Tag Archives: BSA

Highland Classic 2016 is ‘The Yamscot Edition’

Yamscot - tank
Yamscot was the Competition and Racing section of Aberdeen’s Shirlaws dealership in the 1970’s.

The annual Highland Classic Two-Day Trial for 2016 will be held on 11/12 June and will pay homage to Yamscot, the competition part of Shirlaws Motorcycles, Aberdeen back in the 1970’s.

The brainchild of the late managing director, Leslie Shirlaw, it was created to promote Yamaha off-road and racing in Scotland. At the time Shirlaws were a Yamaha dealer, nowadays they are main Kawasaki dealers.

It is hoped that a glittering display of Yamaha trials machines will be at the event as well as some of the original Yamscot supported trials riders.

Yamscot were involved in trials, motocross and racing over a ten year period.

The event, promoted by Inverness & District Motorcycle Club Ltd will be held on the Alvie Estate, near Aviemore and the identity of the Guest of Honour will be announced nearer the event.

The trial itself was over-subscribed in 2015 and entry forms will be released for the 2016 event on 20th February.

2016 will be the 11th time the event has been run as a two day trial, the first year, 2004 was a one-day affair.

Previous Guests of Honour at the Highland Classic include Yrjo Vesterinen (2013), Dave Thorpe (2014) and Bill Wilkinson (2015).

The event is open to ACU,SACU & MCUI trials licence card holders and cater for both Pre’65 & twin-shock trials machines.

Stop Press: 2016 Guest of Honour – MICK ANDREWS

Roddy Taylor Yamscot
Roddy Taylor’s generously sponsored Yamaha TZ racing machine from 1987 (Yamscot) | Photo copyright: Ronnie Weir, Edinburgh.

DON MORLEY – The ‘Godfather’ of Action Sports Photography

Don Morley 1995
Don Morley riding his ex-works 250cc Greeves Anglian in the 1995 Pre’65 Scottish Trial. Photo Copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Scotland. When Don Morley was made aware of this very image, he was keen to obtain a copy and willing to pay for it. Iain Lawrie immediately provided Don with a copy with his compliments!

 

Words: Trials Guru

Photos: Don Morley; Iain Lawrie & John Knight

Trials Guru recognises the talents of a man from Redhill, Reigate in Surrey who has brought literally thousands of wonderful and exciting colour sporting images into magazines, periodicals and books the world over. His name is Don Morley and what’s more he’s a trials rider! Well actually, Don is a frustrated road racer at heart as he didn’t have the funds available to race when he was a young man, so took up trials riding instead, being the less expensive motorcycle sport option!

dm on his 1949 ex works 350 re. reg_ hwp 731 - red
Don Morley aboard his 1949 ex-factory Royal Enfield (HWP731) – Morley is an acknowledged expert on the marque. (Photo supplied by Don Morley for this article from his personal collection)

Described as the ‘Godfather’ of sports photography by Fast Bikes Magazine in the article they ran on Don in their September 2010 edition, Morley is respected the world over by riders, athletes and team managers because of his uncanny ability to press the button just at the right moment.

Raised in Derby, Don started taking photographs for a living in the 1950’s when it was all glass negatives, progressing to processed roll film. He began his motorcycle photography as a staff photographer with Motor Cycle News in 1957.

Morley is a 100% professional sports photographer, joining forces with Tony Duffy’s “All-Sport International Photographic Agency/Don Morley” in the 1970’s, his images of sporting events and competitors are highly sought after around the globe.

CBTSTB
Puiblished by Osprey, Don Morley’s book on Classic British Two-Stroke Trials Bikes is a much sought after publication. Truly a collectors item now.

Don is also an accomplished author, writing several books which include: Classic British Trials Bikes & Classic British Two-Stroke Trials Bikes; Spanish Trials Bikes and Trials: – A Riders Guide, to name but four!

CBTB 1984 - Don Morley
Published by Osprey in 1984, Don Morley’s Classic British Trials Bikes book was a top seller. Original copies fetch high prices to this day.
TT In camera
“TT – In Camera”, One of the many titles written by Don Morley over the years, with foreword by Geoff Duke.

Morley has photographed many events, not just sporting events, witnessed the Munich Olympic Games terrorism atrocity to name but one major international incident and much, much more. He has had a varied and interesting life as a sports photographer.

Don has owned several ex-factory trials machines in his time as a rider, including the Johnny Brittain Royal Enfield 500 Bullet HNP331 and another ex-factory Enfield, LUY86. He appeared in the BBC TV series, ‘Perpetual Motion’ in an edition which covered the Royal Enfield and Enfield of India story in 1992. Morley is an acknowledged expert on the Royal Enfield marque. He built a few special trials machines including a BSA B40 and also wrote a series of articles on the development of four-stroke trials machines for the ‘Classic Motor Cycle’.

Don Morley New APMC Hon President. 1402
Don Morley (right) recieves his chain of office from Chairman, Ken Brady – Photo: John Knight (former British Trophy team member ISDT)

Don was one of the first to take up Pre’65 trials competition back in the early 1980’s on an ex-Brian ‘Tiger’ Payne AJS.

