Tag Archives: Sandifords

The Rob Edwards Story – Part Two – 1964

1964 SSDT Programme
Front cover of the 1964 SSDT official programme, with Rob’s great friend Gordon Blakeway on the ex-Gordon Jackson AJS (187BLF) in 1963. The bike carried Jackson to victory losing one mark in 1961.

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.

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

Rob 1964
Rob on his 350 AJS at Achintee Farm, Ben Nevis, in the 1964 Scottish. The AJS supplied by Comerfords, hence the Surrey registration number 970PL. If you look closely the front wheel spindle nut has the ISDT type tommy-bar, obviating the need for a spanner. It also has the works style prop-stand tied to the front downtube by rubber bands and a small spigot mounted on the lower-most engine bolt and the attachment spigot mounting on the magneto mounting plate. Photo supplied by Rob Edwards. Photo copyright: Brian Holder.

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

 

PCW AJS 1962
Comerford’s employee, Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson with one of his creations, an ultra short-stroke AJS 16C, photo taken at the back of Comerfords workshop at Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton.  Jock was brought up a mile from the old SSDT sections at ‘Meall Glas’ in Glen Lyon, Perthshire. Photo Copyright: Don Morley, Reigate, Surrey

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)

Ron Thomson 1964SSDT Achintee
1964 SSDT another Achintee photo taken the same day as that of Rob Edwards. Here we see the late Ron Thomson a great character originally from St. Andrews who made his home in Inverlochy, Fort William. Seen here on his 500cc BSA Gold Star. Ron called this bike the ‘Stone Crusher’ and was later owned by Billy Maxwell of Newcastle. Thomson and Ali McDonald were great friends. Photo courtesy: Mrs Ron Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William.

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.

A Macdonald 1964SSDT THB
1964 SSDT shot of the late Ali McDonald, a Fort William man, on his Ariel HT5 on Town Hall Brae in Fort William. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Ron Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William.

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.

1964 - Blackie Holden at Achintee
1964 Scottish at the same section group, Achintee, Ben Nevis that we saw Rob on his AJS, here we have the late Blackie Holden from Bradford on his works Cotton. Blackie Holden junior supplied this photo and said: “My Dad rode with Rob Edwards many times and considered him a true gentleman of the sport”.

 

Copyright: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, Moffat Racing (c) 2014

Acknowledgements:

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

 

Tribute: Allie ‘Beag’ Cameron – the quiet man from Fort William

2014-02-15_26
Allie ‘Beag’ Cameron 1940 – 1998 – Photo: Jimmy Young, Armadale

Alexander John Cameron, known to the townsfolk of his native Fort William as ‘Allie Beag’ or just ‘The Beag’, this Gaelic nickname means ‘Wee Allie’.

At the Parade Garage in Fort William, where he served his apprenticeship as a mechanic, there were two ‘Allies’ so there had to be a distinction and it stuck with him for the rest of his life. Allie was originally inspired by watching the Scottish Six Days and ventured into trials at eighteen years of age, when he could afford a James Commando in 1958. This beginner bike soon made way for a brand new 20TA Greeves, purchased from Duncan’s of Brechin a year later.

Allie progressed to a 250 DOT in 1961, which, he rode for only one year.

A J Cameron - Triumph
Allie Cameron on the 150cc Triumph Cub in the 1962 SSDT on Tyndrum – Photo: Ian T. Robertson

Next season, Allie bought the ex- Jimmy Hutchins Tiger Cub and had it reduced in capacity by the factory at Meridan with the intention of winning the 150cc cup at the Scottish, which he did. Henry Vale, the competitions manager at Triumphs had a Terrier 150cc barrel fitted to reduce the capacity accordingly. That particular Cub had a twenty-one inch front wheel and a widened swinging arm to accommodate a full four-inch section trials tyre at the rear.

Allie Beag1
A smiling Allie gets ready for an event at Todholes Farm, Fintry in 1963 – Photo: Jack Williamson, Rosewell.

His Scottish 150cc capacity win on the Triumph soon attracted the attention of the Greeves factory at Thundersley, Essex and Allie received factory support in the shape of a 149cc bike (XWC 264) for the 1963 Scottish.

