of the trials’ history, ways and workings. Stott was very friendly with Charlie Rodgers at the Royal Enfield factory in Redditch. He was a welcome visitor there many times and was faithful to the marque. In 1953 he had planned to ride the SSDT “one more time” but due to financial constraints and lack of a properly preparred machine, Stott scratched his entry, but that was not the end of it. The Clerk of Course George Baird contacted Ed and suggested that he should become an observer, in the words of Baird: “It takes a thief to catch one”.

The die was cast and Stott became an official of the event for many years, passing on his knowledge to many others who took up the task of working for the most famous trial of them all.


Over the years the premier trophy presented to the winner altered, for example in 1935 when Scot, Bob MacGregor had won for the second time, the club awarded the ‘Castle Challenge Trophy’. Whereas in 1951 they used the ‘J.R. Alexander Challenge Trophy’ and nowadays they use the ‘North British Rubber Company Trophy’ for the winner to hoist aloft.

The Scottish trophies have a history all of their own, many now have lost their identity with the passage of time, but some are well documented.

J.R. Alexander Challenge Trophy as mentioned above was donated to the Edinburgh club by the Edinburgh Ford main dealers, whose chairman’s son Henry was the man to have driven a model T Ford car to the top of Ben Nevis (and back down again). Starting on 9th May 1911, it took then four days to ascend and a further five to descend. A fantastic publicity stunt for the Ford Motor Company at that time.

J. R. Alexander in 1948

P.S. Chamberlain trophy already described above, was presented by the directors of the Rudge-Whitworth Cycles company.

Jimmy Hutchins Memorial Trophy in memory of an Edinburgh rider who was a member of the Edinburgh Southern MC.

The Jimmy Beck Memorial trophy in remembrance of a young Fort William rider who lost his life in a road accident.

Rumour has it that one or two of the trials’ main trophies disappeared at one time and re-appeared in a pawn shop in the south of England! Nowadays, the main awards are not handed over to the riders to keep, but to hold and have photographs taken and handed back at the evening of the awards presentation.

Star sections:

In the mid 1950’s the club decided to feature certain sections as being the more severe test of man and machine and so the phrase ‘Star Hill’ was created. These sections were meant to separate the good riders from the not so proficient, a test for the factory supported entrant.

rules 1954
Rules of the Scottish for 1954. The Scottish ACU insisted that the title be changed as only the governing body is permitted to write the rules of a sport, not an organising club, so it was eventually changed to ‘Regulations’. Photo: John Moffat, Archive of SSDT programmes and official documents.

They were identified by the section begins cards having a star-shaped board situated. Thus this was a ‘star’ section. For many year after some clubs referred to their section marker cards as ‘stars’ as a direct result.

Route marking:

The trial relies on a small army of volunteers to staff the sections and carry out a variety of official tasks. There has always been a small team of route markers who cover off the roadwork. Little has changed over the years in that four-wheeled vehicles capable of carrying up to three people with marking equipment are preferred.

Dave Fisher - Land Rover - 1954
Route Markers, Dave Fisher and Bill Harper in 1954 with the specially adapted Land Rover which dispensed the yellow ochre for the route of the Scottish. Photo: George F. Simpson, Edinburgh

For many years the chief route marker was Dave Fisher, from Edinburgh who was a life-long member of the Edinburgh St. George club. Fisher made use of a Land Rover which had been specially adapted with a chute in the rear, the purpose was to distribute yellow ochre pigment onto the roadway which indicated a change of direction.

The yellow ochre, a naturally occurring mineral was poured out when the Land Rover was doing around 20 miles per hour, going round bends and at junctions. Yellow ochre was used up until the early 1970’s when pollution laws forbade its’ use as it would wash into drains after rainfall.

1962 SSDT - DB
1962 – Clerk of Course, Johnny Graham with Assistant Clerks, John Clarkson and Bill Harper have a breather. The 347cc Matchless on the trailer is the ex-works machine OLH722 on loan to Clarkson by Arnott Moffat, it was then used as a route-marking machine from 1964 – 1968. Photo courtesy of Douglas Bald, Culross, Fife.

The marking arrows, (SO – Straight on; L – Left and R – turn right), for many years were supplied by the trial sponsors such as the motorcycle press and the oil and fuel companies. These were affixed to telegraph poles and existing road signs by the route-markers and removed by the back-markers once the trial had passed through.

Up until the mid 1960’s the Scottish course made use of farm tracks, sheep tracks and footpaths, but rarely open moorland. This changed dramatically under the direction of Clerk of the Course Jimmy Mulvie.

This use of open moorland opened up more routes to choose from, although estate roads and paths were still used where possible.

Number Plates:

For many years, up to 1976 in fact the trial organisers supplied riders with metal number plates to be affixed to their machines, one across the front and one on the nearside rear for identification and observation. In early SSDTs, the riding numbers were two on the front.

Iain Macintyre from Mallaig on his Norman, ready to start the 1953 Scottish from the old SMT garage at Roseburn, Edinburgh - Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.
Iain Macintyre from Mallaig on his 197cc Norman was allocated number one, sen here ready to start the 1953 Scottish from the old SMT garage at Roseburn, Edinburgh – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

In the 1960s, the number plates were maintained and replaced by committee man, Willie Pitblado who was a painter and decorator to trade, but ran a motorcycle spares business in Golf Drum street, Dunfermline.

Willie Pitblado in his Dunfermline shop - Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife
Willie Pitblado in his Dunfermline shop – Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife

Willie was the Uncle of SSDT secretary Mairi Jenkins (Grant). Pitblado also rode the SSDT several times on Greeves and had a special Triumph-engined Sprite called the ‘Pitrite’. Pitblado was a well-known character in Scottish trials.

The allocation of the metal plates was the charge of Tommy Robertson in the late 1960s and Bob Adamson, Assistant Secretary in the early to mid 1970s. After 1976, riders had to fabricate their own plates, black background with yellow numerals. These were fitted one on the front across the front forks and two to the rear mudguard area. Previously they were one front and one on the nearside rear. In 1988, the trial main sponsors, NCR paid for the number plates (one on the front only) in plastic material.

Scottish Six Days Official Programmes:

Front cover of the 1935 SSDT programme which was won by Bob MacGregor - Photo Courtesy of Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd Archive.
Front cover of the 1935 SSDT programme which was won by Bob MacGregor – Photo Courtesy of Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd’s Archive. – Compare the image with the photograph immediately below.
Killin SSDT
Virtually the same scene as the front of the 1935 programme taken many years later of Killin village during the SSDT in 1957 with 83 – Garth Wheldon (James); 82 – Geoff Parker (Francis Barnett) and 85 – Ian Kirk (DOT). Not much has changed, the location looks very similar in the present day.

Scottish programmes have become collectors items over the years, early editions of course command higher prices because of their rarity, many copies having been lost or destroyed over the intervening years.

1958 SSDT
The 1958 programme featured the 1957 winner, Johnny Brittain and the observer is Ian Pollock a member of the Fort William SSDT committee who discovered many of the routes around Kinlochleven. – Photo: John Moffat – Archive of SSDT programmes.

The Edinburgh club arranged for copies to be printed and distributed before the event, they were large formatted items similar to foolscap in size, then A4 up to the 1972 event. In 1973 they were reduced in size to A5, to be able to fit into a large pocket. The programmes were very informative, they gave all the six days routes, intermediate mileages and fuel and lunch stop details, rider list and team details.

The 1967 SSDT programme cover featured the 1966 winner, Alan Lampkin on his factory BSA 748MOE
The 1967 SSDT programme cover featured the 1966 winner, Alan Lampkin on his factory BSA 748MOE – Photo: John Moffat – Archive of SSDT Programmes

Usually a past winner or celebrity from the motorcycle trade or sport was invited to write the foreword for the official programme.

By 1983, the official programme format was to change further with Trials & Motocross News of Morecambe, Lancashire taking over the job for the 1984 trial and incorporated the programme in their weekly paper as a pull-out special edition.

Dicko - Kimages
John Dickinson covered the SSDT for many years as a staff-man at Trials & Motocross News. The paper just missed coverage of the 1977 event by a few weeks. Photo: Kimages / Kim Ferguson, Fort William.

They had available smaller rider lists on card at the start of the event which they handed out free of charge. Many of these paper programmes did not survive the rigours of Scottish weather, thus many do not survive to this day.

In 1999 the Edinburgh club recommenced the production of the official programme once again in A5 size format on high quality gloss paper with a colour photo of the previous year’s winner on the front cover. For more details see the 1990s section below.

Part Three: The factory years and four-stroke domination:

After the second world war, things were getting back to normal, the world had moved on and great strides were made in technology during the war years.

The Scottish got off to a slow start in 1947, due to restrictions on fuel supply, so the entry was very modest.

125cc CZ 1950 Scottish Six Day Trial
Czechoslovak rider, C. Kohlicek in the 1950 Scottish on his 150cc CZ.

Motorcycle factories were getting back to producing domestic models and in particular the re-introduction of sporting or competition models.

1952 - B H M Viney
Four times winner of the Scottish, B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney on his factory AJS 16MC (KYM835) seen here in the 1952 trial on Stoney Brae, near Dunkeld. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

AJS and Matchless (AMC) had produced their ‘Teledraulic Spring Fork’ based on a pre-war BMW design and they used this on their 16M and G3L models for competition use.

img6 LAR
AMC (AJS & Matchless brands) were a dominant force in the immediate post-war Scottish. Here is Artie Ratcliffe’s 1954 winning Matchless (OLH721) on Martuim. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

They also had a lead on other factories in that they had supplied thousands of machines during the war to the Ministry of Supply. The post war competition models were a direct descendant of the military machines.

1952 SSDT - Leslie - Alves - Viney - Melville - Ray Biddle Photo
Scottish 1952, Roseburn, Edinburgh – George McIntosh, (left) trial secretary shakes the hands of Triumph’s P.H. ‘Jim’ Alves, AJS’s B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney and looking on is Tommy Melville (right) who was to become trial secretary some years later. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

AMC machines in the hands of Viney and Yorkshireman, Artie Ratcliffe had an almost stranglehold on the Scottish from 1949 to 1953, inter-spaced with Draper’s BSA win in 1951 and John Brittain’s Royal Enfield victory the following year.

img3 LAR
1954 winner – L.A. ‘Artie’ Ratcliffe on his factory 347cc Matchless (OLH721) on Weem, near Aberfeldy on the first day. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

Ratcliffe repeated his winning ways in 1954 on his Matchless OLH721, this would be the last year the event was won on a rigid framed machine. Jeff Smith took top honours in 1955 on his factory BSA Gold Star.

J V Smith 1957 Auchterawe
J. V. ‘Jeff’ Smith on his factory 499cc BSA Gold Star on Auchterawe in the 1957 Scottish. Smith won the 1955 event on a similar machine – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

All these riders rode for their respective factories, none were private entrants. Competition managers kept a close eye on weekly trials results and professional sporting motorcycle journalists like Ralph Venables, regularly name-dropped riders to the factory talent scouts.

Venables was particularly active in this regard as he had the ear of all the factory competition managers. His popular columns in the motorcycle press were widely read and his opinions valued.

Strangely enough, Venables admitted on many occasions to disliking the riding style of one particular rider, stating that he looked to crouched forward on the motorcycle, that rider was none other than Samuel Hamilton Miller!

Peter Stirland 1954 SSDT
1954 SSDT – Peter Stirland on his factory James climbs Grey Mares Ridge – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

Midlander Johnny Brittain, who started off riding a small capacity two-stroke James, eventually signed for the Reddich Royal Enfield company as their main trials rider. Son of the famous Vic Brittain, John had a strong trials pedigree and campaigned a rear sprung 350 and 500 Bullet, when rigid frames were the norm in trials. However that was to change in 1955 when AMC rider Bob Manns won the West of England trial using his AJS scrambles frame fitted with a 347cc trials motor and that single victory changed the face of trials for the next ten years.

A smiling Hugh Viney on his works 347cc AJS in the 1955 Scottish - Photo: Jock McComisky, Linlithgow
A smiling Hugh Viney on his works 347cc AJS in the 1955 Scottish – Photo: Jock McComisky, Linlithgow

The four-stroke trials machine in the Scottish was victorious from 1949 right up to 1964. Viney’s protege, Gordon Jackson had come through the ranks from 1952 and by 1956 had won the Scottish on a factory 347cc AJS (AJS776). Brittain repeated his 1952 victory again in 1957, Royal Enfield mounted (HNP331). Jackson grasped victory again in 1958 again on a 350 AJS (UXO184).

norm bsa l
BSA and Dulop tyres were keen to promote their successes in the SSDT. here is a letter, recently discovered by the daughter of the late Norman Hawkins who rode in 1958. It enclosed a cheque for £5 as Norman had won a Special First Class award – Photo: Rhosalyn Price.

In the 1958 trial, Norman Hawkins from a village called Blaina in Monmouthshire, Wales set off for Edinburgh with a suitcase strapped to his 350 BSA. He managed to win a ‘Special First Class’ award at the SSDT. The above photo is of the letter sent to him in the following month from BSA’s competition department enclosing a cheque for £5.00 as a bonus from the Dunlop Rubber company via the machine manufacturers, BSA in Birmingham. Sadly, Norman passed away, aged 85 on 24th July 2016.

1958 - SSDT
Alan King (346 – Royal Enfield); Don J. Page (348 BSA) and Norman Hawkins (348 BSA) at Gorgie Market on Sunday 5th May 1958 – Photo courtesy of Rhosalyn Price
P Stirland Ben Nevis1957
Peter Stirland on his factory Royal Enfield Bullet at Achintee, Ben Nevis in 1957. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

A sensation occurred in the following year with Roy Peplow winning on his factory Triumph Tiger Cub, the first machine to win with a small capacity motor, being 199cc, but still a four-stroke win. The 1959 Scottish marked the 50th anniversary of the trial taking into account the first Scottish, albeit a five day event, in 1909. As a publicity stunt, the scooter manufacturer, Lambretta fielded a team of three competitors all mounted on 150cc scooters. The team consisted of Scotsman, Lewis ‘Ludo’ More; Geoff Parker and Alan Kimber. Films still exist which were made at the time to record the efforts of the Lambretta team.

Sidecars in the ‘Scottish’

From the early years right up until 1959, sidecars were part of the SSDT, however they usually traversed a separate route from the solos.

The 1958 SSDT was covered by German magazine ‘Das Motorad’ and featured Arthur Pulman and passenger ‘Lynn’ on the front cover. Eric Adcock the DOT works rider is on the left. Image courtesy of Moto Presse Verlag, Stuttgart.

Jackson and the One Mark Win:

Gordon Jackson came back to Scotland in 1960 (VYW659) and again in 1961 to take top honours on his AJS, the latter losing the famous one mark on Grey Mare’s Ridge, a feat which was never to be repeated. He came so close to winning on a clean sheet on his factory AJS – 187BLF, a machine which was to become one of the most famous trials machines of all time.

Jackson’s famous ‘dab’ on Grey Mare’s Ridge was captured by Motor Cycle journalist Peter Howdle and is now an iconic trials photograph, the copyright of which belongs to Mortons Motorcycle Media Ltd, Hornchurch. The observer that was present on the top sub-section of Grey Mare’s Ridge was 17 year old David Johnston, now resident in Canada.

Now a Canadian citizen, David Johnston originally from Edinburgh was the observer in 1961 to debit Gordon Jackson’s score with the famous one mark! Here is David in 1972 riding the SSDT on his 169cc Greeves/Puch Pathfinder.

What wasn’t so widely reported was that although the event had been won on one solitary mark by Jackson, he won by a four mark margin over runner-up Sammy Miller who dropped five marks in total. The event was considered easy given the low scoring win, however some agrue that the margin for error was so narrow that it made it an effective ‘war of nerves’ between those capable of taking victory.

1959 - Lambretta scooters fielded a team of three riders: From left: Geoff Parker; Lewis 'Ludo' More and Alan Kimber, seen here at the Gorgie Market start area.
1959 – Lambretta scooters fielded a team of three riders: From left: Geoff Parker; Lewis ‘Ludo’ More and Alan Kimber, seen here at the Gorgie Market start area.

As for Jackson’s machine, the 16C AJS registered 187BLF – Gordon Blakeway took over the machine in 1963 from Jackson who retired from active competition and it was sold by Blakeway into private ownership in 1965 when the AMC factory closed and Blakeway was owed money. The famous AJS is now in the Sammy Miller Museum at New Milton having been discovered in 2010, verified by both Jackson and Miller and is now fully restored to it’s former glory.

Rumours that 187BLF had been exported to Australia were unfounded and it is believed that a collector had claimed the original UK registration and put it on a standard AJS 350 road machine. The original registration was subsequently reclaimed through the DVLA by Sammy Miller and is now back where it belongs, on the ex-factory short-stroke AJS 16C, built specially for Jackson’s 1961 Scottish win!

