“From a very early age I was desperate to be a trials rider.” – Rob Edwards
This is a Trials Guru special tribute dedicated to the memory of Rob Edwards. A story of his life as an international trials rider, told in his own words. Read about the English trials rider that became the world-wide Montesa brand ambassador, who pioneered this type of promotion …
Link to Rob’s Story on Todotrial: Spanish Version
Rob Edwards inducted to the North American trials Council ‘Hall Of Fame’
Chapter 1 : Introduction:
After meeting up with Rob Edwards at the Centenary Scott Trial on October 18th 2014, Trials Guru decided it would be of interest to our supporters and readers to learn more of the Thornaby lad who went on to become a factory Montesa rider during the golden era of the Cota.
His story of a lifetime as a professional trials rider is fascinating, but also Rob suddenly vanished from the trials scene and stories of a mystery illness emerged. Now you can read exactly what happened, some of it will leave you speechless and the mystery illness is finally explained by Rob himself.
Here is Rob’s own story of his life in trials:
I hope you will enjoy this as much as I have had telling it to Trials Guru, John Moffat.
I’m Rob Edwards, born back in 1945 in Thornaby-On-Tees, and from a very early age I was desperate to be a trials rider.
Next up, we will be getting into my move to Montesa & the unbelievable life change that was about to happen.” – ROB
Rob having served his apprenticeship, rarely did any overtime or weekend working for one very good reason; that would have restricted his trials riding activities. One day a manager, called Jack Welham said to him in front of a number of his workmates, “Robbie, you have got to make up your mind, do you want to be a fitter or a motorbike rider?” As Welham turned and began to walk away with a smug smile on his face, Rob shouted back at him: “I have made up my mind Jack; I’m going to be a motorbike rider!”
Chapter 2 : The 1963 SSDT
Chapter 3: 1963 – My Disastrous First Scottish!
I was sat wondering what to do next, when a farmer and tractor appeared out of no-where! “Two bikes and two riders at a time”, he shouted. He had a trailer, the type you would carry milk churns in.
Chapter 4 : The 1964 Scottish Six Days
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!
I’ve just been looking again at the 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!” … Rob
Trials Guru comment: – The 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.
Blackburn Holden: “My Dad rode with Rob Edwards many times and considered him a true gentleman of the sport”.
Chapter 5 : The 1965 Scottish :
“A few weeks before the ’65 SSDT, I had an out-of-the-blue phone call from Hugh Viney, the competitions manager at Associated Motorcycles (AMC) who owned the AJS & Matchless brands; wanting to know if I would ride in the ‘works’ team in the forthcoming Scottish – WOULD I?
Miller brought the 244cc Sherpa T (669NHO), home to victory in the 1965 Scottish losing 29 marks, the first win on a foreign machine in the trials’ history.
Second place was Arthur J. Lampkin on his 249cc BSA (XON688) losing 33 marks and third was Mick Andrews, 250cc James (307AKV) on 37 marks.
It wasn’t all to go Miller’s way though, a year later, arch rival Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin was to snatch victory from Miller’s grasp on his 249cc BSA (748MOE).
In the ’65 trial, Rob Edwards rode number 207 as part of the works AJS team comprising of Edwards, Gordon S. Blakeway (No. 178) and Gordon O. McLaughlan (No. 177).
Rob rode his own machine registered 970PL with many of the works style modifications.
However, history records that it was Triumph that won the 1965 Manufacturers Team Prize, the Blackford Challenge Trophy.
From the Official Results of the 1965 Scottish Six Days Trial:
Award 16 – For the best performance by a competitor on a solo motor cycle from 251-350 c.c. – R. Edwards (A.J.S.).
In the 1965 Scottish, Rob lost 63 marks and gained a Special First Class Award, just 6 marks behind his friend Alan Lampkin who went on to win the following year.
Rob talks about his AJS 16C:
“When the SSDT started and finished in Edinburgh, on the sixth day after the lunch check at Crianlarich there were no more sections until the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill in the city. This was purely to see if your clutch still worked. You had to stop between two yellow lines and when the official dropped his flag you could move on – simple.