The one thing you notice about Don is his serious nature, he is a professional after all, he took photographs to make a living, but he does have a good sense of humour as well.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat met Don Morley many years ago at the Pre’65 Scottish at Kinlochleven, initially it was a frosty meeting as ‘The Guru’ intimated that Don had made a “slight mistake with a factory registration number” in one of his books! After a good frank chat, it was all ended very amicably, as this was merely an amateur enthusiast correcting a professional. Let’s face it EVERYONE can make a mistake. Happily, from that day on ‘Trials Guru’ and Don Morley have been good friends, their paths crossing occasionally and they are always happy to meet each other.

Don saw the funny side of the argument and said jokingly: “John, that’s OK, as long as you don’t want Osprey to reprint my book to make a correction!”

Morley once took a photo of ‘The Guru’ on his G3C Matchless with the great Gordon Jackson standing alongside, at Kinlochleven, the machine which was loaned to Jackson for the 2000 parade at the Scottish Six Days. The image has been a prized possession of ‘The Guru’ ever since.

GL Jackson  & JO Moffat Red
Photo copyright: Don Morley (All Rights Reserved)

So, the next time you see a photo credit as “All-Sport/Don Morley” under an image of a racing bike at speed, you can say that this image was taken by a true enthusiast and … a trials rider!

Don Morley, Reigate, Surrey, England. – Trials Guru salutes you, because you are an enthusiast as well as a photographic professional. – Thank you also for the kind permission to use one of your wonderful photographs on this website.

Dennis Ireland RG500 Suzuki
Beyond the call of duty! – Don Morley was lying on his side taking this shot of racer Dennis Ireland on his RG500 Suzuki. Unfortunately the throttles stuck wide open, the machine went out of control just a split second after Morley clicked the button. Don suffered a broken leg, Ireland more serious injuries, spending five months in hospital, having eleven operations on leg, ankle foot and tendons. A truly evocative image taken by a true professional. – Photo: strictly not for reproduction without permission of Don Morley – All Rights Reserved. Worldwide copyright.

© – Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)

© – Image World-wide copyright: All Sport/Don Morley, Reigate, Surrey UK. All Rights reserved.

© – Image World-wide copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven. All Rights reserved.

References:

The Classic Motor Cycle magazine

Fast Bikes Magazine

Motor Cycle News

The intellectual property formerly of ‘All-Sport’ photograph agency is now owned by Getty Images UK.

Please remember, all Don Morley’s photographs and those of his company ‘All-Sport’ are world-wide copyright and must not be used without prior express permission.

ARIEL HT500 – Sammy Miller – 786GON

786_back
Rear view of 786GON showing the fibreglass mouldings by Butler. The Ariel was not a replica, it was Sammy Miller’s second string Ariel he used as often as GOV132, it is rumoured that Sammy simply changed the numbers over for different events. Photo courtesy of Roy A. Kerr.

Not generally known, but here we have Ariel HT500 registered as 786GON, known as ‘Sammy’s other Ariel’. During the late 1950’s and 1960’s Sammy Miller had access to two HT500 Ariels, his famous version GOV132 and the machine pictured here. The bike is now in Italy in the possession of a collector, having been owned by Jock Wilson (Comerfords) Ernie Page, Roy Kerr and Tim Beaven, plus some other individuals

786_lhs
Timing side view of 786GON when it was owned by Roy Kerr. The exhaust was made to blow mud off the rear tyre. The machine was fitted with Ariels alloy ‘Leader’ type hubs. Photo courtesy: Roy A. Kerr.

The machine was put on sale in early 1965 by motorcycle dealers, Comerfords Limited in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey along with GOV132. Comerfords having taken over the support from Ariels to Sammy Miller when the factory had ceased manufacture of trials machines. 786GON was for sale at £350, which was almost £150 more expensive than a brand new Greeves two-stroke at that time.

Arthur Fowler bought 786GON, but returned it for sale at the end of 1965 to Comerfords and Jock Wilson purchased the machine.

The motor shows its pedigree. The engine number indicates that this is no ordinary HT5, but an experimental motor. (Photo copyright: Roy Kerr)
The motor shows its pedigree. The engine number indicates that this is no ordinary HT5, but an experimental motor EXHS 99. (Photo copyright: Roy Kerr)

After selling the bike to Harry Rayner, Wilson bought it back from another owner, John Parry, at which time Jock Wilson slowly restored the machine to its former glory.

Wilson sold 786GON to Scotsman Ernie Page, himself an accomplished trials, scrambles and ISDT competitor, who owned Page Motors in Edinburgh, who at that time had a sizeable motorcycle collection. After a period of time, Page sold the Ariel to former employee, Roy Kerr, himself a former Scottish trials champion.

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After some years under the ownership of Tim Beaven, the bike was then sold to a private collector in Italy called Carlo Ramella. The Ariel lives on but in its new home in the Italian alps.

