As we enter a new decade, we take a look back at some SSDT photos from 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 while we slip effortlessly into 2020.
We are indebted to Iain Lawrie, a trials enthusiast from the village of Kinlochleven for putting together this collection of photographs, so please be respectful of his copyright and do not share them on the internet, instead put a link to this article if you don’t mind please.
The SSDT sections are named in the captions for all years.
The Pre’65 Scottish Trial will take place on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April in 2017, however it doesn’t magically appear year after year.
The official ‘setting out team’ have been busy this November looking for new routes and sections to keep riders on their toes and to stop the event becoming the same old event year in, year out.
The biggest challenge now is to test the top riders due to the massive improvements made to Pre’65 machinery, with very few original bikes being entered now as the Pre’65 scene has changed dramatically over the years.
Machines that would have been turned away ten years ago are now accepted, with four speed Bultacos being just one make that has come of age.
Many say that it is sad that so many genuine machines have been assigned to the backs of sheds and garages once again as the Pre’65 movement evolved in the late 1970s to encourage the use of old trials irons. The Pre’65 Scottish unfortunately gets more attention than most events, purely because of its’ popularity and status as being still ‘THE’ event to get an entry accepted to.
However what hasn’t changed since 1984, the first year the Pre’65 Scottish was run as a one day event on a midweek, is that it still takes a team of dedicated individuals to actually put the trial on the ground.
Please be aware that riding in the Kinlochleven area without the full permission of both the landowners and the government agency, Scottish Natural Heritage is strictly prohibited. Many of the well-known Pre’65 Scottish sections are located on SSSIs.
An addiction in life usually needs a fix, something to make your life feel good. Motorcycle trials becomes an addiction for many people, be it young or old. They may need a new machine, maybe some new riding kit, who knows? In many cases the older you become the more the addiction takes hold as more time becomes available in your life. Many years ago a Spanish motorcycle trials rider by the name of Carlos Casas came to ride in the Scottish Six Days Trial. A foreign adventure to the ‘Highland’ trial. The pleasure and enjoyment of riding in this location became so strong that over thirty years on, this enthusiastic man returns every year to the ‘Scottish’ for his fix to feed his addiction for motorcycle trials.
John Moffat of Trials Guru was the SSDT secretary in 2002 and that year at the Highland Council reception in Fort William, Moffat introduced Carlos Casas to guests and councillors as “the Ambassador for Spain for the Scottish Six Days.
Words: John Hulme with Carlos Casas
Photos: Carlos Casas Collection – Trials Media – Eric Kitchen – Kim Ferguson/Kimages
Why the Scottish Six Days Trial?
Carlos: “For many reasons, it’s the biggest trial in the world, I love Scotland, the scenery, I love trials, good sections, friendly people as riders, observers, public, organisers and friends from all around the world…and all of this I can meet in the SSDT. This is my favourite event by far and my best holiday every year”.
How well do you remember your first trip to the ‘Scottish’?
Carlos: “My first trip to ride the SSDT was in 1979. I was the winner of a challenge/competition for the best private rider at the Santigosa Three Days and Cingles Three Days trial in Spain. We travelled with the Montesa factory riders who were Jaume Subira, Miquel Cirera, Pere Olle and Josep Jo. I remember that we travelled by car and van and it was a long trip from Spain”.
Was the week’s competition a tough one?
Carlos: “I rode a Montesa Cota 348 and the weather was horrible as each day the route was very long and it was extremely cold with rain and snow. At the end of the week I was happy about the experience and finished in the top fifty with a Special First Class award”.
When you returned home did many people ask you about the event?
Carlos: “Yes, all the trials riders and many people asked me about the SSDT – I was a minor celebrity – Carlos laughs at this! This event is very popular in Spain and for many trials riders it is like a dream. It’s incredibly expensive to travel and compete from Spain but at every event we are always talking about the ‘Scottish’. It’s an event that you’ll love or hate. I always say that every trials rider must ride this event at least once. The problem could be that if you then enjoy it, you’ll repeat the experience every year and that’s when the addiction begins or as I always say, an incredible experience”.
Did Montesa support you in the early days?
Carlos: “I have always had good support from Montesa. I have never been a good enough rider to make a wage from the sport but I won the Spanish Veterans class over twenty eight years ago, a championship I have won fourteen times. I have also had some other good results and based on this and my loyalty to the brand, they are always happy to loan me a machine. I think of Montesa as family”.
How good did it feel to win the Best Foreign rider award?
Carlos: “I can remember it like it was yesterday, the first time I won the Best Foreign rider award. I have won this award four times and my highlights from the event are two thirteenth place finishes. The last time I achieved this result I had tears of joy in my eyes on the last sections on Ben Nevis I was so happy”.
