Full Circle BSA – the finale

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Trials Guru’s John Moffat (right) with John MacGregor of Glencoe with a copy of the magazine which has the ‘Full Circle BSA’ article. MacGregor is a subscriber to the excellent magazine.

For anyone that regularly reads ‘Classic Trial Magazine’, the finale to the story ‘Full Circle BSA’ was the delivery of the Trials Guru’s John Moffat BSA B40 to its ‘new’ owner, John F. MacGregor, the first man to lay out the course of the Pre’65 Scottish Trial in 1984 in company with the late Johnnie Graham.

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Classic Trial Magazine Issue 20 carried the ‘Full Circle BSA’ article

The story started when Moffat was unsuccessful in obtaining an entry in the 2017 Pre’65 Scottish and this prompted him to review his collection of trials machines. The B40 was purchased from MacGregor by Moffat in 2004, MacGregor having bought it from Scarborough’s Gordon Jackson in 1999.

John MacGregor competed in Scottish trials from around 1971 to 1977 on Bultaco machinery and thereafter took an active role in course plotting for the Scottish Six Days Trial. He married Pamela, the only daughter of Ian Pollock the man who discovered many of the sections around Kinlochleven that are still used to this day.

John & Pam MacGregor - Sharon Smith image

John MacGregor and Pamela (formerly Pollock, daughter of Ian Pollock) – Photo: Sharon Smith, Fort William

Pollock was always referred to as ‘our man on the spot’ by the SSDT committee as he lived and worked in Kinlochleven in the Aluminium factory. MacGregor’s parents ran the small caravan site at ‘Narrach Bridge’ near Kinlochleven.

Ian Pollock is remembered by the renaming of the Lochaber club’s ‘Spring Trial’ as the ‘Ian Pollock Memorial Trial’ an event he used to organise and is still regarded as a ‘shake-down’ event in the March for those riding the SSDT in the following May.

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Looking good! Gordon Jackson from Scarborough on 946ERH (The Full Circle BSA) back in 1984 on Pipeline when the Pre’65 Scottish was originally created for ‘pure’ machinery by John MacGregor and Johnnie Graham.

Moffat: “I was mildly disappointed at not gaining an entry in the Pre’65 Scottish, but as I had ridden the event 23 times previously I wasn’t really too concerned as there are plenty of other events that were not on my ‘radar’ during the year. I decided that I had too many pre’65 machines, the AJS & Matchless bikes that I own are far to original to use nowadays and I had already bought the ex-Gerry Minshall BSA C15, so the B40 would have to go to a new home. The result was a nice story about my machine that almost went back to it’s builder, Gordon Jackson, but it was thwarted when I telephoned John MacGregor who jumped in and bought the bike there and then! John Hulme asked me to write the story for Classic Trial Mag and it seems to have been well received by motorcycle enthusiasts”.

John MacGregor - BSA - March 2017 - Sharon Smith Image

John MacGregor gives the 1962 BSA a quick test near his Glencoe home – Photo courtesy of Sharon Smith, Fort William

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The ‘Full Circle BSA B40’ which was last used in the Pre’65 Scottish in 2015 has now been sold to previous owner, John F. MacGregor

Moffat continued: “To be quite honest I have to admit to becoming more interested in what we now call the ‘twinshock’ trials classes as that is what I started out on in 1974, a 250cc Bultaco. I took up Pre’65 riding at aged 34 and I had bought my very original Matchless G3C which was once owned by Cliff Clayton, the AJS works rider after he had stopped riding for the AMC factory and my late father had ridden AJS and Matchless in trials back in the day. My son David rode the very same Matchless in the 2016 Pre’65 Scottish, maybe that will be our last to ride together as father and son in the annual event. The Pre’65 Scottish has now become far removed from what it originally was designed for, as many of the machines that are now entering and being accepted by the organisers bear no resemblance to real Pre’65 bikes that I remember as a child. That is a pity really. Many enthusiasts keep asking why the Bultaco Sherpa T (Model 10) is acceptable when it wasn’t commercially available until 1965? The Pre’65 movement was created to allow old bikes to re-surface from sheds and garages, but many, like my own have gone back into museums and garages as they are no longer the tool for the job. It’s a bit like history repeating itself.”

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Moffat’s father, T.Arnott Moffat rode this AJS in the 1953 and 1954 Scottish Six Days Trial, seen here on ‘Weem’ in a wet 1954 SSDT. Moffat still owns this motorcycle, but few of these machines appear in Pre’65 events now.

The Inverness & District Motor Cycle Club of which Moffat is both company and general secretary created their Highland Classic 2 Day Trial initially for Scots riders who were unsuccessful in gaining a Pre’65 entry, that was 13 years ago.

Moffat: “The Highland Classic was the idea of our highly respected Club Chairman, Malcolm Smith. He felt that there should be more than one Pre’65 style event in Scotland. however because there are few Pre’65 riders in Scotland, we included twinshocks in the first two day event and the trial has now become very popular, because of its relaxed atmosphere and friendly welcome by Alvie Estate owner, Laird, Jamie Williamson. It just goes to show, if you build it properly, then people will come. I have taken up the challenge of becoming more involved in our local motor cycle club this year, so I actually have a lot less time on my hands now”.

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Still riding when time allows, but preferring twinshock nowadays, Trials Guru’s John Moffat on one of his Bultaco 325 Sherpas in action at the very popular Highland Classic 2 Day Trial, June 2016 – Photo: Bill McGregor, Bon Accord.

 

This year, the 2017 Highland Classic is called the ‘Honda Edition’ and has attracted a bumper entry of 150 riders with six Guests including Guest of Honour, Rob Shepherd. The event takes place on June 11/12 followed on Monday 12th with a memorial road run around Loch Ness.

Moffat ended by saying: “I’m not completely leaving the Pre’65/Britshock scene behind, plans are already well advanced for the building of a Drayton framed BSA B40 as I had a spare engine and wheels left over in my store, maybe I’ll ride it or perhaps have a supported rider on it -so watch this space!”

Article made possible with the co-operation of Classic Trial Magazine – Available HERE

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TRIALS GURU – the Premier Trial Sport Website for photos, articles, news and the history of motorcycle trials

2 thoughts on “Full Circle BSA – the finale

  1. Hi John.
    Great story with some very interesting points.
    I bet u think I have forgotten about our proposed story, but I can assure u I haven’t, I am waiting for few factual points to be clarified,and also I have realised I am crap at writing story’s. Should be bone in a couple of weeks.
    Regards Rog

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