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786GON at it’s current home in the Italian Alps with current owner/collector: Carlo Ramella. Photo copyright: Justyn Norek, Turin.

Justyn Norek a design consultant from Turin, made the following observations of 786GON when a test of the machine was undertaken by the German ‘Trialsport’ magazine in March 2014, here they are:

“Frame: In Reynolds 531 tubing, modified with steeper steering angle, oil in frame.

Fuel Tank: Beautifully styled in fibreglass, very light and slim design, one bolt mounting with depression in front part to allow full lock of the steering, with the fork coming close to the tank. Perfectly done by Butler Moulded Laminates, the creation of Chris Butler. Also the builder of the Butler trials machine. It has a metal logo on the top of the tank a real work of art.

Seat Base: Integrated with the rear mudguard, another artwork in fibreglass by Butler. Very slim viewed from the top, in cream white finish, synonymous with Miller’s Ariel. It also had the integration of the rear registration number plate. The seat is perfectly designed to be light and slim, but still comfortable.

Exhaust system: Starting with the beautiful curve, extremely compact and well tucked-in to the motorcycle. It terminates with a small silencer breathing out the hot expelled gasses on to the rear tyre knobs. This ingenious idea allows for cleaning of the rear tyre from any mud and leaf-mould and also warms the tyre rubber for better grip.

engine_1
“… extremely compact and well tucked-in to the motorcycle. It terminates with a small silencer breathing out the hot expelled gasses on to the rear tyre knobs.” – Justyn Norek (Photo copyright: Roy Kerr)

Kick-starter and Gear Shift levers: Bored out to shave more weight from the machine.

Speedometer: Mounted to the engine plate and protected by the aluminium shield from mud etc. It is not the easiest to look at when in operation, but who looks at the speedometer during an event. This was merely an attempt to keep the machine street-legal.
Chain guard in fibreglass, neatly styled with simplicity, weight-saving and functionality.
786_rlh
“…Chain guard in fibreglass, neatly styled with simplicity, weight-saving and functionality.” – Justyn Norek. (Image copyright: Roy Kerr)
Front mudguard: Again in cream white fibreglass by Butler. minimal and beautifully shaped and in perfect aesthetic harmony with the fuel tank, seat base and rear mudguard units. This creates an unforgettable aesthetics of this historic motorcycle.”
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Technical Specification of 786GON:

ARIEL 786GON – Technical Specifications:

Engine layout: Single cylinder, vertical cylinder in light alloy.

Capacity: 497cc

Bore & Stroke 81.8 X 95 mm

Compression ratio: 8.5: 1

Max power: 24 hp at 5800 rpm

Carburetor: Amal monobloc.

Oil system: Dry sump with double oil pump and separate oil tank.

Primary drive: Chain.

Clutch: multiple discs in oil bath.

Gearbox: Burman – separate, 4 speed ratios: 6:1; 9.5:1; 14.7:1; 19.3:1

gearbox
Gearbox: Burman – separate, 4 speed ratios: 6:1; 9.5:1; 14.7:1; 19.3:1

Frame: single down front tube in Reynolds 531 steel – Weight around 14 kg.

Suspension:

Front: Hydraulic telescopic forks with sliders shortened from Norton road-holder, yokes from BSA shortened to shorten wheelbase.

Rear: Rear swing-arm on silent-block bushes with chain oil system incorporated, Armstrong shock absorbers.

Wheels: steel rims, tyres front: 2.75 x 21, rear 4.00 x 19.

Brakes: Front: drum type 180 mm – Rear: drum side type 180 mm

Main dimensions: wheelbase 1340 mm

Ground clearance 220 mm

Seat high: 810 mm

Steering head angle 63.5 degrees

Weight: 111kg.

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The magazine Trialsport in Germany carried a full report using material from Justyn Norek Snr and his son Justyn Norek Jnr. If you can read German language, here is a link to the article on the internet, (you may need to right click on the link to open it):

Article 786GON – Trialsport ©

© PDF version of article from Trialsport Magazine DE: Ariel 786 GON (1)

© Photos courtesy: Roy Kerr, Kelso, Scotland, UK.

© Photos courtesy: Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy.

For more photos of 786GON – See Justyn Norek Photos

Please be aware that the article on Ariel, 786GON which appeared in Trialsport magazine is copyright – Trialsport March 2014 – © 2013 TRIALSPORT Verlag, Odenwaldstraße 5, 97896 Freudenberg-Ebenheid

Additional information Words and photos copyright © – Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy.

© – Article: Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2015 (All Rights reserved)

The Lampkin they call ‘Sid’

Words: John Hulme with Alan Lampkin, with full co-operation from an article which first appeared in Classic Trial Magazine – Issue 11.

A.R.C. 'Sid' Lampkin seen here with John Moffat (Trials Guru) in November 2014.
A.R.C. ‘Sid’ Lampkin seen here with John Moffat (Trials Guru) in November 2014.

