Rob Edwards Story – Part Nine – New Horizons

Part Nine – More work overseas!
Hello everybody and once again thank you for the support you have given me since I began writing my account of life as a trials rider with Trials Guru.
I arrived home to find my new contract with Montesa waiting to be signed. No longer was Head Wrightsons my workplace, but the world of trials!
There was also a letter from Modesto Sole. He was the Director for Montesa International Sales, also I suppose, he was my boss.
The only time I could fault him was when he took me to a restaurant and ordered sheeps’ brains for himself. I was sat opposite having to watch him eat them. I politely declined an offer to try them!
After the meal, he told me that I would be doing around fifteen weeks of schools in various parts of the world.
The first was to be in South America. Starting in Chile to Columbia then Venezuela. This was to take six weeks.

Venezuela - Rob

Venezuela. Rob hands out the silverware to happy pupil Guillermo Jesus Meza Hernandez at one of the many trials schools he undertook as part of his Montesa contract.

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 hydro-lastic 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: Rob Edwards was competing week in week out with Montesa.

1973 - SSDT - Altnafeadh

Rob on Altnafeadh in the 1973 SSDT on the Cota 247 with the Buachaille Etive Mor in the background. He finished in eighth position on 89 marks. Photo: Brian Nichols – Copyright: Mortons Motorcycle Media.

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.

1974 - Scott Win - RE - Marjorie Rathmell

1974 – Rob enjoys a well deserved pint, holding the Alfred A. Scott Memorial Trophy, being given a congratulatory hug from Malcolm Rathmell’s mother, Marjorie.

To be continued…

Read the full ‘Rob Edwards Story’ … click Here

© – Rob Edwards & Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)

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