Tag Archives: Sammy Miller

Jock Wilson – ISDT Team Manager and more!

Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson … a great friend … a great man ~ By Renee Bennett.

Jock Wilson - 350 AJS - SMW581 - Clayton Trial - section Cheeks - 05-08-1962 - Photo Unknown
Jock Wilson on ‘Cheeks’ at the Clayton Trial in 1962 on his specially built ultra-short-stroke AJS 350. (Photo supplied by Patricia Wilson)

When I think of Jock Wilson, it reminds me of the fantastic Thames Ditton motorcycle dealers, Comerfords, AJS trials machines, Bultaco, the Scottish Six Days and a top Home Counties based trials rider who went on to take charge of the British International Six Days Trial Trophy Team for nearly 20 years.

Peter Cameron ‘Jock’ Wilson was born in Scotland on 12th January 1934 at Oakbank, Bridge of Balgie, Glen Lyon, Perthshire. The Scottish Six Days was practically on his doorstep as the ‘Meall Glas’ section was only ¾ mile from his front door.

Jock on his short-stroke AJS in a Sidcup 60 Trial. Comerfords Sales manager Bert Thorn is following in the background.
Jock on his short-stroke AJS in a Sidcup 60 Trial. Comerfords Sales manager Bert Thorn is following in the background.

There is the main reason he was such a good trials rider ~ with all that practice ground, he just had to be good!

‘Jock’ as I’ve always known him, started his working life as a lumberjack, then a spell in the British Army doing his national service at Aldershot, then marrying his wife Pat and moving to London to live permanently.

At Aldershot, Jock was in the Royal Army Service Corps or RASC for short, his commanding officer was Captain Eddie Dow, but he also met many of the factory trials and scrambles stars of the era who were also doing their national service. Riders such as Roy Peplow, John Giles and many more.

He took up employment at Arthur Cook Motors in Kingston-Upon-Thames and then the well-known motorcycle dealership, Comerfords based in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey which he joined in 1957.

Jock started at Comerfords as a motorcycle mechanic in the workshops, soon progressing to workshop manager. When he became bored with that, he moved into sales under Sales Director, Bert Thorn.

1965 Scottish Six Days on Callert, riding the ex-Sammy Miller Ariel 786GON, which Wilson owned and rode for several years. The machine is now in Italy.
1965 Scottish Six Days on Callert, riding the ex-Sammy Miller Ariel 786GON, which Wilson owned and rode for several years. The machine is now in Italy.

Jock’s specialty was modifying AJS trials bikes, cleverly making them lighter and more powerful. Gordon Jackson, Gordon Blakeway and Gordon McLaughlan rode AJS machines as a team in those days and Jock even named one of his sons after the trio.

Gordon Jackson of course won the 1961 SSDT on his factory AJS (187 BLF) with just one ‘dab’ ~  Amazing!

Jock went on to manage the British International Six Days Junior Trophy and Trophy teams. His knowledge gained by riding in the ISDT many times himself on AJS and Triumph machinery gave him a valuable insight into this part of off-road sport and was a very highly thought of manager by the riders and the ACU. He actually cut his teeth initially by managing the Scottish ACU squad in Sweden in 1978.

A Scottish ACU presentation of awards ceremony at Perth in 1980. From left: Ron Wright (SACU Trials); Alex Phillip (Clubman TT winner 1948); Robbie Allan; Charlie Bruce (Scottish racing champion); Tommy Milton (SACU official); Anne Allan (wife of Vic Allan) and Jock Wilson, ISDT Team Manager.
A Scottish ACU presentation of awards ceremony at Perth in 1980. From left: Margaret Allan (SACU Chairperson); Ron Wright (SACU Trials); Alex Phillip (Clubman TT winner 1948); Robbie Allan; Charlie Bruce (former Scottish racing champion); Tommy Milton (SACU official); Anne Allan (wife of Vic Allan) and Jock Wilson, ISDT Team Manager.

When Comerfords eventually took over the importership from Rickman Brothers of the Bultaco brand, Jock was soon in charge … supplying dealers and operating a first class spares service.

