T. Arnott Moffat Memorial – Highland Road Run

TAM 1953
T. Arnott Moffat (1929 – 1997) on his 350 AJS (JSC905) competing in the 1953 Scottish Six Days Trial on ‘Inshriach’ near Aviemore. This photograph was the basis for the logo to publicise the event – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

NEWS: Date for the 2021 run – Sunday 18th July

The 2020 T. Arnott Moffat run was voted a great success by all 45 riders who took part. Heavy rain was forecast on the day, but that failed to materialise and it was a light rain until 11am and had actually stopped raining at the start time of 12 noon. 26 miles were covered before riders took lunch at Cameron’s Tea Room at Foyers, a popular stop for Arnott Moffat participants.

Obviously we were all ‘socially distancing’ due to Covid-19, but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment of being out on wonderful roads on our motorcycles!

The second leg consisted of a further 45 miles and by the time we were coming back into Inverness from Inverarnie, the roads were almost bone dry.

The date was decided for the 2021 event, being Sunday 18th July and we hope that Covid will be an almost distant memory by then.

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Event insurance provided by: SACU Social Permit

Any surplus after the event is run is donated annually to the ACU Benevolent Fund

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Arnott Moffat Memorial Road Run – History

1958 SSDT - Glen Ogle - 500 Ariel (2)
T. Arnott Moffat (left) watching the line at Glen Ogle in the 1958 SSDT, in company with Manx GP winner, motorcycle racer and journalist Jimmy Buchan (second left)

The 2020 T. Arnott Moffat Memorial – Sunday, 13th September –

OLH722 - Dode Fraser Photo
2018 T. Arnott Moffat Memorial Run – J.O. Moffat on Arnott Moffat’s 350cc Matchless – Photo: Dode Fraser

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Arnott Moffat bought this factory Matchless from the AMC competition department in 1957, seen here being ridden by John Moffat during a photo-shoot for The Classic Motorcycle magazine in 1995

A road run for motorcycles, based in the highlands of Scotland and organized by the Inverness & District Motor Cycle Club Ltd for motorcycle enthusiasts in memory of T. Arnott Moffat, who was General Secretary/Treasurer of the Scottish Auto Cycle Union for 32 years.

The route is properly marked with direction signage at all juntions, in a similar manner to that of trials in the 1950s and 1960s when trials made use of the public highway. The marker boards are coloured, White for Straight-on (SO); Red for Right (R) and Blue for Left (L).

TAM 1953 - Ray Biddle
T. Arnott Moffat (AJS) on the section ‘Kinloch Rannoch’ in Perthshire during the 1953 Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

The inaugural event was held on Monday, 12th June 2017 and followed the route of the 1957 Highland Two-Day Trial.

The initial idea was put to John Moffat in 2016, Arnott’s son, by Peter Remington, a former motocross and trials rider from Kendal who organizes the annual ‘Bob MacGregor’ run based at Killin each April prior to the Scottish Six Days Trial week.

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Arnott Moffat’s Grandson, Steven J. Moffat riding the same AJS (JSC905) that Arnott rode from 1951 – 1957, still owned by the family, seen here on the 2017 run at Glendoe Lodge – Photo: Dode Fraser, Nairn.

The idea was developed and having discovered the 1957 Highland Two Day Trial route, this would make a starting point for an annual road run in Moffat’s memory who died in 1997.

Known as ‘Arnott’, he was a keen promoter of all motorcycle sports including trials, scrambles, grass track and road racing. He competed twice in the Scottish Six days Trial on his AJS 16MC, registered new in Edinburgh in 1951 as JSC905 and officiated at many motorcycle events in Scotland. He attended eight International Six Days Trials either as a team support member or as team manager.

Moffat was instrumental in persuading Peter ‘ Jock’ Wilson, formerly of Comerfords to undertake team managerial duties of first the Scottish ACU team then the Great Britain Trophy team, which he managed. Many years later, it was Jock Wilson who restored Arnott’s ex-factory Matchless G3LC (OLH722) and it has been used in the memorial run, as has his AJS.

The 2017 route was plotted and marked out prior to the event and it was voted a great success by the 40 entrants who took part. It has been decided to make it an annual event – full details of which will be posted here and on the facebook page annually.

OLH - 2017 - Dode F
John Moffat riding his father’s ex-factory Matchless G3LC (OLH722) at Glendoe Lodge on the 2017 run. The machine was bought in 1957 direct from Associated Motorcycles when the factory team was disbanded. The last factory rider to be issued with OLH722 was Ted Usher. Photo: Dode Fraser, Nairn

The Scottish ACU provide the event permit, which is not a competition, but a social run for motorcycle enthusiasts. Originally ‘preferred’ machines were those manufactured pre-1975, but all motorcycles are in fact made very welcome. All machines must be road registered, comply with the road traffic acts, be taxed, insured and where appropriate carry a MOT certification.

