We always like to bring you something different here on Trials Guru, so here we go again. There will be a special Honda debuted at the Inverness & District 2016 Highland Classic 2 Day Trial ‘Yamscot Edition’ on June 11th and 12th on the Alvie shooting Estate, near Aviemore.
The machine is a 1981 Seeley Honda TL200E, originally owned by Scottish enthusiast, Jock McComisky up until 2005, but now with a special paint job on the tank seat shelter as a tribute to the late Steve Hislop who rode the Castrol Honda RC45 in the 1994 Isle of Man TT races, his last TT race.
Hislop was from Hawick and lost his life at 41 years of age in a helicopter accident in 2003 near his home town in the Scottish borders. He gave Nortons their first TT victory after many years, known as the ‘long dry spell’ in 1992.
Steven Moffat will ride the machine at the Highland Classic and said: “I have ridden the last few years on one of my father’s Bultacos, but I have wanted to ride a four-stroke Honda and the 200 Seeley is just the machine. I wanted to have a little tribute to my hero Steve Hislop and the tank cover was sent to Bike Paints at Cupar Muir in Fife. Bike Paints do all Paul Bird Racings race fairings and have had much of their excellent work at world superbike, TT and North West 200 races, on many of the winning machines”.
Moffat is 25 years of age and a Civil Engineer who had to give up riding trials for four years due to university commitments which resulted in a masters degree in Civil Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University in 2015.
Moffat added: ” I am delighted that the Honda is finished in time for the Highland Classic, I should have ridden a Yamaha due to the Yamscot theme, but I thought the rival Honda would be something different”.
Recently, we created a Trials Guru ‘section’ on Colin Bullock who has been taking trials photos for many years and we were proud to feature some of his most excellent images. It was when we were studying one of Colin’s photos from the 1985 Scottish Six Days of Steve Saunders on his Honda Britain supported RTL250 Honda. In the photo was a man well-known to Trials Guru’s John Moffat, that man was Bob Paterson, former Scotland and Northern Ireland Sales Executive with Honda motorcycles and power equipment.
Bob Paterson, known as ‘Big Bob’ to the Scottish trials community of the period was a keen trials rider of the old school. He was a stalwart of the Lanarkshire Motor Cycle & Car Club which is based in west-central Scotland and had a history as being a scrambles and trials club which could trace it’s roots back to the 1930s. In the early days it was a joint club, for motorcycles and light cars.
The Lanarkshire MCC was the first Scottish motorcycle club to organise ‘scrambles’ events.
Back in 1998, John Moffat was writing some articles on Scottish motorcycle personalities for a magazine and visited quite a few former riders to get their story. These riders included Ian Bell, John Davies, Jackie Williamson and Bob Paterson. They were all people that knew John well, through his father T. Arnott Moffat, secretary of the Scottish ACU.
Bob Paterson had by this time unfortunately passed away, but Moffat went to visit his widow, May Paterson at her home at Luggiebank, near Cumbernauld. Moffat had also by this time started collecting material for his first book which was to be called Scotland’s Rich Mixture, Memories of Motorcycle Sport 1945-1975. May Paterson has since passed away.
Bob Paterson was brought up in Glenmavis, a village in North Lanarkshire two miles north-west of the town of Airdrie. He took up employment at Watson Brothers in Airdrie and was a faithful employee for thirty-eight years before moving to Honda of which Watson’s had a dealership in their Cumbernauld branch.
It is believed that Bob became frustrated with Watsons when a promise of a directorship in the family run business failed to materialise. Paterson resigned, moved on and became the Scotland and Northern Ireland Sales executive for the Japanese car and motorcycle giant. Bob was a well-known face amongst the motorcycle trade, he was a valued sales-person with years of experience gained in a busy motorcycle then a large Vauxhall-Opel multi branch dealership.
Bob and May had a daughter, Shona and son Robert Junior, but they also adopted May’s younger brother, Kenneth who had been orphaned when May’s parents died suddenly. A very difficult decision to make for a couple, but ‘Big Bob’ and May just took it in their stride.
Paterson rode in both scrambles and trials, he had a particular liking for ‘colonial’ type trials which would form the basis of time-trials and latterly enduros. His favourite was the Edinburgh St. George Colonial Trial at Gifford, East Lothian. He rode several Scottish Six Days trials and rode in the 1952 Scott Trial on his 350 Matchless (HSG211).
Paterson was a great supporter of the Scottish Six Days, he had ridden the event, his first being 1950 course marked it in the 1960s and was an SACU steward in the 1970s. He sat on the International stewards jury when the event was at it’s pinnacle and was over-subscribed and all the factory riders had it written into their contracts that they rode the Highland classic.
Bob for many years assisted in the course marking from Stirlingshire up over Fersit to Fort William, a run he thoroughly enjoyed either on his own Matchless G3C or a machine supplied by the Edinburgh & District club.
Paterson enjoyed setting the course for the Lanarkshire MCC’s annual Valente Trial held at Kilsyth, he used his Matchless to set the moor and road work for the event which had a lap of approximately 15 miles.