The three Lampkin brothers are Arthur, Alan and Martin, the youngest, have been part of the motorcycle trials scene for such a long period of time that they are etched in the history of the sport forever. Alan – or ‘Sid’ as he is better known – was the one in the middle; imagine having Arthur as your older brother and Martin as the youngest? He was a very successful Scrambler during the ‘Golden Years’ of British domination and won both the Scottish Six Days and Scott Trials in 1966 for BSA; throw in some ISDT Gold medals and in 1974 winning the first ever American ‘World’ trials round. A very popular character, he received factory support along the way from BSA, Cotton Suzuki and Bultaco. He can still be found on the Trials scene today though, as a spectator on his annual holiday to the ‘Scottish’ or at the Scott, or many of the Classic events. The years may have passed by but one thing that has never gone away over the years is the warm welcome and the smile whenever you come into contact with Sid.

Alan Raymond Charles Lampkin entered the world on April 7th 1944 in Silsden, Yorkshire, as the younger brother to Arthur John who was born in 1938. Harold Martin Lampkin would come along later, at Christmas in 1950. The Lampkins had moved from Woolwich Arsenal, London, in 1940 to get away from the London Blitz. Their father, Arthur Alan, was a Foreman machine turner and he opened his precision engineering business shortly after his arrival in Yorkshire. He used an old side-valve BSA as his transport and so the boys were soon around motorcycles when they were born.

TV Time

Arthur had quickly shown a keen interest and at the age of seventeen became the youngest ever member of the mighty ‘Works’ BSA off-road team after some inspiring results. Alan soon wanted to watch his elder brother in action and remembers watching him at the 1959 Ilkley Grand National where he was allowed to ride without competing, and he loved it. They had no television in the early days at the Lampkin household and they often went around to the next-but-one neighbour to watch Arthur on it in the TV scrambles.

Alan's older brother, Arthur J. Lampkin, seen here in the Pre'65 Scottish on his Gold Star BSA in 1984 was a guiding influence on his younger brothers. Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Alan’s older brother, Arthur J. Lampkin, seen here in the Pre’65 Scottish on his Gold Star BSA in 1984 was a guiding influence and mentor to his younger brothers, Martin and ‘Sid’. Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

The Lampkin entertainment got even better when Alan started to compete. It was trials riding which first attracted him though and he could not wait to compete in the tough Scott Time and Observation Trial. He joined Arthur in the entry in 1960 for his first event. It was a tough day and one he did not finish, but when elder brother Arthur was announced the winner he set his sights on emulating his brother with a win of his own, after finishing the event! After finding his feet in 1960 with tastes of both trials and scrambling on BSA machinery he started to enjoy the rigors of the off-road action. He picked up a finisher’s certificate at the 1961 Scott and soon began to get noticed by the factory teams and, most importantly, the competition team managers.

He was drafted into the factory BSA team alongside such great names as Bill Nicholson, Fred Rist, David Tye, Brian Martin, Jeff Smith and John Harris – and, of course, his big brother Arthur. He acknowledged the support and delivered the results when in 1963 he won his first National trial, the Travers. Then he was picked by the team selectors to represent his country in the International Six Days Trial to be held in Czechoslovakia. In those days the event covered near-on 1,000 miles during the six days of competition and Alan did himself proud before disaster struck on the fifth day, Friday.

Alan 'Sid' Lampkin with the Comerfords - Bultaco Ford Transit van in 1975. Rob was a frequent travelling companion even although he rode for rivals, Montesa. Photo: Rob Edwards Private collection
Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin with the Comerfords – Bultaco Ford Transit van in 1976. Photo courtesy: Rob Edwards’ private photo collection

He was still ‘clean’ and on course for his first Gold Medal when he crashed and, suffering from heavy concussion, was forced to retire much to his disappointment. BSA though had much faith in him and after recovering he was moved into the number two BSA team for the Scott, where he collected a Scott ‘Spoon’ after finishing in the top twenty-five. By the mid-sixties he was acknowledged as one of the new young riders making headlines in the sport. Riding for BSA he mixed both trials and scrambling with much success. It was a fantastic season scrambling as he took in many of the established events with some impressive results, including some top-five finishes in the BBC Trophy races at Ripon and Durham on the BSA 440 cc, second in the Lancashire Grand National and a third in the Cleveland Grand National. On the trials scene he was a regular winner and top-five finisher in the British championship events, but 1966 was going to be his year.

All Rounder

It all started with a win at the opening scramble on January 1st at a frozen Hatherton Hall in Cheshire in the 500 BBC Trophy race. It was sheet ice everywhere and his trials skills certainly helped and he felt very confident; he can still remember the look on Jeff Smith’s face as he passed him on the start/finish straight, it was great day and one he remembers like it was yesterday! Jeff Smith had been 500cc World Motocross Champion in 1964 and 1965 and is a very good friend of the Lampkins even to the present day. He then won the prestigious Bemrose Trophy Trial before preparing his 250cc BSA C15 for the Scottish Six Days Trial in the May. At the last minute he was moved into the BSA works team as Dave Rowlands was asked to stand down in case he was called home to attend a court hearing as a witness to a murder. On the first day Alan parted with no marks along with Mick Andrews (Bultaco) – Paul England (Triumph) – Peter Fletcher (Royal Enfield) – Sammy Miller (Bultaco) & Stan Cordingley (Bultaco). Tuesday was a long, tough day taking in 15 sections including Loch Eild Path above Kinlochleven.