You continued to support the event even when it went back to full ‘No-Stop’ in the nineties.
Carlos: “Yes, I like the ‘No Stop’ rules at this event and I believe it was the correct decision”.
Carlos: “The last years of the event when they were using the ‘Stop’ rules the sections became tighter, difficult, dangerous and boring because of delays at the sections. Each year less competitors entered and I think the SSDT committee made a good job and the decision to go back to ‘No Stop’ was correct for the future of the event. Since then the SSDT is oversubscribed every year and it needs a ballot. One year I suggested to the committee that there should be two SSDT trials, one in May and one in October – Carlos laughs again as he explains he just loves the event!”
How important in Spain and to Montesa was the win of Amos Bilbao in 2002?
Carlos: “It was very important for Montesa/Honda to win the SSDT as it’s a very prestigious event, classed by many as nearly as important as the World Trials Championship. Montesa won the SSDT in 1979 (Rathmell), 1980 (Vesterinen), 1983 (Toni Gorgot) but for both Amos and Montesa/Honda the victory in 2002 was more important because it was a Montesa Honda machine and Dougie was contesting the World Trials Championship”.
Have you ridden all your Scottish Six Days on Montesa/Honda machines?
Carlos: “I have ridden the Montesa Cota 348, Cota 314, Cota 315 and Cota 4RT, twenty four times in total. I rode a Gas Gas one year because there was no support from Montesa. My good friend Manel Jane loaned me his Gas Gas. It’s very important for foreign competitors to know that the manufacturers, through the importers, have full facilities available”.
When did you first ride the Pre-65 Scottish?
Carlos: “My first year was 2004 and since then every year after”.
What machines have you ridden in the Pre-65 Scottish?
Carlos: “I have always ridden a Triumph Tiger Cub usually loaned from my good friend Walter Dalton, but one year I used a ‘Cub’ loaned from Peter Remington. I love all the machines and one year I’d like to ride in the event on a rigid”.
Many people think you can win the Pre-65 Scottish – Is this your dream?
Carlos: “Around twenty riders could win the Pre-65 Scottish. It’s one of my dreams to win it but the most important thing for me is to be there and enjoy every section and every minute of this fabulous event – you would not believe the smile on his face when we talk about the Pre-65 Scottish”.
We know you are very good friends with the Vertigo brand owner Manel Jane. How do the Spanish trials riders feel about Vertigo?
Carlos: “People in Spain waiting patiently for the Vertigo to arrive because they understand that it would be well made, good quality, lighter and perform well. They were not disappointed. Manel is a real trials enthusiast and his dream was to build his own machine and build a good strong team”.
Why the loyalty to Montesa?
Carlos: “Because the motorcycles produced are always superb quality, very reliable and nice to ride. The people from the Montesa factory are always very good, friendly and professional”.
How much longer will you come to Scotland and compete in the Six Days and Pre-65 events?
Carlos: “As long as my body allows me to! I love both events and every year the memories are with me forever. I am getting old but the addiction just gets stronger”.
Before we finish; the question that gets asked so many times – Stop or No-Stop?
Carlos: “For me as a rider, No-Stop, it is without doubt correct. But sections whatever the rules must be well thought out to make them challenging and interesting, you must try to always make the rider think about the challenge”.
This article was generated for Trial Magazine issue 50 in April/May 2015 and we at Trials Guru thank John Hulme for the use of his article on this website.
Why not subscribe to Trial Magazine or Classic Trial Magazine, contact: www.trialmaguk.com
With the annual Scottish Six Days Trial and Pre’65 Scottish fast approaching, perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves that these are organised events, suitably insured and staffed with officials. These events don’t just happen and many months of planning and negotiations with public and private organisations take place each year, let’s keep it that way?
Have a read through the article on Trials Guru which explains fully the situation surrounding land use in the UK and how trials fans and spectators can do their bit.
There is a ‘right to roam’ but that does not include motor vehicle access!
The simple solution is, by all means go to these events, but don’t take a motorcycle, unless you strictly plan to follow only by the public highway.
Learn about illegal land use, it isn’t as obvious as you may think!
Guy Martin, star of the film ‘TT3D – Closer To The Edge’ and various television series is to ride a 350cc Ariel in the 2016 Pre’65 Scottish Trial on Friday 29th and Saturday, 30th April, 2016. He will also undertake duties as the official guest of honour for the event which takes place around the village and hillsides of Kinlochleven, Argyll.