Cameron lifted the cup a second time for the loss of 120 marks with his closest rival being Gordon Farley, on a Triumph supported by Jock Hitchcock, who dropped 174 marks. Greeves were happy with the result and used it to best effect in their adverts in the motorcycle press for many months later.

1963 Allie Cameron Achintee
On his special Greeves 149 (XWC264) winning the 150cc cup at the Scottish for his employers, Greeves Motorcycles of Thundersley, Essex; seen here on Achintee in the 1963 Scottish Six Days Trial. Photo: Mrs Florence Cameron, Fort William.

The same year Allie was runner up in the Scottish Trials championship, two points behind Jackie Williamson. By 1967,  ‘Beag’ had two special firsts, four first class and four capacity class wins to his credit in six rides in the Scottish Six Days Trial.

Allie was offered a job as mechanic in the competitions department at Thundersley, preparing the factory trials and scrambles machinery for the works riders. He also prepared many of the special ISDT machines including those supplied to Thames Ditton dealers Comerfords. Allie worked in company with John Pease on the ISDT bikes.

1965 Allie Cameron
An accomplished mechanic, Allie fettles his 150cc Greeves factory machine at Gorgie Market in May 1965 (NEV5C). He won the 150cc cup on 169 marks. Photo: Mrs Florence Cameron, Fort William.

Pease who as well as working at the factory was selected on many occasions as a British Trophy team member. The duo fabricated the special engine cradles to carry centre stands, rock guards and the various brackets to carry headlamps, number plates and compressed air bottles for tyre inflation.

Allie became friends with Don ‘D.R.’ Smith who came up to the factory once a week for testing and development discussions. ‘Beag’ would go practising at Kelvedon Hatch near Brentwood with Smith who was one of Britain’s top trials riders, by then, European Champion.

1968 LEP Allie Cameron
Allie Cameron on Loch Eild Path in the 1968 Scottish on his factory Greeves (XHK14F). Allie won the Henderson Challenge Trophy for the best performance by a member of the promoting club. – Photo: Alistair MacMillan / West Highland News Agency, Fort William (with permission of current copyright holder: Anthony MacMillan, Fort William – All rights reserved)

‘Beag’ knew all the ‘works boys’ and was highly regarded as not only an excellent spanner-man but as a handy rider in the Wessex Centre ACU. He spannered for Bryan Goss and many of the other factory motocross riders.

In 1971, Allie decided to return home to Fort William and took up a position with the area’s largest employer, The British Aluminium Company (‘BA’ for short). He wasn’t home long when he received a call from Jim Sandiford offering him a job at Sandiford’s Montesa import business. Allie thought long and hard but decided to stay at the BA.

767-red
1971 SSDT – Allie ‘Beag’ Cameron (247 Montesa Cota) on Loch Eild Path. Allie took home the ‘Henderson Challenge Trophy’ for the second best performance by a member of the promoting club, and was 24th position in the trial with a special first class award on 126 marks. – Photo: Ian Robertson, Midlothian

Having been diagnosed as having Hodgkin’s disease, the Beag had to restrict his trials riding but never lost his enthusiasm for motorcycling. He rode up until the late 1970’s and was a willing observer at both the annual Ian Pollock Memorial Trial and Pre-65 Scottish.

Sadly, Allie died in the November of 1998. His funeral at the Duncansburgh Church, Fort William was filled to overflowing, such was the popularity of the little man known affectionately as ‘The Beag’ to the towns-folk.  Many modern day competitors and “old hands” converged on the Fort to pay their last respects.

Allie Beag
Allie Beag at home in Fort William in 1996 with the trophies he won during an accomplished career in trials. Photo: John Moffat

Article: Copyright – John Moffat -2005

Photos:

  • Jimmy Young, Armadale
  • Alistair MacMillan / West Highland News Agency, Fort William (with permission of current copyright holder: Anthony MacMillan, Fort William – All rights reserved)
  • Mrs. Florence Cameron, Fort William
  • John Moffat / Trials Guru
  • Jack Williamson, Rosewell

For more on Scottish Six Days Trial click: Here