When Jock left Comerfords, some many years later, he started his own business importing the Italian SWM trials and enduro macinery in partnership with Mick ‘Bonkey’ Bowers, which became equally as good as the Bultaco brand and very popular.

Jock and Bonkey set up a countrywide dealer network which included former World Trials Champion, Martin Lampkin.

After SWM stopped producing motorcycles, Jock went self-employed working from his home in Tolworth, fixing and tuning bikes and repairing damaged wheels, as he is an ace wheel-builder.

Nowadays, Jock is retired but still works a little on classic bikes in his spare time. I speak to him regularly and it’s always a pleasure.

Jock has always been a friend to me, to my late father Wag Bennett, and to my children Charles (who runs a busy London motorcycle shop) and my daughter, Julie.

I owe Jock a debt of gratitude for the support and help he gave me over twenty five years of trials riding.

Thank you Jock Wilson … Renee Bennett, Plaistow, East London.

Trials Guru: Jock Wilson, so named because this was common place for a Scotsman living and working in Southern England at the time, became one of off-road motorcycle sports’ most respected characters. Jock was a very competent mechanic and a serious trials competitor. When he was with Bultaco UK, he was responsible for setting up the contracts with the Comerfords supported riders in both motocross and trials. Wilson was mentor to Greeves rider and fellow Scotsman, Vic Allan when he moved from Aberdeenshire to Thames Ditton to ride for Comerfords in 1967. Allan then went on to ride for BSA briefly, during which time he crashed heavily at the Italian GP on his factory BSA breaking his hip and was sidelined for several months, during which time BSA closed the Small Heath competitions department. Allan then reverted to race for Comerfords on the Spanish Bultaco and became British 250cc and 500 cc Motocross champion in 1974, riding the Pursang models in both classes.

© – All text copyright: Renee Bennett & Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat 2015.

Sammy’s Museum

Words: John Hulme and Pictures: John Hulme + Iain Lawrie.

In 1996 Sammy Miller MBE took over the run-down premises of an old farm and converted the barns into a modern, prestigious building with picturesque surroundings. It is now accepted as housing one of the finest collections of fully restored motorcycles in the world, including factory racers and exotic prototypes. At the end of 2004 permission was granted for an extension to the museum which now allows it to house over 400 exhibits.

In autumn 2010 Trial Magazine called in to view this tribute to one man’s love of motorcycles.

Sammy Miller MBE and his wife, Rosemary. Photo
Sammy Miller MBE and his wife, Rosemary.

Welcomed by the warm hand of Sammy Miller himself the moment you walk inside the fabulous buildings, he immediately breaks into a documented history of the museum and its contents, the enthusiasm bouncing out from this motorcycle legend. Sammy’s life has always been dedicated to motorcycles. As a boy he followed motorcycle racing in Ulster and then went on to compete and win his first race in 1953. After a well documented period on the Road Racing Grand Prix circuits he moved into trials and went on to develop the world famous Ariel trials machine GOV 132 before moving on to Bultaco and creating the modern trials scene in 1965, and then on to Honda in 1970 to design the world championship winning trials machine. He is still active today and still competes when possible as well as demonstrating some of his prize collection.

Sammy on his GOV Replica Ariel HT5 on Loch Eild Path in the Pre'65 Scottish Trial. Photo: Copyright Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.
Sammy on his ‘GOV Replica’ Ariel HT5 on Grey Mare’s Ridge in the Pre’65 Scottish Trial. Photo: Copyright Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Unlike most other museums this is more than a static collection to be dusted and polished at regular intervals and displayed like butterflies with pins through them. This is a live museum, for whenever the opportunity presents itself these machines are run in classic bike events of one kind or another. Many of the racing machines are still fully competitive and capable of giving a good account of themselves in high-speed parades. Like any good museum the contents are changing constantly. Virtually every new acquisition represents a full-scale renovation with the attendant difficulty in finding missing parts or replacements to exchange for those that are badly worn. Apart from the motorcycles on display you will also see many interesting artefacts, all of which represent a link with motorcycling of a bygone era.