Bob was elected President of the Scottish Auto Cycle Union upon the retiral of the haulage firm owner from Markinch, Fife the late Jim Birrell, Bob held the post until 1983.
He was asked by the SSDT Secretary, Jim McColm in 1983 to write an article for the official programme when he was president of the Scottish ACU, in it he wrote a fascinating account:
“I feel priviledged to be asked to write this article for this years’ Scottish Six Days programme and probably like many contributors before, find it difficult to begin. As a layman at this kind of task, I feel hopelessly inadequate to try and put into words the feeling one gets in attending the SSDT. Be that as it may, there is no doubt if one rides or even attends the Scottish, forever after come hell or high water, the first week of May will be reserved for the Sporting Holiday in the Highlands or as the late Allan Jefferies once described it ‘A religion or an incurable disease.
It was 1950 before I had the good fortune to enter the SSDT and as over the previous few years I had listened awestruck to older hands talking and reminisce regarding this great event, the big day rushed nearer with all the attendant forms, what with signing up for oil and petrol etc and then obtaining my international licence. I was beginning to feel taller than my then 6′ 1 1/2 ” frame. Finally being allocated riding number 53 only one place behind the great man himself, High Viney at 52.
This was to prove a great benefit, for B.H.M.V actually came over and spoke to me at the weigh-in and from then on throughout the week I felt quite at home. The fact that I was to lose 100’s of points to his tens or was it single figures? Didn’t matter.
When the great man took the time to advise and follow him, like getting up onto the pegs and into top and blasting over the Mamore Road it made it feel like a main road compared to my 1st and 2nd gear slitherings, prior to his advice.
Sometimes the lessons learned from the big boys were well driven home certainly I never forgot one occasion when after leaving Altnafeadh and heading down the main road for about 46 miles to Camushurich on South Tayside past Killin, I found myself at the front of a long line of the big names and feeling quite proud to be heading a procession of about a dozen machines in close company, that was until I spluttered to a near stop and had to go on reserve with the string passing and waving their thanks for the tow, probably getting them to a lonely pump somewhat short of Lix Toll
Those were the days of course when the petrol and oil tankers followed the route of the trial and one drew alongside when suction pumps emptied the 4 stroke oil tanks, replenished with fresh oil and tanks were topped up with petrol. The International flavour created by the properly sited tankers and trade barons in those days were much better than many varied vehicles we see today, spread all over the countryside to give the necessary support to their riders. it is a great pity that the petrol barons have withdrawn from our sport and of course new legislations also prevent some of this assistance.
Within days of the trial the newcomers are seen in close contact with the stars and while today I’m sure some of the big names are easy to converse with and obtain some guidance, there can be no doubt the stars have more pressures, with all the backing, sponsorship and manufacturers to contend with than in earlier times.
As trials are no longer a British sport but International, we can now gauge the strengths and expertise of our overseas visitors by their performance over the pas few years and one never ceases to be amazed by the severity of sections we now see in national and World rounds of our trials sport.
The Edinburgh & District Club have managed to accommodate this welcome involvement from our overseas and home top runners and yet provide possible sections which continue to ensure a fully subscribed entry, made up in the main from club riders and most importantly newcomers.
It may be that a special section per day to fully test the top runners will soon be required and the rest of the sections something less than the crankcase breakers we are now seeing in World rounds, whatever is decided I’m sure the E&D will live up to the test, requirements and pleasures the Scottish has provided over the years.
One could not exclude from this article the efforts, work and hours the organising committee put into the running of this event, from the many long, hard, wet, snow covered and just occasionally dry weekends covered by the scouts who are out and about in the area of the trial on motor-cycles, visiting landowners, looking at new hills etc. and during the trial out marking the hills, to the hard pressed office staff in getting the results out as soon as possible. All their efforts must of course be assisted by the voluntary observers and other officials during the week, ready and willing numbers of people to fill those duties are always available and speak volumes for the popularity of the event, Having experience on most of those duties, i.e. to route marking and back marking, I can recall, as this years assistants will, the pleasure of getting back to the Hotel, having a bath, catching a meal (sometimes) and as in the past, off to the bar for a small talk of the day.
Having had previous experience as a steward of the trial, I wish this years’ jury a good trial with not too many nights on duty into the ‘wee sma hours’ and above all trust that our secretary of the trial, Jim McColm keeps his cool as usual and has yet another successful trial under his belt.
I look forward to being with you all this year in Fort William and trust that our Scottish greeting of haste ye back will be remembered as the first week in May keeps coming around“.
In the 1980s he was a spectator, but also a Honda representative and took an close interest on the Honda factory riders of the day, especially Eddy Lejeune and Steve Saunders. Bob would be found standing silently wearing his deer-stalker style hat at the side of many of the sections eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Honda mounted riders. He would continue to watch the riders walk the sections and then ride them. Bob enjoyed a small cigar called a cigarillo and would smoke one while waiting for the riders to arrive.