When you passed a third yellow line, that was the end of the observed hill. The path was so flat, nobody actually treat it like a section. However, I did see a rider who when the flag dropped he picked up the front wheel and tried to wheelie to the ends cards unfortunately he tipped his bike over backwards and his score went up by five points.
Chapter 6 : The late 1960’s
This made a big improvement to the engine characteristics, wheel grip and so on.
But where to? I’ll tell you next.” – Rob
Rob remembers! : “Isn’t it always the way? You start writing about one thing and another one pops into your head! Anyway, here is something I remembered about my Cotton days.
I travelled a lot with Brian Hutchinson. The problem was that Brian worked on the family farm. I would be at the farm at 4.30pm but it would be 6.30 pm before we started our journey.
One time in particular we set off for South Wales with light snow falling.When we reached the M1 motorway, the traffic was almost at a standstill. This didn’t bother ‘Hutch’ – he went straight across into the fast lane that nobody was using because the snow was too deep.
No problem! he had the Austin A55 pick-up to 80mph in no time and we had the fast lane to ourselves all the way to Sheffield!
It was back to the “pickup hotel” after that! – Great memories – Now, as promised, on to where I ended up next.” … Rob
Chapter 7 : Moving on
Trials Guru added: 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.
Chapter 8 : Montesa Time!
The day finally arrived to set off to Barcelona.I met up with the lads at Charlies 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 following morning, we went to the Montesa factory before setting off for home. Alberto 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”.”
Chapter 9 : Montesa Abroad!
I teamed up with Jordi Permanyer in Los Angeles at the Montesa distribution depot. It was here I met Javier Burgos who ran this department and whose idea it was to make this trip. He took us to look at our transport for the next few weeks. It was a Dodge van with aircraft seats auto-transmission, air-con and so on and so on.
We were in an old sand quarry that looked like a great place for a school. All the time, I was bombarded with people telling me how good Donny is. Most of the movable sand had gone, leaving an apple core shaped column with a telegraph pole in the centre. “See that? Rob Donny can go up there!”. This is the sort of thing you dread.
The next thing to happen was Donny arrived. We will never know what went wrong but he did exactly what I was desperate to avoid his front wheel kicked back. Donny landed first, closely followed by his bike and the end result was a broken leg. Oh well, that was that then!” – Rob
Chapter 10 : Back in the USA – 1972
The event that was put on by the Rhode Island Motorcycle Club was really good and by winning it, I had won every trial during our trip. More important than that, Jordi and myself had put a lot of effort into the schools. We gave each other a slap on the back for a job well done.
After six weeks, we had become really good friends and despite the language barrier we never stopped talking!
Thanks Jordi Permanyer for your help and support. But, more to come.” … Rob
The Special Shirt!
Martin Lampkin and I teamed up one year.
At that, Wick shouted, “over the rock Mart there has only been one clean and guess where, yes over the rock”.
I was so pleased when Mart said, well Rob left or right but definitely not over the rock!”
Chapter 11 : More work overseas!
This was planned for October 1976, just in time to miss the cold weather at home. I arrived in Santiago and was taken to a cocktail party organised by the local motor club.
Everybody was friendly except one person. I was later to find out he was the touring car champ of Chile. He came up to me and said: “…if you are so flippin good come to my garage tomorrow and ride over my car”. His car was a mini, so I thought with low profile tyres lowered suspension etc it would be no problem.
I arrived at his garage to find that the touring cars had to be absolutely standard. Not only that they had hydrolastic suspension. The driver had invited all his pals and they were doubled up laughing. This made me more determined to do it. Once on top of the car I breathed a big sigh of relief.
My next stop was Columbia. I landed in Bogata and was due to change planes to Medellin. Unfortunately my flight was one hour late. The next flight was in 23 hours time.
My journey had started in Spain so the only currency I had was pesetas because there were no flights from Bogata to Spain they would not change my pesetas. I was sat in the quietest airport I had ever been in and worse than that I was stuck here for the next 23 hours!