The Off-Road section, for me, was incredible as one of the machines in the collection was something that has been on my mind many times in the past. George Sartin of Talon products’ fame many years ago started to develop his own trials machine; he made a prototype which then just disappeared off the face of the earth and there it was, immaculately restored in the museum. There are the awesome Jawa ISDT machines from the mid-seventies, and another particular machine which caught my eye was the long track championship winning machine of the late Simon Wigg, current trials star Alexz Wigg’s uncle.

Renovation

Always one to bring something new to the museum, Sammy had just acquired the famous 1961 SSDT-winning AJS ridden by Gordon Jackson when he recorded the famous single mark victory.

5 The famous Gordon Jackson AJS as it arrived at the museum.
Gordon Jackson’s factory AJS 187BLF in ‘as found’ condition, seen here at Sammy Miller’s ready for restoration. 

The machine was in a sad state of affairs but Miller restored it, quite rightly, to its original condition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Gordon Jackson AJS 187BLF rebuilt and ready to go!

The museum houses the finest collection of fully restored motorcycles in Europe, including factory racers and exotic prototypes, plus memorabilia spanning seven decades of motorcycling for sport and for pleasure. There are over 400 rare and classic motorcycles on display in four galleries.

7
Sammy with the AJS Porcupine racer

During all this he has still found the time to restore many rare and exotic machines to concourse condition and perfect working order. These he kept as a private collection until 1980 when he opened up a museum so that the public could have a chance to see and hear them. He even took some abroad to many locations, including Australia and New Zealand, so that they could be seen by as many people as possible.

4 The Talon trials machine
The Talon Mick Mar Trials Machine at Sammy Miller’s Museum at New Milton.

He has now placed the entire collection into a Trust to enable it to be kept together for future generations to experience and admire. There is no one more dedicated to motorcycling than Sam. He spends ten hours a day seven days a week working, promoting or restoring motorcycles and still finds time to compete (and win) races today.

3
Sammy with GOV132 Ariel HT5 developed from 1958 – 1964, the world’s most famous trials machine.

Sammy Miller was awarded an MBE for Services to Motorcycle Heritage in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List. The museum is open pretty much all year round and for me is a must to visit if you have not done so already. For more information please visit: Tel: 01425 620 777 – Web: www.sammymiller.co.uk – Mail: museum@sammymiller.co.uk

Sammy Miller MBE – Achievements

  • 11 times successive British Champion.
  • Twice European Trials Champion – the forerunner to the World Championship.
  • 13 times successive Hurst Cup winner.
  • 18 times successive Walter Rusk Trial winner.
  • 5 times winner of the famous Scottish Six Day Trial.
  • 7 times winner of the World’s most arduous trial the Scott Trial on the harsh and unforgiving Yorkshire moors.
  • Winner of over 1482 Trials events.
  • 9 Gold medals at International Six Day Trials.
  • Irish Motocross Champion.
  • Irish Sand Racing Champion.
  • Winner of most Irish Road races, including winning the North West 200 and the Leinster 200 three years in succession.
  • Third in the World Grand Prix Championships on a works Mondial
  • Sponsor of the British Classic Trial Championships.
  • Still rides today at retirement age and wins Trials and competes in classic road race events throughout Europe and as far away as New Zealand.
John Moffat has interviewed 10 times British Trials Champion, Sammy Miller on many occasions.
Trials Guru, John Moffat has interviewed 11 times British Trials Champion, Sammy Miller on many occasions.

© – All text copyright: Originally published in Trial Magazine – Issue 25.

Many thanks to John Hulme of Trial Magazine for his permission to re-produce this article.

For back issues of Trial Magazine UK click Here

Emma Picks up her WWTC award 2014!

Emma Bristow 2014 Womens Worls Trial Champion
Emma Bristow seen here with her boyfriend and fellow trials rider, James Fry at Jerez, Spain. (Photo FIM Press)

 

 

Emma Bristow, Lincolnshire, England was presented with the 2014 FIM Womens’ World Trials Championship during the FIM Gala at Jerez, Spain. Emma is also ACU British Ladies Champion 2014. Well done Emma what a year you have had!

