Today is rather a sad one for me. The ‘Gaffer Guru’ John Moffat has told me I can keep going as long as I want, but I feel that I have subjected you to quite enough punishment and its time to go.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have expected the support you have given me. I have had a fantastic time, a really fantastic time believe me. I was kept going by the The Trials Guru’s enthusiasm. That plus your comments and likes were a real tonic to me. Despite my health problems I still consider myself the luckiest person in the world.
I have always been a people person and the spectators who lined the sections were just as important to me as the sections and they have repaid me a thousand times!
Like all of us I had made mistakes but in general I am pretty pleased.
One thing I will miss is checking the comments and likes each day.
I was pleased and a little surprised when Benny Sellman and Thore Evertson contacted me.
Benny was a fellow Montesa rider and Thore a works Ossa rider.
I also received an e-mail from Martin Belair in California.
These plus dozens and dozens from all over Europe have done me more good than any doctor or medicine could hope to do.
The new generation of Thornaby Trials riders have been following my story – Thanks a lot lads.
I hope to get to the Telford Show again this year so please say Hello, tea with milk, no sugar please!
It is impossible to thank everybody who made this possible but Eric Kitchen, Barry Robinson, Iain Lawrie and Luis Munoz who allowed Guru John (my gaffer) to use their pictures.
When readers send in comments like Scottish Heaven you could bet that one of these are responsible.
Keep Clicking and thanks!
Many thanks again to ‘Trials Guru’ – John Moffat and thank you finally to Alberto Mallofre, Pere Pi and Montesa for having faith in me.
A FINAL GOODBYE NOW – ROB EDWARDS
Trials Guru comment:
It has been absolutely fantastic receiving Rob’s e-mails over the last few months with details of his life in trials and to be able to share this with you all on Trials Guru.
Rob’s story now explains why he hasn’t been seen as often out and about at events, unlike most of his peers from the time when Montesa, Ossa and Bultaco were trying to out-sell each other from the late sixties, through the seventies and into the eighties.
As we have seen, if you have been following Rob’s adventures since late October 2014, what a warm human being he really is.
Despite his health problems which undoubtedly cut short his riding career, that he is as outwardly cheery as he was when some of you rode with him, worked in Head Wrightons with him or marvelled at his skill as a factory Montesa rider in the Scott and Scottish Six Days as well as countless national trials throughout the UK and the rest of the trials-riding world.
I can only say this, many grateful thanks to Rob for taking the time and effort to satisfy my request in the start field at Marske on the 18th October 2014 when I said: ‘Rob, how about doing your story on Trials Guru?’
To all of you, keep commenting and keep telling people to read this story here on Trials Guru, the “Rob Edwards Story ” button will be here on this website for a very long time to come! – The Guru.
We continue Rob Edwards’ story of a lifetime in trials. This is the part you have all probably been most interested to hear about – the Rob Edwards/Montesa connection!
My First Trip to MONTESA! The day finally arrived to set off to Barcelona. I met up with the lads at Charlie’s home in Redhill (Guru: Charlie Harris, Montesa UK based development rider) then off we went. It was the first time I had met Charlie. Previous to this, I only knew him as a top trials rider in the south of England. A friend of his was travelling with us, so we had a car full. There was plenty for me to see Paris: The Eifel Tower; Citroen cars and so on. I had not been abroad before, as I spent every penny I had on trials. Plus, I would be bored to tears! We arrived at the Montesa Factory in Barcelona and I felt as if I was on another planet! Two days later, it was the trial in Terrassa. The events for the European Championship were totally different to anything I had ridden before. The time limit was six hours, plus one hour with time penalties. Two laps had to be completed, approximately 50 sections (zonas) in this time. I was not hanging about, but it took five hours to complete one lap, leaving one hour to get to the finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but by riding flat out, I reached the finish losing only a couple of time penalty points. I finished second position overall, a result beyond my wildest dreams!
The following morning, we went to the Montesa factory before setting off for home. Alberto Mallofre and Pere ‘Pedro’ Pi took me into an office. After telling me how pleased they were with yesterdays results, Alberto spoke and I couldn’t believe my ears! Could I go to America for six weeks to promote Montesa and trials in the States? Montesa were owned by Permanyer s.a. and Senor Permanyer’s son Jorge would be travelling with me. He didn’t speak a lot of English and my Spanish was no better… if not worse! A month later, I had my American visa, my ticket and I was ready for the off. I only had one thing left to do – to tell Head Wrightsons that I was quitting! I jokingly asked the workshop manager if I could take six weeks unpaid holiday. “You have got to be joking”, he said but he did pass on the news to the top factory manager who decided it was time for me to be put in my place!
