Tag Archives: Justyn Norek

Six Days Honda

 

7

CLASSIC TEST

HONDA TL 250

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Sammy Miller with a TL250, a publicity shot for Honda Motor Company in 1975

Reproduced and updated with the permission of Trial Magazine UK (from Issue 57)

Article words: Carlo Ramella – Justyn Norek Jnr (JN) – Tommy Sandham – John Hulme

Photos: Justyn Norek Snr – Honda Motor Co – Alistair MacMillan/West Highland News Agency, Fort William (with permission of current copyright holder: Anthony MacMillan, Fort William – All rights reserved)

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A Honda definitive photo of the production TL250 Honda

John Hulme: “Names are usually registered and remembered when you make a note of something that interests you, and the name Carlo Ramella was one that I had taken on board. It was many years ago, when my interest for collecting trials sales brochures from 1965 onwards started, and this man Carlo Ramella had send me a really nice letter asking if I could help to find some machines after he had seen my ‘wanted’ advert for sales brochures. I emailed him and he sent me a list of machines, I think around 20 years ago. Around two years ago Justyn Norek Jnr contacted me to tell me he knew where there were many interesting machines we could test for my publications, and the collector’s name was Carlo Ramella. If you receive Classic Trial Magazine you will have seen some machine tests on motorcycles from his collection. When Justyn mentioned this ‘Scottish Honda’ I thought it would be quite appropriate to use the test, so please enjoy.

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Left to right: Giuseppe ‘Pippo’ Bartorilla, the creator of the Moto Guzzi Trial Special; Justyn Norek Jnr (Tester) and Carlo Ramella – Photo: Justyn Norek Snr

As an introduction to the Honda TL 250 test we will let Carlo Ramella take up the story as to how he came to be in the position to add this machine to his collection.

A Fascination

Carlo: “I have always had a fascination for all Honda trials motorcycles, and several variants of the TL models occupy my collection. I have a special place in my heart for the four-stroke machines, and their association with my trials hero Sammy Miller whose prototype caused such a sensation in the sport. When Miller moved to the two-stroke Bultaco from Ariel in 1965 it killed the big British machines forever. Miller can also be held responsible for the significant year, 1965, that would return in more recent times with the new class for Pre-65 machines. Word has it that Miller designed the world-beating Sherpa T trials model in one week, and its modern lighter weight and easy to ride two-stroke attributes changed the course of the trials motorcycle forever“.

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Publicity photo of the Honda TL250 when launched in 1975 – Photo: Honda Motor Company

Carlo: “The purchase of the Honda TL 250 came about when I spotted a web advertisement in 2009. My excitement came when I found out it had a competition history with it and the fact that it had been ridden in the Scottish Six Days Trial. I quickly contacted the seller Alan Jones who confirmed that this was the machine belonging to Derek Edgar, who had competed on it in the 1977 SSDT. The details of the email were: ‘Carlo, this machine competed in and finished the 1977 ‘Scottish’ and was ridden by Derek Edgar. The attached photo shows Derek on the machine registration number LFS 5P. Regards, Alan’. I could not believe it, such was my elation at finding a machine with such a sporting heritage!

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Derek Edgar finished 128th on LFS5P in the 1977 Scottish Six Days Trial seen here on ‘Kilmonivaig’ section – Photo: Alistair MacMillan/West Highland News Agency, Fort William/copyright holder: Anthony MacMillan.

Carlo: “However, Alan didn’t want to sell the machine outside the UK and he wanted to avoid all the hassle with paperwork, customs, packaging etc. I am well accustomed with international goods transportation due to my job and know many truck drivers and haulage companies, so I told him that I would take care of transportation, asking him to provide some protection of delicate parts such as the cylinder head, aluminium fuel tank, carburettor, etc. Eventually I managed to convince him to sell me the machine; we agreed a price and I arranged the shipping. When the Honda arrived I had another ‘dream’ in my garage, and it was exactly as I imagined: still with the ‘Scottish’ markings, all original, including the riding numbers for the event. I started the engine and it was so sweet, despite its age. So it was another dream fulfilled, and I rode it in many classic events before this test with my good friend Justyn Norek Jnr.”

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Fitted with an aftermarket KW front mudguard, Justyn Norek testing the 1975 Honda TL250 – Photo: Justyn Norek Snr

Justyn Norek Jnr:

Justyn: “Like Carlo, I am a keen Honda trials enthusiast and especially four-strokes. When Carlo asked if I wanted to test the Honda it was a very easy ‘yes’. Having ridden many Honda trials models it would be interesting to test this one as it was the model which started the adventure. The venue would be one I am very familiar with, at Puy village in the Italian Alps. Carlo has some accommodation here and I also knew his love of red wine would make for good after-dinner conversation! As with most Hondas it started with a soft use of the kick-start lever. I was surprised that it started first time due to its age but the ‘clockwork’ engine was as sweet as a nut, with a very nice ambient exhaust note. I had a quick warm up and it once again confirmed my love of the four-stroke engine“.

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JN: “The hazards we tested on I have ridden before, such as the river and rocks. I entered the fast flowing river and once again the superb suspension found on most Honda trials models was evident. This machine is over thirty years old and yet the suspension’s action is still very good. Despite its obvious heavy weight it handles pretty well, but you do have to be precise with your movements. Straight-line riding is okay but you have to pre-plan any sharp corners, such is the weight factor that you have to always take into account. The super-soft power delivery makes up for the handling and, as always, the feel good factor is immense“.

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LFS5P has had very little changed to it since its 1977 SSDT adventure – Photo: Justyn Norek Snr

JN: “Out of the river and riding the nearby by river banks is where it’s the happiest as it feels very confident on this type of terrain. The relationship between the fuel tank and seat is very comfortable. Performance wise it could do with around another 100cc as, on very steep climbs, it simply runs out of power. The brakes were once again very good, considering the machine’s age, and as with the majority of Japanese motorcycles the gear selection was very ‘slick’ and positive. As with other machines from this era the clutch is not really for use in the hazards“.