Delay built up at the Caillich group of six sections and many riders lost marks on time. Wednesday took in eight sections at Laggan Locks, taking two marks from trials leader Alan Lampkin. Lampkin still held the lead on Thursday. Lampkin nearly lost the trial on the steep rocky hazards at Caolasnacoan when the crowd thought he had stopped, but the official observer recorded a three-mark penalty, giving the trials lead to Sammy Miller. It was on the sections at Leiter Bo Fionn though that Miller went to pieces and parted with a dozen marks whilst Lampkin kept his score down to four to move back into the lead. The final scores were Lampkin on 23 with Miller second on 27.

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)

This would be the last win for a British manufactured motorcycle using a four-stroke engine until James Dabill on the Montesa in 2007. Later in the year he would take his first ISDT Gold on the BSA in effect a TriBSA 504cc in Sweden when he was Great Britain’s best performer with a clean sheet, with the team finishing third overall.

Arthur had won the Scott Trial again in 1965, setting the quickest time as well, and both brothers went to the 1966 event as members of the BSA team along with Scott Ellis, with both wanting to win – the outcome would be very memorable. Alan would win, with Arthur setting the quickest time in 4 hours, 18 minutes and 55 seconds which was a similar time from 1965, but the secret to Alan’s win was his observation score which put him in front of Sammy Miller who was desperate to give Spanish Brand Bultaco their first win in the event. The weather was beautiful, with massive crowds. Alan had shown good form early on with one of the few cleans at Hell Holes up the big step. At Washfold the Green Dragon Public House was hard to find due to the large number of spectators who had all turned out to see the dramatic battle unfold. The day after the event he was part of the winning Yorkshire team in the Inter Centre Team Trial.

Foreign Machines

The demise of the once mighty motorcycle industry in Great Britain has been well documented but it also forced the top riders of the time to move to foreign manufacturers. Alan had remained loyal to BSA but had not continued to enjoy his earlier success. 1967 was a bleak results year. At the ‘Scottish’ and riding the BSA C15T the week had started very cold and wet, and on the Tuesday the rear wheel collapsed. He changed the wheel but was removed from the results when he was found to have swopped the marked part by the organisers, forcing him to retire from the event. He was also hugely disappointed at the Scott when a split rear tyre forced his retirement. On the scrambling front he was still riding well and getting some good results. 1968 was pretty much the same as the BSA support in trials was not the same, although in scrambles they still had a winning machine. Many riders including Alan began to took to other machinery for trials and it was the ‘boom time’ of the micro-light machines.

He was offered the opportunity to ride the new 118cc Suzuki powered machine along with Arthur and Martin for the 1969 season. These were fun times in trials and in 1969 and 1970 he finished in fourteenth position on the Suzuki at the SSDT despite struggling at the event with many problems including a broken frame.

He was still contesting scrambles on the BSA and had some good results including top-five placings in the BBC Grandstand Trophy races before moving to a Husqvarna. The Spanish Armada of trials machines was now in full flow and along with many riders the Lampkins left the cottage industry of small-capacity trials machinery in the UK and went on to Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa, in Alan’s case Bultaco.

Scott Trial action from Sid in 1974. Photo Alan Lampkin Archive.
Scott Trial action from Sid in 1974. Photo Alan Lampkin Archive.

At the 1970 Scott he set the quickest time on his way to a top-ten finish on the Bultaco as Sammy Miller took the last of his seven wins. The Bultaco was a breath of fresh air and in 1971 he would finish tenth in the European Championship, once again set the quickest time at the Scott Trial in a team with Martin and Jim Sandiford and finish fifth in the British Trials Championship.

At the year’s ISDT he would also take another Gold medal, this time on a Bultaco. He quickly became a member of the Spanish works Bultaco trials team and with it the added support.

Justifying his works status he finished a fine second in the 1972 SSDT.

In 1973 he made his final appearance in the ISDT mounted on a Triumph, taking yet another Gold medal, with the trophy team taking second place.

Sid, fourth from the left at the ISDT in the USA in 1973, Triumph mounted that year.
Sid, fifth from the left at the ISDT in the USA in 1973, Triumph mounted that year. From left: Ken Heanes, team manager, Lofty Lucas asst manager; Jim Sandiford; John Pease; Sid Lampkin; Arthur Browning; Malcolm Rathmell and Ernie Page.

The development of the Sherpa T range had moved on after Sammy Miller had moved to Honda, with more responsibility on the shoulders of UK based Bultaco riders, including Alan and Martin Lampkin. The sport was also moving from European status to be named the World Championship. Before the move, and with the sport expanding, a ‘World’ round would be held in America. After many problems, including the press thinking it was Martin who had won, a happy Alan was named the winner!

