JEAN ‘Pepe’ LEJEUNE – 20 October 1926 – 6 July 2016 – “Thank You for Everything”
Jean ‘Papa’ Lejeune, known by the moniker ‘Papa’ by UK trials enthusiasts, but he was also known to all in Belgium as ‘Pepe’ the father of the three famous Belgian trials riders, Jean-Marie, Eddy and Eric Lejeune and daughter Chantelle, has passed away at the age of 89 years. He was the undisputed head of the Lejeune family.
Lejeune was an enthusiastic competitor on home built Honda machines and was a passionate supporter of the sport of trials in his own country and world-wide effectively creating a trials dynasty. He ran the successful family plastics business in Dison, near Verviers which was called Plastiflac-Lejeune B.E, this helped to finance his middle son, Eddy to contest the world trials series. Eddy became world champion three times in 1982-1984 during a career riding for the mighty Honda Racing Corporation with whom he signed in 1979 at the age of sixteen. Eddy was also Belgian national champion seven times and eldest son, Jean-Marie was Belgian national champion three times and was brother Eddy’s mentor.
The ingenious Lejeune made Eddy his first trials machine based on an SS50 Honda. In fact he built many special Honda trials machines for himself and his sons over the years.
Former World Trials Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen paid tribute and said: “The first time I had the pleasure of meeting ‘Pepe’ Lejeune was in 1970 in a bar in Dison, where the organising committee was based for the European Championship. It didn’t matter to him that I was a seventeen year old unknown youngster, who was struggling to understand where our Hotel was situated. Pepe straight away offered to take us there. It was the first time in my life I had sat in the back seat of a big Mercedes car. What a nice start for a memorable week-end in Belgium. ‘Pepe’ Lejeune was a larger than life character, a great ambassador for Belgium and the world of trials”.
Trials Guru will surely not be alone in sending sincere condolences to the Lejeune family at their loss.
13/07/2016 – Sadly, only seven days after the death of her husband, Mrs Lejeune slipped away.
Back in 1977, having previously acquired the tooling and stock of the BSA competition shop at Small Heath, Alan Clews decided to create a trials machine. It is believed that Sammy Miller had already approached Clews to supply him with BSA motors to power a trials machine of Millers own design. Clews’ CCM (Clews Competition Machines) brand was by then already well established, having risen from the original ‘Clew-Stroka’ motocross concept from 1971, by using BSA B50 motors as the power-plant, but with the capacity increased from 498cc to 600cc.
Clews had built a reputation of making high quality motocross machinery which performed as well as they looked. In the hands of Lancastrian, Bob Wright; Cumbrian Mick Barnes and later Vic Eastwood and Scot, Vic Allan, the CCM was a serious racing motorcycle.
Based in Bolton, Lancashire, England the company had grown considerably from modest beginnings. Mike Eatough made the frames, before setting up his own venture called EMC.
There seemed to be a market for a four-stroke trials machine and Clews was eager to fill the void and to produce one, Made in Britain! Honda had already launched their TL125 and for the US market, the TL250 trials models, developed with the help of Sammy Miller and the company’s ‘Bials for Trials’ programme.
The eventual CCM production run of their 350T machine was very modest, with just over 100 machines ever produced by the factory. It utilised a variant of the BSA B40 – 343cc unit single, which CCM claimed the capacity as 345cc by using a bore of 79.25 mm and stroke of 70 mm, with compression ratio as 6.2:1.
Quality components were sourced from European manufacturers, From Italy, Marzocchi supplied both front forks and remote reservoir rear shocks, German ‘Magura’ controls, the Italian, ‘Grimeca’ hubs and brakes and gold anodised Spanish ‘Akront’ wheel rims. With American-made Preston Petty motocross red plastic mudguards also fitted front and rear. This particular combination, with the chromed chassis made for a ‘good looking’ machine, this in itself did not make a 100% competitive trials machine however.
The B40 motor was treated to an Amal MK2 concentric carburettor and a revised primary drive alloy casing, finished in black with the CCM motif in relief, with a novel little oil breather/catch bottle fitted to the nearside crankcase. But at heart it was still a BSA B40 which had been developed from the 1959 C15 design.
Given the more modern riding position, the gear pedal was fitted in such a way that it was accessible by the rider standing up on the foot-pegs. The gear pedal passed behind the kick-start lever.
Backed by Castrol Oils UK, riders of the caliber of Dave Thorpe, (who left Bultaco to ride the CCM prototype) and Nick Jefferies were employed to develop the CCM 350T for the factory.
Jefferies entered the 1978 Scottish Six Days Trial riding number 220 on the 400cc CCM prototype, backed by Castrol, but failed to finish the event.
Thorpe entered the 1979 SSDT on the 360cc CCM factory machine with riding number 250, with Thorpe shadowed most of the week by motocross rider, Dick Clayton whose riding gear had been rumoured to be literally stuffed with spare parts.
Dave Thorpe did finished the 1979 SSDT in 95th position on 397 marks lost, which was not a good day at the office for him, having been 11th position the year before on a Bultaco!
V. R. Moyce from Wickham rode a production CCM 350 in the 1979 SSDT and finished in 190th position on 597 marks lost.
Many of the Bolton built CCMs were bought by private riders who wanted something different.
In 1979 Honda launched their own British built four-stroke trials machine, the TL200E (the ‘E’ stood for ‘England’) made by Colin Seeley in England, but ‘adopted’ by Honda UK as their own model and marketed through their comprehensive motorcycle dealership network.
The frame was made from Reynolds ‘531’ tubing, argon brazed and finished with chrome plating to both frame and swinging arm.
The wheelbase at 51.5 inches followed almost the same dimensions as the Bultaco Sherpa it was designed to beat in competition.
Whist the CCM 350T was never destined to become a trials ‘world beater’, the machines did sell reasonably quickly. They were not produced in significantly high numbers, hence now they command extremely high prices for their rarity value alone.
CCM later became part of the ‘Armstrong-CCM’ brand, but that is another story!