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.
Here is a message direct from Rob Edwards, former Montesa factory rider.
Thanks for the great support you have given me throughout our story on the Trial Guru website.
The ‘Trials Guru’ whose idea it was for this story is more than happy for us to continue until we all get our fill.
I am honestly amazed at your response. My only problem is that I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your response but of course that’s not possible, but the one person I can thank is ‘The Guru’.
When he said that he was interested in me doing my story back in October 2014, I wasn’t sure if we had enough material to keep you occupied. I now know there was!
The response both locally and overseas has been fantastic. The fantastic Thornaby gang who have followed the story from day one. There has been a list of riders who during my riding career I used to see most weekends but since then we went our separate ways.
The group would have in it is Steve Robson, Chris Griffin and Mick Illing who keeps us stocked up with yesteryear’s photos, thank you very much indeed.
Thornaby’s Tony Clarke’s three pictures of his drowning Dot. These are fitted in among the various stories by The Guru, John Moffat.
As 16 year olds, we used to ride in the woods from morning till dark.The woods at one time were part of Thornaby Airfield.
In one section we dropped down into the beck, turned across a large piece of wood and back up the bank. It was years later that we discovered that the wood was the propeller off a Spitfire aeroplane. It has since been retrieved, renovated and is on the wall of the Spitfire Public house. – Rob Edwards
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.
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
The Premier Trial Website – Recording the History of the Sport 'Since 2014'