There was about four guards with rifles and what may have been National dress. One came up to me he was quite helpful.
“You no go sleep” he quipped. So, laughing I said possibly steal my luggage eh! “No” he said, “first” he said, drawing a line with his fingers across his throat “then steal your luggage”. That really cheered me up!
Shortly after the soldier returned with a person who I can best describe as a ‘Jack the lad’ (not the sort of person you would trust usually)
“You want hotel?”, “yes please” I said and explained my predicament. “No problem” he replied “Pesatas? – okay follow me”. We set off out of the airport and the soldier gave me a reassuring thumbs up.
My new ‘friend’ was holding the back doors of a Toyota van open telling me to get in. As the doors were closed I thought oh well what have I got to loose only my life – Help! “I will pick you up at 8.30 tomorrow morning” he shouted as he left. I couldn’t believe it when at 8.30am prompt he was there to pick me up. His fee was 1000 pesetas! You live and learn!” – Rob
Trials Guru says: Rob Edwards was competing week in, week out with Montesa.
The Cota model was being constantly developed and in 1975 was increased to 310cc with the in-coming model ‘348 prototype’ first seen in the hands of Spaniard Francisco Paya, which was later to become the production Malcolm Rathmell Replica/348 models.
1974 saw Rob pick up the Alfred Scott trophy when he was victorious in the Scott Trial, more on that later, but here is a photo taken at the Kings’ Head Hotel, Richmond at the presentation of awards.
Chapter 12 : Venezuela:
I enjoyed doing the schools but its the sort of thing that’s easier to do than write about especially when you are a rider and not a journalist.
Now I am off home and looking forward to some good old fashioned mud!” – ROB
Chapter 13 : Fun with friends:
“I can tell that photos accompanying my story are very popular. The one of me on the old ‘Ben Nevis’ section is especially good in regards to the crowd. Many names have been put forward, but I wonder how many spotted Mick Andrews’ Dad, Tom; Comerfords’ Derek Cranfield; trials ace Chris Cullen and my Dad, Bob is stood in front of Tom Andrews, Mick’s father.
I also found some very rare pictures of Trial sidecar aces Andrews and Edwards! See below. They were taken at the Cingles three day trial in Spain.
So far 1975 has been a good year, I have done schools in Italy and Greece.
Chapter 13 : 1975
Mick looked at him as if to say what are you asking me for? – still looking puzzled, he imparted his knowledge
“Ar just give tord Ossa a gurt hand full and flick ‘t r send over”. Thank you Mick for those pearls of wisdom!
Off again this time to Venezuela.
My next schools were in El Salvador and Honduras. Trials here were very much in infancy.
Chapter 14 : 1980
“In September 1980, I set off on what was to be my final promotional trip with Montesa.
It started in Venezuela then Argentina and finally Paraguay. By the time I reached Paraguay I was exhausted and I had no choice other than to go home.
After several weeks in hospital I was allowed home for the weekend.
Chapter 15 : Beyond belief :
Thanks for taking the time to read all this, I know its not about riding sections, but it makes things clearer for those who remember me riding and disappearing from the trials scene.”
“I must apologise for my rather morbid last chapter. I think I have fully answered the question as to where I went to some years ago. Unfortunately I am not out of the woods yet but I will return to less miserable times before we bid each other farewell, but not just yet.
I then had another suspected mini-stroke and had a brain scan just to check. This didn’t show up anything that wasn’t expected apart from an aneurysm at the base of my brain. Knowing the size of my brain I was sure it would only be a small one!
Chapter 17 : Light at the end of the tunnel!
“We are cruising towards a gradual finish now. I mean surely nothing more could happen to me? Well actually yes – just for a change, I had an epileptic fit! I was fitting so badly I had to be put into an induced coma.
Don’t expect me to be riding in the SSDT again but I hope to be spectating. From now on this is a stroke-free zone!