World Championship

With the move to the FIM World Championship in 1975 the factories were very keen to take the first title, including Bultaco. Along with Alan his younger brother Martin would contest the whole 14 round series, but with only the best 8 scores counting the championship would turn into a three-way fight with Finland’s Yrjo Vesterinen and Malcom Rathmell.

Alan abandons ship in the 1978 SSDFt on Grey Mares Ridge on his 3250 Bultaco, a machine that bore Barcelona registration numbers! (Photo: copyright Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven)
Alan abandons ship in the 1978 SSDT on ‘Grey Mare’s Ridge’ on his 325cc Bultaco, a machine that carried a Barcelona registration number! (Photo: copyright Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven)

Alan supported his brother as much as he could, finishing the year in ninth with his best result a third at his home round, as ‘Mart’ won the title by one mark from Vesterinen. The Bultaco team and the Lampkin brothers remained at the cutting edge of the championship right up until 1980, when Sweden’s Ulf Karlson on the Montesa stopped the trend, but by this
time Alan had retired from the World Championship.

Alan Lampkin on Blackwater sections in the 1978 Scottish, note the Barcelona registration on his 325 Bultaco. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Alan Lampkin on Blackwater sections in the 1978 Scottish, note the Barcelona registration on his 325 Bultaco. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

With the glory years of the Bultaco brand over he would ride his last Scott Trial in 1980 and his last Scottish Six Days Trial in 1982 on an SWM. With a young family to provide for he continued to work in the engineering business started by his father many years before but, as with all motorcyclists, if it’s in your blood it’s hard to get rid of!

The Lampkin brothers still had some of their old works BSA machines and these were brought out of retirement for the new Pre-65 SSDT introduced in 1984. These were fantastic times not just for the brothers but also for the spectators, as they came out to witness them in action once again on the world famous ‘Scottish’ hazards such as Pipeline. Good friend Jeff Smith came over from Canada and it was a very happy reunion.

Sid's younger brother, Martin enjoys a gallop on eldest brother Arthur's BSA C15T (XON688 in 1984 on Blackwater. Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Sid’s younger brother, Martin enjoys a gallop on eldest brother Arthur’s BSA C15T (XON688) in 1985 on Blackwater. Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Alan would ride in the event on a few more occasions over the years. Son James is the youngest of his three children, he also has two girls Sarah and Nina, who is the eldest, and James soon became interested in trials riding giving Alan a new interest along with his Golf.

Alan's son James Lampkin seen here at Inversanda in the 2006 SSDT. Photo copyright ~ Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Alan’s son James Lampkin seen here at Inversanda in the 2006 SSDT. Photo copyright ~ Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

James went on to have his own successful trials career which included an Expert British Championship title and a third position in the 2004 SSDT.

Sid on Coalasnacoan in 2000 on Arthur's BSA (XON688) Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Sid on Caolasnacoan in 2000 on Arthur’s BSA (XON688) Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

James put his own career ambitions as a trials rider on hold as he supported Cousin Dougie Lampkin to his seven world championship titles. Alan is now semi-retired, working just three days a week at Lampkin Engineering, and still enjoys his motorcycling days and his annual holiday in the Highlands, accompanied by his wife Eileen and usually a gang of grandchildren who will no doubt carry on the Lampkin legend.

Copyright:

Words: John Hulme with Alan Lampkin

Pictures:

Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Rob Edwards, Middlesborough, Cleveland.

Trials Media/ John Hulme

With many thanks to Classic Trial Magazine for their kind permission to reproduce this article from Issue 11 – Classic Trial.

For more articles like this one, be sure to subscribe to Classic Trial Magazine … Here

Great Scots – Ron Thomson – Fort William

Ron Thomson with the only C15 BSA to finish in the 1959 SSDT. All the works bikes retired that year. Photo taken at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh. Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Ron Thomson
Ron Thomson with his C15 BSA at the ‘weigh-in’ of the 1959 SSDT at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh. Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Helen Thomson

Ron Thomson originally from St Andrews, Fife moved to Fort William in the late 1950’s. Ron was a dispatch rider during national service in Egypt and a member of the services club, the Bar-None MCC. On being de-mobbed, Ron joined the local Kirkcaldy & District club. Ron takes up the story: “In my day trials bikes were measured by the hundredweight, not by the cubic capacity! I had a Gold Star, which was dubbed the ‘Stone-Crusher’. So called because no section was ever the same after we had gone through. As for the Scottish Six Days, we used to gear the bikes up, my Trophy Triumph was good for 90 plus mph on the road, the reason for the hurry was that we used to be more interested in the ‘Seven Nights’ than the Six Days!” says Ron.

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 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 second right is Dunfermline rider the late Maurice Duffin. Photo: Mrs. Peggy Davies.

