In the latest edition of Classic Dirt Bike – CDB (Winter 2016, Issue 41) is an article penned by Trials Guru’s John Moffat entitled: An Hour with… Rob Edwards.
Moffat met up with Rob at the Centenary Scott Trial and over a cup of tea in the refreshment pavilion, Rob recounted highlights of his sporting career as a professional trials rider and brand ambassador for Montesa Motorcycles.
The article features fantastic action photographs taken from the Nick Nicholls Collection at Mortons Archive in Hornchurch, the owners of the CDB title.
Honda (UK) has doubled the size of its specialist Montesa dealer network and appointed a new Off-Road Sales Manager to further support continued growth in the UK’s trial bike market.
Five new dealers have recently been awarded a Montesa franchise, extending the network across the UK to ten. Each franchisee has been selected due to its specialist knowledge and experience in off-road motorcycles, and is exclusively able to sell the revered Honda Montesa models loved by high-adrenaline two-wheel enthusiasts.
In a further move to focus more on the off-road market, Honda (UK) has also this month confirmed the appointment of new Off-Road Sales Manager, Graham Foster-Vigors, charged with supporting and developing the Honda and Montesa network. Working within Honda’s UK motorcycle business in various customer and dealer-facing roles since 2007, Graham also has experience in competing in and management of two-wheel motorsport including Enduro and MX. In his new role, Graham will be the principal contact for wholesale and retail performance for Honda and Montesa, as well as overseeing Off-Road Racing, Off-Road Experience Centres and events, such as the Dirt Bike Show, to deliver the best possible promotion for the two brands.
Nick Campolucci, Head of Motorcycles for Honda (UK) comments: “The Honda and Montesa brands are heavyweights in trial biking, and with the sector currently experiencing such strong growth we are in an ideal position to capitalise on this and continue to delight customers with the very best products and technologies from both stables. The expansion of the specialist Montesa franchise network underlines our ongoing commitment to offering our off-road customers the very best in advice, service and expertise; while the appointment of Graham to look after our dealers and keep a dedicated eye on our racing and other promotional activities ties our whole offering together very nicely.”
The five new dealers recently awarded the Montesa franchise are as follows:
Thunder Road Motorcycles, Hempsted, Gloucester
Colwyn Bay Motorcycles, Clwyd
Derbyshire Off Road Centre, Buxton
Kestrel Honda, Coventry
Marsh MX, Merthyr Tydfill
Honda (UK) currently markets four models bearing the revered Montesa badge – the Montesa Cota 4RT260, 4RT Factory Race Replica and 300RR, and the Montesa 4RIDE.
Each model is manufactured exclusively for worldwide distribution at the Montesa Honda facility, in Santa Perpetua de Mogoda, Barcelona.
The Montesa Honda Cota 4RT began a revolution in trial biking on its introduction in 2006, bringing the environmental benefits of four-stroke technology, along with strong power and torque, to a world previously dominated by two-stroke. The 260 model carries a reputation for performance, quality and proven reliability, while the Factory Race Replica offers the more demanding customer the exclusiveness of its superior equipment and the look of the race bike. Such is the reputation of the Cota 4RT, that of the last 17 Trial World Championships won by the Montesa team, the last nine were all achieved on this model.
Moving up the performance scale, the Montesa Cota 300RR (‘Race Ready’) is an exclusive and unique race-oriented machine which builds on the success of the 4RT models but with a focus on increased power and reduced weight to meet the needs of the most demanding racers, particularly those competing against two-stroke models.
Making up the Honda Montesa range is the most recent addition, the 4RIDE. This versatile off-roader, aimed at the ‘pure adventure’ seeker, is light yet strong, powerful yet manageable, and comfortable and easy to handle. Along with strong Dunlop tyres for plenty of grip, the front axle is light and agile with strong suspension to deal with the most uneven and demanding terrain.
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
If you haven’t done so, why not take a look at Trials Guru’s Rob Edwards Story. It truly is the story of a lifetime in trials.
Written by Rob himself it gives a fascinating insight to how a young lad from Teeside went on to become a professional rider, eventually contracted to ride for Montesa Motorcycles in the sport world-wide.
Trials Guru is grateful for the co-operation by Mortons Media and also Classic Trial Magazine and many more photographers and personalities in the sport for their assistance in creating this story of one of Britain’s favourite riders in the sport of trials.
Montesa’s former world-wide ambassador, Rob Edwards recently sent Trials Guru a tranche of his personal photographs, taken over a number of years for his section on this website.
Among them was a photo taken high up on a hill of his friend, Barry Overy who died recently at the age of seventy.
Rob: “Barry Overy, from Stockton was a stalwart of our local club, the Middlesbrough and he was also a supporter of the East Yorks Centre, ACU of which he became President in November 2015, a position in which he took great pride. Barry was a good friend and a tireless worker in our sport of trials. I have known Baz a long time and will miss him.”
Rob: “I have also enclosed another photo from my personal collection, it shows me in real trouble on day one of the 1970 Scottish when I lose five marks as I am clearly past the dabbing stage! The reason for sending you this photo is that it shows the late Stephanie Wood in the background, that is her standing on the left of photographer, Brian ‘Nick’ Nicholls. I am reliably informed that the observer writing ‘five’ in the book is Dunfermline man, Willie Dewar who worked at Angus Campbell’s motorcycle shop”.
For Rob Edwards story of trials on Trials Guru, follow this link HERE
A tribute by Rob Edwards, close friend of H. Martin Lampkin (1950-2016)
“Where do I begin to describe such an incredible person as Martin Lampkin? We all know that he was capable of doing the impossible on a trials bike of that there is no doubt, but everybody loved Mart because he loved them.
It would take him twice as long as anybody else to walk up the section Pipeline. Not because he was looking at the section, but because he had to stop at every family group and chat.
I would say that his personality was on a par with his riding ability. Another thing that made him unique has to be his sense of humour and all these things coupled up make the incredible person we know as Martin Lampkin.
Our deepest sympathies to Issy and all the Lampkin family and I’m sure that the thoughts of millions are with you”. – Rob and Bev Edwards – 4th April 2016
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