Gordon Jackson's famous AJS (187BLF) as it arrived at Sammy Miller's Museum - Photo: John Hulme/Trials Media
Gordon Jackson’s famous AJS (187BLF) as it arrived at Sammy Miller’s Museum in 2010 – Photo: John Hulme/Trials Media – all rights reserved.
Gordon Jackson with his famous AJS 187BLF on which he won the 1961 SSDT on one solitary mark! (Photo: Trials Guru)
Gordon Jackson re-united with his famous short-stroke AJS 16C – 187BLF in 2011 on which he won the 1961 SSDT on one solitary mark! (Photo: John Moffat / Trials Guru -all rights reserved)

The four-stroke domination continued in 1962 with Sammy Miller riding his world famous Ariel GOV132 finally slackened Jackson’s grasp on the premier trophy. The following year, Yorkshire’s Arthur Lampkin riding his 249cc BSA C15 (XON688) was a surprise winner, again a four-stroke machine took the win, backed by the mighty BSA factory for whom Lampkin rode trials and scrambles.

Sammy Miller returned to contest the Scottish with a much lighter version of his Ariel 500 in 1964, the machine by now at its zenith of development and funded by Surrey dealers, Comerfords of Thames Ditton. Needless to say Miller and his Ariel were victorious, he rode it until the end of the season and then defected to the Spanish Bultaco which, in the company of Triumph’s Roy Peplow, he had been secretly testing at Paco Bulto’s San Antonio farm near Barcelona for months previously.

The main benefits to Miller by going to Bultaco was two-fold. Firstly, Paco Bulto was a fluent English speaker, he understood everything Miller wanted. Secondly, Paco was the owner of the company and any modification that Sammy wanted to do to the motorcycle, it was carried out. Bulto interpreted what Miller desired from the technicians and it was done. This was a far cry from the motorcycle industry in Britain, they didn’t value the off-road scene and trials in particular, like the Spanish did.

Sammy Miller - Sherpa T
Sammy Miller with an early model 10 Bultaco Sherpa T which he developed from the Spanish firms Sherpa N dual-purpose model. Originally a 200cc, Miller had the capacity increased to 244cc. His first Sherpa 669NHO was registered in the UK on 26th November 1964, so technically Pre’65! – Photo: Publicity image of Bultaco Motorcycles (Compania Espanola de Motores S.A.)

The following May, Miller arrived in Edinburgh with 669NHO, his 244cc Bultaco and changed the face of trials forever, giving Bultaco and the two-stroke engine its first win at the annual classic.

Miller ended the four-stroke domination of the Scottish but this was not the end of factory supported winners, far from it, the sport and the Scottish was to witness a different type of domination, by the professional trials rider.

Results: 1954 – 1965

img4 LAR
1954 Scottish winner, L.A. ‘Artie’ Ratcliffe from Bradford on his factory 347cc Matchless (OLH721) on Fort William’s Town Hall Brae. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

1954 – L. A.  ‘Artie’ Ratcliffe – 347cc Matchless – 25 Marks

D Lamb 1954 SSDT
Davy Lamb from Easthouses, Dalkeith on his 197cc DMW in the 1954 Scottish on Loch Eild Path. He lost 155 marks to gain a First Class award. Lamb was the uncle of Edinburgh riders, Norman and Derek Edgar. Norman Edgar became SSDT Clerk of Course. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.
Kitchen Eric SSDT54 49
Renown trials photographer, Eric Kitchen on his Triumph Trophy 499cc crests Martuim in the 1954 Scottish. Eric lost 109 marks and gained a First Class award – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham
J Lilley 1954 SSDT
Jack Lilley on his 490cc Norton on the road near Aviemore in the 1954 Scottish. he finished on 312 marks lost and a Third Class award – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

1955 – J. V. ‘Jeff’ Smith – 499cc BSA – 20 Marks

Jackson 1957 SSDT Kinlochrannoch
G.L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson on his factory 347cc AJS (TLP686) with short-stroke motor, tackles Kinloch Rannoch in the 1957 Scottish. Photo: Brian Holder, Teddington.

1956 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS  -16 Marks

1957 – J.V. ‘Johnny’ Brittain – 347cc Royal Enfield – 22 Marks

J Duncan 1958
Former Scottish Trials Champion, the late Jack Duncan from Brechin, Angus on his 498cc Ariel in the 1958 Scottish on Glenogle section in the first day. Photo: Mrs Peggy Davies, North Queensferry.
1957 SSDT Sam Seston SC
Sidecars formed part of the Scottish entry up until 1960, but required a separate route which caused the organisers extra work. This is Sam Seston in 1957 on his 499cc BSA outfit tackling ‘Muirshearlich’ which is near the current section, ‘Trotter’s Burn’, near Banavie, Fort William.

1958 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 6 Marks

Jack Williamson tackles Glenogle on the first day of the 1958 Scottish on his 499cc Ariel HT5, watched by SACU Steward, T. Arnott Moffat on the left. Williamson was Scottish Trials Champion three times. Jack lost 94 marks in this event to gain a special first class award.

1959 – R. S. ‘Roy’ Peplow – 199cc Triumph Tiger Cub – 18 Marks

1959 Prog
The 1959 SSDT programme cover, celebrating fifty years since the first ‘Scottish’ which was a five day affair – Photo from John Moffat’s SSDT Programme and results archive.
Ron on his BSA C15T in the 1959 Scottish on Glenogle section on May 4th. One of the first day hills as he made his way homeward to Fort William from the Edinburgh start. On the right is Dunfermline rider Maurice Duffin. Photo: Mrs. Peggy Davies.
Ron Thomson on his BSA C15T in the 1959 Scottish on the Glenogle section on May 4th, one of the first day hills as he made his way homeward to Fort William from the Edinburgh start. Ron was the only BSA C15 rider to finish, all the factory bikes retired that year. Photo: Mrs. Peggy Davies, North Queensferry.
1959 SSDT D Lumsden
1959 was the Golden Jubilee Scottish, here we see the late David Lumsden from Bonnyrigg, Midlothian on the ex- Arnott Moffat, 347cc AJS (JSC905) negotiating Achintee, Ben Nevis. He is being studied by Sammy Miller and Eric Adcock. This machine still exists and was ridden in the 2013 Pre’65 Scottish by Moffat’s grandson, David C. Moffat.
Hugh Macdonald 1959SSDT Bay Hill
Fort William man, Hugh S. McDonald on his Royal Enfield, tackles Bay Hill in the 1959 Scottish. Photo courtesy: Mrs Helen Thomson, Fort William.

1960 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 16 Marks

1961 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 1 Mark

SSDT 1961 Peplow
1961 – The Stop and Restart Test at Blackford Hill Royal Observatory, Edinburgh on the path before the final machine examination. Here is Triumph works rider, R.S. ‘Roy’ Peplow on his 199cc Tiger Cub. The instructions were to ride beyond the first yellow ochre line then stop before the second line, then move off again when instructed by the official. Peplow won the event in 1959, in 1961 he lost 17 marks and gained a Special First Class award and Best performance on a solo motorcycle from 151 – 200cc.

1962 – S. H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 499cc Ariel – 8 Marks

1963 Allie Cameron Achintee
A. J. ‘Allie’ Cameron, known locally in Fort William as ‘Allie Beag’ worked at the Greeves factory and rode specially built 150cc Greeves machines, seen here in 1963 on Achintee. Allie lost 120 marks and gained a Special First Class award and Best up to 150cc Capacity Class award. Photo courtesy, Mrs. Florence Cameron, Fort William.

1963 – A. J. ‘Arthur’ Lampkin – 249cc BSA – 7 Marks

Ron Thomson (Fort William) swings his leg over his immaculately prepared 349cc BSA Gold Star at the start of the 1963 Scottish at Gorgie market in Edinburgh. In two short years, the heavyweight four-stroke trials machine was out of favour. Photo: Jimmy Young, Armadale.

1964 – S. H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 499cc Ariel – 30 Marks

Alister McDonald was a greta friend of Ron Thomson. here we see Ali on his Ariel HT5 on Town Hall Brae (Rocky Brae) in Fort William in the 1964 SSDT. Photo Courtesy of Mrs Ron Thomson, Fort William.
Alister McDonald on his Ariel HT5 on Town Hall Brae (Rocky Brae) in Fort William in the 1964 Scottish. The following year consigned these machines to museums. Photo Courtesy of Mrs Ron Thomson, Fort William.
GOV132 - IL - 2011
Sammy Miller’s Ariel GOV132 in its final form and very close to as ridden in the 1964 Scottish, seen here at the 2011 (Centenary) Scottish. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Blackie Holden - Creag an Eilein 1964
Blackie Holden on his Cotton in the 1964 Scottish at the top sub-section of Creag An Eilein. In the background are 68 – David Clegg (250cc Greeves) and 72 – Bill Wilkinson (250cc Greeves) Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

1965 – S. H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 244cc Bultaco – 29 Marks

Foyers, South Loch Ness in the 1965 SSDT on the Greeves.
Derek Cranfield, Witney MCC on Foyers, South Loch Ness in the 1965 SSDT on his Greeves. Derek lost 191 marks to gain a First Class award.
1965 SSDT Programme
The front cover of the 1965 Scottish, the first two-stroke win in the trials history. The photo depicts Swiss rider, R Wyss from Heimberg on his 246cc Greeves in the 1964 trial, who lost 335 marks and gained a second class award – Front cover photograph taken from the John Moffat SSDT Programme Archive.

Part Four – The Spanish Armada:

There is no doubt that Sammy Miller’s move to the Spanish Bultaco in 1965, heralded a change in trials in that smaller capacity two-strokes were now at an clear advantage over the previously favoured larger capacity four-stroke motorcycle. Miller had it written into his contract with Snr.Xavier Francisco ‘Paco’ Bulto that if he didn’t win fifty percent of the trials he entered, then Bulto did not have to honour the agreement to pay Miller. Sammy was so confident of the Sherpa’s potential.

Comerfords 1965 SSDT - John Neaves
Sporting dealers, Comerfords of Thames Ditton were great supporters of the SSDT, they supplied many machines to the Edinburgh Club for course marking. This is their 1965 Ford Thames van at Gorgie Market that year – Photo courtesy of John Neaves, Edinburgh

Miller’s 1965 Scottish win sent a message out to the trials world and the message was clear, two-strokes were here and they were here to stay and Spanish built ones at that.

Paco Bulto of course was delighted, he had moved from the soon to be the rival Montesa/Permanyer company (Originally called Bulto & Permanyer S.A.) which Bulto helped found in 1944, to form his own separate company in 1958, Compania Espanola de Motores S.A.

The Spanish didn’t however have it all their own way. British manufacturers had access to the proprietory Villiers two-stroke engine. The mighty BSA concern tried to develop the Bantam for trials use, but never made a trials production model from it, other than the early D1 three-speed back in 1951.

Rob Edwards 1967 - Mick Illing
Rob Edwards (250 Cotton) in the 1967 Scottish on his way to a Special First Class award – Photo: Mick Illing, York

Dave Rowland campaigned and actually led the 1967 Scottish on a four-speed 175cc BSA Bantam, but was thwarted as he had to cut short his ride to be a witness to what was a murder trial in the midlands.

Dave Rowland on his 249cc BSA C15T at the start of the 1963 Scottish at Gorgie Market. Rowland won the P.S. Chamberlain trophy losing 27 marks, as this was his first Scottish – Photo courtesy: Jimmy Young, Armadale.

Greeves, the Thundersley, Essex competition motorcycle manufacturer, was always at the forefront with their aluminium spine frame and Villiers motor with Don Smith as their front-runner. However, Smith was to see the writing on the wall and moved to the Spanish rival, Montesa in 1968.

DR Smith - PB - SSDT crop
Cigarette smoking D.R. ‘Don’ Smith defected from the British Greeves in late 1967 to ride for the Spanish Montesa factory on their new Cota trials machine. Here is Smith on the 247cc Montesa (UMV10F) in the 1969 Scottish, watched by Sammy Miller. Photo: Peter Bremner, Inverness.

During the 1960’s a younger breed of British trials rider, such as Malcolm Rathmell, Rob Edwards, Mick Andrews and Martin Lampkin were cutting their teeth on the Scottish and this was to heighten the event’s popularity throughout the next decade. There wasn’t to be an overseas winner until 1980, up until then, every winner had been British born.

The Scottish always held great interest for overseas riders, which had included Irish competitors. The Czechoslovaks entered a team of competitors on CZ machines as early as 1950. The event became an International event as such and recognised by the FIM as a result. This necessitated an International licence to compete in the event.

A young Derbyshire rider called Mick Andrews had been spotted by journalist Ralph Venables as being a natural talented trials rider early on in his riding career. Very quickly, AMC’s Hugh Viney snapped up Andrews for the AJS factory team to ride 644BLB along with Gordon Blakeway (187BLF) and Gordon McLaughlan (164BLL) in the 1963 Scottish. In an attempt to ‘modernise’ the now tired and dated looking AJS 16C, the factory painted the fuel tanks of the team bikes in ivory white with gold lining for the 1964 Scottish again Andrews, McLaughlan and Blakeway rode the now outdated machines.

1965 Allie Cameron
1965 – Scottish ‘Weigh-In’ at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh. – A.J. ‘Allie Beag’ Cameron from Fort William prepares his factory 150cc Greeves. His efforts were rewarded with the Best up to 150cc class award and a First Class award losing 169 marks. Photo: Mrs. Florence Cameron, Fort William.

For 1965, Andrews had moved onto the 249cc James and Rob Edwards from Thornaby using his own AJS 16C became part of the factory team for the highland classic. Edwards was to become a major component of the Montesa trials effort in the 1970’s.

LEP - 1964 - Holder Photo
Thornaby’s Rob Edwards was drafted into the AJS team for 1965. Seen here on Loch Eild Path in 1964, Edwards bought his AJS 16C (970PL) from Comerfords and extensively modified it to factory specification. Photo: Brian Holder, Teddington.

Seven years later in 1970, Andrews was to pick up his first Scottish victory on the prototype Barcelona built OSSA.

The 1966 event was to witness a slight change in format, with the trial starting in Edinburgh and finishing in Fort William because of a lack of accommodation in Edinburgh. Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin was to win the event on his 249cc BSA C15T (748MOE) with Bultaco mounted Mick Andrews in runner up position. The special guest at the event was actress Fenella Fielding, who appeared in many British made, Carry-On films in the 1960’s.

Lampkin treated Ms. Fielding to a quick run on the back of his Scottish winning machine after the event. This was the last time a British built four-stroke was to win the event ever and the last four-stroke win until James Dabill’s victory in 2007 on the Montesa Cota 4RT.

The 1966 event saw Sammy Miller enter on an over-bored version of his Bultaco Sherpa, taking the capacity from 244 to 252cc to try and win the over two-fifty cup. Private owners also experimented with their chosen machinery, which included Barry Kefford of later BKS sidecar fame, who entered a Triumph Cub with a self-made duplex frame. Martin Bagot had converted his C15 BSA to magneto ignition. 

1966 - SSDT - Sammy Miller Bultaco EAA60D - 2
1966 Weigh-In at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh – Sammy Miller’s Bultaco Sherpa 252cc (EAA60D) – Photo courtesy: Kenny McNamee, Motherwell

Sport of trials, business of trials:

It was in this era that trials riders were in effect semi-professional sportsmen. Alan Lampkin rode for the factory, his day job being at the family’s engineering business in Silsden, Yorkshire under the control of elder brother Arthur.

Mick Andrews started off as a motor mechanic, but gave up his apprenticeship to ride trials and scrambles for a living.

European champion, but never a Scottish winner, Don Smith ran a motorcycle business for some years, but was contracted first to Greeves and then Montesa, Kawasaki Motors and finally Fantic in Italy. Smith made a living from riding trials.

Sammy Miller had been employed by Ariels which became part of the BSA group and then signed as a rider and development engineer at Bultaco and then Honda. He was regarded as the true professional in both earnings and approach.

Bill Wilkinson was somewhat different, he and his younger brother Mick ran a family garage at Kettlewell, Upper Wharfdale, in North Yorkshire. Wilkinson rode for Greeves, but never had a written contract, unlike Don Smith.

1966 - SSDT - Don Smith - Greeves
Don Smith’s 1966 Greeves 250 (NVW101C) in preparation for the Scottish Six Days at the Weigh-In at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh – Photo courtesy: Kenny McNamee, Motherwell

Bill Wilkinson: “I never had a formal, written contract with Greeves Motorcycles, the handshake of Mr. Bert Greeves and that of Mr. Derry Preston-Cobb was enough for me”, he told Trials Guru in June 2015.

Scottish officials:

George K. Baird – Clerk of Course until 1961 and Chairman until 1970, Baird was from Edinburgh and had been a semi-works rider for Ariels riding their Red Hunter machines before the outbreak of the Second World War.

