Tag Archives: Bultaco

Jock Wilson – ISDT Team Manager and more!

Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson … a great friend … a great man ~ By Renee Bennett.

Jock Wilson - 350 AJS - SMW581 - Clayton Trial - section Cheeks - 05-08-1962 - Photo Unknown
Jock Wilson on ‘Cheeks’ at the Clayton Trial in 1962 on his specially built ultra-short-stroke AJS 350. (Photo supplied by Patricia Wilson)

When I think of Jock Wilson, it reminds me of the fantastic Thames Ditton motorcycle dealers, Comerfords, AJS trials machines, Bultaco, the Scottish Six Days and a top Home Counties based trials rider who went on to take charge of the British International Six Days Trial Trophy Team for nearly 20 years.

Peter Cameron ‘Jock’ Wilson was born in Scotland on 12th January 1934 at Oakbank, Bridge of Balgie, Glen Lyon, Perthshire. The Scottish Six Days was practically on his doorstep as the ‘Meall Glas’ section was only ¾ mile from his front door.

Jock on his short-stroke AJS in a Sidcup 60 Trial. Comerfords Sales manager Bert Thorn is following in the background.
Jock on his short-stroke AJS in a Sidcup 60 Trial. Comerfords Sales manager Bert Thorn is following in the background.

There is the main reason he was such a good trials rider ~ with all that practice ground, he just had to be good!

‘Jock’ as I’ve always known him, started his working life as a lumberjack, then a spell in the British Army doing his national service at Aldershot, then marrying his wife Pat and moving to London to live permanently.

At Aldershot, Jock was in the Royal Army Service Corps or RASC for short, his commanding officer was Captain Eddie Dow, but he also met many of the factory trials and scrambles stars of the era who were also doing their national service. Riders such as Roy Peplow, John Giles and many more.

He took up employment at Arthur Cook Motors in Kingston-Upon-Thames and then the well-known motorcycle dealership, Comerfords based in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey which he joined in 1957.

Jock started at Comerfords as a motorcycle mechanic in the workshops, soon progressing to workshop manager. When he became bored with that, he moved into sales under Sales Director, Bert Thorn.

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.
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.

Jock’s specialty was modifying AJS trials bikes, cleverly making them lighter and more powerful. Gordon Jackson, Gordon Blakeway and Gordon McLaughlan rode AJS machines as a team in those days and Jock even named one of his sons after the trio.

Gordon Jackson of course won the 1961 SSDT on his factory AJS (187 BLF) with just one ‘dab’ ~  Amazing!

Jock went on to manage the British International Six Days Junior Trophy and Trophy teams. His knowledge gained by riding in the ISDT many times himself on AJS and Triumph machinery gave him a valuable insight into this part of off-road sport and was a very highly thought of manager by the riders and the ACU. He actually cut his teeth initially by managing the Scottish ACU squad in Sweden in 1978.

A Scottish ACU presentation of awards ceremony at Perth in 1980. From left: Ron Wright (SACU Trials); Alex Phillip (Clubman TT winner 1948); Robbie Allan; Charlie Bruce (Scottish racing champion); Tommy Milton (SACU official); Anne Allan (wife of Vic Allan) and Jock Wilson, ISDT Team Manager.
A Scottish ACU presentation of awards ceremony at Perth in 1980. From left: Margaret Allan (SACU Chairperson); Ron Wright (SACU Trials); Alex Phillip (Clubman TT winner 1948); Robbie Allan; Charlie Bruce (former Scottish racing champion); Tommy Milton (SACU official); Anne Allan (wife of Vic Allan) and Jock Wilson, ISDT Team Manager.

When Comerfords eventually took over the importership from Rickman Brothers of the Bultaco brand, Jock was soon in charge … supplying dealers and operating a first class spares service.

When Jock left Comerfords, some many years later, he started his own business importing the Italian SWM trials and enduro macinery in partnership with Mick ‘Bonkey’ Bowers, which became equally as good as the Bultaco brand and very popular.

Jock and Bonkey set up a countrywide dealer network which included former World Trials Champion, Martin Lampkin.