The Pre’65 trial secretary, Anne Gordon added: ‘We are delighted to announce that Guy Martin, Motorcycle Racer and TV star has agreed to be Guest of Honour for the 2016 event and has also entered the trial to try his hand at Pre’65 trials riding. It is a great honour for us to have him at the trial and we would like to thank Simon Sharp and Owen Hardisty at Hope Technology (our Saturday Day Sponsors) for helping us to get Guy to the event after we approached them at last year’s SSDT. We are really excited to have such a celebrity at our event and hope he enjoys taking part. I don’t think there will be many people who have not heard of Guy, as he is well-known through his very illustrious motorcycle racing career as well as his many film and television shows that have us all enthralled with his very hands on and down to earth approach’.
The Pre’65 Scottish is always massively oversubscribed with over 150 potential entrants disappointed at not getting through the inevitable ballot of competitors. However it should be clarified that Hope Technology are the event sponsors and as such, are entitled to what is effectively a ‘wild-card’ reserved entry as part of their sponsorship deal, which in this case has been granted to Guy Martin for 2016. The appearance of Guy Martin at this event, both as a rider and guest of honour can only be good for the sport of trials and the ever supportive inhabitants of the town of Kinlochleven.
Who is Guy Martin?
Born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England in November 1981, Guy was the central racing character when supported by the Irish-based Wilson Craig Honda team in the docu-movie, ‘TT3D – Closer to the Edge’ which was filmed during the 2010 TT races and screened in 2011. This set Martin on the road to a lucrative television career having competed for many years at the Isle of Man TT with success, but so far no outright TT win to his credit. He has ridden for AIM Yamaha, Relentless/Tyco Suzuki and Hydrex Honda teams in the past.
Martin is interested in all things mechanical, his main occupation is an HGV mechanic with an independent truck company in Grimsby Lincolnshire, which specialises in the maintenance of Scania trucks. His father Ian who also ran a similar business is also a former motorcycle road racer who retired from racing in 1988 after an accident at Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount.
Martin has been the central character in several television documentaries which has taken him half way around the globe to India and most recently to Latvia in a Chanel Four production in which he retraced the life of his late maternal grandfather, Zanus ‘Walter’ Kidals in the war-torn Baltic state of Latvia which saw occupation by both German and Russian troops in the second world conflict. His grandfather was a displaced person known as ‘DP’ arriving via Hull where he met an English girl, married, settled and worked in Britain.
By coincidence, the town of Kinlochleven saw many DPs, like Martin’s grandfather; arrive from war-torn Europe and the Balcan states of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania as there was work available at the North British Aluminium Company smelter in Kinlochleven. One such man was Lithuanian born Paul Kilbauskas, who arrived in 1947 and found employment at the aluminium works and with co-worker and friend Ian Pollock discovered the many paths and sections that are still used by both the Pre’65 and Scottish Six Days events that make use of the Leven Valley in early May. Kilbauskas later became a ‘Tunnel Tiger’ working on the large hydro-electric schemes in the Scottish Highlands.
Guy has harboured a desire to compete in Pre’65 trials since 2011, but television and racing commitments rendered it a ‘back-burner’ for a few years.
The Pre’65 committee having secured sponsorship with Hope Technology which has an association with Guy through his interest in mountain bikes and eventually Simon Sharp and Owen Hardisty made the approach to see if Martin would be Guest of Honour at the annual event, now in its thirty second year.
Guy Martin has turned his skilled hands to many things in front of camera, including a two-year restoration of a Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft which had been buried in a French beach since the second world war; a rebuild of a narrow-boat called ‘Reckless’ and much more; including riding a hydroplane motocross bike across a lake and setting a speed record for a pedal-cycle. He was even fortunate enough to be allowed to work on the last flying Vulcan bomber aircraft XH558 during preparations for its final flight in 2015.
On loan specially for the Pre’65 Scottish Guy will be riding a 350cc Ariel HT3 which used to belong to Lancastrian ace, Chris Gascoigne who campaigned the machine for many years and has been a winner in Chris’s hands many times over.
Added attractions for the 2016 Pre’65 Scottish from 1966:
There will also be an appearance of the 1966 Scottish Six Days winning BSA C15T of Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin. Registered as 748MOE, it will be ridden in the Pre’65 by Alan’s son, James Lampkin to celebrate 50 years since Sid’s SSDT victory on the very last British four-stoke machine to win the Highland classic. This will be James Lampkin’s first pre’65 Scottish although he has competed in the SSDT for many years.
James Lampkin: “Dad realised that it would be 50 years since the BSA won the Scottish in 1966 after he bought the bike back again in October 2014. It is very original having passed through quite a few owners since it was sold off in 1967. Although he doesn’t ride trials himself anymore, he was very pleased when I agreed to enter on the BSA. I’m really looking forward to it”.
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