Photos: Mike Rapley; John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK; Moorhouse/Studio Six Creative.
To answer the age old question, where is he now, we went to the Telford Off Road Show at the Telford International Centre on 16/17 February and bumped into Colin Boniface who worked for Bultaco importers, Comerfords at Thames Ditton in Surrey.
Boniface turned 60 years of age in December 2018 and felt it was time to take in a few classic shows, having come of age!
Trials Guru’s John Moffat was photographed when Colin and he met up on the Saturday afternoon and reminisced about when Colin rode Comerfords prepared Bultaco Sherpas first as a youth rider in Surrey Schoolboy Trials Club and then the Witley club back in the 1970s.
The name Reg May came up in the conversation several times.
It is with sadness that we have to report the death of Neil Crosswaite, former Scorpa importer and entrepreneur. Mr. Crosswaite sustained a brain haemorrhage from which he did not recover and passed away on Friday, 1st February 2019 at seventy years of age.
A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, his passion for trials riding would see him travel all over the world where he would meet so many people who all had respect for his honest and open opinion. His world was his family.
For many years Neil was in partnership with the late Martin Lampkin as joint promoters of the annual Sheffield Arena Trial held in January.
The funeral arrangements will be held at Nab Wood Crematorium, Bingley Road, Shipley, Bradford, BD18 4BG on Thursday, 14 February at 13.20, and afterwards at the Busfield Arms, Keighley where everyone is welcome.
Martin Crosswaite said: “The Crosswaite family would like to thank everyone for all your messages of support; it really means the world to us as a family that my Dad was held in such high regard by so many people”.
John Hulme, Editor in Chief of Trial Magazine commented: “Neil Crosswaite was an inspiration when we started the magazine with his enthusiasm for anything motorcycle trials. His constructive criticism was always welcome as were his new ideas. His handshake was his word and I for one am going to miss his phone calls to find out was going on in the world of trials. All our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time”.
Trials Guru conveys it’s condolences to the Crosswaite family at this time.
Trials Guru is always searching worldwide for interesting facts, figures, articles and photos from the world of trial, past and present for your enjoyment of our sport. That is why we say that Trials Guru is ‘Dedicated To The Sport’.
Words: Trials Guru
Photos: Iain Lawrie; John Honeyman; Grant Family; Peter Bremner; Wullie John Gillespie; Willie Gillespie.
‘The bike Willie built’ is no exception, it’s a domestic story pertinent to Scotland and features a man called Willie Pitblado, a mildly eccentric, but very interesting character from Fife and specifically the historic town of Dunfermline. This article is by way of a tribute to ‘Willie Pit’ as he was known, a true enthusiast.
Pitblado was a time served painter/decorator who was also a keen trials rider and a motorcycle enthusiast of note. He was born into a family of ten children.
He was a former rider, then official at the Scottish Six Days Trial, a life-long member of the Dunfermline & District MCC and a lover of the highland village of Rogart in Sutherland, where he found his bride Ann.
Willie set up the breaker firm of ‘Motorcycle Spares Scotland in Golf Drum Street in Dunfermline, initially with friends Alec Smith and John Davies, themselves trials riders.
Pitblado rode a variety of machines including a Greeves which he acquired in January 1961, registered WWS415 which had factory connections. He rode this Greeves in the SSDT.
Willie had an idea to build a special machine of his own, using a Triumph 3TA twin cylinder four-stroke motor that he prized from a road machine and his plan was to fit it in a Sprite frame. The Sprite was a fairly new brand, sold in kit form.
Pitblado thought for a name and using his own surname and that of the Sprite brand, he came up with The PITRITE.
The PITRITE was registered in Fife with the number DSP47D in April 1966. It was destined to be ridden on loan by a variety of riders, but its ownership was not to stray further than Pitblado’s extended family base, namely that of his nephew, Willie Gillespie.
Trials Guru’s John Moffat on Willie Pitblado: “I met Willie Pitblado when I was in my early teens when my father was collecting some parts to help with the restoration of his ex-factory Matchless around 1973.
We visited Willie Pit’s shop in Dunfermline and it was in an old house on three levels. It was an old property and was literally filled with bike parts from all makes and ages. I was surprised that Willie said to my father to go rake around until he found what he was looking for, we literally got the run of the place, but I learned that that was not how Willie usually did his business, far from it. Apparently Dad and Willie had known each other for many years and had a respect for each other, hence the freedom afforded to us.
“Years later, I was restoring a 1954 Matchless G3LS road bike and I needed the correct tank, wheels and a few more odds and sods. I drove over to Dunfermline from my parents home in Whitburn, West Lothian and again I went to Willie’s emporium. He was at his counter with his old Alsatian dog and greeted me with ‘Hello Mr. AJS what can I sell ye today?” I explained that I needed parts for a Matchless to which he quipped: ‘They are both the same, just badge engineering’. Of course Willie was right.