Emma Bristow - Guru
Trials Guru, John Moffat has a quick word with FIM Womens World Trial Champion, Emma Bristow at the start of the 2014 Scott Centenary Trial in October. (Photo courtesy: Penny Hutchinson, Leeds)
Sammy Miller - Emma Bristow - Tony Bou - Mark Walters Photo
Sammy Miller; Emma Bristow & World Trials Champion Tony Bou at the FIM Gala in Jerez – Photo Copyright: Mark Walters Photography. Lochgilphead.

 

 

 

Profile: CHRISTIAN RAYER (France)

Christian Rayer is a name not universally known in the UK, but is very well-known in his native France. Born in 1945, riding Greeves and Motobecane machinery in his early years as a rider, he was instrumental in the development of the first Montesa Cota 247 series trials machine which emerged in 1967, based and developed from the Spanish factory’s Impala engine design.

Montesa Trial prototype n1( 67)
Prior to the Cota, this was the Montesa Trial 247 (11M), this model was launched at the Barcelona motor show and had a production run of only 44 units. Developed by Rayer/Pi in 1967. (Information provided by: Luis Munoz-Aycuens Ribas).

This was done in association with both Pedro Pi and England’s Don (D.R.) Smith feeding information back to the Barcelona factory, owned by the Catalan Permanyer family, based then at Esplugas de Llobregat.

Pere Pi - Montesa Proto
Pere Pi was one of the Montesa factory development riders with Christian Rayer in 1967, seen here with another Cota Prototype.
Montesa Cota Prototype
One of the few remaining early model Montesa Trial 11M limited series production machines (B-577564). Developed from the prototypes from the Rayer/Pi/Smith era now in a private museum near Madrid, Spain (Photo: Eduardo Gomez de Salazar).

 

Première MONTESA 1967 -
Christian Rayer on B-576140 the first prototype of the Montesa Cota in 1967
1971 Cota 247
The 1971 production Montesa Cota which was a direct descendant from Rayer’s prototype machinery.

Rayer was six times French trials champion and rode the Scottish Six Days Trial three times on the Spanish marque. His main rivals of that era on the European trials scene were Sammy Miller, Gordon Farley and Don Smith (England) and Gustav Franke (Germany) who were all professional riders. Thereafter, in 1971 he was contracted by Yamaha to develop a trials machine the basis being their DT175 off-road model.

Presentation essaie prototype TY Yamaha (71)
Rayer with the prototype Yamaha TY (1971) in a company publicity brochure.

The trials model became known as the ‘TY’ which stood for ‘Trial Yamaha’ Rayer again feeding back useful information to the Japanese engineers at the Yamaha factory. Rayer’s efforts paved the way for a full-on attack by the Dutch based competition arm of Yamaha Motor Co in trials, but now with Mick Andrews as their main factory rider in 1973. Andrews had been with Spanish rivals, Ossa from 1967, switching to Yamaha in a blaze of publicity.

The first Factory Trial motorcycle in 1972
Progression in 1972 with changes to the TY Yamaha already visible.

Rayer’s business acumen resulted in the creation of his dealership called ‘Moto 92’ at Chaville, a suburb of Paris, where he went on to develop up-rated motors for the Yamaha TY250; XT600 and other trail models. He was also the founder of the first riding school for off road riders near Paris and competed in the first edition of the famous Paris-Dakar Rally on the Japanese marque as an official team member, winning many of the individual stages in the process. Rayer also rode in the Enduro de Touquet, also as part of Team Yamaha and finished second overall from a start field of 1000 riders.

In later life, Christian took up para-gliding, diving, hunting and microlight aircraft piloting.

Nowadays Christian runs a business in Valbonne Cedex called ‘IP Moteurs‘ supplying after-market upgrade kits for Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda.

The Trials Guru salutes – Christian Rayer.