To cheer you up the next part of my story is a number of things that I had forgotten about but thanks to doing my story with Trials Guru, I have remembered some. I hope you find them amusing. Read on…”
Chapter 18 : Rob Remembers…
Unfortunately ‘Guru John’ wants me to continue to write down some details telling you some of the things that have happened along the way, just as they come to mind.
So here we go with ROB Remembers….
In the 1975 Scottish Six Days, I stopped to talk to Bill Wilkinson at the top of the Black Water sections. When we set off to cross over Black Water moor Bill went first and I followed behind.
More Bit’s n’ Bobs!
Trials & Motocross News Columnist!
Jack built a Motorcycle especially for speed events on Pendine Sands in Wales.
The photo of ‘Hutchy’, Kipper Herrington and myself above, taken by Don Crosby at the Scottish made me realise what a scruffy lot we were. I suppose that because everybody else dressed the same we just blended in.
Mick Wilkinson pioneered a great idea for keeping the draught and the rain going through the zip of your Barbour jacket. Take one old Barbour jacket and cut a large D shape out of the back this makes you a large bib. Fasten a length of elastic to it to fit around your neck. Along with my Barbour mittens these were stored in a safe place until the next SSDT!
The guru has also put a picture of me on a 250 Cotton riding ‘Foyers’ and the neckerchief can be clearly seen. Not very trendy – but it kept you warm.
After the Fireman’s boots came the ‘Wellies’. The lads at Mile End Motorcycles in Newcastle were the first to come up with this idea. They were actually Coal Miners waterproof boots and were affectionately known as Mile End wellies. They were followed by Dunlop rubber boots. At first people laughed at the thought of riding in wellies but I must admit it was great to have dry feet.” – Rob
Trials Guru gives information about: – Montesa (Permanyer S.A.)
Rob tells us about his first contact with Montesa concessionaires, Montala Motors Ltd.
Many of us remember Jim Sandiford Imports of Bury as being the UK importers for the Montesa brand. However, before Jim started importation of the brand it was Montala Motors Ltd of Crayford, Kent that had the initial connection with the Montesa factory which was located in Esplugues, an area of Barcelona, Spain.
This was originally due to the Brise family importing tuned Montesa motors primarily for kart racing applications, in which they competed.
John Brise was an accomplished Karting driver, as was his son Tony who progressed to Formula three and beyond to Grands Prix levels, he was part of the Embassy Racing team headed up by Graham Hill.
Tony Brise was to tragically lose his life when Graham Hill’s Piper Turbo-Aztec light aircraft came down on Arkley Golf Course, North London in thick fog in 1975. All on board, including Hill, perished.
Montala were instrumental in signing Don Smith, Gordon Farley and Lawrence Telling, who all defected from Essex based Greeves Motorcycles to ride for Montesa from 1967 – 1969. Montala also took on Charlie Harris as a development rider as he was a good trial rider and rode scrambles on the 250cc Cappra motocross machine. In 1972, they contracted Scottish motocross rider, Jim Stuart to ride for them. Montala also contracted Gloucestershire’s Tony Davis originally a Greeves and BSA works supported trials rider to ride the Nationals and West of England local events for Montesa.
At one time Montesa had two importers in the UK; Montala in the south and Jim Sandifords in the north. Eventually, Sandifords took over the whole UK importership and this continued until 2009.