1969 Scotia Trophy winners - Sweden - SSDT
1969 Scottish – Front row from left is George F. Simpson, Stig Igelstrom (Karlskoga MK rider), Mrs Aine Igelstrom, SSDT Secretary Tommy Melville and SSDT Chairman, George K. Baird. Second row: Thore Evertson and Lars Sellman (brother of Benny Sellman)  Back row: Roland Bjorck and Sven Johansson. The riders were all from Sweden, Karlskoga MK riders.

George was a saw-doctor and forestry implement dealer by profession, who was also the first man to clean the famous Devil’s Staircase in 1938. This was immediately before Allan Jefferies, the Triumph factory rider, father to road racer Tony and trials and road racer, Nick also cleaned the section. It was Baird, as chairman of the SSDT committee who saw fit to introduce more sections on the final day of the trial in 1969, with the introduction of Pipeline, tackled before the entry threaded its way southwards from Fort William to the final machine examination at Edinburgh’s Blackford Hill, Royal Observatory. Prior to this the Saturday route was a more leisurely affair. Baird also team managed the initial Scottish ACU International Six Days effort, when they supplied riders for the Great Britain Vase B team in 1969 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria.

Building the famous Blackwater Path (Cairan Path) ‘catch-net’ in 1969 are from left: Alex Smith (Bathgate); Eric MacNamara (Edinburgh); Willie Pitblado (Dunfermline) & Tommy Ritchie (Edinburgh) – Photo: John E. Graham, Bonnyrigg (Both Eric MacNamara & John E. Graham were past clerks of course, SSDT)

John E. Graham – Clerk of Course and subsequently chairman of the SSDT committee was from Bonnyrigg, Midlothian and had supported and officiated the Scottish from the late 1940’s. His personal mode of transport for many years was a 499cc Triumph Trophy twin. John, or Johnny as many knew him,Graham was a very organised person and was passionate about the Scottish, he continued to attend the trial after he retired as Chairman of the SSDT. However, due to the ill-health of his wife he couldn’t get to the trial for several years. His wife’s health improved somewhat and he attended the trial up until his death.

The Blackwater (or Cairan Path) catch net, constructed by members of the Scottish Six Days Trial committee in the late 1960s. - Photo Jock McComisky
The Blackwater (or Cairan Path) catch net, constructed by members of the Scottish Six Days Trial committee in the late 1960s. – Photo Jock McComisky

Norman F.W. Edgar – Clerk of Course from Edinburgh, son of Norman Edgar Snr who was part of a family-owned motorcycle dealership, Edgar Brothers based at 241 Leith Walk, Edinburgh. Norman Jnr was a successful rider and won the Scottish Trials Championship, he rode the Scottish on DMW, Puch and Bultaco machines, the family business being agents for these marques. His younger brother, Derek rode trials and was development rider for Puch in Austria and Montesa in the USA.

There is a popular misconception that a Scots born rider has always led the field as rider number 1. This isn’t true, for many years this has been the case, but not always. At one time small capacity machines were allocated a low number beginning with number 1. However since the early 1970’s it has been the case that where possible a Scotsman has been allocated the lowest starting number.

1980 - Ben Nevis J J McComisky - 349 Montesa
Scotsman, Jock McComisky was allocated riding number 1 for the 1980 Scottish, seen here on Ben Nevis on his 349 Montesa Cota.
1969 programme front
The 1969 programme front cover features Sammy Miller on EAA60D his 252cc Bultaco winning the 1968 event watched closely by Scots rider, Ernie Page. Photo: John Moffat’s SSDT programme and results archive.

Results: 1966 – 1969

1966 – A.R.C. ‘Alan’ Lampkin – 249cc BSA – 23 Marks

1967 – S.H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 252cc Bultaco – 18 Marks

Sammy Vesty
Sammy Miller (right) won the 1967 & 1968 Scottish on this 252cc Bultaco Sherpa registered EAA60D. The machine is now owned by Yrjo Vesterinen (left), seen here at the 2014 Telford Show. Photo: Trials Guru/John Moffat

1968 – S.H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 252cc Bultaco – 17 Marks

1968 LEP Allie Cameron
Allie Cameron on Loch Eild Path in the 1968 Scottish on his factory 249cc Greeves. Allie won the Henderson Challenge Trophy for the best performance by a member of the promoting club. – Photo – Original copyright: Alistair MacMillan / West Highland News Agency, Fort William (with permission of current copyright holder: Anthony MacMillan, Fort William – All rights reserved)

1969 – W. ‘Bill’ Wilkinson – 250cc Greeves – 30 Marks

1969 edramucky
1969 winner, Bill Wilkinson on his factory 250cc Greeves Anglian seen here on first day section, ‘Edramucky’ on the slopes on Ben Lawers, was to be the last British rider to win the Scottish on a British built machine. Photo courtesy of Bill Wilkinson, Skipton.

Part Five – The Young Bloods:

As the Scottish moved into the 1970’s the speed of machine development gathered pace. The young British riders who had cut their teeth and served their Scottish apprenticeships began to dominate the trials scene nationally and internationally.

H. Martin Lampkin whose first Scottish was on a 249cc BSA in 1967 when he was seventeen years of age had also ridden an Alta Suzuki in 1969 before switching to the Spanish Bultaco Sherpa in 1970.

Martin Lampkin
Martin Lampkin in his first Scottish in 1967 on a 249cc BSA

Malcolm Rathmell who started his SSDT first on a Triumph Cub then Greeves, was signed by Bultaco as a motocross rider, but switched over to trials fully in 1971 and helped develop the slimline ‘kit campeon’ Sherpa for the San Adrian De Besos (Sant Adria De Besos) concern.

Sammy Miller, having had his swan-song Scottish in 1970, the man to beat at the Scottish from then onwards was undeniably Mick Andrews, who switched to the Spanish Ossa in 1967 after one year on Bultaco riding for Rickman Brothers, the then importers. Andrews repeated Hugh Viney’s hat-trick ride by winning the event three times in succession 1970-1972. This was the period which saw the event being massively oversubscribed by over 100% and so the annual ballot of riders took place. In 1971 a young 17 year old Cumbrian rode in his first SSDT, he was called Nigel Birkett and rode an Eddie Crooks supported Suzuki.

ossa pennine red
Mick Andrews used a Pennine model from 1967 to 1969 similar to this one which is an ex-Ted Brefitt. Andrews weighed in a much slimmer, lighter prototype (B775073) for the 1970 Scottish.

Andrews had taken the trail-derived Ossa Pennine model which still sported a motocross style high front fender and for the 1970 trial weighed in a much lighter, more purposeful machine with an orange and ivory fibre-glass resin tank seat unit not dis-similar to that of the rival Montesa Cota. The Ossa concern fielded a team of three riders, Andrews, Dave Thorpe and Greeves defector, Bill Wilkinson who didn’t get on with the 169cc Austrian Puch engined Pathfinder model. The importer was Ossa Moto UK, headed up by Yorkshire’s former Royal Enfield rider, Peter Fletcher and Alan Kimber.

SSDT 1971 -Publicity
Montesa Motorcycles, Spain used their manufacturers team award win at the Scottish to publicise their Cota 247 model in posters and model brochures. This is Montesa factory rider, Rob Edwards in 1971 on the famous ‘Pipeline’ section near Kinlochleven. This is regarded as one of the most iconic trials photos of the Scottish.

The new Ossa prototype with Barcelona registration, B775073 caused great interest and comment in the following weeks motorcycle papers, Andrews was the centre of attraction at the Gorgie Market with many photographs being taken of the new Ossa. To make matters better, Andrews won the event and the following year also, culminating in the launch in January 1972 of the 250cc Ossa ‘Mick Andrews Replica’ or MAR for short. Andrews won twice (1970/71) on the prototype B775073 and in 1972 on what appeared to be a production MAR which was again Barcelona registered as B1681-C but was in truth a full factory machine with lots of titanium parts.

Rathmell spoiled Andrews’ run of victories in 1973 on his UK registered (XWW34L) factory 250cc Bultaco, fitted with a British made Homerlite tank seat unit fabricated from aluminium alloy and painted in a blue/silver combination.

1973 Bultaco Malcolm Rathmell
Malcolm Rathmell’s 1973 win was capitalised upon by Bultaco in press release and advertising material, albeit they got the spelling wrong! Notice that the UK safety helmet law did not apply and Rathmell is wearing the new bright coloured style TT Leathers Ruff-ryda clothing, new for that year.

This was to be a wise move for the Comerfords supported factory riders which included American, Lane Leavett from California. Rathmell’s win was done on a wing and a prayer though, as the his Sherpa had a tendency to ‘nip up’ when riding long downhill parts of the course, which was a feature of the last day when competitors headed back to the finish via Tyndrum. The following year, the factory Bultaco men were all on the new 325cc version.

The 1973 trial was to be a controversial event in that the UK Ministry for Transport had insisted that road registered motorcycles must have metal fuel tanks. Luckily, the factory machines of Montesa were all registered in Barcelona, Spain but many of the rest were using fibre-glass resin tanks, now outlawed by the UK government.

A protest was lodged by UK Ossa importer, Cliff Holden stating that the fuel tanks of some competitors machines were illegal and this caused doubt on whether the event would even take place at all. It was viewed by many of the sports’ commentators of the day as being a not particularly sportsman-like attitude.

1973 – Presentation of Awards in Edinburgh
ARC Lampkin - HM Lampkin - MC Rathmell - Oriol Bulto - Bultaco
1973 – SSDT – Manufacturers’ Team Award – Blackford Challenge Trophy – Bultaco – A.R.C. Lampkin; H.M. Lampkin; M.C. Rathmell & Bultaco Team Manager – Oriol Puig Bulto
1973 - First Day Leaders - M.J. Andrews - T. Evertson - F. Munoz
1973 – SSDT Best performance on First Day – Mick Andrews (England, Ossa); Thore Evertson (Sweden, Ossa) & Fernando Munoz (Spain, Bultaco)
C J Hemingway - Best 150cc
1973 – SSDT – Best 150cc Cup C.J. Hemingway (Montesa 125)
M C Rathmell - Winner - 1973 SSDT
1973 – SSDT Winner – Malcolm Rathmell (Bultaco) The J.R. Alexander Trophy, with the contents of a bottle of whisky!

Happily the event did eventually go ahead without further hitch. Rumour has it that the club officials who were not keen to take action against riders, had after taking advice from the event stewards and international jury, simply put the onus back on Holden to become a police informer, if he chose to do so.

The UK motorcycle helmet law came into force just one month after the 1973 Scottish, so for the first time in the events history, riders were required to wear helmets during the event. The law did not actually apply to off-road use, but the competitors tended to ride with their helmets worn during the event, even walking the sections with them still fixed. Time was always an element of the Scottish and it wasted time constantly removing and refitting the crash helmet. At this time many competitors used chin-cup attachments, which were to be outlawed at a later date.

1973 also saw the need to introduce a ‘ballot’ system as the trial had become ever more popular. This was not greeted with enthusiasm by those that were unlucky enough to miss out on competing in the annual event. Over the years the dreaded ballot has come in for criticism and ridicule, the trial being a victim of it’s own success.

The ‘SSDT Ballot’ Explained:

The SSDT ballot is an issue that raises it’s head, year after year, and conspiracy theories abound, let’s clear up some common misconceptions with the help of former event secretary (2003-2012), Mairi Grant.

“How do you get a guaranteed entry to the Scottish? At this point most people will expect the committee to claim that there’s no way to guarantee an entry, a ballot is a ballot, and there’s no more to be said on the topic. That would be incorrect. There is actually three different ways that you can get a guaranteed entry to the Scottish Six Days. There is no great secret to it either. If fact it is all outlined in the event supplementary regulations”.

“270 places are allocated to competitors each year. Of those, fifty are set aside for the club to allocate at their discretion and thirty are set aside for the official factory teams. That leaves one hundred and ninety places to be allocated. Until a few years ago all of those were drawn out by ballot. That changed when the industry was hit by the economic downturn and the trial began to struggle to get daily sponsorship. As an added incentive to attract sponsors, the trial committee began offering five guaranteed entries to the trial as part of their daily sponsorship deal. In theory this could reduce the number of places to allocate through the ballot by a further thirty places, but in practise not all sponsors are interested in this side of the deal and we generally only utilise a fraction of those spaces. Whilst some may argue that it is unfair to reduce the number of places available through the ballot, but the committee need to do whatever it takes to retain sponsorship and thereby secure the future of the event”.

“The ballot itself is effectively that, an old-fashioned ballot. We ignore the names of the riders who have the guaranteed places are ignored, sheets are printed with all the remaining names on them, cut into slips, folded, then mixed about in a very large mixing bowl before drawing each place, one at a time”.

“The committee have been asked why the same names appear on the entry list each year, and the simple answer is that most of those names are not in the ballot. Factory riders don’t vary much from year to year, albeit sometimes contracts have changed and the riders are with a different manufacturer. Similarly the club riders’ don’t change much, as most of them are either past winners, riders who have supported the trial through the bad years, or part of the club itself. Sponsorship teams will no doubt go the same way as they establish themselves.It is worth mentioning that why are there deserving riders turned away when some who have got an entry are never seen on a trials bike other than during the first week of May? Unfortunately that is the downside of operating an indiscriminate ballot system. Nothing else is taken into account”. – Mairi Grant

Alan Lampkin on Blackwater sections in the 1978 Scottish, note the Barcelona registration on his 325 Bultaco. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
A.R.C. ‘Alan’ Lampkin also known as ‘Sid’ on his 325 Bultaco on the Blackwater sections in the 1978 Scottish. The Lampkin brothers rode regularly with Barcelona registered Bultacos. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Mick Andrews who had won the event three times for the Barcelona based Ossa, defected to the Japanese manufacturer, Yamaha Motor Co. This was widely appreciated in the motorcycle press as it caused excitement that a major motorcycle manufacturer was taking trials seriously, but it did not go down well in Spain. Andrews like Miller before him had become highly regarded and popular with Spanish and Catalan Spanish trial fans. When Andrews left Ossa for Yamaha, this was not palatable to the Spanish.

Andrews once again caused a press flurry at Edinburgh’s Gorgie Market in early May with the arrival of his SSDT mount, it was UK registered as ENU29L but with twin rear shock suspension, not the prototype mono-shock version.

Contrary to popular belief, Andrews machines were full factory ‘0W (zero-W)’ models and not the TY designation, which had been initially developed by French champion, Christian Rayer who moved from Montesa to Yamaha in 1971. The production TY only appeared after Andrews had started riding for Yamaha.

Mick Andrews 1977
Seen here on Altnafeadh, Mick Andrews used this factory ‘0W’ mono-shock machine in 1977, his final Scottish on a Yamaha. – Photo Alistair MacMillan / West Highland News Agency, Fort William.

The mighty Honda corporation in Japan took an interest in trials and the Scottish in the early 1970’s when Sammy Miller once more moved companies. Miller had pretty much retired from top-line competition, but was keen to develop trials machines, Honda had the money plus the research and development clout.

Mart Buuron 1977 Callart - D Richardson photo
Dutchman, Mart Buuron’s 348 Montesa goes up in a fireball after the fibreglass tank had ruptured at Callert on Day 1 of the 1977 event – Photo: David ‘Rick’ Richardson
Nick Jefferies on Blackwater in 1977 on his short-stroke 305cc Honda TL300. These machines were hand built by RSC (Honda Racing Service Centre) – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Sammy formed a trials team and initially they used the small capacity TL125 originally the ‘Bials for Trials’ project. A larger motor was developed from the trail XL250 Motorsport and the new machine was ready for riders Brian Higgins and Nick Jefferies. Tommy Sandham carefully documented the Honda trials effort in his book ‘Four Stroke Finale – The Honda Trials Story’.

Yorkshireman Jefferies and Yorkshire farmer, Rob Shepherd rode the Honda TL300 well in the Scottish, but never well enough to win the Scottish, which remained a hard trial to win. Belgian Eddy Lejeune became their world class rider, but even he wasn’t successful in taking Scottish Six Days honours, even although he had the backing of the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. It was no guarantee to have a world title that SSDT victory was assured, far from it.

Rob Shepherd (300 Honda RTL300) on Grey Mare's Ridge in the 1979 Scottish Six Days - © - Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Rob Shepherd (300 Honda RTL300) on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1979 Scottish © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

The Scottish continued to attract attention from overseas riders keen to experience the most famous trial of them all. As mentioned earlier, riders aspired to come to Edinburgh and the highlands to test their skills and compete among the best riders in the trials world. Motorcycle trials machine sales soared in the late 1960’s and well into the 1970’s. The Spanish manufacturers had full order books and even the USA took note. The only drawback was getting to Scotland from overseas, which usually entailed a long drive.