After SWM stopped producing motorcycles, Jock went self-employed working from his home in Tolworth, fixing and tuning bikes and repairing damaged wheels, as he is an ace wheel-builder.

Nowadays, Jock is retired but still works a little on classic bikes in his spare time. I speak to him regularly and it’s always a pleasure.

Jock has always been a friend to me, to my late father Wag Bennett, and to my children Charles (who runs a busy London motorcycle shop) and my daughter, Julie.

I owe Jock a debt of gratitude for the support and help he gave me over twenty five years of trials riding.

Thank you Jock Wilson … Renee Bennett, Plaistow, East London.

Trials Guru: Jock Wilson, so named because this was common place for a Scotsman living and working in Southern England at the time, became one of off-road motorcycle sports’ most respected characters. Jock was a very competent mechanic and a serious trials competitor. When he was with Bultaco UK, he was responsible for setting up the contracts with the Comerfords supported riders in both motocross and trials. Wilson was mentor to Greeves rider and fellow Scotsman, Vic Allan when he moved from Aberdeenshire to Thames Ditton to ride for Comerfords in 1967. Allan then went on to ride for BSA briefly, during which time he crashed heavily at the Italian GP on his factory BSA breaking his hip and was sidelined for several months, during which time BSA closed the Small Heath competitions department. Allan then reverted to race for Comerfords on the Spanish Bultaco and became British 250cc and 500 cc Motocross champion in 1974, riding the Pursang models in both classes.

© – All text copyright: Renee Bennett & Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat 2015.

Scottish Six Days Trial … Historic Programme selection

Steve Saunders (RTL270 Rothmans Honda HRC) on Lagnaha in the 1986 Scottish Six Days - © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Steve Saunders (RTL270 Rothmans Honda HRC) on Lagnaha in the 1986 Scottish Six Days – © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Retrotrials has uploaded a nice selection of past official programmes of the Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) on their website.

Why not skip across and have a look?

Click Here

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

Sammy’s Museum

Words: John Hulme and Pictures: John Hulme + Iain Lawrie.

In 1996 Sammy Miller MBE took over the run-down premises of an old farm and converted the barns into a modern, prestigious building with picturesque surroundings. It is now accepted as housing one of the finest collections of fully restored motorcycles in the world, including factory racers and exotic prototypes. At the end of 2004 permission was granted for an extension to the museum which now allows it to house over 400 exhibits.

In autumn 2010 Trial Magazine called in to view this tribute to one man’s love of motorcycles.

Sammy Miller MBE and his wife, Rosemary. Photo
Sammy Miller MBE and his wife, Rosemary.

Welcomed by the warm hand of Sammy Miller himself the moment you walk inside the fabulous buildings, he immediately breaks into a documented history of the museum and its contents, the enthusiasm bouncing out from this motorcycle legend. Sammy’s life has always been dedicated to motorcycles. As a boy he followed motorcycle racing in Ulster and then went on to compete and win his first race in 1953. After a well documented period on the Road Racing Grand Prix circuits he moved into trials and went on to develop the world famous Ariel trials machine GOV 132 before moving on to Bultaco and creating the modern trials scene in 1965, and then on to Honda in 1970 to design the world championship winning trials machine. He is still active today and still competes when possible as well as demonstrating some of his prize collection.

Sammy on his GOV Replica Ariel HT5 on Loch Eild Path in the Pre'65 Scottish Trial. Photo: Copyright Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Sammy on his ‘GOV Replica’ Ariel HT5 on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the Pre’65 Scottish Trial. Photo: Copyright Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Unlike most other museums this is more than a static collection to be dusted and polished at regular intervals and displayed like butterflies with pins through them. This is a live museum, for whenever the opportunity presents itself these machines are run in classic bike events of one kind or another. Many of the racing machines are still fully competitive and capable of giving a good account of themselves in high-speed parades. Like any good museum the contents are changing constantly. Virtually every new acquisition represents a full-scale renovation with the attendant difficulty in finding missing parts or replacements to exchange for those that are badly worn. Apart from the motorcycles on display you will also see many interesting artefacts, all of which represent a link with motorcycling of a bygone era.

