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

 

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