Walther Luft, the Austrian champion harbored a desire to ride the SSDT, his dream came true in 1970, the Puch factory agreed to pay his expenses and sent Luft, accompanied by his friend from Vienna, Peter Bous (Bultaco) and factory manager Hans Maiditz to Edinburgh.

1970 - SSDT - Gorgie Market. Bob Paterson (SACU) examines Walther Luft's 169cc Puch. (W-30823 Vienna registration)
1970 – Scottish weigh-in at Gorgie Market. Bob Paterson (Scottish ACU Chairman) examines Walther Luft’s 169cc Puch. (W-30823 Vienna registration) – Photo: Hans Maiditz, Graz.

Scottish ACU secretary, T. Arnott Moffat had been on holiday in Bavaria the previous year at the International Six Days and had spoken to Puch factory officials who mentioned Luft’s SSDT venture.

SSDT 1970 - Maiditz
SSDT photo from 1970, Gorgie Cattle Market, Edinburgh. Walther Luft (kneeling) is inspecting the 175cc Walwin BSA of Ross Winwood. The person to the right looking down is Austrian Peter Bous. the gent with the trilby hat is my father, SACU Secretary and former rider, T. Arnott Moffat. On the far left is John Graham, SSDT Clerk of the Course that year. Walking away to right is Bob Paterson, former SACU President.

Moffat arranged for the small team to stay at his home in Bathgate, a mere 15 miles from the Edinburgh start.

Walter Luft Laggan locks
Walther Luft campaigned his semi-factory Puch, very much a self-made trials bike which he took out to 250cc in its final form. Luft also rode an experimental KTM when the Austrian factory evaluated the sport of trials. Here is Walther on Laggan Locks in 1983 a fantastic photo by Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Luft’s efforts were rewarded by winning the Edinburgh Trophy in 1970 for the best performance by an overseas rider.

Luft May 1973
Walther Luft (left) at the finish of the 1973 Scottish has his factory Puch (244cc) collected from Blackford Hill, Edinburgh by friend Arnott Moffat (right). Note the nylon chain guides which pre-dates the Montesa Cota 348 on which Montesa based its design by three years Photo: John Moffat – all rights reserved.

Luft rode continuously for years afterwards and more overseas riders came to ride the Scottish. These included Thore Evertson who first rode in 1969, Evertson had secured sponsorship from Tan Trading and an Ossa berth, he was to be the top overseas competitor on more than one occasion.

1974 Vesty
1974 was Yrjo Vesterinen’s first attempt at the Scottish, seen here riding Reg May’s own private 325 Bultaco Sherpa. Photo: Alan Vines courtesy of John Hulme/Trials Media.

Finland’s Yrjo Vesterinen who was the up and coming Bultaco rider with a fresh factory contract rode his first Scottish in 1974 on a 325 Sherpa borrowed from Comerford/Bultaco UK tuning wizard, Reg May. His Scottish victory was six years distant.

The first Japanese rider to compete in the SSDT was Toshiki Nishiyama, who rode a 247 Montesa Cota in the 1971 event. He had a small Japanese national flag taped to the front brake cable of his machine and was to be a popular rider with the enthusiastic fans who went to the SSDT in their droves.

Toshi Nishiyama (Montesa Cota 247) on ‘Pipeline’ in the 1971 SSDT – Photo: Toshi Nishiyama, Japan Private Collection

He became known as ‘Toshi’ and rode several times on both Honda and Bultaco machinery.

Toshi Nishiyama was so proud of his award winning at the SSDT that he had this decal made following his 1973 first class award. Photo: Toshiki Nishiyama, Japan
1977 SSDT prog rear cover - Bultaco advert
Bultaco were keen to capitalise on their World Trials Championship successes with the back cover of the 1977 Scottish advert showing the firms’ Sherpa 325cc Model 183 – Photo courtesy: John Moffat’s Archive of Scottish Six Days programmes and information

Frenchman, Charles Coutard, factory Bultaco mounted, was one of the young guard keen to do well in the annual event and had the backing of both Esso petroleum and Aseptogyl, the French toothpaste manufacturer, which also sponsored a female rally team at the time.

Coutard SSDT
Eight times French trials champion, Charles Coutard (325 Bultaco) on Edramucky on the first day of the 1976 Scottish. Photo: Iain C. Clark, Fort William

The Spanish and in particular Paco Bulto was keen to see Spanish riders compete at the Scottish, after all his Sherpas in the hands of Sammy Miller had won in 1965, 67 & 68, plus Rathmell’s 1973 win and Lampkins 1976,77 – 79. Paco Bulto became a regular visitor to both the Scottish and Isle of Man TT races over the years. Bulto’s nephew, Oriol Puig Bulto drove all the way from Barcelona to Edinburgh in 1962. This was overland and ferry crossings driving a 500cc Seat car towing a trailer with two Bultaco Sherpa N machines, one for Lancastrian rider, Tommy Ollerton who was supported by Anellys Motorcycles and one for Puig Bulto himself to compete in the Scottish.

In the 1970s there were a whole host of Spanish riders keen to compete in the SSDT, this has continued to the present day.

Javier Cucurella (Spain – 325 Bultaco) on Laggan Locks in 1977. His nick-name was ‘Cuccu’ and competed many times in the SSDT riding a factory Bultaco – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Trial secretary, Jim McColm was charged by the SSDT committee with the task of issuing a statement from the Motor Club to the motorcycle press in October 1974 detailing the plans for the 1975 event.

He said: “The Scottish is not an easy trial, it never was and it never will be, but what we can guarantee all Competitors is a week of rough but exhilarating sections, combined with the feeling of being part of the finest Trial in the World. The Organising Committee of the Scottish Six Days Trial have spent many hours discussing the future of the ‘Scottish’. Should we revert back to the ‘Holiday in the Highlands’ or should we make it much, much tougher, and never again see a performance like Gordon Jackson’s in the Sixties, when the Trial was won with the loss of only one mark?”

Lampkin 1975 SSDT - Poster Photo
Bultaco used the image of their first world champion, Martin Lampkin seen here on his factory Sherpa on Ben Nevis at the Scottish, in advertising material to promote the Sherpa models.

This adventure set the scene for many more Catalan riders to follow suit over the years, which included Bulto’s grand-nephew, Manuel Soler the son of Juan Soler Bulto, Javier Cucurella and of course Bulto’s son, Ignacio Bulto.

Juame Subira (349 Montesa) on Pipeline in the 1978 Scottish Six Days - Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Spaniard, Juame Subira i Oliveras – (349 Montesa) on Pipeline in the 1978 Scottish Six Days – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

1977 at Edramucky on the slopes of Ben Lawers, near Killin, Perthshire. Rob Edwards (348 Montesa) watched by a large crowd of SSDT enthusiasts. – Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Montesa had similar ideas and regularly fielded many Spanish riders to contest the world’s most famous trial event, the first overseas rider on a Montesa Cota was the Frenchman Christian Rayer in 1968. Montesa maintained a strong presence at the Scottish over the years with British riders, Don Smith, Lawrence Telling, Gordon Farley, John Hemingway, Jim Sandiford and Rob Edwards all of whom finished highly placed and even combined to win the coveted manufacturers team award, but never won the event outright. Not forgetting the Swedes, Benny Sellman and Ulf Karlsson.

Scottish Six days Trial - malcolm Rathmell (349 Montesa) - © -Jimmy Young, Armadale.
Malcolm Rathmell gave Montesa it’s first Scottish Six Days victory in 1979 on the 349 Cota. Here is Rathmell the following year  © – Jimmy Young, Armadale.

The first Montesa victory eventually came in 1979 with Malcolm Rathmell on the 349 model Cota, much to the delight of the Espluges, Barcelona factory and the UK importer, Jim Sandiford.

The European Trials Championship which had originally been called the Challenge Henry Groutards, effectively begun in 1964 was elevated to World Championship status for 1975. The majority of the world championship contenders had it written into their contracts that they would contest the Scottish Six Days, such was it’s importance for trials machine sales. The first world champion, Martin Lampkin would see to it that he didn’t miss out on riding the Scottish and stamped his authority on the event by winning it three times in this decade.

For 1975, the trial headquarters in Fort William moved to newly opened Milton Hotel on the North Road, moved from the Highland Hotel which had played host to the trial since the 1940’s. The event still started and finished in Edinburgh, but in 1977 there was the International Gathering of the Clans in the Scottish capital, organised by the Scottish Tourist Board, so the trial started and finished in Fort William and that marked the end of the long ride up and back to Edinburgh. It is believed one of the last riders to do this was Clive Dopson from Surrey.

Jim McColm issued a press release and notice to competitors in the January of 1977. Here is a copy of that release, supplied by the then ‘newcomer’ Bernie Schreiber from his archives:

SSDT 1977 Notification

Photos from the 1975 Scottish are also on the Rainer Heise – Trials in Germany page.

In 1978, a young girl from California fulfilled her dream to ride the Scottish, her name Debbie Evans. She was to complete the course and entertained trials fans in Fort William by performing a  head stand on her stationery 175cc Yamaha right in the middle of the traffic roundabout at the weigh-in.

Debbie Evans on Grey Mare's Ridge in the 1978 Scottish Six Days. Photo: Worldwide Copyright, Eric Kitchen - All Rights Reserved.
Debbie Evans on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the 1978 Scottish Six Days, watched by Ulsterman, Colin Bell. Photo: Worldwide Copyright, Eric Kitchen – All Rights Reserved.

Eric Kitchen was on hand to capture the stunt. Debbie went on to become not only the wife of three times AMA champion Lane Leavitt, but to stunt double in some of the best known action movies.

Lane Leavitt, 3 times AMA Trials Champion, from California, USA (Montesa) on Cnoc-a-Linnhe in the 1981 SSDT. He married Debbie Evans – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Marland Whaley on Blackwater in 1978
American, Marland Whaley on Blackwater in 1978 on the factory Honda RTL300 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Another notable American to try his hand at the Scottish was Marland Whaley who rode for Honda America on factory machines.

1970 - Ben Nevis
1970 – Rob Edwards on Ben Nevis on his UK registered, factory 247cc Montesa Cota. The spectator gallery is a veritable who’s who of trial personalities

1975 SSDT – silent film

Silent film of the 1975 SSDT, courtesy of the Lejeune family via YouTube

Results: 1970 – 1979

1970 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Ossa – 26 Marks

1971 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Ossa – 38 Marks

Ossa 1972 Brochure front
Ossa were no different to other manufacturers by using Scottish Six Days success in marketing their wares. They used Mick Andrews success to promote the new Mick Andrews Replica to the trials buying market in 1972.

1972 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Ossa – 49 Marks

1973 – M. C. ‘Malcolm’ Rathmell – 250cc Bultaco – 52 Marks

1974 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Yamaha – 41 Marks

1975 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Yamaha – 38 Marks

1975 SSDT, Mick Andrews on his way to another win for Yamaha. The machine was JGF759N. Photo: Yamaha Motor Co.
1975 SSDT, Mick Andrews on his way to another win for Yamaha, this time on the mono-shock OW11A. The section is Callart Falls, the machine was registered JGF759N. Photo: Yamaha Motor Co.

1976 – H. M. ‘Martin’ Lampkin – 325cc Bultaco – 37 Marks

1977 – H. M. ‘Martin’ Lampkin – 325cc Bultaco – 27 Marks

mart 1977 - IL
Martin Lampkin fires his 325cc Bultaco up Laggan Locks on his way to clinch victory at the 1977 Scottish – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

1978 – H. M. ‘Martin’ Lampkin – 348cc Bultaco – 99 Marks

M Lampkin 1978
1978 – Martin Lampkin achieves the hat-trick win on his factory special 348cc Bultaco Sherpa which was in effect a long-stroke motor that suited Martin’s riding style. The section is Ben Nevis.

1979 – M. C. ‘Malcolm’ Rathmell – 349cc Montesa – 69 Marks

1979 prog
The cover of the 1979 Scottish official programme showing Martin Lampkin (Bultaco), but at The Scott Trial in Yorkshire, not the Scottish in Scotland! Photo courtesy: John Moffat’s private collection of SSDT programmes and results.

Part Six

The Nineteen-Eighties:

Yrjo Vesterinen, the first overseas rider to win the SSDT on his 1980 victory for Montesa in his own words:

Yrjo Vesterinen (349 Montesa) in the 1980 Scottish Six Days on Trotters' Burn - © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
An iconic image of Yrjo Vesterinen on the factory 349 Montesa during his 1980 Scottish Six Days win on Trotters’ Burn – © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

“The 1979 season had finished on a low for two reasons. Firstly I had lost my World Title to Bernie Schreiber. He was a very worthy winner and deserved his title, but nevertheless losing to Bernie did hurt.

Secondly Bultaco informed me that they would not be able to renew my contract with them. The stated reason for that was that the company was in serious financial trouble.

They did however keep Bernie on their books. To make matters worse I lost about half of the 1979 earnings as the factory had stopped paying all their works riders.

As soon as it became clear that my days as a Bultaco factory rider were over, I started negotiations with Montesa. A contract was finalized quite quickly and it was clear that Montesa were determined to win the World Championship in 1980. I was to team up with Ulf Karlsson of Sweden together with Malcolm Rathmell.

Montesa prepared new frames for the team. They were lighter and much slimmer than the standard production ones. Even the forks and yokes were narrower. The bikes felt a touch longer and heavier at the front compared with the Bultaco. These engines had more flywheel weight compared with what I had been used to.

In hindsight, I know that in effect Montesa had designed a perfect bike for Scotland. It was less so, perhaps at least from my perspective, for the World Championship.

When Scotland approached, Jim Sandiford stepped in and offered to get his mechanic, Bill Brandwood to do the final preparations on my bike before the Six Days. That was very welcome as I had a busy schedule ahead before Scotland.

As I already stated, I thought straight away that the new Montesa would suit the style of sections that we would see during the Six Days. What I didn’t know that on arrival to Fort William I would find out that Michelin had sent their truck over there with a small number of experimental tyres.

Yrjo Vesterinen (Montesa 349) on Cnoc a Linnhe - Photo Copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
Yrjo Vesterinen (Montesa 349) on Cnoc a Linnhe – Photo Copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Manuel Soler and I had been testing these tyres already the year before, but Michelin hadn’t released any until then. They thought that I knew that they were coming, but I didn’t as the communication never reached me.

The simple question was if I was prepared to use them I would be the first rider ever to do that in a serious competition. I knew how well they had performed during the last tests at Clermont Ferrand in France and therefore it was an easy decision.

These tyres proved to be a very powerful psychological weapon as well. The new Michelin tyres must have been one of the main topics during the week.

I was lucky that the week proved to be a tough one. Many of the sections were harder than usual. That suited me as I was likely to make an odd mistake and the harder sections gave me a chance to pull marks back. If the trial was won on one mark lost my chances would have been nil.

The week went smoothly and my Montesa performed faultlessly. It was the pre-trial preparation that made all the difference. I also knew that I was physically fit for the week. Armed with the perfect bike, prepared by the ace mechanic ‘Little Bill’ (Bill Brandwood) as he is known by his mates and new super good tyres gave me extra confidence. The only real question marks were if my riding number was okay for my early start on the Tuesday and if my mind was strong enough to last the week.

Come Saturday afternoon I had accomplished one of my most important dreams in my life. In 1974 after my first ride in Scotland, at the awards presentation ceremony, I saw Mick Andrews holding the winner’s trophy. At that time I knew that in order to be recognized properly you needed to do just that. Six years would pass before I was ready to do that. I salute all the multiple winners as I know how hard it is to win just once”Yrjo Vesterinen.

1980 SSDT - Montesa advert
UK Montesa importers, Jim Sandiford were quick to capitalise on Yrjo Vesterinen’s Scottish victory in 1980 with a full page advert in Trials & Motocross News the following week.
1980 - John Lampkin's first Scottish on the 250cc Colin Appleyard Bultaco.
1980 – John Lampkin’s first Scottish on the 250cc Colin Appleyard Bultaco. John spent many a Scottish as a youth, going round in the Comerford’s van helping the man he called ‘Uncle Reg’, the Bultaco tuning wizard, Reg May. – Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife.

Up until 1979 all the winners of the Scottish had been British born, Yrjo Vesterinen from Kokkola, Finland was the first overseas rider to taste victory at the SSDT, more were to follow through this decade with Englishman, Steve Saunders keeping British hopes to the fore.

And then came Schreiber…

Bernie S 1977 - IL
Bernie Schreiber (USA) seen here on his Bultaco 325 in the 1977 SSDT, the first year he competed. The section is Edramucky and an appreciative crowd watches the young American closely. In two years time he would be crowned FIM World Trials Champion – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

American Bernie Schreiber from California took World honours in 1979 on the Bultaco and was keen to add the SSDT to his tally of wins, but that would come three years later in 1982 on the factory SWM.