On quite a few occassions in later life, Bob would take his specially imported 1976 Honda TL250 up with him to the SSDT to observe and used the machine as transport instead of his car. Often he rode around to follow the trial for a number of years with fellow SACU man, Adam Brownlie, but never off-road.
There was a rider called Fransisco ‘Paco’ Nistal who came over to compete in the SSDT in 1986 from Guatemala who stayed with the Macgillivray family at Muirhearlich just outside Fort William. He was having trouble coming to terms with the machine he had entered for the event and wanted to buy a Honda RTL which was a machine in short supply. Alastair Macgillivray mentioned this to Bob Paterson, who knew Tom Robinson of Robinsons of Rochdale, a main Honda dealer and one of a select few chosen by Honda UK to handle sales of the specialist machine. Robinson’s happened to have a brand new RTL250S in stock. The RTL was sent up to Scotland for the Guatemalan to ride, all due to Bob’s interaction.
Bob Paterson Trophy:
The Pre’65 Scottish Trial accepted a trophy from his son Robert and widow, May to remember Bob and his significant contribution to Scottish motorcycle sport. Called ‘The Bob Paterson Trophy’, it is awarded annually for the best performance of a competitor riding a machine up to 500cc.
Article Text Copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing – John Moffat 1997-2016
Coming soon to Trials Guru, an article taken from the Trials Guru’s original notes made in 1999 on the life and times of trials rider and former SACU President, Honda Motorcycle & Power Sales Manager for Scotland & NI – Bob Paterson.
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!
During the ninteen-seventies, Honda Motor Company decided to create a purely ‘Racing’ division, separate from their normal motorcycle production activities and core businesses. This saw the advent of Racing Service Center Corporation or ‘RSC‘ for short. Later, in September 1982, they developed from RSC, Honda Racing Corporation or HRC for short, which exists to this day and controls the racing activites of Honda. HRC produce and sell racing/competition motorcycles and spare parts. The parts, although well made and of high specification, are by their nature, not warranted for street use as they are for ‘racing applications only’. HRC European headquarters are based in Aalst in Belgium. The world HQ is at Asaka, Saitama, Japan. Below we can see some of RSC & HRC’s creations over the years.
The RTL250SW was for factory Honda riders only, not available for general sale and had the single down tube frame with offset exhaust port.
The 1982 Honda/HRC RTL360 shown above was once the factory machine of World Champion, Belgian, Eddy Lejeune.
Jean Caillou, a French trials enthusiast who has a passion for the Honda brand was fortunate enough to meet with Lejeune at his home in Belgium. It was during this meeting that Eddy revealed that he still had the 1982 ex-factory machine in his possession. The RTL360 was disassembled, but all the parts were there at Eddy’s house.
Jean Caillou: “I met with Eddy Lejuene at his home and he explained that he had just bought his daughter a horse. So he presented me with the invoice for the horse and said that if I paid him the same figure that he had just recently paid for the horse, then I could have the Honda. I did not hesitate further and the deal was agreed. I had effectively paid for Eddy’s daughter’s horse, but I now owned the Eddy Lejeune 360!”
Eddy Lejeune from Verviers, Belgium was three times FIM World Trials Champion (1982-1984) and seven times Belgian National Champion (1980-1986). He rode Honda for the majority of his trials career, switching to the Spanish Merlin in 1988 and then to the Honda owned Montesa for 1989/90 when he retired from top flight trials.
Team HRC Trial – Repsol Honda Team continues to reinforce its roster of world-class riders with the incorporation of young gun Jaime Busto into the team for the 2015 season.
Repsol Honda Team Trial gets a boost in 2015 with the arrival of Jaime Busto. The Spanish rider will line up alongside Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami in all events on the 2015 FIM World Championship calendar in Trial Outdoor, as well as taking part in the 2015 Spanish Trial Championship. Busto will compete in all top-level competitions on the Montesa Cota 4RT.
Jaime Busto is one of the brightest lights in the Trial discipline. In 2014 he scored an impressive win in the FIM World Cup (the former World Junior Championship), winning seven of the thirteen races disputed. In 2012 he had become Youth 125 category champion, a competition in which he had previously debuted in 2011 at thirteen years of age. At a Spanish national level, the Basque rider has clinched just about every possible title in the lower categories, this year even finishing eighth in spite of carrying an injury throughout the latter part of the season.
Jaime: “I’m really pleased to be able to form a part of the HRC Team, the best team in the world. For me, it really is an honour to be in a team with such great champions as Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami. I hope to be able to learn a lot from them. The Montesa Cota 4RT has surprised me. I will have to get used to the four-stroke, but I think that I’ll adapt to it quickly.”
Miquel Cirera Lamarca, Team Manager said: “At Repsol Honda Team we have the best riders in the world, and we want to continue that way for many years, to keep on winning races and titles. We had the chance to sign up Jaime Busto, one of the most promising young talents currently around. He will serve as a fine complement to our champions Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami.”
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.
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”.
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.