The entry fee is kept at a modest level, merely to cover the cost of route marking material and a snack lunch at a suitable tea room along the way. Camerons Tearoom and Farm Shop at Foyers was chosen in 2017 as the official lunch stop and has continued ever since, such was its popularity with the participants.

The route makes use of country roads as much as possible, although it may be that trunk roads are used with the absence of B class roads.

The event has grown to a healthy level, the ideal entry is 45-50 riders.

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The 2018 T. Arnott Moffat run was voted a great success by all who took part – Photo: Jean Moffat
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The long climb from Foyers to Whitebridge 2017 – Photo: Dode Fraser, Nairn

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Route card detail from the 2017 run

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The start of the 2018 ‘T. Arnott Moffat’ – this is Arnott’s 350 Matchless which he purchased from the AMC factory in 1957 when the official Matchless trials team was disbanded and the machine was surplus to their requirements.

Save The Date!

2021 T. Arnott Moffat Memorial Run – date announced:

Details have been released that the 2021 edition will now take place on Sunday, 18th July 2021 in the Inverness area with a new route starting from Dochgarroch and featuring the Stratherrick area.

The 2019 route!

Last year we travelled around Loch Ness in an anti-clockwise direction, using as many quiet roads as possible.

Starting at Dochgarroch (Loch Ness Restorations yard) and go up onto the top road and then down by ‘Foxhole’ to the Beauly road taking a left for Drumnadrochit. Then onto the A82 to Fort Augustus via Invermoriston, (fuel was available at filling stations at Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus), then we went up to Whitebridge and then the popular ‘lunch break’ with Morag and the team at Cameron’s Tea Room, Foyers. Once again they did up proud.

After lunch we travelled on to Inverfarigaig and the infamous ‘Corkscrew’ then along through the hills via Essich and then dropping down to the west side of Inverness, missing out the city traffic by taking in the new by-pass bridges over the Ness river and back to the finish at Dochgarroch. A trip of 75 wonderful miles.

T. Arnott Moffat and his trials machines:

Arnott Moffat started riding trials in 1950, after serving three years in the Royal Artillery during National Service. He borrowed a 350cc AJS from Geoff Smith, chairman of the Edinburgh Southern MC and won the 1950 Edinburgh Evening News Trial, an event for novice and non-expert riders, organized by the Edinburgh St. George MC.

Previously, Arnott had bought himself a 350cc BSA B31 plunger-framed road machine when he was single and lived with his parents at 49 Orchard Road, Edinburgh. It was friend Tommy Robertson that got Arnott hooked on trials by encouraging him to observe and then take up the sport competitively.

In October 1951, Arnott decided to raid his bank account and bought a brand new 350cc AJS 16MC from dealers Rossleigh in Edinburgh. Registered as JSC905, he competed in two SSDTs on this machine and rode it week-in, week-out to compete in trials on a Sunday and a ride to work machine Monday to Friday.

Having married in 1955 to Betty Ormiston, they set up home at 24 Reid Terrace in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Colonies area. In 1957, son John was born, but prior to that, in mid 1956, Arnott wanted a spring frame trials machine, but all the AJS and Matchless models for 1957 had already been sold or spoken for, so he telephoned the AMC factory in Plumstead. He spoke to Jock West who said that a factory machine was being prepared for sale with the disbanding of the Matchless official trials team.

OLH722, a machine which had been ridden in the 1957 SSDT by Ted Usher was available at £130, fully prepared by the competitions department and fitted with a long-stroke motor and Electron gearbox.

Arnott bought the machine and treasured it, but rode it as much as time and finances would allow as he had a young family to support. Again the trials Matchless was used as a ride to work bike Monday to Friday. His driver’s licence however showed many ‘endorsements’ for speeding in Edinburgh!

Both these machines have survived the ravages of time. Arnott had sold JSC905 to friend David Lumsden in 1957 to finance the Matchless purchase and he kept tabs on the bike, it had been sold to road-racer and trials enthusiast Charlie Dobson from Glasgow and in 1995 Charlie sold the AJS back to Arnott.

OLH722 was sold in 1963 to Ronnie Borthwick, a family friend in Edinburgh and the bike subsequently was sold to the Edinburgh & District MC as a course machine for the SSDT.

Arnott was fortunate to be able to re-purchase the Matchless in 1973, some ten years later, but it was in a poor state of repair, hence the full restoration carried out by Jock Wilson in 1991-93.

Both these bikes have taken part in two T. Arnott Moffat memorial Road runs.

Comment: “Arnott was in charge of things when I was riding trials. I am impressed with the way he stuck to the task year in year out.
As in any task requiring committee approval there must have been times when he thought .. ‘f**k it .. let’s chuck it’ but to Arnott’s credit he saw the job through.
Well done that man .. regards .. Don Finnie”

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