Bernie Schreiber waits his turn at Achlain during the SSDT 1980 - Photo: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife
Bernie Schreiber (325 Bultaco) waits his turn at Achlain during the SSDT 1980 – Photo: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife

Schreiber had first ridden the Scottish on a Bultaco in 1977, it was a very wet event and the Californian was on a steep learning curve.

1977 Californian American, Bernie Schreiber (325 Bultaco) in his first SSDT on Blackwater watched by Martin Lampkin – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Bernie S - C Coutard suit - 1976
A press photograph taken on Ben Nevis in 1976, showing a smiling Bernie Shreiber dressed in the riding apparal of French Bultaco rider, Charles Coutard. Bernie donned the clothes and rode the section on Coutard’s Bultaco much to the amasement of spectators and officials! Coutard had been injured and this gave the young American a taste of the SSDT. – Photo courtesy: Bernard Schreiber, Switzerland.
American, Bernie Schreiber (325 Bultaco) in his first Scottish in 1977 on Kilmonivaig section near Spean Bridge on the second day's run. Schreiber finished in 11th position losing 98 marks. Photo: Iain C. Clark, Fort William.
American, Bernie Schreiber (325 Bultaco) in his first Scottish in 1977 on Kilmonivaig section near Spean Bridge on the second day’s run. Schreiber finished in 11th position losing 98 marks. Photo: Iain C. Clark, Fort William.

Bernie had a ‘taste’ of the SSDT in 1976 when French Bultaco rider, Charles Coutard came to grief at the first group of scetions, breaking his hand in the process. But he forced on in great pain until the Ben Nevis group in the early evening and retired. When Coutard was ferried off to the Belford Hospital in Fort William, quick thinking Schreiber helped himself to Coutard’s riding gear and machine and had a quick ride up the Ben Nevis sections.

Charles Coutard in 1980 on the 276cc SWM on which he came in
Charles Coutard in 1980 on the 276cc SWM on which he came in 18th position on 172 marks. Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife.

At first the crowd thought it was Coutard walking the section, but those in the know quickly identified the American pretender. Fortunately the prank did not result in any repercussions as Schreiber wasn’t old enough to hold an FIM licence at the time. The following year, Bernie was entered to ride his first of many SSDT events. He was sent to Scotland to practice under the supervision of Bultaco agent, Jimmy Morton of Sorn in Ayrshire, Scotland. Schreiber was provided with a new 325 Bultaco Sherpa from Morton’s stock to enable him to practice prior to the event. The machine was sold second hand as a demonstrator two weeks after the SSDT. Schreiber rode a factory supplied machine in the trial which carried a Barcelona registration number.

Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife.
Scottish Six Days road work – Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife.

Edinburgh man Eric MacNamara took charge as Clerk of the Course from 1980 until 1984. The event was further enhanced by the participation of riders from all over the world. This didn’t just occur in the nineteen-eighties, riders had been coming from overseas for many years, but now the Scottish saw factory supported riders from overseas compete at the highest level.

Swedish rider, Voita Kleka (310 OSSA) seen here on Kilmonivaig in 1977 was a regular SSDT competitor up until 2011 – Photo: Alastair MacMillan/West Highland News Agency, Fort William (Copyright Anthony MacMillan)

Rob Shepherd (Honda) on Muirshearlich in the 1981 SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Felix Krahnstover (Montesa) in 1983 on Mamore - Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
One of the regular competitors from Germany, Felix Krahnstover (Montesa) in 1983 on Mamore, high above the town of Kinlochleven – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Nick Jefferies (Armstrong) on Lagnaha in the 1984 event. Jefferies is a former winner of the Manx GP – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

The Scottish was never part of the World series, many thought it should be because of the events prestige, but at heart it was still an event in which club riders could take part.

Italian, Giovanni Tosco, SWM on Caillich in the 1980 event - Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
Italian, Giovanni Tosco, SWM on Caillich in the 1980 event – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

In some cases to the surprise of the press and the factory riders, the occasional flash of brilliance with some fine performances from lesser riders.

Eddy Lejuene on the factory RTL250'87 Garbh Beinn
Belgian multiple World Champion for Honda, Eddy Lejuene on the factory Honda Racing Corporation RTL270S in the 1987 event on Garbh Beinn. Probably the most successful rider never to have won the SSDT – Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

In the eighties, Scottish fans literally swamped the Highlands to watch the spectacle of the likes of Eddy Lejeune and Steve Saunders battle it out day by day. It was almost a push and shove effort to get to the very edge of the sections to see the riders performances. Belgian Lejeune was phenomenal in his day on a trials motorcycle, he won three World titles and seven Belgian national titles, which made him probably the most successful trials rider never to have attempted and won the Scottish, when he was at his peak.

Bernie Schreiber’s 1982 win saw the Scottish winner post over 100 marks, this for some was the last straw. Many of the club riders struggled round with scores in the mid six-hundreds and the tail-enders in excess of one-thousand marks. To many this was unacceptable, even soul destroying, but to the few it was just a consequence of having World class riders at the annual Highland event.

Bernie Schreibers’ victory in 1982 on 105 marks was to be the first non-European winner in the events’ history.

The Edinburgh & District SSDT committee had a problem, how could they accommodate international riders of World Championship capability and also make sure that club riders could also compete on the same route, the same sections. The committee kept their cool and more or less kept to the statement made by Jim McColm back in late 1974. The event continued to be over-subscribed, so as long as that continued, there was no appetite to change things. Some commentators called for a dual route Scottish but this was resisted and rejected by the organisers. It would remain as it was – for the meantime.

The 1986 Edinburgh Crystal cut glass commemorative goblet, for the 75th anniversary of the Scottish - Photo: John Moffat
The 1986 Edinburgh Crystal cut glass commemorative goblet, for the 75th anniversary of the Scottish – Photo: John Moffat

The 1986 event was in effect the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh & District club organising the trial. A commemorative cut glass goblet was made by event sponsors, Edinburgh Crystal, based in Penicuik, Midlothian with the trial logo etched into the glass.

Martin Lampkin having ‘retired’ from top flight competition rode this Honda RTL250 in the 1987 Scottish. The machine was supported by Colin Appleyards of Keighley. Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

In 1988, the massive NCR company waded in with support and computer technology for the event. This was the year that the new style front number plate was introduced and dispensed with number plates fitted to the rear of the machines. The first man away that year was Aberdonian, Peter Mitchell on a Yamaha.

The 1988 event was supported by NCR computers. You can sense the cameraderie of Scottish trials riders, shown in this photo of Peter Mitchell being piped away on his Yamaha TY250R. If you look closely to the left, the man reaching forward with his hand up to his face is Jimmy (J.D.) Morton of Sorn, Ayrshire, shouting ‘words of encouragement’ to Peter! – Photo: Mitchell Family Archive

Rob Crawford from Belfast on the TR34 Beta in 1989 on Lagnaha – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Gary Pears (Yamaha TY250R) on Lower Mamore in the 1989 SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

The observers however fed-back that the new style plate (black on white with the ‘NCR’ logo) was difficult to read as the numerals used were too fancy, for 1989 they adopted a simpler font and all was well.

1985 Steve Saunders (Honda)
1985 – Steve Saunders on his Honda Britain RTL250S on Altnafeadh – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic
Results: 1980 – 1989:

1980 – Yrjo Vesterinen (Finland) – 349cc Montesa – 78 Marks

Kiyoteru Hattori, Japan 250 Honda on pipeline in 1980 - 16th 170 marks
Kiyoteru Hattori, Japan 250 Honda on pipeline in 1980 – he was 16th on 170 marks. Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

1981 – Giles Burgat (France) – 280cc SWM – 77 Marks

Gilles Burgat on his way to victory in 1981 on the 280cc SWM seen here on Cnoc A linnhe. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Gilles Burgat on his way to victory in 1981 on the 280cc SWM seen here on Cnoc A linnhe. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

1982 – Bernie Schreiber (USA) – 280cc SWM – 105 Marks

Bernie Schreiber on his factory SWM on his way to win the 1982 SSDT - Photo: John Hone
Bernie Schreiber on his factory 280cc SWM on his way to win the 1982 SSDT – Photo: John Honeyman, Markinch

1983 – Toni Gorgot (Spain) – 330cc Montesa – 94 Marks

Toni Gorgot (330 Montesa) during his winning ride in 1983 on Rubha Rudha
Toni Gorgot (330 Montesa) during his winning ride in 1983 on Rubha Ruha – Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

1984 – Thierry Michaud (France) – 249cc Fantic – 52 Marks

Thierry Michaud (Fantic) in 1985 on Lagnaha - Photo: Iain lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Thierry Michaud (Fantic) in 1985 on Lagnaha – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

1985 – Thierry Michaud (France) – 249cc Fantic – 43 Marks

1986 – Thierry Michaud (France) – 249cc Fantic – 51 Marks

1987 – Jordi Tarres (Spain) – 260cc Beta – 58 Marks

Steve Saunders (Fantic) on Mamore in 1987 -
Steve Saunders (Fantic) on Mamore in 1987 – SSDT winner 1988-1991 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

1988 – Steve Saunders (GB) – 250cc Fantic – 56 Marks

Steve Saunders on Ben Nevis in 1988 on the 250cc Fantic
Steve Saunders on Ben Nevis in 1988 on the 250cc Fantic model 303. The first British rider to win in nine years. Photo copyright: John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife.

1989 – Steve Saunders (GB) – 250cc Fantic – 70 Marks

Steve Saunders'89 Cnoc A Linnhe
Steve Saunders (305 Fantic) on Cnoc-a-Linnhe in the 1989 SSDT, which he won – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Gerald Richardson'89 Lower Mamore
Gerald Richardson (250 Yamaha) on Lower Mamore in the 1989 SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

The Nineties: … 

Controversial times for the SSDT.

Roy Kerr SSDT No. 1
Roy Kerr (Montesa 349) at the start of the 1981 Scottish, on the right is Trial Secretary, Jim McColm

‘Secretary’s Memories’ – By Jim McColm (SSDT Secretary 1970-1995)

In 1961 I was first introduced to the Edinburgh and District Motor Club at their 28 Nelson Street, Edinburgh headquarters where I eventually met Tommy Melville, who was the SSDT Secretary and when he learned I could read and write he invited me to help him in the SSDT office with the administration work.

A couple of years later was my first visit to Fort William with the Trial, which I knew very little about, except all the talk that went on in the clubrooms, either about last year’s Trial or next year’s. I had to learn the hard way!

Tommy said we are going to see ‘Loch Eild Path’ this morning and I was quite excited. When we got out the car and everybody else went to the boot to get out boots or wellingtons and waterproof gear I stood still, dressed in my city suit and shoes ready to climb this very high, steep and muddy hill. I think I was being taught my first lesson about the Scottish and I never forgot it.

All my early years consisted of doing the results which was the most boring job in the world. We then employed to local bankers to do the results on  massive squared paper, there was two of them, containing all the competitors and all the sections. I called out the scores from the observers book, ‘121-5, 189-3’ and so on and the two bankers wrote up the boards – can you imagine sitting reading out fifteen books for Loch Eild Path for two-hundred and fifty odd riders? I still have the nightmares!

At the end of each day the bankers each totalled all the scores, check the results with each other which gave us the riders total scores  for the day. With the advent of computers it became less boring and more efficient.

In 1969, Tommy Melville retired and I was asked to take over as Secretary which I agreed to. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. The change from being the assistant to Tommy Melville to being the SSDT Secretary was a huge step for me and my first Trial in 1970 was an amazing experience. I was aware of the organisation of the Trial but I was still worried. Bob Adamson was my Assistant Secretary for many years.

However it went of all right and Ossa’s Mick Andrews won it which was a good result.

One of my good memories of 1970 was meeting a young Swedish girl who’s boy friend was riding in the Trial was in great despair.  She could not come to the Presentation of Award because she had no shoes, only boots and wellingtons. I told her it was an old Scottish tradition to go to your first presentation in your stocking feet! She did and thoroughly enjoyed herself.

Being secretary of the finest trial in the world is also one of the best jobs, or hobby in the world. You have to realise the all of the people involved in the management and organisation of the trial have full time jobs to cope with as well,  I was Accountant/Office Manager at the Forth Road Bridge.

It takes approx  ten months of the year, with a couple of months to rest up, to organise the trial. I was always glad to have an excellent Committee to work for because there are so many decisions to be made each year, each trial has its own problems no two are the same but when the first man leads off on the Monday morning everyone involved feels that it was well worth the effort.

In 1984, the club organised the Scottish Pre’65 Trial which soon became one of the finest Pre’65 Events in the calendar. It is always run on the week end before the Scottish and is extremely popular.

My proudest moment was in 1984 when I received the ‘Jim Clark’ award for services to motor-sport, something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I can’t begin to thank all of the people who helped me through my twenty-five years as Secretary, but I can certainly say they made those years the happiest of my life.

Now we have reached our effective second century, I thank all those hundreds or maybe even thousands of officials, competitors, landowners, tenants, and friends of the Scottish Six Days Trial who over the past hundred years have made this the finest trial in the World and I salute them and wish the Edinburgh and District Motor Club good luck and best wishes for the next hundred years“. – Jim McColm

Steve ‘Woody’ Hole (Screenart Beta) on Creag Lundie in the 1991 SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

1990 – Les Winthrop (Yamaha) was one of the most successful of Scottish riders seen here on Ben Nevis – Photo: Ian Lawrie, Kinlochleven

The Nineties:

The 1990s heralded a new generation of rider, the stop permitted style of riding was in vogue in the world of trials with more new models being produced with Spain and Italy leading the field. The mono-shock, disc-braked and water-cooled machine had arrived and so had tubeless rear tyres.

Magnus Liljeblad from Sweden (240 Gas Gas Delta) on Creag Lundie on the Wednesday of the 1991 SSDT. That year there were 300 entries – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Steve Colley'90 Chairlift
Steve Colley (249 Fantic) on Chairlift in the 1990 Scottish Six Days. Photo ©  Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

In 1992 the British Army took over the task of re-fuelling the competitors’ machines on the course, health and safety had caught up with the event which had benefitted from petrol and oil company support from Esso and Shell which dropped down to competitors’ supporters and club based support to fuel service first by local man Fraz McPherson then to FFS – Fantic Fuel Service, headed by Fantic UK importer, Roy Carey of South Essex Leisure.

Philip Alderson (Yamaha TY250Z) 1994 SSDT on Fersit – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

The Army’s Scottish Transport Regiment used it as a logistical exercise, suitably code named as ‘Operation Highland Trot’. This was to last until 2002 when they announced that as tanks were no longer fuelled in the field with jerry cans, they suddenly withdrew their support.

In fact their representative, Colonel Lindsay telephoned the then Trial Secretary, John Moffat in the September of 2002 dropping the bomb-shell news, but more of this follows later in the ‘noughties’ section of this history.

However, it was not all plain sailing for the Scottish, in fact the new wave of riding almost finished the event off.

Ian Fender:

The 1991 event which started off well, finished on very much a down-beat note with the death of rider Ian Fender from Perthshire. Fender had completed his first day by completing the course up to the last group of sections at Lagnaha, Kentallen. He handed his card to the time officials just before the Ballachulish Bridge and was on his journey time back to the parc ferme at West End, Fort William. It should have been a fairly leisurely ride up the A82 trunk road with no time pressures, something the organisers learned back in the 1980s was good practice.

Unfortunately, a frustrated driver of a south-bound Vauxhall Cavalier with a sail board fixed to its roof rack attempted a ‘blind’ overtake of a south bound logging articulated lorry. Ian Fender was travelling northwards as the logging lorry past by him, he was most likely unaware of the emerging Vauxhall and was not in a position to take avoiding action. His 250 Yamaha collided head-on with the speeding motor vehicle and he was thrown from his machine. Medical crews worked frantically at the scene, which was just north of the petrol staton at North Ballachulish and Ian was taken by ambulance to Belford Hospital, Fort William. He was almost immediately transferred to Glasgow’s Southern General which has a specialist neurological unit. Sadly Ian never regained consciousness and his life support systems were shut down on the Thursday.

Bravely, Ian’s father Alex, a former SSDT competitor himself, telephoned Trial Secretary, Jim McColm stating that the event should continue as that is what Ian would have wanted. With the event continuing, many of the competitors rode the final two days of the 1991 SSDT with black armbands as a mark of respect.

Ian Fender’s funeral at Perth Crematorium the following week was full to overflowing, swelled with many of the riders and officials who had travelled back to Scotland to pay their respects.

The late Ian Fender seen here on his 250 Yamaha in the 1987 SSDT – Photo by kind permission of Alan Fender, Stromness, Orkney

Secretary McColm had resigned his position after the 1996 event and was not to stand for re-election for the 1997 trial. Norman Edgar, himself a former Scottish trials champion, also decided to retire from his position as Clerk of Course. However a break with tradition as he did not succeed Eric MacNamara as Chairman for the 1997 event.