The Off-Road section, for me, was incredible as one of the machines in the collection was something that has been on my mind many times in the past. George Sartin of Talon products’ fame many years ago started to develop his own trials machine; he made a prototype which then just disappeared off the face of the earth and there it was, immaculately restored in the museum. There are the awesome Jawa ISDT machines from the mid-seventies, and another particular machine which caught my eye was the long track championship winning machine of the late Simon Wigg, current trials star Alexz Wigg’s uncle.

Renovation

Always one to bring something new to the museum, Sammy had just acquired the famous 1961 SSDT-winning AJS ridden by Gordon Jackson when he recorded the famous single mark victory.

5 The famous Gordon Jackson AJS as it arrived at the museum.
Gordon Jackson’s factory AJS 187BLF in ‘as found’ condition, seen here at Sammy Miller’s ready for restoration. 

The machine was in a sad state of affairs but Miller restored it, quite rightly, to its original condition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Gordon Jackson AJS 187BLF rebuilt and ready to go!

The museum houses the finest collection of fully restored motorcycles in Europe, including factory racers and exotic prototypes, plus memorabilia spanning seven decades of motorcycling for sport and for pleasure. There are over 400 rare and classic motorcycles on display in four galleries.

7
Sammy with the AJS Porcupine racer

During all this he has still found the time to restore many rare and exotic machines to concourse condition and perfect working order. These he kept as a private collection until 1980 when he opened up a museum so that the public could have a chance to see and hear them. He even took some abroad to many locations, including Australia and New Zealand, so that they could be seen by as many people as possible.

4 The Talon trials machine
The Talon Mick Mar Trials Machine at Sammy Miller’s Museum at New Milton.

He has now placed the entire collection into a Trust to enable it to be kept together for future generations to experience and admire. There is no one more dedicated to motorcycling than Sam. He spends ten hours a day seven days a week working, promoting or restoring motorcycles and still finds time to compete (and win) races today.

3
Sammy with GOV132 Ariel HT5 developed from 1958 – 1964, the world’s most famous trials machine.

Sammy Miller was awarded an MBE for Services to Motorcycle Heritage in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List. The museum is open pretty much all year round and for me is a must to visit if you have not done so already. For more information please visit: Tel: 01425 620 777 – Web: www.sammymiller.co.uk – Mail: museum@sammymiller.co.uk

Sammy Miller MBE – Achievements

  • 11 times successive British Champion.
  • Twice European Trials Champion – the forerunner to the World Championship.
  • 13 times successive Hurst Cup winner.
  • 18 times successive Walter Rusk Trial winner.
  • 5 times winner of the famous Scottish Six Day Trial.
  • 7 times winner of the World’s most arduous trial the Scott Trial on the harsh and unforgiving Yorkshire moors.
  • Winner of over 1482 Trials events.
  • 9 Gold medals at International Six Day Trials.
  • Irish Motocross Champion.
  • Irish Sand Racing Champion.
  • Winner of most Irish Road races, including winning the North West 200 and the Leinster 200 three years in succession.
  • Third in the World Grand Prix Championships on a works Mondial
  • Sponsor of the British Classic Trial Championships.
  • Still rides today at retirement age and wins Trials and competes in classic road race events throughout Europe and as far away as New Zealand.
John Moffat has interviewed 10 times British Trials Champion, Sammy Miller on many occasions.
Trials Guru, John Moffat has interviewed 11 times British Trials Champion, Sammy Miller on many occasions.

© – All text copyright: Originally published in Trial Magazine – Issue 25.

Many thanks to John Hulme of Trial Magazine for his permission to re-produce this article.

For back issues of Trial Magazine UK click Here

Motorcycle Competition Scotland 1975-2005 – By John Moffat

Cover shot MCS

MOTORCYCLE COMPETITION SCOTLAND 1975 – 2005 by John Moffat
 – Foreword by 8 times TT winner, JIM MOODIE –
Yoomee Ltd is proud to present this superb semi-hardback book which covers the history of Motorcycle Competition in Scotland from 1975 – 2005 by John Moffat. With foreword written by eight times TT winner, Jim Moodie, it is presented with a mixture of exciting, and in many cases un-seen, colour and black and white images, this book is in A4 size format with over 100 pages of informative and interesting text.