I was about to be told to go look myself, but ‘watch the dog disna bite ye’ – when a man arrived behind me in the shop. He wanted a camshaft for a Triumph Bonneville, to which Willie asked what year? The man gave the year and Willie turned around and pulled one from the shelf behind him. ‘That will be £25’. The man said, ‘Would you take £20?’ Willie replied, ‘no, I’ll take £30’. The man looked astonished and said: ‘Hey, you are increasing the price!’ Willie replied ‘Aye, and you are trying to reduce it, now do you want this camshaft or no, because I have one and you dinna! Now either pay me what I want or get oot of my shop!’
The man paid Willie the £30 and left without another word.”
Willie Pitblado was instantly recognisable on the public highway as his vehicle was either blue with the white cross of St. Andrew across it depicting the Scottish Saltire or he had a white vehicle with blue doubled ‘go faster stripes’ up the bonnet. If you waved at Willie on the road he would always give you the ‘peace’ sign, symbolic of American bikers of the era!
1979 World Trials Champion and the 1982 winner of the Scottish Six Days Trial, Bernie Schreiber has returned to the trials school arena with the launch of the ‘Schreiber Experience’ at Alvie Estate in the Scottish Highlands, some 37 years after his historic win, which is only seventy miles from where he claimed his victory.
Schreiber is the only American to win the SSDT in its 108 year history and the only American born winner of the World Trials crown of which he was victorious on a Bultaco.
Bernie will run his ZER(O)BS coaching and training Experience in conjunction with the Inverness & District MCC Ltd, who promote the annual Highland Classic 2 day Trial on the Alvie shooting estate at Kincraig, a few miles south of the holiday town of Aviemore. The date set is Monday 10th June, 2019.
The training will be run over a full day which includes a classroom session and some on bike time and will be run under an SACU training permit, with guest coach Allister Stewart, Chairman of the Scottish ACU Trials Committee on hand and in a supporting role is ACU coach, Richard Allen.
Schreiber told Trials Guru: “The Schreiber Experience is something that I have been thinking about for some time. When I was invited to attend as Guest of Honour and take part in the Highland Classic, I thought it would be a good place to launch my ‘experience’ and dovetail it with my stay in the Scottish highlands over the weekend of 8/9th June. For the trial, Martin Matthews of MotoSWM is supplying me with an SWM to compete and I will use it again as my demo-bike for the experience day. My coaching techniques will be different to my old trials schools as a lot of years have come and gone since then and while the basic techniques have not changed so much as the sport. Today, there are new formulas of coaching and training that make an impactful difference in building all the fundamental riding skills. The consistent routine of these skills is the blueprint to not only improving and enjoying the ride, but finding your real potential. My big deal is you always have to have a plan. Most people have a tip, everybody’s got a tip, but few have a plan. I always say ‘a goal without a plan is nothing but a dream’ so most people dream of riding better Trials, but they don’t have a plan to ride better Trials. So I wanted to help people to build a plan to take them from where they are to where they want to be. That’s what I do with my new Experience.”
Interested parties for the ‘Schreiber Experience’ in Scotland are asked to contact the IDMCC Secretary by e-mail to obtain the necessary application form on firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Moore Brownlie, a stalwart of the Scottish ACU passed away peacefully on Thursday 3rd January, 2019.
A. M. Brownie was a Life Member of the SACU and was active in Motorcycle Sport since the mid 1950s. Adam was a former Chairman of the SACU and took over from T. Arnott Moffat as SACU Secretary in 1987. Brownlie became the first salaried official of the SACU when it became a limited company by guarantee in December 1989 as Company Secretary. For many years, Adam ran the office function at Bathgate, Whiteside, then Uphall and was a director of SACU Ltd until 1998.
His main occupation before retirement in 1990 was with the Rolls Royce aero engines plant at East Kilbride and was an avionics engineer.
Brownlie was for many years an SACU steward at many rioad race meetings and the Scottish Six Days Trial, he was a long standing member of the Avon Valley MCC.
Adam was also the ACU Benevolent Fund Officer for Scotland and spent a lot of his time fund raising at motorcycle events.
Details of Adam Brownlie’s funeral are: Saturday, 19th January 2019 at 11:45 am at South Lanarkshire Crematorium – 31 Sydes Brae, Blantyre, Glasgow G72 0TL.
Our sincere condolences go to his widow Mary and son Gordon.
Cover Image: Copyright of Barry Robinson (All Rights Reserved)
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