The new Clerk of the Course for 1997, Willie Dalling approached Dundee man Ally Findlay, who had been event secretary of the Aberfeldy Two-Day trial and he accepted the position of ‘SSDT Secretary’ for the 1997 trial . McColm had been the ‘face of the Scottish’ for over twenty-five years. When he retired from Trial Secretary, he retained his seat on the Edinburgh & District MC Ltd board of Directors and wrote the book, ‘Six Days in May’ which was sold out quite quickly. It is still regarded as an excellent reference publication as it contained all the SSDT results from 1979 until 1995. Jim McColm then switched his allegiance to the Pre’65 Scottish to assist on their committee.


There is no doubt the 1990s saw more rapid machine development and the air-cooled motorcycle was falling out of favour. The first serious attempt at water-cooling, which kept the motor at a more stable temperature was achieved by the Italian Beta. They sent factory rider Jordi Tarres to Fort William in 1989 with a water-cooled version of their prototype TR34 machine which already sported disc brakes on both wheels.  Issued with riding number 165, the motor had a small radiator and fan assembly fitted in the front area within an aluminium perimeter frame which was radical for a trials machine. Motocross machines had benefited from water-cooling for several years so it was a natural progression to have such a set-up on trials machinery. This machine effectively set the scene for the 1990s at the SSDT.

Tarres was out of luck as the new under developed machine failed to finish the 1989 event due to over-heating issues, but the die was cast and the following year he returned with a fully developed version which sported a motor with a more angular barrel and head configuration as the factory had solved the over-heating issues.

1994 winner Dougie Lampkin (Beta) – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

NCR Computers had carried the major sponsorship from 1988 through to 1993, with tyre manufacturer ‘Dunlop’ (operated in the UK by SP Tyres UK Ltd) taking over in 1994 to promote their K420GP series trials tyres in an attempt to break the Michelin monopoly in trial that started with the ‘sticky’ compound X1 developed by Vesterinen in the 1980 season.

With the arrival of Dunlop Tyres on the scene, so did their tyre fitting service. The tubeless tyre arrangement required high pressure to put the tyre onto the rim and because of this, it required a re-write of the regulations to allow persons other than the competitor to fit tyres. Christine Arundell headed up the Dunlop Team at the SSDT which also included Stuart Dozey, offering advice to Dunlop supported riders and clubmen who were willing to run with their product during the event.

Dunlop brought their ‘grand prix racing service’ articulated truck and trailer up to Fort William which took up a lot of space, but added to the atmosphere of the trial as it attracted attention as you entered the town from the south. This effectively signalled the start of the large racing support units at the SSDT.

Hamilton Yamaha rider, Adam Norris tackles ‘Leanachen’ in 1995 on the Yamaha TYZ watched by Steve Shaw – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

The stop permitted method of scoring was almost the death-knell for the SSDT. The event usually attracted over 250 competitors, the course consisted of 80 to 100 miles per day with 30 observed sections.

Wayne Braybrook (Montesa) on ‘Gearadh’ in 1995 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

With ‘stop permitted’ this caused massive queues and delays at sections with riders taking as much time as they felt necessary to attempt to clean the sections. It was rumoured that a rider had a chain derailment on a large boulder in the Pipers’ Burn section. He was reputedly seen calmly hooking the chain back on, still on the footrests with the bike firmly resting on its sump plate and rocking the bike forwards and aft, to click the chain back on the sprockets.

Gearadh sections, near Argour on Friday 5th May, 1995 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

This led to frustration and put pressure on the officials who had to watch each rider traverse the hazard and work the cumbersome delay system which meant taking a riders’ time-card, marking the time of arrival, keep the cards in receipt order and then call each rider to attempt the section, marking the release time on the card.

Rob Crawford (Yamaha) tackles Leanachen in 1995 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

In 1996, the entries had steadied at 217 competitors, which had amounted to 183 starters the previous year and looked remain the same. This required a lot of soul-searching for the committee.


Clerk of Course, Willie Dalling had a long discussion with Hamilton Cables’ Peter Stewart who almost begged Dalling to switch the SSDT back to the old ‘no-stop’ sometimes referred to as ‘non-stop’ system. Stewart was in line to take on the major trial sponsorship as Dunlop had indicated that 1996 would be their last. The 1997 trial sponsorship by Hamilton Cables/Yamaha came with strings attached. Stewart wanted to brand the event as ‘The Yamaha Scottish Six Days Trial’ and part of that deal ultimately meant a return to no-stop as part of the package.

Dalling thought long and hard about the suggestion, this would mean taking the SSDT back to the ‘old school’ style of trials which had been out of favour for almost ten years.

The decision was taken by the trial committee, they would give the ‘no-stop’ system the green light for the 1997 event and Yamaha would have their name as part of the trials’ title.

The 1997 programme showcased the potential winners, featuring Steve Colley and Steve Saunders with man in the wings, Graham Jarvis who had won the 1996 trial on the French built Scorpa.

Colley: “I’m not happy that the trial is no-stop, and though it’s got nothing to do with Scotland, I’m not happy about the new World Championship ruling which allows us to go backwards with feet down“.

Saunders: “Personally, I’m happy the trial is going no-stop. It doesn’t bother me and I hope that long term it will increase the entries in the trial which is even more important“.

The organisers tried their best to make the no-stop system to work and work well. They introduced the ‘early-day’ system by a revolving start, moving down 38 positions each day to make it fair to all the riders who were grouped on an early day basis.

But it was Steve Colley on the 270 Gas Gas who hoisted the North British Rubber Company trophy in the return of no-stop SSDT.

The entries remained steady at 232 for the 1997 event, the following year it rose up to 270, the return to ‘no-stop’ had worked!


The SSDT committee was never proactive at promotion of the event, relying on a steady demand for places in an event that had been over-subscribed since the early 1970s. They didn’t feel it was a priority, but the event had become more important as a clubman filled entry list with few of the international stars which it enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s.

However, during 1998, the SSDT entered the ‘internet age’ with the arrival of its own website, ‘SSDT.ORG’ which was set up by results co-ordinator, Andy Greig.

The same year, 1998 a sensation occurred when a Spanish first time rider finished runner up to Scorpa mounted winner Graham Jarvis. He was David Cobos riding a Gas Gas and in celebration at the finish at Fort William’s Parade, he executed a ‘burn-out’ smoking out the crowd to rapturous applause!

From 1984, Trials & Motocross News, based in Morecambe had taken over the task completely of producing the official programme for the Scottish. This they continued until the 1999 trial when it was taken back by the organising committee. The T&MX production was paper-based as part of their weekly production. It was comprehensive, but being made of newspaper quality, it was flimsy and not as robust as the A5 magazine type prior to the 1984 edition, so the return to the smaller A5 format was welcomed by many.

T&MX did however produce a handy sized A5 double sided card with the entry list printed on it so that spectators could slip it in a pocket to take to the sections. But this was done at extra cost and was eventually abandoned.

High Street Parade:

The 1990s also saw the commencement of the pre-trial ‘parade of riders’ through the High Street of the host town, Fort William. This was to become a feature of the event from the 1997 event through to the present day. Also the advent of the yellow backed front riding number of the event leader from day two until the last day was introduced to keep the interest element fresh. This idea was based on the ‘yellow jersey’ theme of the Tour De France cycle race.

The committee made plans to celebrate the new millenium with the 2000 event following a successful 1999 trial which saw Graham Jarvis win his third Scottish and on the new Bultaco Sherco model which he debuted in the event having switched from Scorpa, both brands imported by former winner, Malcolm Rathmell.

The front cover of the 1999 trial featuring Steve Colley (Gas Gas) on Fersit in the 1998 event – Cover photo courtesy of John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive

Yamaha Motor Company on the other hand withdrew from the trials machine market with the cessation of production of its’ water-cooled TYZ model and thus ended its financial support of the SSDT in 1999. After its departure from trials machine production, Yamaha continued to supply engines used in the TYZ model to the French firm Scorpa, who had used Austrian Rotax motors previously. Scorpas were then branded as Yamahas for the Japanese trials market.

Jordi tarres'99
Jordi Tarres (270 GasGas) in the 1999 Scottish Six Days on Creag Lundie – Photo ©  Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

In the 1999 trial a young Spaniard made his SSDT debut riding number 136 on a 270 Gas Gas, his name was Adam Raga.

The Noughties:


The so called ‘noughties’ covering the years 2000 to 2009 amounted to another decade of change for the Scottish.

The event was no longer benefitting from a major sponsor but the advent of the daily sponsor was introduced. The idea of financial support allowed the organisers to defray the costs associated with providing accommodation to the many officials it required to staff such an event.

The headquarters of the trial in Fort William had moved in 1971 from the Highland Hotel, an older Lunn Poly owned establishment, to the newly built Milton Hotel on the North Road, which was owned and operated by Milton Hotels, headed by the enthusiastic Ian Milton.

The millenium trial in 2000 with Mick Andrews on a Gas Gas who was given the number one plate, usually reserved for a Scottish born competitor – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

The trial billoted its officials at the trial headquarters where daily briefing meetings were held to allocate the duties. For many years, the chief marshall position was shared, year in turn by twin brothers, John and Bill Grant who ran a village store at Rogart in Sutherland. The Grant brothers were identical twins and only those who knew them really well could tell them apart. The reason that they shared the job was due to the need for one of them to stay at home and staff the shop!

The 2000 ‘millenium’ trial was a popular event with riders and the organisers issued each rider with a riding shirt made by the popular motocross sportswear manufacturer, Wulfsport of Whitehaven.

Trial Secretary, Ally Findlay who took up the job in 1997 announced his intention to retire after the 2001 event citing: “trials is a young man’s sport and I’m not getting any younger”. Clerk of Course, Willie Dalling and the committee discussed Findlay’s departure, they had five months to seek a successor, given that the committee resigned after every event and were re-elected the following September when the committe reconveined. Dalling wasn’t a person to waste time and approached John Moffat, asking him if he would consider the position. Moffat accepted and Ally Findlay would show him the ropes during the 2001 event, with Moffat taking over the reigns in 2002.

SSDT Secretaries, the late Ally Findlay (1997-2000) left, with John Moffat (2001-2002) seen here in 2001 – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

That was the plan, but fate took a hand in the shape of the UK ‘foot and mouth’ epidemic in early 2001. All motor sport was effectively suspended and that included trials.

The SSDT committee effectively took the lead, by deciding to cancel the trial. The risk of running the SSDT in areas heavily populated with deer was too great. The result was no trial in 2001, the only year except from the two wars that the event was not run. This of course was greeted with disappointment as the event planning was in an advanced state with the ballot run and riding numbers already allocated. Clerk of Course Dalling spent a great deal of his own time contacting all the landowners and farmers to explain the committees decision not to run the event, given the delicate situation regarding the bio-hazard issues associated wth ‘foot and mouth’ disease.

SSDT Clerk of Course Willie Dalling, seen here in the 1974 British Experts Trial on a 250cc Bultaco – Photo: Malcolm Carling/Yoomee Archive

All that was left was to abandoned all plans for the 2001 trial with a vow that the SSDT would return in 2002, bigger and better.

Gary Macdonald from Kinlochleven is the most successful Scottish Trials rider of all time, winning more Scottish titles than anyone else. His highest placed SSDT to date is runner up. Seen here on Fersit in 2002 on a 250 Sherco, his first SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Planning began in the September of 2001 for the 2002 event. The SSDT is a huge logistical jigsaw puzzle with multiple landowners and government controlled organisations to petition for permissions not only to run the event over private land but also to be permitted to refuel machines off road. It takes around five thousand marker flags to cover the course and route marking teams plot the days’ route the previous day.

2002 SSDT – David MacLean from Inverness rode with the coveted number 1 plate on his Beta 250. Seen here on day one at Lagnaha – Photo Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic, Solihull

The 2002 event was once again oversubscribed with around 400 entries received for 275 places in the trial. Modern technology allowed for the entry list to be published immediately after the ballot was held, however this did not go down well in some circles as it was felt that a letter confirming an entry should be received by the rider before an official list was issued.

Multiple Scottish Trials Champion, Gavin Johnston points out the best line on Lagnaha in 2002 to Gary Kennedy, both Inverness club riders with the observer wearing the new for 2002 officials bib which was to prove very useful that year – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

For 2002, Bristol enthusiast Ted Heather donated and paid for bright yellow bibs for all the observers, this would aid identification out on the hill. It wasn’t however thought such visibility would be needed so quickly as Richmond rider, Phil Alderson crashed heavily on Bradileig, breaking his collar bone and was the first rider ever to have been rescued by helicopter at the SSDT. A ‘Sea-King’ of RAF Search & Rescue was despatched from RAF Kinloss in Morayshire which proved to be a very effective evacuation from the hill direct to Fort William’s Belford hospital. This was all under the direction of the then leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue (LMR), John Stevenson.

Trial Secretary, John Moffat went to Fort Wiliam Police Station to alert the authorities of the injured Alderson’s plight. It was on meeting LMR’s Stevenson it was suggested that the helicopter pilot and navigator should keep an eye out for the yellow bibs of the observers at Bradileig where Phil Alderson was situated. This information was fed back to RAF Search & Rescue command HQ and indeed it assisted a speedy recovery operation.

2002 winner, Amos Bilbao (Montesa Cota 315R) on Creag Lundie, pictured on the cover of the following years’ event – Cover photo courtesy of John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive

The event was won by the popular Spaniard, Amos Bilbao on the two-stroke Montesa Cota 315R which would form the basis for development of the four-stroke 4RT model in 2004, which Bilbao himself would have input to by being the main development rider for the new project.

‘SSDT Super-enthusiast’, Carlos Casas, the undoubted Ambassador of the trial in Spain – on his Montesa Cota 4RT on Chairlift in 2005 when he came 45th – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

Local Riders in the Scottish…

Having based the event in Fort William, the SSDT has attracted many good local competitors over the years.

1957 Davie Hogg
1957 with Davie Hogg (197 James) on Grey Mare’s Ridge above Kinlochleven, with clerk of course, George K. Baird watching on the far right

Davie Hogg from Fort William worked at the Parade Garage in the centre of the town and became friendly with High Viney the AJS rider and latterly competitions Manager, partly because the garage had welding equipment on hand and sometimes this was needed to repair a broke frame. Davie became a semi-works rider for James, part of the Associated Motorcycles (AMC) group of companies. A factory bike was sent up for Hogg to ride in the SSDT in 1957.

Alan Grant from Tomdoun rode a factory Norman machine in the early 1950s.

Roger Mount from the town was one of the most successful local riders in the 1970s. Son of Charlie Mount of Modern Builders, Roger was a contracted rider to Jim Sandiford Motorcycles of Bury and rode Montesa in 1970 and  1971 with a works Dalesman ride in 1972. He had the misfortune to be the reigning Scottish Champion not to have been successful in the ballot for 1972 and Dalesman of Otley came to the rescue, providing Mount with a 125cc Sachs engined machine. Roger Mount was Scottish Trials Champion 1971-1973.

Gary MacDonald (Scorpa) (Medium)
Gary Macdonald (Scorpa) – 2016 SSDT – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

The most successful ‘local’ rider has to be Gary Macdonald from nearby Kinlochleven. Gary first rode the SSDT in 2002 on a Malcolm Rathmell Sport Sherco. Macdonald is without question or doubt the most successful Scottish born trials rider of all time having also been British Expert Champion.  Gary Macdonald has won the Scottish Trials title eleven times and has had three podium positions in the SSDT. Gary was third in 2003 and 2013 with a second place in 2015. He is the highest placed Scotsman in the history of the event which dates back to 1909. The only Scotsman to have ever won the event being Bob MacGregor from Killin in 1932 and 1935.

Coming soon … still more …Scottish Six Days Trial on Trials Guru – Dedicated to the sport of motorcycle trials.

Appreciation and thanks:

With special thanks to Scotsman, Tommy D. Sandham, author of three books about the Scottish Six Days Trial and also the Pre’65 Scottish Trials, for his assistance in this production. Sandham’s books have become collectors items over the years, much research went into their original production, Tommy spending many hours in Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, pouring over early reports on the Scottish.

Tommy Sandham (left) has a chat with John Moffat at the finish of the Pre’65 Scottish in 2009 – Photo: Jean Moffat/Moffat Racing.

John Moffat of Trials Guru and Tommy Sandham have been friends for over 40 years, having met when both were members of the Lanarkshire MCC in 1974.

Sandham’s books contain not just photos of the event, his research was wide-spread and they were a serious attempt to tell the story of the Scottish Six Days from its’ inception.

