Tommy Robb, not just a road racer

Tommy Robb Bultaco

Tommy Robb was a keen trials rider in his youth and also in later life as a racer to keep fit over the winter months

Tommy Robb is a well-known Ulsterman who rode for Honda, Yamaha, Seeley, Bultaco and a whole host of private sponsors, including Terry Hill in a career that started in 1950 and went on until the mid 1970s.

1st Ever Trophy

Tommy Robb’s first ever trophy, won on 3rd November 1951 a time trial in Ireland

In 1962, Robb was the first non-Japanese factory rider to be signed by Honda, the year he was runner-up in the 350cc World Championships. He is a five times winner of the North-West 200 and has won the Lightweight 125cc TT in 1973.

Hurst Cup 1953 DOT111

Tommy Robb in the Hurst Cup Trial of 1953 on his DOT

He wrote an autobiography called ‘From TT to Tokyo’ a fascinating recount of a works riders life on the ‘Continental Circus’

TT to Tokyo

From TT to Tokyo – Tommy Robb’s autobiography

Tommy been friends with Trials Guru representative John Moffat for some years now, having been interviewed by Trials Guru at the Scottish Motorcycle Show near Edinburgh.

USE Trophies

Part of Tommy Robb’s impressive collection of trophies, yes those are Isle of Man TT replicas! – Photo copyright: Tommy Robb

What is not generally known is that Tommy was also a keen trials competitor both in his youth and in later years to keep fit when not travelling the world racing motorcycles.

Tommy Robb in 1967 on Bultaco Scrambler

Tommy Robb on a Bultaco Pursang in 1967 at an Irish International motocross event – Photo courtesy: Tommy Robb Private Archive

Recently Tommy had a very pleasant surprise and contacted Trials Guru.

Here is what Tommy sent Trials Guru:

“Hi Big John, – A very happy New Year to you, your family and Trials Guru’s everywhere! 

I thought the attached Certificate (Factory Rider) would be of interest to you. This arrived on the 2nd January 2016, from the DOT Motorcycle Club, whilst all the major personalities were getting their Knighthoods, MBE’s, and OBE’s I was delighted to receive this award, from 1954 -1958 and inscribed:

‘Special Award made to Tommy Robb, from the DOT Motorcycle Club in recognition of your Achievements as a rider representing the DOT Motorcycle Factory in the Golden age of British Motorcycle Competition’.

This, believe it or not, dates back to the mid-fifties when I rode factory 196cc and 250cc DOTS in grass tracks, scrambles (in those days) and trials in Northern and Southern Ireland. When Burnard Scott Wade was the MD of the Company.
It was a pleasure to receive this recognition some 62 years after the period concerned when I was 18 or 19 years old at the time. To have it in my trophy cabinet at 81 years of age, amongst my TT Replicas is indeed a surprise and an honour”.
 
DOT Certificate

The certificate presented to Tommy Robb by the Dot Motorcycle Club in 2016

We are always looking for something different, special or  unusual at Trials Guru, so we thought Trials Guru readers would enjoy this.
SMCS - T Robb

Trials Guru’s John Moffat (left) with great friend, Tommy Robb at the Scottish Motorcycle Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh – Photo: Trials Guru/Jean Moffat

Words – Copyright: Trials Guru & Tommy Robb – 2016
Images – Copyright: Tommy Robb Private Archive & Trials Guru/Jean Moffat – 2016.

2 thoughts on “Tommy Robb, not just a road racer

  1. I have the book mentioned.When i lived and rode scrambles and grass tracks in southern ireland,in the sixties.Two guys rode Dot machines.Dr.English.and Tom Foley. I rember them well,and have photos of them.

    • I met Tommy in 1965 at my first ugp where finished 7th in the 125 race he was really helpful as was Ralph bryans who showed me round the circuit and we were friends ever since

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