Mick Andrews…still going strong!

Mick Andrews

mickandrews

Mick Andrews seen here on a 244cc Bultaco Sherpa Model 10 from 1966, supplied by Rickman Brothers, New Milton, Hants. Watching every move is Ralph Venables in the flat cap, the ‘doyen’ of trials journalists and reporters.

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.

ossa pennine

The Ossa Pennine of 1968/69, similar to the one ridden by Mick Andrews. This one is Ted Breffitt’s bike, now completely restored.

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.

Ossa 1972 Brochure front

The announcement of the new ‘Mick Andrews Replica’ 250 in 1972 put OSSA on the trials map. Seen here in the SSDT with his prototype (B775073) on his way to win the 1971 SSDT. Brochure: OSSA Motorcycles

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.

2 media

Watched by Nigel Birkett (Quinn Ossa); Mick on the factory Yamaha on his way to winning the 1974 Scottish Six Days. This is Loch Eild Path on another variant of the cantilever OW10. – Photo credit: Yamaha Motor Co.

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.

Mick Andrews 1977

Yamaha mounted in the 1977 Scottish Six Days, seen here on ‘Altnafeadh’. This is one of the OW series machines. This particular machine formed the basis for the ‘Majesty’ models (the word MA/JES/TY being: MA = Mick Andrews; JES = John E. Shirt; TY = Trial Yamaha) Photo: Iain C. Clark, Fort William

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.

Mick Andrews Loch Eilde path - 1979

Mick Andrews back on Ossa at the 1979 Scottish Six Days Trial, seen here on Loch Eild Path – Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

In 1979 Andrews once again rode for Ossa in the Scottish Six Days much to the delight of spectators.

Mick on the 350 Ossa at the SSDT in 1979. He came 9th position on 135 marks. Photo Copyright: Jim Young, Armadale.

Mick on the 350 Ossa at the SSDT in 1979. He came 9th position on 135 marks. Photo Copyright: Jim Young, Armadale.

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 Andrews in a hurry during the 1975 Scott Trial. Photo: Barry Robinson.

Mick Andrews on JGF729N in a hurry during the 1975 Scott Trial. Photo: Barry Robinson.

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.

Some works registration numbers : Mick Andrews

AJS:

644BLB

James:

306AKV

Bultaco (Rickman Bros):

DOT289D

Ossa:

B775073 (Prototype)

B-1681-C (Prototype MAR)

Yamaha:

CRA33L (1973 – Twin-shock bike/cantilever in 1974 with fuel injection module fitted); ENU29L (1973 – Cantilever bike); JGF729N (1975 – twin-shock bike)

1975 SSDT, Mick Andrews on his way to another win for Yamaha. The machine was JGF759N. Photo: Yamaha Motor Co.

1975 SSDT, Mick Andrews on his way to another win for Yamaha. The machine was JGF729N. The observer in the background is Scotsman, Simon Valente. Photo: Yamaha Motor Co.

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”.

Robrgrdo group October 2006

Group photo, Spain 2006 – Left to Right: Jenny Tye; Jill Andrews (Mick’s wife); Jonathan Tye; John Moffat; Alejandra Cruz Sotomajor; Jean Moffat. Tye is a good friend and neighbour of Mick Andrews. – Photo: Escobe Baco, Madrid

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 - CP

Study of Mick Andrews, former Ossa and Yamaha factory rider – Photo: Claudio Trial Pictures

References:

(*) – Mick Andrews Book of Trials by Tom Beesley & Mick Andrews (ISBN: 9780917856006) Published by: Trippe, Cox. – Now out of print.

Book Cover MA BOT

front cover of Mick Andrews’ 1976 Book of Trials is now a sought after publication of trials memorabilia.

Book rear MA BOT

Rear cover of Mick Andrews’ book.

Mick Andrews - Gas Gas - SSDT 2000 - CJB

Mick Andrews on a 250 Gas Gas in the 2000 SSDT. Photo: Colin Bullock CJB Photographic

 

Mick Andrews1978 Pipeline

Mick Andrews (250 Ossa) on Pipeline in the 1978 Scottish Six Days – © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Photos:

© John Hulme/Trials Mag for photos and guidance with this article.

© Iain C. Clark, Fort William

© Barry Robinson, Ilkley.

© Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

© Colin Bullock / CJB Photographic

© Escobe Baco, Madrid

© Jim Young, Armadale, West Lothian.

Mick Andrews Article © – Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)

More information and reading on MICK ANDREWS:

on the RETROTRIALS website – A full interview with Magical Mick… Here

Video of Mick Andrews: Courtesy of Ferry Brouwer, Netherlands via YouTube

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s