Trials Guru is always looking for something new or old, unseen or forgotten….
We have just added two new ‘selections’ on the front page which link into photo collections of ‘Kimages – Trials Photos‘ and ‘Heather Mead – SSDT Photos‘.
Both are female photographers who have built up a sizeable archive of trials photographs over the last couple of years, particularly at the Scottish Six Days as these are Scottish based photographers.
Kim has lived in the Fort William area most of her life and has a love for motorcycle sport and trials in particular having grown up with the SSDT passing her door-step. Her brother rode in trials too, so there are family connections.
Heather became involved taking photos at the Parc Ferme in Fort William, a place that is usually inaccessible to spectators, so we can see SSDT competitors preparing for their daily battle with the terrain and elements.
Heather Mead and Kimages (Kim Ferguson) have recently given Trials Guru permission to display their handy-work. Please remember photographs are copywritten and are the property of the photographer, so please be respectful of that. There is no implied permission to post these images anywhere else unless by express permission of the copy-holder. This also applies to our other photographers, Jimmy Young, Armadale; Jeremy Whittet; Neil Sturgeon; John Hulme; Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven or any other images on this website.
Trials Guru have used some individual photos, which are the property of Mortons Media, Hornchurch this was done with their prior and express permission, for legal reasons, these are not for onward publication.
MOTORCYCLE COMPETITION SCOTLAND 1975 – 2005 by John Moffat
– Foreword by 8 times TT winner, JIM MOODIE –
Yoomee Ltd is proud to present this superb semi-hardback book which covers the history of Motorcycle Competition in Scotland from 1975 – 2005 by John Moffat. With foreword written by eight times TT winner, Jim Moodie, it is presented with a mixture of exciting, and in many cases un-seen, colour and black and white images, this book is in A4 size format with over 100 pages of informative and interesting text.
This is a book which explores and describes in words and photographs, competitors and enthusiasts from motorcycle sport in Scotland and more! It’s about people, places and events from this era, the endeavours and performances by motorcycle sports most respected riders, who were either born or brought up in Scotland.
A book which will convey you back to a time-period when Scotland produced not only British, but World championship contenders. Riders who endeavoured to create performances, which proved they were serious competitors in racing, trials, enduro, and motocross.
This is a publication aimed at the motorcycle enthusiast.
Payment can be made securely by ‘Paypal’, debit or credit card
Full details of price, how and where to buy Motorcycle Competition Scotland 1975-2005is available … Here
UPDATE: Initial reports indicate that there has been healthy demand for this publication. Many thanks to all in the UK who have ‘pre-ordered’ and therefore saved on UK postage! However there are also a number of readers who have already placed an overseas order, thank you very much for your support!
Mick Andrews is a name synonymous with the sport of trials since the early 1960’s. He has ridden for AJS; James; Bultaco (Rickman Brothers, 1966); Ossa and Yamaha, in a career that has taken him all over the world both as a competitor and a brand ambassador.
Andrews was twice European Trials Champion in 1971 and again in 1972 on Ossa, before the official World Championship commenced in 1975.
Nick-named ‘Magical Mick’ by the trials press many years ago and it stuck, he has won the famous Scottish Six Days Trial a total of 5 times, in fact he was only the second man in the events’ history to win it three times in succession, the first being B.H.M ‘Hugh’ Viney who was to become instrumental in Andrews riding for the AJS factory team in 1963, his AJS factory machine carried the index number 644BLB, registered as a 350 Matchless. Viney after retiring from active competition became AMC Competitions Manager.
Due to his SSDT successes, Mick was also dubbed ‘Monarch of the Glen’ after the famous oil painting by Sir Edwin Landseer by the motorcycle press of the day.
Journalist, Ralph Venables (see Trials Guru’s comments below) tipped Viney off about the young Andrews, whom he had been watching the progress of, closely. A phone call to Viney and that was good enough for Hugh!