That particular Goldie, as Ron had one or two, registered PFS 916 had a neat conversion, featured in the first 1958 SSDT report in The Motor Cycle. In an attempt to reduce weight, Thomson used the gearbox as an oil reservoir for the motor thus obviating the need for an oil tank. The very machine on which Ron won the over 350 award at the 1969 Scottish which was to be his last ride in the Highland classic. That Gold Star was sold via Ernie Page’s shop in Polwarth Terrace and was passed through many ‘hands’ eventually ending up with Billy Maxwell in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

1964 SSDT on Mamore. Ron Thomson on his BSA Gold Star PFS916 - 'The Stone-Crusher'. Photo courtesy of Mrs Ron Thomson, Fort William.
1964 SSDT on Mamore. Ron Thomson on his BSA Gold Star PFS916 – ‘The Stone-Crusher’. Photo courtesy of Mrs Helen Thomson, Fort William.

Ron loved riding the Scottish Six Days which was in effect a local event for him as he lived in Inverlochy at that time. Ron said: “…well it was more the seven nights I was most interested in to be truthful, we used to get up to all sorts of fun”.

Ron knew an observer called Tommy Millar from Airdrie, a man who never had a complaint registered against him in over 25 years of observing- what was the reason? “I just gie a’ the laddies a clean”, he told Ron.

Ron said: “I’ve no doubt that the kids today on their water cooled pogo sticks in their go faster trendy bin liner suits will enjoy themselves just as much as we did, but still I think had greater fun in the golden years”.

1953 - SSDT - Kirkcaldy Club - Ray Biddle - reduced
At the end of the 1953 Scottish Six Days, Ray Biddle took this photo of the Kirkcaldy & District riders From left: Peter Victory (197 James); Dave Birrell (490 Norton); Jack Duncan (Montrose, 197 Francis Barnett); Dr. J.G. Stewart (197cc Sun); Johnny Birrell (348cc BSA) & Ron Thomson (343cc Triumph)

Ron had a reputation as the man to approach if you wanted your bike fettled for the Scottish. He worked for a spell at the Brechin dealership, Duncan’s.

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Ron prepares to start his BSA Gold Star at the beginning of the 1963 Scottish in Edinburgh’s Gorgie Market. Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Young, Armadale.

At one stage Ron, when still an active rider, prepared about a dozen Lochaber members bikes for the Highland classic.

“I couldn’t concentrate on my own ride for this one or that one coming up and saying, here! Listen to this – do you think it’s all right – will it last the week with this rattle or that rattle?”

Tyndrum, on the final day of the 1964 SSDT. Photo cortesy of Mrs. Ron Thomson, Fort William.
Tyndrum, on the final day of the 1964 SSDT. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Helen Thomson, Fort William.

John Moffat has a vivid personal recollection of the 1967 Scottish Experts held at Achallader Farm, Bridge of Orchy: “Ron Thomson was on his Gold Star, having ridden down from Fort William, a distance of some 35 miles in company with the late Ali McDonald on a 500cc Ariel. Post-trial, Ron stopped for a blether with a group of his old chums, I happened to be an interested bystander, listening in to the “banter”. Ali McDonald had decided to get home before dark and left immediately after signing off at the finish. The bold Ron then decided after quarter of an hour had elapsed to set off in pursuit of his pal, McDonald. Ron set sail from the farm, which, is about a mile from the main A82 trunk road. Within a few moments the assembled gathering could see Ron and the Goldie passing over the steel bridge which spans the River Orchy and up the “Black Mount”, overhauling several cars during his ascent, the big Goldie on full song. The exhaust note ever fading, disappearing from view as he crested the summit and onward to the Fort. What a great sight to behold.”

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 was a great 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 Helen Thomson, Fort William.

Known as a ‘big bike’ man, Ron also rode the “tiddlers” as well. In 1959 he chose the brand new C15T BSA 250cc unit construction single for the Scottish Six Days. In fact, out of eight C15’s entered, Ron was the only one to get to the finish and that included factory bikes as well!

Ron Thomson - 1959 - BSA C15
Watched by Jeff Smith in the duffle-coat, Ron Thomson on the only C15T BSA to finish in the 1959 Scottish. All the works bikes had retired from the event. This section was at Achintee farm on the slopes of Ben Nevis Photo courtesy of Mrs. Helen Thomson, Fort William.

Back in 1955 he rode a Villiers powered 197cc DMW and a year later rode a similarly powered Welsh built 197cc H.J.H.

In the 1953 Scottish, Ron rode a self-built ex-WD 343cc Triumph, the following year he rode a 347cc Matchless G3LC.

1954 - Creag An Eilein - R S Thomson - Ray Biddle Photo reduced
Ron Thomson on his new for that year 347cc Matchless G3LC in the 1954 Scottish on Creag An Eilein on the Rothiemurchus Estate, near Aviemore. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

Ron S. Thomson passed away on 20th January 2007, never being a regular church attender, there was a humanist service held for him in the Crematorium at Inverness. Ron left the trials community of the Lochaber Club and the towns-people of Fort William with great memories of a true character of the sport of trials.

Ron Thomson in 1964 at Achintee Farm on his 500cc BSA Gold Star. Photo Courtesy Mrs Ron Thomson, Fort William.
Ron Thomson in 1964 at Achintee Farm on his 499cc BSA Gold Star. Photo Courtesy Mrs Helen Thomson, Fort William.