This is a book which explores and describes in words and photographs, competitors and enthusiasts from motorcycle sport in Scotland and more! It’s about people, places and events from this era, the endeavours and performances by motorcycle sports most respected riders, who were either born or brought up in Scotland.
A book which will convey you back to a time-period when Scotland produced not only British, but World championship contenders. Riders who endeavoured to create performances, which proved they were serious competitors in racing, trials, enduro, and motocross.

This is a publication aimed at the motorcycle enthusiast.
Payment can be made securely by ‘Paypal’, debit or credit card
Full details of price, how and where to buy Motorcycle Competition Scotland 1975-2005 is available … Here
UPDATE: Initial reports indicate that there has been healthy demand for this publication. Many thanks to all in the UK who have ‘pre-ordered’ and therefore saved on UK postage! However there are also a number of readers who have already placed an overseas order, thank you very much for your support!

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

Renee Bennett – East London’s Lady Trials Rider

Renee Bennett – By her daughter Julie Powell:

Cover photo - Renee Bennett

My mum was a name known to all in the motorcycle trials world, she was born in East London’s Canning Town.

From humble beginnings she emerged as Britain’s best known lady rider in a career spanning a quarter of a century.

Renee in Action!

Renee’s interest in trials riding began watching father ‘Wag‘, an East London nickname for ‘Charles‘, riding motorcycles around the docks near his cycle and motorcycle shop. Renee’s parents were hard working East Londoners. They opened their first shop in the late 1920’s in Victoria Dock Road.

The popular shop hired and sold cycles, and the name Wag Bennett has been carried through to successive generations.

All during World War II, Wag and Esther Bennett remained in Canning Town, running their shop, keeping the dockworkers going with cycles and motorcycles, and staying open late til 11.00am waiting for the last shift of workmen to pass the shop.

Renee stunt doubling
Renee stunt doubling

Renee stood on a box at the counter, testing bulbs and batteries and giving the customers their change, by candlelight. She recalls she was about 4 or 5 years old.

In 1939, Wag was picked for the British ISDT Team, held that year in Nazi Germany.  He shook hands with Hitler, unaware of the gathering storm then, quite suddenly, the team was ordered to leave Germany immediately WWII had begun!

The old shop was a target in the blitz being so near the docks, and eventually took a bomb, as did every other shop and house around it. Almost blown to smithereens, the bedroom ceiling was somehow held together with cycles magazines and newspapers. The whole shop was supported by a few wooden beams, keeping it standing.

PICTURE OF MUM ON GREEVES

Buckets were strategically placed on the bed to catch water, which poured in every time it rained.  As a child, this was normal daily life for Renee and her brother, Wag jnr.

At night, they watched the ‘doodlebugs’ the V1 flying bomb, on their way to decimate the London docks and surrounding area.

Standing outside the shop every night, one of these unmanned rockets, would suddenly stop, drop, hit it’s target and blow the shop windows out.

During these blitzes, the family would hastily run to the nearest underground station or the Anderson shelter behind the shop, where they would remain until an ‘All Clear’ siren sounded.

Getting through the war was a daily struggle for survival.  The harshness of life though at least prepared Renee for the tough sport of motorcycle trials that was to come.

After the war, Wag sold Ariel motorcycles;  strong serviceable machines they were used thoughout the war, by soldiers and civilians alike.  He worked all hours repairing and selling them to the dockers and factory workers.

Renee left school at 15, and went into the family business.  It was now well known, a beacon for all the major British bikes:  AJS, Matchless, Ariel, BSA, Triumph, Panther, James, Velocette, Frances Barnett, NSU ‘Quickly’ to name but a few.

Around this time, Renee began riding in earnest on a James Captain 198cc, but at only 7 stone and of slender build the skill of trials riding was not easy to master.