Andrews began riding for AJS in 1963 and his first SSDT on the heavyweight four-stroke saw him bag a second place finish behind Arthur Lampkin on the factory BSA C15 (XON688). A feat he repeated in 1964, finishing runner-up to Sammy Miller on the 500cc Ariel. The next two years he finished third on the 250cc James (306AKV) and again on the Bultaco (DOT289D). In 1967 on the prototype Ossa Pennine (ORB222E), machine troubles forced him to retire, but he was back the next year and came home in third, and again in 1969, a second place.
His first win in 1970 was on his factory prototype (Barcelona registered: B775073) sporting a much neater tank/seat combination, modified frame and overall a much trimmer package. This particular machine formed the basis for the production ‘Mick Andrews Replica’ (MAR) launched in 1971.
Mick also kept his hand in motocross for the Spanish company, racing a 230cc machine when time allowed. Coupled to this his selection for the British ISDT team on several occasions. He rode a factory prepared Ossa in 1970 at El Escorial, Madrid, Spain. For the British team he rode AJS in 1968 in Italy and a 504cc Cheney Triumph in the Isle of Man in 1971.
Repeating his SSDT successes the next two years, Mick wondered if it was time for a change. The Ossa trials machine had been developed only because of the death of Ossa factory road racer Santiago Herrero in the 250cc Lightweight TT in 1970. This saw Ossa pulling out of racing. Ossa, which stands for ‘Orpheo Sincronic Sociedad Anonima’ switched its focus to off-road development and trials in particular and Mick had signed for them in 1967 with the help of UK importer Eric Housely.
Yamaha announced the defection from Ossa in 1973. Andrews was to further develop the trials Yamaha that had been kicked off by Frenchman Christian Rayer, but it was not to be the TY (Trial Yamaha) style that Mick would be given. Factory ‘pure racing’ Yamahas were designated ‘OW’ and it was the Yamaha OW series that Mick was to be given full reign of.
Yamaha’s European operation was called Yamaha Motor N.V., based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands where their race team was officially headquartered. Mick received full factory support and a contract which furnished him with Japanese technicians and a Ford Transit van, suitably liveried in Yamaha racing colours.
As confirmed by Ferry Brouwer, then Yamaha race technician to Phil Read and Tepi Lansivoiri, all factory contracted riders were supplied with Ford Transits, all Dutch registered and suitably sign-written with the riders’ name on the driver’s door. The enormity of Yamaha Motor Company was in stark comparison to the Spanish Ossa concern.
Surprisingly, all Andrew’s factory OW’s were all road registered in the UK, a must for many of the national trials Mick undertook in that time period.
Much of the development work was undertaken at Mick’s home near Buxton, Derbyshire with new prototypes built in Japan and freighted over to Amsterdam for test sessions.
In 1979 Andrews once again rode for Ossa in the Scottish Six Days much to the delight of spectators.
Andrews also took young riders under his wing, including the Oakley brothers Nick and Peter. He also started his own ‘Trials Academy’ with the help of Yamaha, the first of it’s type in the UK. Called the ‘Mick Andrews Trials Association’ or MATA for short.
Mick’s bikes were ahead of their time in so far as Yamaha experimented with cantilever/mono shock suspension; fuel injection and reed valve induction systems. Much of the Yamaha development work is described in his 1976 book, ‘Mick Andrews Book of Trials’*, which has become a collector’s item with good copies fetching around £100 per copy.
Trials Guru on Andrews: I asked Mick when we were together in Robregordo in Spain 2006; did he ever have a job? He replied with a broad smile: “What, you mean an ordinary or proper job? – yes, I did have an apprenticeship to become a motor mechanic when I was sixteen, but then I received the offer of the AJS works ride and I only really had two employers after that, Ossa and Yamaha”.