Scottish - TDS 1
The Scottish 1900 – 1962 by Tommy Sandham. This is the front cover showing B.H.M. Viney on his factory AJS 16MC on Creag -An – Eilein on the Rothiemurchus Estate, near Aviemore in 1955. If you enlargen the photo you will see a small white cottage on the loch shore line, this is now the Loch An Eilein visitor centre.
Scottish - TDS2
The Scottish 1963 – 1989, the second book written by Sandham in collaboration with John Dickinson. The front cover photo features Fantic rider Steve Saunders.
Scottish TDS3
The Scottish 1990 – 2011 with Alexz Wigg (Beta) on his way to winning the 2010 event.
Trials Guru – Scottish Six Days Trial – An original concept by John Moffat with encouragement and assistance from Tommy Sandham.
TAM 1953 - Ray Biddle
T. Arnott Moffat on Kinloch Rannoch in the 1953 Scottish on his 347cc AJS – Photo Ray Biddle, Birmingham

Rider’s position, scores and the awards attained that are shown in this article, have been taken directly from original Scottish Six Days Trial official results that are the private property of Trials Guru / Moffat Racing Archive/ John Moffat SSDT Memorabilia Archive.

With special thanks to:

Blackie Holden Jnr; Jock McComisky; Eric Kitchen; Alex Smith; Jim McColm; Hamish Combe; Jimmy Mulvie; Bob Adamson; Rob Edwards; John Hulme; Yrjo Vesterinen; Gordon Jackson; Andy Greig; Mairi Grant; Bill Wilkinson; Steve Saunders; George Turner; Norman Edgar; Mark Whitham; Peter Bremner: Bernard Schreiber and not forgetting the late: Johnny Graham; Willie Dalling; Eric MacNamara; Jim Birrell; Allie ‘Beag’ Cameron; Ed Stott; T. Arnott Moffat and the famous twins from Rogart, John & Bill Grant for sharing their experiences, facts, photographs and anecdotes of Scottish Six Days Trials with the author over the years.

National Library of Scotland – Moving Image Archive

For more images of the Scottish Six Days Trial, plus other events which may be purchased online: visit Mortons Archive

© – Images used in this Trials Guru history:

  • Douglas Bald, Culross, Fife
  • Ray Biddle, Birmingham
  • Colin Bullock / CJB Photographic, Solihull
  • Peter R. Bremner, Inverness
  • Iain C. Clark, Fort William
  • Mrs. Peggy Davies, North Queensferry
  • Hogg Family, Fort William, Inverness-shire
  • John E. Graham, Bonnyrigg
  • Brian Holder (Holder & Osborn), Teddington
  • John Hulme / Trials Media
  • John Honeyman, Markinch, Fife.
  • Lejeune Family, Belgium
  • Kimages / Kim Ferguson, Fort William
  • Eric Kitchen – World-wide copyrights – All Rights reserved
  • Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
  • Alistair MacMillan / West Highland News Agency, Fort William (with permission of current copyright holder: Anthony MacMillan, Fort William – All rights reserved)
  • Jock McComisky, Linlithgow
  • Kenny McNamee, Motherwell
  • Heather Mead Photography, Dingwall
  • John Neaves, Edinburgh
  • Ian T. Robertson, Bonnyrigg
  • Tommy Sandham, Magor, Newport, Gwent
  • Bernard Schreiber, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Donald Sinclair, Edinburgh
  • Mrs. Helen Thomson, Fort William
  • Bill Wilkinson, Skipton
  • Jimmy Young, Armadale
  • National Library of Scotland – Moving Image Archive
  • Moto Presse Verlag, Stuttgart

SSDT programme front covers used in this article are taken from the John Moffat SSDT Programme Archive.

With thanks to the directors and committees of the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. website:

© – Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2017 (All Rights reserved)

Scottish Six Days Trial – Hall of Fame | Details of Winners and podium Positions:

1909 – H.H. Salveson – Triumph; S.J.K. Thomson – Triumph

1910 – W.W. Douglas; G.L. Fletcher; P. Phillips – Douglas

1911 – 15 Gold Medals

1912 – Jimmy Alexander; G.E. Cuffe; B. Hill – Indian

1913 – F.C. North; L. Newey; V. Busby – Ariel

1914 – 1918 First World War – No Trial

1919 – 11 Gold Medals

1920 – 26 Gold Medals

1921 – G. Cumming; A. Brown; J.R. Fellows; George Dance – Sunbeam (Solo Team); R. Brown (Sidecar)

1922 – E.W. Chalcraft; Mrs. Knowles; J. Stirling; R.M. Wilson – AJS; Matchless & Martins (Sidecar)

1923 – B.L. Bird; J.H. Walker; H.S. Perry – BSA (350cc Team); L. Newey; A.E. Rollason; W. Woodcock – Ariel (Sidecar Team)

1924 – B.L. Bird; H.S. Perry; K.J. Davis – BSA (350cc Team); G.S. Arter; J. Lidstone; G. Kimberley – James (Unlimited Solo); A.F. Downie; C. Collins; F.W. Giles – AJS (Sidecar Team)

1925 – Miss. Marjorie Cottle; Bob MacGregor; H.W. Clark – Raleigh (350cc Team); R.B. Clark; K.J. Davis; George McLean – BSA (Unlimited Team)

1926 – E.W. Spencer; V.C. King; C.H. King – Douglas (350cc Team); H. Sangster; E.H. Littledale; Peter Chamberlain – Ariel (Unlimited Team)

1927 – C.H. King; V.C. King; E.W. Spencer  – Douglas (350cc Team); J. Lidstone; G. Kimberley; B. Kershaw – James (Unlimited Team)

1928 – V.C. King – Douglas (Best Solo); G.W. Shepherd – Scott (Best Sidecar)

1929 – H.S. Kershaw – James (200cc); F.E. Thacker – Ariel (250cc); J.H. Amott – Rudge (Over 350cc); G. Butcher – Rudge (Unlimited); P. Cranmore – BSA (Sidecar)

1930 – George Rowley AJS (350cc); Graham Goodman – Velocette (Unlimited); H.G. Uzzell – BSA (Sidecar)

1931 – Len Vale-Onslow – Francis Barnett – (200cc); Jackie White Ariel – (250cc); Graham Goodman – Velocette (350cc); J.H. Amott – AJS (Unlimited); H.S. Perry (Sidecar)

In 1932 the results changed to individual winners of both solo and sidecar classes –

1932 – Solo: Bob MacGregor – 499cc Rudge – 4 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – Norton

1933 – Solo: Len Heath – 497cc Ariel – 2 Marks – Best Sidecar: T.A. Morris – Baughan

1934 – Solo: Jack Williams – 348cc Norton – 2 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – BSA

1935 – Solo: Bob MacGregor – 499cc Rudge – 2 Marks – Best Sidecar: A. Calder – Triumph

1936 – Solo: W.T. ‘Billy’ Tiffen – 343cc Velocette – 4 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – BSA

1937 – Solo: Jack Williams – 348cc Norton – 10 Marks – Best Sidecar: Harold J. Flook – Norton

1938 – Solo: Fred Povey – 348cc Ariel – 4 Marks – Best Sidecar: W.S. Waycott – Velocette

1939 – Solo: Allan Jefferies – 349cc Triumph – 23 Marks – Best Sidecar: F.H. Whittle – Panther

1940 – 1946 – World War II – No Trial

1947 – B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 6 Marks

1948 – B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 27 Marks

1949 – B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 18 Marks

1950 – Solo: L. A. ‘Artie’ Ratcliffe – 347cc Matchless -12 Marks – Best Sidecar – Harold Tozer – 499cc BSA – 36 Marks

1951 – G. J. ‘John’ Draper – 348cc BSA – 22 Marks

1952 – J. V. ‘Johnny’ Brittain – 346cc Royal Enfield – 22 Marks

1953 – B.H.M ‘Hugh’ Viney – 347cc AJS – 35 Marks

1954 – L. A.  ‘Artie’ Ratcliffe – 347cc Matchless – 25 Marks

1955 – J. V. ‘Jeff’ Smith – 499cc BSA – 20 Marks

1956 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 16 Marks

1957 – J.V. ‘Johnny’ Brittain – 347cc Royal Enfield – 22 Marks

1958 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 6 Marks – Best Sidecar – J.S. Oliver – 499cc BSA – 140 Marks

1959 – R. S. ‘Roy’ Peplow – 199cc Triumph Tiger Cub – 18 Marks – Best Sidecar – P. W. Roydhouse – 500cc Norton – 109 Marks

1960 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 16 Marks

1961 – G. L. ‘Gordon’ Jackson – 347cc AJS – 1 Mark

1962 – S. H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 499cc Ariel – 8 Marks

1963 – A. J. ‘Arthur’ Lampkin – 249cc BSA – 7 Marks

1964 – S. H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 499cc Ariel – 30 Marks

1965 – S. H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 244cc Bultaco – 29 Marks

1966 – A.R.C. ‘Alan’ Lampkin – 249cc BSA – 23 Marks

1967 – S.H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 252cc Bultaco – 18 Marks

1968 – S.H. ‘Sammy’ Miller – 252cc Bultaco – 17 Marks

1969 – W. ‘Bill’ Wilkinson – 250cc Greeves – 30 Marks

1970 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Ossa – 26 Marks

1971 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Ossa – 38 Marks

1972 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Ossa – 49 Marks

1973 – M. C. ‘Malcolm’ Rathmell – 250cc Bultaco – 52 Marks

1974 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Yamaha – 41 Marks

1975 – M. A. ‘Mick’ Andrews – 250cc Yamaha – 38 Marks

1976 – H. M. ‘Martin’ Lampkin – 325cc Bultaco – 37 Marks

1977 – H. M. ‘Martin’ Lampkin – 325cc Bultaco – 27 Marks

1978 – H. M. ‘Martin’ Lampkin – 348cc Bultaco – 99 Marks

1979 – M. C. ‘Malcolm’ Rathmell – 349cc Montesa – 69 Marks

1980 – Yrjo Vesterinen (Finland) – 349cc Montesa – 78 Marks

1981 – Giles Burgat (France) – 280cc SWM – 77 Marks

1982 – Bernie Schreiber (USA) – 280cc SWM – 105 Marks

1983 – Toni Gorgot (Spain) – 330cc Montesa – 94 Marks

1984 – Thierry Michaud (France) – 249cc Fantic – 52 Marks

1985 – Thierry Michaud (France) – 249cc Fantic – 43 Marks

1986 – Thierry Michaud (France) – 249cc Fantic – 51 Marks

1987 – Jordi Tarres (Spain) – 260cc Beta – 58 Marks

1988 – Steve Saunders (GB) – 250cc Fantic – 56 Marks

1989 – Steve Saunders (GB) – 250cc Fantic – 70 Marks

1990 – Steve Saunders (GB) – 260cc Beta – 47 Marks

1991 – Steve Saunders (GB) – 260cc Beta – 35 marks

1992 – Steve Colley (GB) – 260cc Beta – 68 Marks

1993 – Steve Colley (GB) – 260cc Beta – 42 Marks

1994 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 250cc Beta – 39 Marks

1995 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 250cc Beta – 5 Marks

1996 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 250cc Beta – 3 Marks

1997 – Steve Colley (GB) – 270cc Gas Gas – 10 Marks

1998 – Graham Jarvis (GB) – 250cc Scorpa – 15 Marks

1999 – Graham Jarvis (GB) – 290cc Bultaco Sherco – 4 Marks

2000 – Steve Colley (GB) – 280cc Gas Gas – 8 Marks

2001 – No trial – (Foot & Mouth Disease)

2002 – Amos Bilbao (Spain) – 250cc Montesa – 7 Marks

2003 – Joan Pons (Spain) – 290cc Sherco – 26 Marks

2004 –  Graham Jarvis (GB) – 290cc Sherco – 12 Marks

2005 – Sam Connor (GB) – 290cc Sherco – 20 Marks

2006 – Graham Jarvis (GB) – 290cc Sherco – 14 Marks

2007 – James Dabill (GB) – 300cc Montesa – 21 Marks

2008 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 270cc Beta – 5 Marks

2009 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 290cc Beta – 17 Marks

2010 – Alexz Wigg (GB) – 290cc Beta – 15 Marks

2011 – James Dabill (GB) – 290cc Beta – 13 Marks

2012 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Gas Gas – 15 Marks

2013 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Gas Gas – 13 Marks

2014 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc DL Gas Gas – 14 Marks

2015 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Vertigo – 19 Marks

2016 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Vertigo – 17 Marks

2017 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Vertigo – 1 Mark

2018 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Vertigo – 8 Marks

2019 – James Dabill (GB) – 300cc Beta – 5 Marks

2020 – No Trial – Worldwide Pandemic Coronavirus

2021 – No Trial – Worldwide Pandemic Coronavirus

2022 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Vertigo – 8 Marks

2023 – Dougie Lampkin (GB) – 300cc Vertigo – 6 Marks

DL - Fersit - Kimages
2015, 2016 & 2017 winner – Dougie Lampkin (Vertigo 300) on Fersit – Photo copyright: Kimages/Kim Ferguson
SSDT Winners - 2011
Scottish Winners: From Left – Bill Wilkinson (1969); Dougie Lampkin (1994-96, 2008-2009, 2012-16); Graham Jarvis (1998-99, 2004, 2006); Martin Lampkin (1976-78); Alan Lampkin (1966); Steve Saunders (1988-91); Yrjo Vesterinen (1980); Sammy Miller (1962, 1964-65, 1967-68); Amos Bilbao (2002); Gordon Jackson (1956, 58, 60-61); Alexz Wigg (2010); Malcolm Rathmell (1973, 1979); Sam Connor (2005); James Dabill (2007, 2011). Photo World-wide copyright: John Hulme/Trials Media.

The winners:

Bob MacGregor – 2 Wins – 1932; 1935

Len Heath – 1 win – 1933

Jack Williams – 2 wins – 1934; 1937

Billy Tiffen – 1 win – 1936

Fred Povey – 1 win – 1938

Allan Jefferies – 1 win – 1939

High Viney – 4 wins – 1947; 1948; 1949 & 1953

Artie Ratcliffe – 2 wins – 1950; 1954

John Draper – 1 win – 1951

John Brittain – 2 wins – 1952; 1957

Jeff Smith – 1 win – 1955

Gordon Jackson – 4 wins – 1956; 1958; 1960 & 1961

Roy Peplow – 1 win – 1959

Sammy Miller – 5 wins – 1962; 1964; 1965; 1967 & 1968

Alan Lampkin – 1 win – 1966

Arthur Lampkin – 1 win – 1963

Bill Wilkinson – 1 win – 1969

Mick Andrews – 5 wins – 1970; 1971; 1972; 1974 & 1975

Malcolm Rathmell – 2 wins – 1973 & 1979

Martin Lampkin – 3 wins – 1976; 1977 & 1978

Yrjo Vesterinen – 1 win – 1980

Giles Burgat – 1 win – 1980

Bernie Schreiber – 1 win – 1982

Toni Gorgot – 1 win – 1983

Thierry Michaud – 3 wins – 1984; 1985 & 1986

Jordi Tarres – 1 win – 1987

Steve Saunders – 4 wins – 1988; 1989; 1990 & 1991

Dougie Lampkin – 14 wins – 1994; 1995; 1996; 2008; 2009; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018; 2022; 2023.