“That’s it”, he said, “I’ve had enough, I’ve had as much as I can take of you and motorbikes – YOUR SACKED!”. “I’m glad about that”, I said “because I’m going to America tomorrow for six weeks!”. I am sure I heard him whisper under his breath – “thank god for that” – Bye for now – Rob
To Be Continued…
To read all of Rob Edward’s story of his life in trials click… here
Hi Again, Many thanks for all your comments, I feel very honoured that so many of you have remembered me. Leaving Cotton Motorcycles was a necessary move if I was to improve, but I will always be grateful for the support Norman Crooks gave me. I knew exactly what I wanted to ride… a Montesa!
Plucking up courage, I telephoned Montala Motors in London who were the UK importers at that time. I told them my name and some of my results.
I asked if there was any chance of riding for them?
I was told that they simply had no vacancies. Montala’s ‘dream team’ being Gordon Farley, Lawrence Telling and Don Smith. However, I asked that if a ride became available I would like to be considered. I had set my heart on riding for Montesa but as this was a no-go, I would have to try elsewhere.
The only other top bike in my estimation was a Bultaco Sherpa, so I took a sharp intake of breath and phoned up Comerfords in Thames Ditton, Surrey, the Bultaco importers. Most of the male employees who worked at Comerfords were trials riders. So much to my delight, things started to look a lot better.
Having a bike could be sorted immediately and they were sure that Bultaco Spain would give me a contract. “We will be back in touch as soon as we hear anything”, were their parting words.
I put the phone down and gave a big sigh of relief, things were really starting to move. Then the phone rang, but this time it was Montala Motors boss John Brise. Apparently seconds after I had talked with them, Montesa Competitions Manager, Alberto Mallofre phoned them. Unknown to me, it appeared that Alberto had been a fan of mine for a long time and he had wanted me on a Montesa.
I don’t think John Brise really knew anything about me and was being polite when I phoned him, but the factory did and that was the break I needed!
It seemed that everybody knew about me at Montesa, they had been keeping an eye on my results.
They said everything was in hand, so don’t look elsewhere! Alberto was on the phone to me the next day asking me to go to the Spanish round of the European championships in Barcelona.
While I was there, he had a few things he would like to talk to me about.
I traveled there with fellow Montesa riders Charlie Harris and Ian Haydon.
Now that things were up and moving I was back on the phone to Comerfords to offer my thanks for trying so hard for me. I take this opportunity to thank everyone at Comerfords back then, even although I made the move to ride for Montesa. – Rob
Trials Guru: Montesa, by 1968, had made serious in-roads into the UK trials market with their Cota 247 Mk1 model. It was becoming a very popular machine which would allow British riders to make a name for themselves in national events. Rob mentions the Montesa ‘Dream Team’ and that is correct in that Lawrence ‘Sparky’ Telling, Don Smith and Gordon Farley had all left the Greeves marque for Montesa. Charlie Harris was effectively a development rider in the Uk for the Cota.
Alberto Mallofre, the competitions manager at Permanyer S.A., the company that manufactured Montesa, was a forward thinking individual. Don Smith was a well-known extrovert on the UK trials scene and promoted the Cota successfully from 1967-70. However, he became frustrated with the lack of development progress and quit the team in 1970 to develop his own machine called the Don Smith ‘Stag’. Utilising his own ideas and a Montesa Cota 247 motor with the ‘M’ symbol carefully removed from the crankcase covers, Smith entered the 1970 Scottish on the black and white machine.
Montala Motors ‘Montesa Dream Team’
Montesa ‘Ambassador’ Rob Edwards:
To Be Continued …
Words: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, John Moffat 2014.
Acknowledgement: Peter Bremner, Chairman Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. For Montesa Photographs used in this article.
To read all of Rob Edward’s story of his life in trials click… here
By the time the 1964 Scottish came around, I had got over my previous year’s disaster, this time I was allocated number 210 on an AJS 350 bought from Comerfords, this time entered as a ‘privateer’ and riding for the Middlesbrough & District, my home club.