Trials Guru on Ron Thomson: Ron Thomson was a well liked individual who moved from his native St. Andrews to work at the British Aluminium works at Fort William. The reason was simple, so that he would live in God’s trials country! He set up business initially in a shed in his back garden fixing motorcycles and lawn-mowers for local people.

His business grew and he obtained premises at the Industrial Estate at Caol a few miles from Fort William on the A830. Many of the younger riders in the town benefited from Ron’s knowledge, which included Hugh and Alister McDonald, Alastair Macgillivray. Gary MacLennan and Rodger Mount.

Friends of Ron Thomson, Hugh McDonald Senior and Junior. Hugh Snr is on Ron thomson's BSA Gold Star and Hugh Jnr on the special bike built for him by Ron Thomson. Photo courtesy of Alister McDonald, Fort William.
Friends of Ron Thomson, Hugh McDonald Senior and Junior. Hugh Snr is on Ron Thomson’s BSA Gold Star and Hugh Jnr on the special bike built for him by Ron Thomson. Photo courtesy of Alister McDonald, Fort William.

His business was called R.S. Thomson (Inverlochy) Ltd. He ran a repair shop and MOT test centre for motorcycles. He was agent for chain-saws and garden equipment and employed Cameron ‘Cammy’ Kennedy for many years.

Ron gets his 250cc BSA C15T examined and security marked at Gorgie Market in May 1959. On Ron's left is Davie Miller, one of the course markers of the SSDT. Photo cortesy of Mrs. Helen Thomson.
Ron gets his 250cc BSA C15T examined and security marked at Gorgie Market in May 1959. On Ron’s left is Davie Miller, one of the course markers of the SSDT. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Helen Thomson.

It was quite usual to swing in past Ron’s workshop for a great natter about the old days. But as sure as guns you were never there long until another enthusiast also had the same idea! How Ron got any work done heaven knows. He was a good builder of wheels, which itself is a bit of a ‘black-art’.

When Ron passed away after a short illness the business folded and Cammy took up employment with The Hire Centre in Fort William. Ron’s friends were not only Scots riders of his era like Jack Williamson; Arnott Moffat; Tommy Robertson; Johnny Clarkson and Bob Paterson, he also enjoyed the friendship of Gordon Blakeway; Ralph Venables; Peter Stirland and some of the best known riders of his era.

24-06-1962 - Ben Nevis - Southern and Lochaber
24th June 1962 – From Left: Bobby Neilson; Billy MacLeod: David Stodart; Hugh McDonald; John Noble: Jack Williamson & Ron Thomson. A joint effort of Edinburgh Southern & Lochaber Clubs to ride up Ben Nevis

They all knew Ron Thomson!

This article was put together from notes John Moffat made during an interview he had with Ron at his workshops at Caol some years ago and personal recollections by Moffat himself of Ron Thomson pieced together over many years knowing Ron Thomson.

Ron Thomson in the Scottish Six Days Trial

Year                Riding Number         Club                            Make & CC of machine

1953                179                              Kirkcaldy                    Triumph 343

1954                148                              Kirkcaldy                    Matchless 500

1955                20                                Kirkcaldy                    DMW 197

1956                24                                Kirkcaldy                    DMW 197

1957                12                                Kirkcaldy                    DMW 197 (could be HJH)

1958                140                              Kirkcaldy                    Triumph 498 (Twin)

1959                74                                Edinburgh & Dist       BSA 250

1961                171                              Lochaber                     BSA 350

1962                191                              Lochaber                     BSA 348

1964                177                              Lochaber                     BSA 500

1969                195                              (not in prog.)               BSA 500

Post Script: Added 01/02/2015: This story was spotted by Ron Thomson’s Grand-nephew, Ron Fisher who lives in Canada. It brought back happy memories of a visit to Scotland back in 1997 and indeed Trials Guru has been able to put Ron Fisher and Mrs. Helen Thomson in contact as a result of the article you see above.

Copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing / John Moffat – 2014

With special thanks to Mrs. Helen Thomson of Inverlochy, Fort William for the photographs which accompany this article.

Post script to Ron Thomson’s story…

We have been contacted by former Scottish Speedway professional, John Wilson who now lives in Spain. John owned the ex-Ali McDonald Ariel MDB590 and he has kindly let us see photos of the restored machine. He sold it shortly before emigrating to Spain some years ago.

1964 - Ali McDonald on MDB590 on Grey Mare's  Ridge Photo: Holder and Osborn
1964 – Ali McDonald on MDB590 on Grey Mare’s Ridge Photo: Holder and Osborn
Ariel 1
The ex-Ali McDonald Ariel HT5 (MDB590) nestles inside John Wilson’s den. His speedway memorabilia is in the background. Photo: John Wilson.

Ariel 2

A proud John Wilson shows off his Ariel. Photo: Chris Wilson.
A proud John Wilson shows off his Ariel. Photo: Chris Wilson.