Rob Edwards’ Scottish Six Days Results:
Year : Riding No. : Machine : Result & Score
1963 : 168 : Cotton 250 : First attempt, (Did not finish, missed section. – N/A
1964 : 210 : AJS 350 : Special First Class – 124 marks
1965 : 207 : AJS 350 : Best 350cc Cup & Special First – 63 marks
1966 : 138 : Bultaco 244 : Eighth Equal with Peter Gaunt & Peter Fletcher – 65 marks
1967 : 41 : Cotton 250 : Special first Class – 53 marks
1968 : 99 : Cotton 250 : Fourth position – 60 marks
1969 : 27 : Cotton 170 : Tenth position: Best Up to 200cc Cup – 59 marks
1970 : 124 : Montesa Cota 247 : Second position – 31 marks
1971 : 66 : Montesa Cota 247 : Sixth position – 56 marks
1972 : 112 : Montesa Cota 247 : Third position – 60 marks
1973 : 30 : Montesa Cota 247 : Eight position – 89 marks
1974 : 209 : Montesa Cota 247 : Ninth position – 83 marks
1975 : 102 : Montesa Cota 348 : Retired , (Broken Gearbox – Prototype) – N/A
1976 : 17 : Montesa Cota 247 ; Seventeenth position – 106 marks
1977 : 111 : Montesa Cota 348 : Eighth position – 84 marks
1978 : 194 : Montesa Cota 349 : Second position – 113 marks
1979 : 53 : Montesa Cota 349 : Eighteenth position – 167 marks
1980 : 144 : Ossa 250 : Retired, Electronic Ignition Failure – N/A
1981 : 106 : Montesa Cota 349 : Twenty-eighth position – 204 marks
Other Major Trials Results of Rob Edwards:
Year – Event – Result
1971 – BRITISH EXPERTS – 1st
1972 – BEMROSE – 1st
1972 – RED ROSE – 1st
1972 – VIC BRITTAIN TRIAL – 1st
1972 – NATIONAL JOHN DOUGLAS – 1st
1973 – BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP – 2nd (BEHIND MARTIN LAMPKIN)
1973 – ITALY WORLD ROUND – 2nd
1973 – ST DAVIDS – 2nd
1973 – ALAN TRIAL – 1st
1973 – WELSH TROPHY TRIAL – 1st
1973 – HILLSBOROUGH NATIONAL – 1st
1973 – PRESIDENTS TROPHY – 1st
1974 – SCOTT TRIAL – WINNER
1974 – COLONIAL – 1st
1974 – HURST CUP TRIAL – 1st
1974 – BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP – 4th (RATHMELL; MART LAMPKIN; DAVE THORPE; ROB)
1976 – SANTIGOSA 3 DAY – 3rd (VESTY; RATHMELL; ROB)
1977 – CLEVELAND – 1st
1977 – SSDT INJURED – 8th + BEST ONE MAKE TEAM
1977 – SCOTT – 3rd (MARTIN LAMPKIN 81 MALCOLM RATHMELL 82 ROB 82)
1977 – HURST CUP – 2nd
1977 – ST DAVIDS NATIONAL TRIAL – 1ST
1978 – KIEFERSFELDEN – 2nd
1978 – RHAYDER EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP TRIAL – 6th
1978 – SCOTT – SPOON
1980 – SCOTT (ILLNESS STARTED) – SPOON
Rob Edwards – what trials people are saying! :
Martin Belair – Montesa USA wrote: I remember first meeting Rob at Saddleback Park in Southern California. He came to compete in our local event and to school us on how to ride a trials motorbike. We all liked him straight away. Rob was always smiling and had a sharp wit. A fine rider, with a great ability to make new friends wherever he went.
Over the years. we saw Rob and Rob Shepherd many more times in Spain at the Montesa Factory. We were all there to ride the Spanish World round at Sant Llorenc del Munt.
I remember Montesa Competition manager, Pedro Pi always referred to them as “Los Robs”.
We had the chance to sample Barcelona and Los Angeles night-life together and some of those stories still survive between myself and Montesa team-mate Mike Griffitts. The nice thing was that where we went, Rob made sure that we were included.
Mike told me that he had gone to Montesa Motors in downtown Los Angeles prior to the 1974 US round of the Euro Championship. The ‘Robs’ and John Hemingway were un-crating stock bikes and prepping them for Sunday’s event, all under the watchful eye of Montesa parts manager Scotsman, Derek Edgar.
Mike noticed that they removed the stock silencer and replaced it with a chrome silencer from a VW bug. Mike being a VW man and having several stingers in his garage made the change and kept using it until the Cota 348 arrived. I remember that it added a bit of a whistle to the exhaust note and it looked cool!
Rob won that 1974 US round on observation but was excluded on time as was most of the entry. The whole event was disaster. It was poorly organized and not representative of what the US could do.