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The Honda TL250 is still in fairly standard condition except from a little scalloping of the side panels and the non-standard front mudguard – Photo: Justyn Norek Snr.

JN: “In conclusion this model is one which needs to lose so much weight to be competitive but that’s maybe why we see so many Honda ‘Special’ trials machines. It’s a pleasure to ride and the quality standard is very high. Sammy Miller worked his magic on the Honda TL 250, producing the Miller Honda which took Rob Shepherd to the British title in 1977. As the rain came down we retired for a lunch of grilled meat and a glass of red wine, and the topic of conversation took us back to the winning years of Sammy and Rob Shepherd“.

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Justyn Norek Jnr. puts the 40 year old Honda through its paces in Italy – Photo: Justyn Norek Snr.

Carlo Ramella told Trials Guru that Honda TL250 UK registration LFS5P has now been passed to his good friend and Honda collector, Andrea Merlone and remains in Italy.

Who is Derek J. Edgar?: He is the younger brother of three times Scottish Trials Champion and former Clerk of Course of the Scottish Six Days Trial, Norman F.W. Edgar. Both sons of Norman Edgar senior who had a motorcycle business in Edinburgh (Edgar Brothers) and were DMW, Bultaco, AJS and Honda agents. Derek Edgar worked for Puch Motorcycles and then Montesa Motorcycles in the USA, before returning to live in Scotland to set up his company ‘Derek Edgar Developments’.

He wanted another crack at the SSDT when he was still in the USA and as his father Norman Edgar Snr had imported from the USA under Derek’s direction and assistance, a brace of two TL250s in 1976, a machine was sitting waiting for him to use, registered in Edinburgh as LFS5P.

The other machine from the personal imported batch was LFS4P, purchased at one time by author, Tommy Sandham who had a liking for Honda trials machines. Sandham described the TL250 as: “… heavy, had low ground clearance but was the most fun you could have with your trousers still on“.

Sandham loaned LFS4P to his friend Kenny MacNamee who rode one of the first motorcycle enduros to be held in Scotland, at Rhins on the Galloway coast in 1978. The TL250 was a fine general purpose off road machine, perhaps heavy and low for trials, but for the early enduros, a handy bike to have!

Derek Edgar is now retired to Linlithgow with his wife Theresa. Their daughter Kim Edgar is a well known musician. We hope to bring you the full story of the Edgar Brothers in 2017.

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LFS5P is still a useable trials machine in the right hands – Photo: Justyn Norek Snr.

Our thanks to Carlo Ramella, Justyn Norek Snr & Jnr., Tommy Sandham and John Hulme of Trial Magazine UK for this article.

In collaboration with Trial Magazine UK: HERE

Want to read more on Honda Trials machines? Then don’t move, click: HERE

Ossa in miniature!

We are always looking for something different on Trials Guru, usually trials, recently we featured a scale model Montesa Cappra motocross machine from the late 1960s.

Once again, Justyn Norek from Turin was on hand to take photos of another wonderful model. This time it’s a trials machine, the Ossa 250 Mick Andrews Replica (MAR).

It’s hard to believe it’s not photos of a real Ossa MAR motorcycle, just look at the detail!

The handiwork of  Pere Tarragó of Barcelona, Spain …

 

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Pere Tarrago at work on the 1:5 scale Ossa MAR

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Components painted and plated, ready for final assembly

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The finished article, a toffee sweet is placed to give an indication of scale and that this is a model, not a real Ossa!

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Can you tell if these are models or the real thing? These are 1:5 scale models lined up!

 

For more information:   www.motoscalatarrago.com

You could be forgiven for thinking that is a real motocross bike!

Many thanks to Justyn Norek for the use of his copyright photographs.

More Justyn Norek photos of trial and motocross: HERE

 

CCM – Built in Britain

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.

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CCM had built their motocross brand from the 1971 concept of ‘Clew-Stroka’ which at heart was an uprated 498cc BSA B50 motor – Photo: Justyn Norek, Turin

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.

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1978 CCM 350T MKII – Photo: Justyn Norek, Turin

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.

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Drive side shot of a 1978 MKII CCM 350T

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.

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Original sales leaflet for the MK1 CCM 350T specification from 1978

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.

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Nick Jefferies on his factory CCM 350T in the 1978 SSDT at Altnafeadh on the first day of the event – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

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.

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Private owner, Mel Ross from Monifieth, Dundee on his CCM 350T at a Dunfermline Trial in Scotland in 1978 – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

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.

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The late Willie Dalling, former clerk of Course for the SSDT riding a borrowed CCM 350T in 1978 at the Aberfeldy Two-Day Trial in Scotland – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

Many of the Bolton built CCMs were bought by private riders who wanted something different.

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Lancashire’s Eddie Smith on a Sandiford CCM 350T in 1978 at the Aberfeldy Two Day Trial – Photo: Jimmy Young Archive on Trials Guru

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.

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The production MKII CCM 350T of 1978

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.

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A fairly original October 1978 registered CCM 350T MKII, all except for the two-tone coloured seat and red handlebar grips

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!

 

© – All text copyright: Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2016

© – Images: World-wide Copyright Jimmy Young, Armadale, UK (All Rights Reserved) – 2016.

© – Images: World-wide Copyright Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy (All Rights Reserved) – 2016.

For a short test of CCM 350T with photographs in Italy by Justyn Norek click: Here

Trials Guru Main Index

ARIEL HT500 – Sammy Miller – 786GON

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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

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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.

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“… 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.
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“…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

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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)