Graham Jarvis – 4 wins – 1998; 1999; 2004 & 2006

Amos Bilbao – 1 win – 2002

Joan Pons – 1 win – 2003

Sam Connor – 1 win – 2005

James Dabill – 3 wins – 2007; 2011 & 2019

Alexz Wigg – 1 win – 2010

The SSDT Podium (from 1932):

Year | Position | Rider | Machine & cc | Marks Lost

1932 | 1 | Bob McGregor | 499 Rudge | 4

1932 | 2 | Graham Goodman | 348 Velocette | 10

1932 | 3= | George Rowley | 498 AJS | 12

1932 | 3= | Geoff Zissler | 349 BSA | 12

1933 | 1 | Len Heath | 497 Ariel | 2

1933 | 2 | Jack Williams | 348 Norton | 4

1933 | 3 | Fred Povey | 499 BSA | 6

1934 | 1 | Jack Williams | 348 Norton | 2

1934 | 2 | Jimmy Edward | 499 Ariel | 4

1934 | 3 | Jack White | 248 Ariel | 6

1935 | 1 | Bob McGregor | 499 Rudge | 2

1935 | 2 | Len Heath | 497 Ariel | 4

1935 | 3 | Allan Jefferies 493 Triumph | 4

1936 | 1 | Billy Tiffen | 343 Velocette | 4

1936 | 2= | Jimmy Edward | 497 Ariel | 6

1936 | 2= | Len Heath | 497 Ariel | 6

1936 | 2= | Allan Jefferies | 493 Triumph | 6

1936 | 2= | Fred Povey | 343 Triumph | 6

1937 | 1 | Jack Williams | 348 Norton | 10

1937 | 2 | Bert Perrigo | 348 BSA | 11

1937 | 3 | Fred Povey | 346 AJS | 13

1938 | 1 | Fred Povey | 348 Ariel | 4

1938 | 2 | Len Heath | 497 Ariel | 11

1938 | 3= | George Holdsworth | 499 Royal Enfield | 12

1938 | 3=| Bob McGregor | 499 Rudge | 12

1938 | 3= | Jimmy Edward | 499 Rudge | 12

1939 | 1 | Allan Jefferies | 349 Triumph | 23

1939 | 2 | Vic Brittain | 490 Norton | 24

1939 | 3 | Charlie Rogers | 248 Royal Enfield | 26

1940 – 1946 – World War II – No Trial

1947 | 1 | Hugh Viney | 347 AJS | 6

1947 | 2 | Artie Ratcliffe | 347 Matchless | 25

1947 | 3 | Bob Ray | 497 Ariel | 32

1948 | 1 | Hugh Viney | 347 AJS | 27

1948 | 2 | Allan Jefferies | 349 Triumph | 39

1948 | 3 | Jim Alves | 349 Triumph | 40

1949 | 1 | Hugh Viney | 347 AJS | 18

1949 | 2 | Stan Holmes | 350 Royal Enfield | 26

1949 | 3 | Artie Ratcliffe | 347 Matchless | 32

1950 | 1 | Artie Ratcliffe | 350 Matchless | 12

1950 | 2 | Hugh Viney | 347 AJS | 21

1950 | 3 | Jim Alves | 500 Triumph | 24

1951 | 1 | John Draper | 350 BSA | 22

1951 | 2 | Jim Alves | 500 Triumph | 26

1951 | 3 | Derek Ratcliffe | 350 Matchless | 27

1952 | 1 | Johnny Brittain | 350 Royal Enfield | 22

1952 | 2 | David Tye | 350 BSA | 25

1952 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 33

1953 | 1 | Hugh Viney | 350 AJS | 35

1953 | 2 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 38

1953 | 3 | Johnny Brittain | 350 Royal Enfield | 40

1954 | 1 | Artie Ratcliffe | 350 Matchless | 25

1954 | 2 | George Fisher | 122 Francis Barnett | 27

1954 | 3 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 31

1955 | 1 | Jeff Smith | 500 BSA | 20

1955 | 2 | George Fisher | 201 Francis Barnett | 21

1955 | 3 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 22

1956 | 1 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 16

1956 | 2 | Johnny Brittain | 350 Royal Enfield | 31

1956 | 3 | Gordon McLaughlan | 350 AJS | 33

1957 | 1 | Johnny Brittain | 350 Royal Enfield | 22

1957 | 2 | John Draper | 499 BSA | 23

1957 | 3 | Arthur Lampkin | 499 BSA | 23

1958 | 1 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 6

1958 | 2 | Sammy Miller | 500 Ariel | 13

1958 | 3 | Artie Ratcliffe | 199 Triumph | 24

1959 | 1 | Roy Peplow | 199 Triumph | 18

1959 | 2 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 20

1959 | 3 | Sammy Miller | 500 Ariel | 22

1960 | 1 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 16

1960 | 2 | John Draper | 250 BSA | 20

1960 | 3 | Jeff Smith | 250 BSA| 22

1961 | 1 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 1

1961 | 2 | Sammy Miller | 500 Ariel | 5

1961 | 3 | Roy Peplow | 199 Triumph | 17

1962 | 1 | Sammy Miller | 500 Ariel | 8

1962 | 2 | Gordon Jackson | 350 AJS | 18

1962 | 3 | Mick Ransom | 250 Francis Barnett | 29

1963 | 1 | Arthur Lampkin | 250 BSA | 7

1963 | 2 | Mick Andrews | 350 AJS | 20

1963 | 3 | Ray Sayer | 200 Triumph | 25

1964 | 1 | Sammy Miller | 500 Ariel | 30

1964 | 2 |  Mick Andrews | 350 AJS | 38

1964 | 3 | Don Smith | 250 Greeves | 38

1965 | 1 | Sammy Miller | 250 Bultaco | 29

1965 | 2 | Arthur Lampkin | 250 BSA | 33

1965 | 3 | Mick Andrews | 250 James | 37

1966 | 1 | Alan Lampkin | 250 BSA | 23

1966 | 2 | Sammy Miller | 252 Bultaco | 27

1966 | 3 | Mick Andrews | 250 Bultaco | 31

1967 | 1 | Sammy Miller | 252 Bultaco | 18

1967 | 2 | Dave Rowland | 175 BSA | 34

1967 | 3 | Dennis Jones | 250 Greeves | 40

1968 | 1 | Sammy Miller | 252 Bultaco | 17

1968 | 2 | Gordon Farley | 250 Greeves | 37

1968 | 3 | Mick Andrews | 250 Ossa | 39

1969 | 1 | Bill Wilkinson | 250 Greeves | 30

1969 | 2 | Mick Andrews | 250 Ossa | 34

1969 | 3 | Sammy Miller | 252 Bultaco | 35

1970 | 1 | Mick Andrews | 250 Ossa | 26

1970 | 2 | Rob Edwards | 250 Montesa | 31

1970 | Sammy Miller | 252 Bultaco | 34

1971 | 1 | Mick Andrews | 250 Ossa | 38

1971 | 2 | Gordon Farley | 250 Montesa | 49

1971 | 3 | Malcolm Rathmell | 250 Bultaco |  49

1972 | 1 | Mick Andrews | 250 Ossa | 49

1972 | 2 | Alan Lampkin | 250 Bultaco | 58

1972 | 3 | Rob Edwards | 250 Montesa | 60

1973 | 1 | Malcolm Rathmell | 250 Bultaco | 52

1973 | 2 | Mick Andrews | 250 Yamaha | 62

1973 | 3 | Martin Lampkin | 250 Bultaco | 65

1974 | 1 | Mick Andrews | 250 Yamaha | 41

1974 | 2 | Malcolm Rathmell | 250 Bultaco | 51

1974 | 3 | Thore Evertson | 250 Ossa | 55

1975 | 1 | Mick Andrews | 250 Yamaha | 38

1975 | 2 | Dave Thorpe | 325 Bultaco | 49

1975 | 3 | Malcolm Rathmell | 310 Montesa | 52

1976 | 1 | Martin Lampkin | 325 Bultaco | 37

1976 | 2 | Dave Thorpe | 325 Bultaco | 54

1976 | 3 | Malcolm Rathmell | 310 Montesa | 59

1977 | 1 | Martin Lampkin | 325 Bultaco | 27

1977 | 2 | Malcolm rathmell | 310 Montesa | 58

1977 | 3 | Nigel Birkett | 325 Suzuki | 60

1978 | 1 | Martin Lampkin | 325 Bultaco | 99

1978 | 2 | Rob Edwards | 310 Montesa | 113

1978 | 3 | John Reynolds | 280 SWM | 116

1979 | 1 | Malcolm Rathmell | 310 Montesa | 69

1979 | 2 | Martin Lampkin | 350 Bultaco | 71

1979 | 3 | Yrjo Vesterinen | 325 Bultaco | 87

1980 | 1 | Yrjo Vesterinen | 349 Montesa | 78

1980 | 2 | Malcolm Rathmell | 349 Montesa | 84

1980 | 3 | Rob Shepherd | 360 Honda | 108

1981 | 1 | Gilles Burgat | 280 SWM | 77

1981 | 2 | Yrjo Vesterinen | 340 Bultaco | 85

1981 | 3 | Martin Lampkin | 280 SWM | 95

1982 | 1 | Bernie Schreiber | 280 SWM | 105

1982 | 2 | Toni Gorgot | 350 Montesa | 123

1982 | 3 | Eddy Lejeune | 360 Honda | 126

1983 | 1 | Toni Gorgot | 330 Montesa | 94

1983 | 2 | Thierry Michaud | 350 SWM | 101

1983 | 3 | Eddy Lejeune | 360 Honda | 111

1984 | 1 | Thierry Michaud | 300 Fantic | 52

1984 | 2 | Eddy Lejeune | 360 Honda | 59

1984 | 3 | Steve Saunders | 320 Armstrong | 69

1985 | 1 | Thierry Michaud | 301 Fantic | 43

1985 | 2 | Steve Saunders | 250 Honda | 56

1985 | 3 | Philippe Berlatier | 280 Aprillia | 82

1986 | 1 | Thierry Michaud | 301 Fantic | 51

1986 | 2 | Steve Saunders | 250 Honda | 55

1986 | 3 | John Lampkin | 301 Fantic | 61

1987 | 1 | Jordi Tarres | 260 Beta | 58

1987 | 2 | Steve Saunders | 303 Fantic | 76

1987 | 3 | Eddy Lejeune | 250 Honda | 81

1988 | 1 | Steve Saunders | 303 Fantic | 56

1988 | 2 | Jordi Tarres | 260 Beta | 90

1988 | 3 | Philip Alderson | 260 Beta | 100

1989 | 1 | Steve Saunders | 305 Fantic | 70

1989 | 2 | John Lampkin | 240 Beta | 102

1989 | 3 | Philippe Berlatier | 240 Beta | 110

1990 | 1 | Steve Saunders | 260 Beta | 47

1990 | 2 | Rob Crawford | 260 Beta | 48

1990 | 3 | Wayne Braybrook | 260 Beta | 85

1991 | 1 | Steve Saunders | 260 Beta | 35

1991 | 2 | Rob Crawford | 260 Montesa | 45

1991 | 3 | John Lampkin | 240 Beta | 63

1992 | 1 | Steve Colley | 260 Beta | 68

1992 | 2 | John Shirt | 330 Gas Gas| 92

1992 | 3 | John Lampkin | 250 Beta | 92

1993 | 1 | Steve Colley | 260 Beta | 42

1993 | 2 | Steve Saunders | 250 Gas Gas | 48

1993 | 3 | Wayne Braybrook | 330 Gas Gas | 53

1994 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 250 Beta | 39

1994 | 2 | Steve Colley | 250 Beta | 47

1994 | Rob Crawford | 250 Yamaha | 48

1995 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 250 Beta | 5

1995 | 2 | Steve Colley | 250 Gas Gas | 18

1995 | 3 | Rob Crawford | 250 Yamaha | 37

1996 – To be verified:

1996 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 250 Beta | 3

1996 | 2 | Graham Jarvis | ? | 9

1996 | 3 | Robert Crawford | ? | 23

1997 | 1 | Steve Colley | 270 Gas Gas | 10

1997 | 2 | Graham Jarvis | 250 Scorpa | 14

1997 | 3 | Wayne Braybrook | 250 Montesa | 31

1998 | 1 | Graham Jarvis | 250 Scorpa | 15

1998 | 2| David Cobos | 250 Gas Gas | 17

1998 | 3 | Wayne Braybrook | 250 Montesa | 32

1999 | 1 | Graham Jarvis | 290 Bultaco | 4

1999 | 2 | Steve Colley | 270 Gas Gas | 11

1999 | 3 | Jordi Tarres | 270 Gas Gas | 14

2000 | 1 | Steve Colley | 280 Gas Gas | 8

2000 | 2 | Amos Bilbao | 250 Montesa | 14

2000 | 3 | Sam Connor | 250 Montesa | 19

2001 – No Trial (Foot & Mouth Crisis)

2002 | 1 | Amos Bilbao | 250 Montesa | 7

2002 | 2 | Steve Colley | 270 Gas Gas | 15

2002 | 3 | Ben Hemingway | 250 Beta | 17

2003 | 1 | Joan Pons | 290 Sherco | 26

2003 | 2 | Ben Hemingway | 270 Beta | 28

2003 | 3 | Gary Macdonald | 290 Sherco | 31

2004 | 1 | Graham Jarvis | 290 Sherco | 12

2004 | 2 | Sam Connor | 272 Sherco | 28

2004 | 3 | James Lampkin | 249 Montesa | 33

2005 | 1 | Sam Connor | 290 Sherco | 20

2005 | 2 | Ben Hemingway | 250 Montesa | 21

2005 | 3 | Amos Bilbao | 250 Montesa | 24

2006 | 1 | Graham Jarvis | 290 Sherco | 14

2006 | 2 | Ben Hemingway | 270 Beta | 24

2006 | 3 | Ian Austermuhle | 270 Beta | 30

2007 | 1 | James Dabill | 300 Montesa | 21

2007 | 2 | Michael Brown | 250 Beta | 35

2007 | 3 | Graham Jarvis | 290 Sherco | 35

2008 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 270 Beta | 5

2008 | 2 | Michael Brown | 270 Beta | 10

2008 | 3 | James Dabill | 300 Montesa | 23

2009 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 290 Beta | 17

2009 | 2 | Alexz Wigg | 290 Beta | 18

2009 | 3 | Ian Austermuhle | 290 Beta | 22

2010 | 1 | Alexz Wigg | 290 Beta | 15

2010 | 2 | Michael Brown | 290 Sherco | 17

2010 | 3 | Ben Hemingway | 300 Beta | 17

2011 | 1 | James Dabill | 290 Beta | 13

2011 | 2 | Michael Brown | 300 Gas Gas | 16

2011 | 3 | Graham Jarvis | 250 Montesa | 19

2012 | 1 | DougieLampkin | 300 Gas Gas | 15

2012 | 2 | James Dabill | 300 Beta | 15

2012 | 3 | Michael Brown | 300 Gas Gas | 21

2013 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Gas Gas | 13

2013 | 2 | James Dabill | 300 Beta | 26

2013 | 3 | Gary Macdonald | 300 Sherco | 32

2014 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 DL Gas Gas | 14

2014 | 2 | James Dabill | 300 Gas Gas | 22

2014 | 3 | Sam Connor | 300 Beta | 31

2015 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 19

2015 | 2 | Gary Macdonald | 300 Gas Gas | 30

2015 | 3 | Sam Haslam | 300 Gas Gas | 30

2016 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 17

2016 | 2 | Michael Brown | 300 Gas Gas | 26

2016 | 3 | James Dabill | 300 Vertigo | 32

2017 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 1

2017 | 2 | Jack Price | 300 Gas Gas | 9

2017 | 3 | Michael Brown | 300 Gas Gas | 15

2018 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 8

2018 | 2 | James Dabill | 300 Beta | 11

2018 | 3 | Gary MacDonald | 300 Scorpa | 18

2019 | 1 | James Dabill | 300 Beta | 5

2019 | 2 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 7

2019 | 3 | Dan Peace | 300 Sherco | 12

2020 – No Trial (Worldwide Pandemic – Coronavirus)

2021 – No Trial (Worldwide Pandemic – Coronavirus)

2022 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 8

2022 | 2 | Michael Brown | 300 Sherco | 14

2022 | 3 | James Dabill | 300 Beta | 15

2023 | 1 | Dougie Lampkin | 300 Vertigo | 6

2023 | 2 | Billy Green | 300 Scorpa | 8

2023 | 3 | Michael Brown | 300 Gas Gas | 10

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24 thoughts on “SSDT GURU”

  1. Love this s real treat and insite to the sport didn’t want it to end great photos too
    I have a question it says that at first the rider had to be seated which year and how did it come to be that it’s now standing on our pegs and if know who was it plz

    1. It would appear that the practice of penalising riders for being’not normally seated’ on the motorcycle ceased after the second world war. We can only assume that because the Scottish allowed three wheelers and light cars to compete, then failure to climb the hill incurred a penalty given that a car occupant could not foot his/her way up a section as a rider of a motorcycle could. Certainly this practice was used before the second world war.

  2. Great piece of work, keep it up! Please can you make a correction? The 1952 photo captioned “Scottish 1952, Roseburn, Edinburgh – Clerk of Course, Jack Leslie shakes the hands of Triumph’s P.H. ‘Jim’ Alves, AJS’s B.H.M. ‘Hugh’ Viney and looking on is Trial Secretary Tommy Melville. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.” That is not Jack Leslie – not sure who it is, maybe George McIntosh? My father, Jack Leslie, was Chairman of the Six Days Trial Committee and Clerk of Course in 1954. I have scanned the 1954 Programme. Let me know if you want a copy. Regards
    Ian Leslie

  3. Great page, I was after some information on my father George Coleman who won the bronze medal in either 1951/52.Are there photos?

  4. Fantastic information of the most beautiful sport, and beauty SWB Series I route marker, had a 1956 Series I Land Rover.

  5. Picture 1959 trial – Bob Williams on his Ariel outfit who I beleive was runner up on two occasions. Bob still around and still owns an Ariel outfit. The Artie Ratcliffe Matchless is owned by a colleague and has had a major rebuild and will soon be used by the owner.

    1. Do you mean George K. Baird who was the first man to clean the SSDT section, Devils’ Staircase at Lochailort and had a semi-works Ariel ride, pre-war? I’ll have a look!

      1. the very person . I found an old medal of his from SSDT in 1938 and was trying to find out what he received it for , then came across your website, very interesting reading

      2. I remember a Stuart Baird who rode trials in the 1970s, any relation? My late father, knew George Baird very well indeed.

      3. George was my grandad, my father Is Ian Baird ,and Dougie and Stuart are my uncles

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The Premier Trial Website – Recording the History of the Sport 'Established 2014'

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