In her own words: “Why I never got killed I’ll never know, I was useless!

Wag Bennett jnr. also worked in the shop, but diversified into bodybuilding.  He would train every night in the hope of becoming Mr Britain.  He eventually opened his own gymnasium training some of the greatest names in bodybuilding including Arnold Schwarzenneggar, who lived with him and wife Dianne for a few years. Wag was instrumental in teaching Arnie to pose to music.  He won every title in Wag’s shows and soon became a household name.  Arnie remained a lifelong friend of the family and invited Wag & Dianne to his Hollywood wedding to Maria Shriver.

In the mid-50s Renee met husband Howard Powell through her brother’s bodybuilding connections. Howard won many titles throughout the UK including Mr. South East Britain and Mr. Navy.

They married and in 1956 I came along.  Renee juggled motherhood with helping Howard run their  motorcycle shop in London’s East Ham, the first of five.

Determined to follow in the footsteps of her father, a factory supported rider for Matchless, Renee rode daily on wasteland nearby, and competed every Sunday in Kent and Surrey in timed trials along with husband Howard, also an avid trials rider.

By this time, and winning several awards in open-to-centre trials, Renee was riding a Greeves 250cc slimline, alloy frame, perfect for her.  They were made by a small factory at Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex.

Renee was ready for the challenging Scottish Six Day event, following in her father’s footsteps.

Renee’s entered the Scottish Six Day Trial in 1961. The first of many.

She finished the event, earning her an award and a myriad of bruises all over her body!

The Welsh Three Day Trial featured prominently in Renee’s riding career as she says:  “My favourite, fast and furious!”  Renee rode a Bultaco 250cc with a Wasp frame for that event.

Her son, my brother, Charles was born in 1964.

But that wasn’t all, she was much in demand as a motorcycle stunt double, known by all in the film and TV business as The Girl On A Motorcycle.  Renee also enjoyed a successful modelling career, advertising everything from make-up to Ovaltine.

Renee in black leathers

In the early 1970s, Renee switched to riding a Bultaco Sherpa 250cc, which she still has today along with her Greeves, Bultaco Enduro (used in the Welsh Three-Day) and the much-loved James 198cc.

In 1973, Renee competed in the Scottish Six Day Trials on the Bultaco.  The 6th so far.

At around here, she converted one of her East London shops into a motorcycle competition centre.  “Renee Bennett’s East London Sportman’s Centre”, which became a beacon from as far afield as Europe and the USA. Customers visiting the shop immediately asked for ‘Renee Bennett!’

IMGlamour shot

Renee and Howard became known for sponsoring many up and coming young trials riders in the 80s, kitting them out with helmet and suits, their own name signwritten on the petrol tank, and cheques sent when they had won the event.

Renee’s competitive spirit continued well into the 1980s.  She ran a popular trial of her own:  The Renee Bennett Sunbeam Novice Trial, which became a much awaited event each year.  Every finisher received a scrolled certificate, adorned with red ribbon.  It is still talked about today in vintage trials circles!

Howard, being into health and fitness since his time as a bodybuilder, set up a gymnasium above one of the shops. They trained daily, and Renee found the toning and strengthening a big help when dragging her bike out of the mud!

Howard, who sadly passed away in 2003,  was a talented amateur film maker, often being invited to the premieres of the top films of the day.  He counted among his friends actors and top stunt men from all the Bond films.

Renee recalls meeting the movie stars of the day like Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, who was over from the states for the ISDT in 1964.

Now a grandmother but still with an interest in motorcycles, Renee continues to run her busy motorcycle shop in East Ham, the first one she and Howard acquired some 58 years ago.

As if that is not enough, she is very ‘hands on’ in her property renovating company assisted by son Charles.

Grandchildren have come along, my daughter Sophie, nearly 16 and a three-times published author! Oliver nearly 12, and young Charles, 22, who runs his own foreign exchange business.

Film on Renee Bennett by British Pathe on YouTube: HERE

Renee’s mother died only recently in 2012, aged 103!   Father Wag died in 1989.   As Renee says:  “Perhaps I’ll live to be a ripe old age… see you around!”