Trials Guru on Ralph Venables: Before he passed away on 4th February 2003, I spoke to Ralph (pronounced Rafe) at length about his unofficial ‘scouting’ for trials talent. “If I see a rider who has promise, I kept an eye on him for some time, not just results, but his approach and style of riding”. “If I thought a rider had the necessary qualities, I would have an idea which manufacturer was looking for riders and I would simply phone the competitions manager and give them details.”
Ralph Venables had the ‘ears’ of all the factory comp managers and his opinion was highly-valued; such was his stature in the sport.
Venables: “I didn’t quite like Sammy Miller’s riding style; he always appeared to crouching over the handlebars compared to other riders of his era, but there again he amassed quite a substantial amount of wins in his career. It just goes to show that one can be incorrect occasionally!”
Ralph was a blunt individual and was quite cutting with his comments at times. This earned him the reputation in Scotland of being ‘the poison pen’ at times such were his comments on certain Scottish-born riders!
He once told me that I, “…wrote too much” and asked if I was being paid by the word! “John, why use ten words when one will suffice?” he quipped. “Read your scripts over twice and cut them down, time is short!” he informed me. I took his advice, when Ralph spoke, people were wise to listen.
I had the utmost respect for Ralph Venables, his knowledge of the sport and the people in it was endless. It was a privilege to have known him. – Trials Guru.
(*) – Mick Andrews Book of Trials by Tom Beesley & Mick Andrews (ISBN: 9780917856006) Published by: Trippe, Cox. – Now out of print.
Former British Trials Champion (1977) and factory Honda rider, Rob Shepherd is making a comeback to trials with a machine that he was associated back in the seventies. Honda powered four-stroke power. ‘Shep’ a Yorkshire farmer has been practising constantly with a Drayton BSA Bantam which he hopes to ride in Pre’65 events next season. He was particularly taken with the Montesa 4RT. Shepherd rode for Montesa back in the early seventies with Rob Edwards, before switching to Honda UK Trials Team with Brian Higgins and Nick Jefferies, managed by Sammy Miller.
According to Rob’s younger brother Norman, also a very competent rider on a Bultaco, Rob has worn the rear tyre of the Bantam to ‘slick’ proportions. He told Trials Guru at the recent Scott Re-Union: “He’s never off the thing, he’s worn the knobbles off the rear tyre”.
Rob Shepherd has been out of the sport since 1983 when he last rode it was an Appleyard 340 Bultaco in 1982/83 and a Majesty Yamaha in 1981.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DAVID PAGE – Eldest son of Ernie & Elizabeth Page; Ernie being a former Scottish Scrambles Champion and motorcycle dealer from Edinburgh, Scotland. David started out competitively on a Montesa Cota 49 with a Yamaha TY80 motor installed.
He was quite small for his age as a child, but soon mastered the art of trials at an early age. He became unbeatable in Scottish Youth events. David progressed to an experimental 80cc Fantic provided by Roy Carey Of South Essex Leisure, the Fantic importers.
This machine went into production using much of David and Ernie’s feedback to the Fantic factory. David then started to ride in adult trials on the Yamaha TY250R on which he made a name for himself, winning the 1992 Scottish Trials Championship.
He was without doubt in the league of Jarvis and Colley and was a young man to watch as he was a natural rider.
Sadly, when on a trip to an Italian world round with his father, David started to feel ill and was rushed home to Edinburgh to be diagnosed with the adult form of Leukemia to which he succumbed in late 1993.
The trials world and his family were cruelly robbed of a highly talented competitor and an exceptionally polite young man who is missed by those who knew him, to this day. His funeral and subsequent burial at Hillend Cemetery, Dalgety Bay was attended by a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the trials world.
A cortege of trials riders and their bikes, escorted the funeral procession all the way from Bathgate, West Lothian to Dalgety Bay in Fife.
To read more about David Page and his father, Ernie, this has been achieved in the book, ‘Motorcycle Competition: Scotland 1975-2005’ by John Moffat