Tribute published with kind permission of M.C. Rathmell, Harrogate (8 April, 2016):
“It is with the greatest sorrow and one of the saddest of sad days when I received the ‘phone call to say Martin was no longer with us. We have been mates almost a lifetime, about fifty-three years to be more precise.
I want to say at the very start of this article, that I have written it in the spirit of how Mart would have wanted me to be. Our whole life together was full of banter and he would not have wanted me to write this in any other way now.
We first met as young lads running around the local scramble tracks. Mart was there with his brothers, ‘Ping’ (Arthur) and ‘Sid’ (Alan) who were both top scramblers. I just used to go with anyone who would take me, he always had it easy. The rivalry had already started!
We got to know each other well in the mid to late 1960s when we were both riding local trials. We played cricket for Blubberhouses, darts for the Hopper Lane pub and dominos in the Lion at Silsden. Two common things here, competition and pubs!
Through the late 1960s, we played hard but we also learned all the basics of competition on motor bikes, trials; scrambles; grass track and Mart even dabbled in speedway. Then we started ten plus years of our intense rivalry in the British, European and World Championship but what a fantastic time it was. Tense and cut throat through the event, then all was forgotten and a couple of beers at night.
Around 1970, Mart had this bright idea to buy a coal round. He didn’t really like his job and I was on the verge of getting the sack from the forestry for having so much time off riding. Seemed like a good plan and all went so well we added a second round. All was great for the first few months when we were at home but then the championship started. We hadn’t thought about that when we discussed it over a few games of dominos in the Lion at Silsden and it didn’t seen such a great idea once the Trials kicked off. So off we went to the European Championship for a few weeks. We had a lot of very cold customers and had to pay someone to do it for us!
The memories that spring to mind in all our years of travelling have to be the fishing in Finland to see who could catch the biggest fish, the boating in Sweden where he tried to drown me (I can’t swim), the girls in Czech (he s*** himself!), the cars in the US. We got the biggest car we could find on our first trip to America, but I once sent him to buy a pizza and it was so big he couldn’t get it in the bloody car. The troubles in Northern Ireland (he hated it); the poverty in the Eastern bloc where you had to change a certain amount of their money on arrival but there was nothing to spend it on. We once brought back forty-five pairs of desert wellies justto spend the money. In France when he set the van on fire making chips and then all the brilliant times we had at the factories in Barcelona with the Bultaco and Montesa families. It’s really just impossible to list every memory, I would need a book and if ‘H’ was here there would be a lot more I have forgotten.
After we both retired from riding, I bought a hotel with Rhoda in Grassington and Martin and Isobel bought a pub at Greenhow, a mere five miles apart. Well we figured we had both lived in hotels for twelve years and had certainly spent a lot longer in pubs, so it seemed the ideal answer to what we did in our retirement.
We should have known then that motorcycling was in our blood and it wouldn’t be long before we were back involved with it again.
So after our stint in ‘The Real World’ just a few years later, it all started again with another ten years plus where Mart was with Dougie and I was with Graham only this time we could have more beer!
Some of my greatest memories through this time have to be the Trial Des Nations where against all the odds we managed to pull off the wins with Mart and myself leading the troops, so to speak!
Our first win was in the Isle of Man in 1997 but 1999 was a classic as the organisers had mistakenly thought Steve Colley had a five on the last section but in fact cleaned it. The guy at the end had put a five as that was his riding number! I just remember Mart standing on a chair with a huge jug of beer singing ‘We are the Champions.’ We followed this in 2002 in Portugal and 2003 in Italy; the memories of those wins, against all the odds, where Mart and I worked together with our GB team were unforgettable.
To any outsiders Mart came over as a big, rough Yorkshire-man. In some ways he was. He didn’t stand fools, but found one in every bar we went in but he had the biggest heart and the softest spot possible. A great, great friend and a brilliant mate and an exceptional competitor (but I usually won)! You have to remember that if ‘H’ had written this it would have been the total opposite of what I have said. That’s how it was between ‘H’ and me. The friendship I had with him was special and unique. It didn’t matter if we were seeing how many stones we could throw into a bucket at the SSDT waiting for Doug and Graham or whether it was to see who got to the pub first when we were out having a meal in later years, it was a competition. However, it was a competition which we both hold in great respect of each other and that one thing that can never be taken from me, ‘memories’ which will stay with me forever.
Mart will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him but especially by his close friends and family. The Lampkins are known for their closeness and I can’t imagine the affect this will have but they are strong and will hold together throughout this sad and cruel time. My love to all of you.
God bless and rest in peace mate. I’ll see you up there”.
The name ‘Lampkin’ is synonymous with off-road motorcycle sport. It has to be the most famous of all families associated with motorcycling in the world.
Trials Guru are proud to release a feature page dedicated to the Lampkin family, with informative articles and photos from our regular contributors. We start with Alan R.C. Lampkin’s story of a life in motorcycle sport.
As close family friend and former trials competitor, Blackie Holden said: “The Lampkin family can be summed up in one word – winners. There is something very special about them, from a very early age I remember their tremendous ‘will to win’ it is immense. Whether it be a game of noughts and crosses or a 500 GP, the competitive element with them is incredible. It’s not in a nasty way, they just have to win”.
Read all about ‘Lampkin of Silsden’ on Trials Guru
Trials Guru friendly photographer, Iain Lawrie from Kinlochleven has just unearthed a number of photographs taken at the 1977 Scottish Six Days Trial. Many thanks to Iain for allowing Trials Guru to publish these.
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.
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 Morleyand 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!
Described as the ‘Godfather’ of sports photography by Fast Bikes Magazinein 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.
Don is also an accomplished author, writing several books which include: Classic British Trials Bikes& Classic British Two-Stroke Trials Bikes; Spanish Trials Bikesand Trials: – A Riders Guide, to name but four!
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 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.
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 Gurusalutes 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.