From my youth till now, I have met many great riders. I have learned that there are those that win races and championships and then there are Champions. Rob is the latter. I hope to see him again someday and share stories over a pint. – Martin Belair
Richard Delaney – Montesa Team USA wrote: “It was a great experience having Rob work with us on the U.S. Montesa Team in California. He’s a great ambassador for Trials!”
Alberto Mallofre, Head of Competition at Montesa Permanyer SA: (written 19th February 2013) – Pedro Pi from Barcelona told me about our dear friend Rob Edwards from Yorkshire through some news he has got from you. Really, I was very happy to hear about Rob. As you probably know, young Rob was deeply appreciated at every corner of the Montesa factory, since he is really the loveliest person. Everybody of us, more or less concerned with Montesa, keep a great memory of nice Rob Edwards character, Rob was absolutely unique. Therefore I would be glad if you are kind enough to express my kindest memory to our old friend Rob Edwards. Nowadays, everyone of us are getting old. I am 87 myself and remember those motorcycle days with a little shade of sadness. Only figures like Rob are helping really a lot to make us happy!
I do remember Rob’s father as well who was also a nice person. Therefore if you are kind enough to give Rob Edwards the best regards from old Alberto Mallofre, I will thank you very much. – Alberto Mallofre
Scott Rowland, British Sidecar Champion: Rob, I know that Dave Rowland had a lot of respect for you and I believe that was mutual. – Scott Rowland
And finally :
One thing I will miss is checking the comments and likes each day.
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 so please say Hello if you see me, tea with milk, no sugar please! I look forward to meeting you, don’t be scared, I don’t bite!”
Rob Edwards 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.” – ROB EDWARDS
Rob’s Practice sessions:
Some photographs that Rob has unearthed after compiling this story, taken mostly by Rob in North Yorkshire, here are some interesting images of his friends training back in 1978. These photos have not been seen in public previously and show some factory riders on unfamiliar machinery.
Here is a photo taken by Rob in Barcelona at the Montesa Espluges factory gates. It shows his friend, former German Trials Champion, Felix Krahnstover practicing on his 348 Montesa, the factory is in the background.
Article from American ‘Trial Bike’ magazine:
More photos will be added in the section below as they become available.
© – The Rob Edwards Story – Copyright Information:
© – Words: Rob Edwards & Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2016.
Photographic Copyrights & acknowledgements:
: Brian ‘Nick’ Nichols Collection – Mortons Motorcycle Media (Copyright – All Rights Reserved). Trials Guru has obtained direct permission from Mortons Motorcycle Media, Hornchurch for the use of the photograph from the ‘Nick Nicholls Collection’ in connection with this series of articles on Rob Edwards.
: John Hulme/Trials Media – photograph at Scott Re-Union Dinner 2014.
: Rob Edwards for various photos from his private collection including the 1964 photos of Loch Eild Path etc. – Brian Holder Photo.
: All Sport/Don Morley, Redhill, Reigate, Surrey – for permission to use the photograph of Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson for this article.
: Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd – for the use of various programme covers.
: Blackie Holden Junior – for the photo of Blackie Holden Snr in 1964.
: James Young, Armadale, West Lothian – for the 1963 (Cotton); 1980 (Ossa) & 1980 (Lane Leavitt, Montesa) photos
: Luis Munoz-Aycuens Ribas, Madrid – for the photos of Montesa trials school.
: Javier Cruz, Madrid – Photo of Montesa Cota 1971
: The British Historic Kart Club – for photo of historic ‘Blow Spitfire’ Kart with Montesa motor.
: Mrs Helen Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William – for the photographs of Ali McDonald & Ron Thomson.
: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Argyll (All Rights Reserved) – Various photos of Rob Edwards.
: Neil Sturgeon, Darlington
: Peter Bremner, Inverness
: Barry Robinson, Ilkley.
: Mike Rapley, Carnforth.
: Eric Kitchen’s Photos are Worldwide copyright – Trials Guru has obtained direct permission from Mr. Kitchen for the use of his photographs in connection with this series of articles on Rob Edwards.