The event still started and finished in Edinburgh. On the Thursday, we went over the Corrieyarrick Pass.
I think I had been following behind Peter Gaunt and what happened next I wasn’t to find out until sometime later.
I found myself sat on a banking at the side of the Pass, which is an old General Wade military road.
I had no idea at all how I came to be sitting there.
Alan Morewood from Sheffield who became a top sidecar driver, came along on his 500 Ariel as he was number 205 that year, he stopped and asked if I was Okay? ‘Yes, fine’ I said, ‘Bye’ he said and rode off.
A couple of minutes later and Alan was back. ‘Rob, are you sure you are al-right, you look dazed?’ said Alan. ‘No problem’ I said and off he went again. Somehow I managed to get back to Fort William to finish the day’s run.
The first person I spoke to asked what I had been doing to scratch my face? Then someone said, ‘never mind his face, look at the back of his bike!’
The rear end was totally out of line. I then realised that I must have hit a pothole in the road with the front wheel over Corrieyarrick, cartwheeled and that explained my rest on the bank.
We pulled the bike back into line with a length of pipe that we found. Apart from a bit of a headache, it was back to business as usual.
Rest of the week was not as eventful and had a good old needle match with my mate Sid Lampkin who was on a factory Cotton that year.For the next year, I had bought another AJS from Comerfords, Thames Ditton built by Jock Wilson. I’ll tell you about that ride next. Bye for now! – Rob
Post Script by Rob Edwards:I’ve just been looking again at this fine Brian Holder photograph of me on the AJS on ‘Ben Nevis’ in 1964. The chap directly behind me is Mick Ward from Scarborough.
He built a bike especially for this event. He had the novel idea of taking the exhaust through the back frame loop to save a bit of weight.
However, when he got stuck, the ever helpful spectators would rush to his aid, not realising the exhaust was the rear frame loop and severely burn their hands in their quest to assist! I’m sure the A&E at Fort William were extra busy that week with burns!
I bet Mick never thought that one day Valentino Rossi would copy his helmet design! – Bye for now! – Rob
TRIALS GURU: – 1964 Scottish Six Days, this edition was won by Sammy Miller riding the much modified and much weight reduced, Ariel HT5. This would be the last time he would do so on the British four-stroke, Miller had already been secret testing the 200cc Bultaco Sherpa which he was later to develop to an increased 244cc and thus created a world beating machine with the San Adrien De Besos factory.
From the 1964 Scottish Six Days Trial Results:
No. 210. R. Edwards, Middlesbrough & Dist. M.C., A.J.S. 350 c.c. …. 124 marks S F C (Special First Class Award)
Rob’s eventful Scottish ‘Thursday’ was May 7th 1964. The route was as follows, let’s follow where Rob went that day: Start, Fort William; Inverlochy; 2 sections at Annat; Banavie; Gairlochy; 8 sections at Laggan Locks; Corrieyarrick Pass (where Rob has his big off!); Melgarve; Laggan Inn; Roy Bridge; Inverlochy – Lunch control; Glen Nevis; 4 sections at Ben Nevis; Fort William – Down Ashburn Lane; Onich; Kinlochleven; 1 section on Pollock Way; 8 sections at Leitir Bo Fionn; Down Loch Eild Path; 8 sections at Mamore; Check at top of hill; Mamore Road; 2 sections on the Town Hall Brae and Finish of day. Total Mileage 132 miles. 33 sections.
SSDT Point of interest: The number plates you see in the SSDT photos were issued to riders by the organising club. The rider paid a fee of ten shillings and forfeited the deposit if they didn’t hand the plates back at the end of the event. In 1964 the number plate official was Bob Adamson who later was to become SSDT Assistant Secretary and Secretary of the Pre’65 Scottish Trial.
Copyright: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, Moffat Racing (c) 2014
Don Morley, Reigate, Surrey for permission to use the photograph of Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson for this article.
Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd for the use of 1964 programme cover.
Rob Edwards for the use of the Brian Holder photo.
Blackie Holden Junior for the photo of Blackie Holden Snr in 1964.
Mrs Ron Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William for the photos of Ali McDonald & Ron Thomson.
To read all of Rob Edwards’ story of his life in trials, click … here
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