This recent comment on a trials forum site sums up the amazing Renee Bennett : “Well.. Renee Bennett,. what can I say..!  I think my old man had a fancy for her!  I remember her riding the SSDT on a Bultaco in 1973.  All the lads were fighting over themselves to help her when she got into difficulty.  Her shop was called ‘Renee Bennett’s East London Sportsman’s Centre’.  – Anyone know who wrote that?

Julie Powell

Rene Bennett photographed in 2013
Renee Bennett photographed in 2013 by daughter Julie Powell

Article Copyright: Trials Guru/Julie Powell

Photos: Julie Powell

Renee Bennett in Spanish! – Todotrial website Article:

Javier Cruz from Madrid has taken the Renee Bennett story to Spain, read about it: HERE

Website: www.reneebennett.co.uk/

Rob Shepherd goes for Montesa/Honda 4RT

Richard-Thorpe.Rob-Shepherd.Craig-Holmes.jpg
Rob Shepherd (centre) with his newly acquired Montesa 4RT Repsol 260. With Richard Thorpe (PJ1) and Craig Holmes of Craigs Motorcycles. – Photo Copyright: Barry Robinson.

Former British Trials Champion (1977) and factory Honda rider, Rob Shepherd is making a comeback to trials with a machine that he was associated back in the seventies. Honda powered four-stroke power. ‘Shep’ a Yorkshire farmer has been practising constantly with a Drayton BSA Bantam which he hopes to ride in Pre’65 events next season. He was particularly taken with the Montesa 4RT. Shepherd rode for Montesa back in the early seventies with Rob Edwards, before switching to Honda UK Trials Team with Brian Higgins and Nick Jefferies, managed by Sammy Miller.

hondashortstroke - HB
The Honda RTL300 (short-Stroke) similar to the model ridden by Rob Shepherd. This is Nick Jefferies machine, now owned by a French Trial enthusiast. Photo Copyright: Heath Brindley, Bristol.

According to Rob’s younger brother Norman, also a very competent rider on a Bultaco, Rob has worn the rear tyre of the Bantam to ‘slick’ proportions. He told Trials Guru at the recent Scott Re-Union: “He’s never off the thing, he’s worn the knobbles off the rear tyre”.

TL305WR
In the 1990’s enthusiasts began building ‘Shepherd Replica’ Hondas. Here is a Honda trials TL250 motor bored to 305cc installed in a Jim Susans (Bikecraft) frame. Photo: MoffatRacing Archive.

Rob Shepherd has been out of the sport since 1983 when he last rode it was an Appleyard 340 Bultaco in 1982/83 and a Majesty Yamaha in 1981.

Red Rose Trial 1981
Rob Shepherd in 1981 on a Majesty Yamaha 320 at the Red Rose Trial. Photo: Barry Robinson

 

rob shepherd 340 appleyard bultaco in one of his last outings at the 1982 wetherby bottle trial
Rob Shepherd 1982, Appleyard Bultaco 340 mounted for the Wetherby Bottle Trial. Photo: Barry Robinson.

 

Link to more on Honda Trials


Acknowledgement to Trials Media/Trial Mag/John Hulme.

Photos:

Barry Robinson – All Rights reserved.

Heath Brindley – All Rights Reserved.

MoffatRacing Archive – Copyright.

The Rob Edwards Story – Part Five

Rob Publicity Montesa
Montesa recognised at an early stage that Rob Edwards was a most suitable rider to promote the brand worldwide. (Montesa sales brochure from 1971)