: Acknowledgement: Peter Bremner, Chairman Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. – For Montesa Riders Photographs used in this article.
: Acknowledgement to Horacio San-Martin of the Todotrial website in Spain for identifying locations in Spain. This story is now available in the Spanish language exclusively on Todotrial in collaboration with Trials Guru: click … Here – In Spanish
: Mototrials.com – the website of the North American Trials Council for the photograph of Norval & Marilyn Wicker.
: With acknowledgement to Trials & Motocross News for the use of excerpts from their paper – Observed Section – Rob Edwards column.
: With acknowledgement to Trial Magazine UK/Classic Trial Magazine UK for their assistance with The Rob Edwards Story. Link to: Classic Trial Magazine
For similar stories from the world of trials on Trials Guru:
Trials Guru Main INDEX
The Life and times of Rob Edwards in action:
A gallery of Rob’s own photographs
Sadly, Rob Edwards passed away peacefully on Sunday, 6th October 2019 aged 73 years. His wife of 28 years, Bev was at his side and confirmed that he was smiling and happy right to the end.
32 thoughts on “ROB EDWARDS STORY 1945 – 2019”
fantastic story of a great man, look forward to next instalment
Thank you Derek
Your a star!
That was a great read. Very Interesting. I believe I have recently bought your 1969 cotton minerelli in a bad condition and I’m currently in the process of restoring it. I’m trying to make it as original as possible but unfortunately the log book didn’t come with it so I don not know the original registration. I wondered if you could remember it or had an old photo with it on?
(email supplied and withheld from view)
It was a great experience having Rob work with us on the U.S. Montesa Team in California.
He’s a great ambassador for Trials!
I knew from our early days when you were an apprentice to me at Head Wrightsons you were going to be successful at your chosen sport, a very confident young man with a true belief in your ability, I remember when I lent you my Jimmy 197 to run around on instead of your push bike, you had it running like a rocket within a couple of days. A true Teesside Trials Legend.
Thanks again for your comments.I would really like to get in contact with you.If you could possibly send an e mail to the trials guru(John Moffat) he will forward it to me.
Sorry its so complicated for me.I wasn’t a bad Trials rider but I am useless with the internet!
a great story of a true ambassador from thornaby. I remember rob when he was about 15 years old doing tricks on his push bike at his mam and dads house in lanehouse road. being of the same age I remember him very well..best wishes and good health for the future alan foster former thornaby resident
Talking about pushbikes reminds me for Christmas one year mam and dad bought me a Triumph Beach Bike all shiny and new, not me at all.The mudguards lights bell etc had to go.All went well until one day they arrived home early, shock horror the bike was reduced to a track bike, as they were called then.They soon realised they were not going to change me.I used to cycle from Thornaby to Carlton bank just to ride on the scrambles track that I had watched the top riders race for the Cleveland Grand National Trophy.Names such as Jeff Smith The Lampkins Arthur & Sid, Gordon Blakeway, Dickie Preston and so on and then cycle home.In those days the only sort of track gearing was a 28th tooth rear sprocket because it was a fixed wheel if you pedalled it backwards you went backwards and because of the fixed wheel it was great for pulling wheelies!
Hope you are well and thank you for getting in touch.
Really enjoyed reading Rob’ s journey, as mentioned he inspired many young riders. Rob’ s visits to Rogart helped to make an excellent trial truelly memorable.
In the article, Marilyn Wicker is mentioned, was she the lady who had riders autographe a shirt, later to embroyder the signatures ?
Hi Ross, Many thanks for your comments and remarks about Rogart.
The Marilyn Wicker shirt you mentioned, I am lucky to have one of my own from the first time I went to the States.She had embroidered on it, my route from San Fran to Rhode Island.I am sure the Guru will be displaying it in the near future.
Thanks Again Ross
Dear Rob, really enjoyed reading all the great stories. I enjoyed riding in many of the national trials you mention, as I was always in the sidecar class our paths rarely met. I did call and see you in your shop when I worked as a rep for the D.I.D. importer H and S, in the late 70s. You were always great to deal with, Hope to see. you out watching trials soon. All the best.
Hi Ross,Thanks for your comments and sorry for taking so long to reply.
Mart and I went out on Arthurs outfit and we must have gone fifty yards down a hill, over and over.He looked at me and said I know I said lean out but I didn’t mean that bloody far!
Did you see the picture of Mick Andrews and me on Colin Dommets outfit?
ALL THE BEST ROSS
Remember taking my Ossa MAR to Robs for some work and was amazed when he just ride it up the return staircase like the pro he is. Then he sold me my favourite trials iron Beamish Suzuki RL 250.
A genuine lovely bloke!
I’ve got an old 348 in the garage now!
Thanks for your comment.
We had fun riding up and down those stairs.Oh what fun it was to be young!
Hope you are well.
Look after your 348!
Hi Rob,I enjoyed reading about your exploits,I remember overtaking you in a trial on Sutton Bank and you said later that you wished you could ride like that, I think proved you could and better,
Best of luck Robin Andrew James/AJS
Sorry for the delay in replying.
In our days there was no such thing as ABCD through to Z class and I made the best of it by copying yourself and Go Mac.
Great memories and proper Trials in those days.
Hi Rob, I too enjoyed reading about your SSDT exploits
I Was part of them in 1974 75 & 76 one year in paticular when i had a number between you and Nigel Birkett, a time of my life I will treasure for the rest of my life.
You are a true professional and in my top ten people I have met in my life time.
Thanks for your comment.
Time really does fly!
Good to hear from you, take care
Hello Rob thank you for the story, so glad to have found it. I remember watching the St David’s and your story suggests it would be ’73 or ’77 not sure which. A section called ‘Millstones’ a friend I was with suggested you took too long walking the section and you wouldn’t get up, I disagreed and as an 8 or 12 year old was quite nervous as it was me against my friend, I was right as you cleaned it. Very impressed and glad to hear you are well. Take care.
What a fantastic story! So many memories of your great riding. Never forget going round French World Championship Trial at Sommieres with you. Think we lost quite a few marks between us!!
Can’t believe that I walked straight past you at the Telford Show recently, so I will apologise for that.
Now that’s what I call a surprise Nick!
Its not everyday I hear from somebody who was a demon Trials Rider and in his day could mix it with the very best racers in the Isle Of Man T.T.
Thanks for your comment about my story.I have enjoyed doing it and when somebody like yourself contacts me it reminds me of the good old days.
Sorry I missed you at Telford but you were dashing onto the stage to give your speech, so I didn’t shout you back.
TAKE CARE AND BEST WISHES TO EVERYBODY
CATCH YOU NEXT YEAR
Many thanks for your comment.
It was always a problem when there was a time limit as everybody wanted to be a late number for slippery rock sections and early for mud, Decisions, Decisions!
Good to hear from you.
BYE FOR NOW
I have some photos from the 1960’s of you with my grandfather Doug Marshall and also your father with you in two photos according to my dad Barry. Please let me know if you want to see them and l can forward them onto you by email somehow. Regards Phil Marshall
The photo you say is around 1948 I would suggest is more likely to be around 1954 ( you were older than you think !! ) the rider is Derek Smith. an old friend of mine sadly no longer with us , He rode a James like me and I only came out of the army ( national service in the R M P as a motor cycle instructor )
Regards Robin Andrew
Absolutely loved reading your story Rob and looking at all the photographs and press cuttings. To realise your dream must have been amazing and all the places you have seen – incredible!! This is a very inspirational article that proves you can achieve your life’s dream, with hope, determination but most of all talent. Thank you Rob – you are an incredible human being.
Hi Rob just sat reading this I have a 76 Montesa 247 my dad lived in walnut close and laburnum ave thornaby Barrie Dickens and he often talks about you and also my old mate Vic Welford from scruton Northallerton said he new you well a
A brilliant story John, And Rob May you Rest in Peace.
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