Hi Again,
Many thanks for all your comments, I feel very honoured that so many of you have remembered me. Leaving Cotton Motorcycles was a necessary move if I was to improve, but I will always be grateful for the support Norman Crooks gave me.
I knew exactly what I wanted to ride… a Montesa!
Plucking up courage, I telephoned Montala Motors in London who were the UK importers at that time. I told them my name and some of my results.
I asked if there was any chance of riding for them?
I was told that they simply had no vacancies. Montala’s ‘dream team’ being Gordon Farley, Lawrence Telling and Don Smith. However, I asked that if a ride became available I would like to be considered. I had set my heart on riding for Montesa but as this was a no-go, I would have to try elsewhere.
Montesa Cota Prototype
An early Cota Prototype. Development work by Christian Rayer (France) Pedro Pi and Don Smith ensured that Rob Edwards had a well-proven machine when he switched camps to Montesa (Permayer S.A.)
The only other top bike in my estimation was a Bultaco Sherpa, so I took a sharp intake of breath and phoned up Comerfords in Thames Ditton, Surrey, the Bultaco importers. Most of the male employees who worked at Comerfords were trials riders. So much to my delight, things started to look a lot better.
Having a bike could be sorted immediately and they were sure that Bultaco Spain would give me a contract. “We will be back in touch as soon as we hear anything”, were their parting words.
I put the phone down and gave a big sigh of relief, things were really starting to move. Then the phone rang, but this time it was Montala Motors boss John Brise. Apparently seconds after I had talked with them, Montesa Competitions Manager, Alberto Mallofre phoned them. Unknown to me, it appeared that Alberto had been a fan of mine for a long time and he had wanted me on a Montesa.
I don’t think John Brise really knew anything about me and was being polite when I phoned him, but the factory did and that was the break I needed!
Montesa Trial prototype n1( 67)
The prototype Cota from 1967, you can see the similarities to the British built Cotton Minarelli. Rob decided that his bike of choice in 1969 would be Montesa.
It seemed that everybody knew about me at Montesa, they had been keeping an eye on my results.
They said everything was in hand, so don’t look elsewhere! Alberto was on the phone to me the next day asking me to go to the Spanish round of the European championships in Barcelona.
While I was there, he had a few things he would like to talk to me about.
I traveled there with fellow Montesa riders Charlie Harris and Ian Haydon.
Now that things were up and moving I was back on the phone to Comerfords to offer my thanks for trying so hard for me. I take this opportunity to thank everyone at Comerfords back then, even although I made the move to ride for Montesa. – Rob
Trials Guru: Montesa, by 1968, had made serious in-roads into the UK trials market with their Cota 247 Mk1 model. It was becoming a very popular machine which would allow British riders to make a name for themselves in national events. Rob mentions the Montesa ‘Dream Team’ and that is correct in that Lawrence ‘Sparky’ Telling, Don Smith and Gordon Farley had all left the Greeves marque for Montesa. Charlie Harris was effectively a development rider in the Uk for the Cota.
Alberto Mallofre, the competitions manager at Permanyer S.A., the company that manufactured Montesa, was a forward thinking individual. Don Smith was a well-known extrovert on the UK trials scene and promoted the Cota successfully from 1967-70. However, he became frustrated with the lack of development progress and quit the team in 1970 to develop his own machine called the Don Smith ‘Stag’. Utilising his own ideas and a Montesa Cota 247 motor with the ‘M’ symbol carefully removed from the crankcase covers, Smith entered the 1970 Scottish on the black and white machine.
Montala Motors ‘Montesa Dream Team’
L Telling - PB - SSDT crop
Lawrence Telling pictured here in the 1969 SSDT – Photo Courtesy, Peter Bremner, Inverness.
Gordon Farley - PB - SSDTcrop
Gordon Farley – 1969 SSDT – Photo courtesy, Peter Bremner, Inverness
DR Smith - PB - SSDT crop
Don ‘D.R.’ Smith – 1969 SSDT – Photo Courtesy, Peter Bremner, Inverness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montesa ‘Ambassador’ Rob Edwards:

RE2
The beginning of Rob Edwards’ role as Montesa Ambassador. Seen here at a trials school in Spain, Rob (holding loud-haler) addresses the crowd, on his right are Alberto Mallofre and Pedro Pi. Photo courtesy of Luis Munoz, Madrid.

 

 

To Be Continued …

Copyright:

Words: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, John Moffat 2014.

Acknowledgement: Peter Bremner, Chairman Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. For Montesa Photographs used in this article.

To read all of Rob Edward’s story of his life in trials click… here