Jim McColm – SSDT Passes away


Jim McColm (on the right) over-sees the start with rider Roy Kerr at the 1981 SSDT, watched by Brian Higgins and observer/official, Colin Cass.

James ‘Jim’ McColm 1929 – 2017

It is with great sadness that Trials Guru reports the passing of a stalwart of the Scottish Six Days Trial, the former SSDT Secretary, James ‘Jim’ McColm, following a short illness, on Monday 13th November, 2017 aged 87 years.

Jim was well-known to all riders and officials who took part in the SSDT from 1970 to 1995 as the ‘face of the Scottish’, being the man who was ultimately responsible for all the administration duties of the annual event.

McColm’s full-time ‘day job’ was with the Forth Bridge Joint Board at South Queensferry as their Accountant/Office Manager. This organisation was responsible for the administration and management of the Forth Road Bridge. He used his administrative skills to best effect both in his paid employment and with the SSDT committee.

Jim started with the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Limited (the E&D) as their Club Steward at their headquarters at 28 Nelson Street, Edinburgh in 1961. In 1963, Jim became the Secretary’s Assistant to Tommy Melville, who was the then SSDT Secretary until 1969. McColm was to ‘learn his craft’ from Melville over a period of six years.

McColm took over as SSDT Secretary from Melville in 1970 and oversaw many changes to the SSDT in his twenty-five years in this position, including the move away from paths to open moorland, which was pioneered by Clerk of Course, Jimmy Mulvie.

Jim McColm was presented in 1984 with the annual ‘Jim Clark Memorial Award’ by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, in recognition of his services to motor sport, an award which gave him great pleasure.

In 1992 the Edinburgh & District MC was to organize a round of the FIM World Trials Championships at Glen Nevis, again McColm would be in charge of the event administration with AC-U man, Dave Willoughby as the overall clerk of course being FIM accredited. Jim travelled to the German round the previous year, to see how they administered a WTC event.

In 1995, Jim published his book, “Six Days in May” which is a compilation of anecdotes and information covering the years 1970 to 1994 and included all the SSDT results for those years. It was never re-published and is a collectors item for enthusiasts of this most famous of trials.

Jim was never a competitor himself, but having been led into the job by the experienced Tommy Melville, he enjoyed what he did for the Scottish Six Days immensely. The most Jim would see of a SSDT was usually on the first day when the trial started and finished in Edinburgh, with regular stop-offs at the ‘Edramucky’ section on the slopes of Ben Lawers near, Killin to take in some of the action before heading up to Fort William where he would spend much of his time in the SSDT office. He was out before the first man left the Parc Ferme in Fort William on the Monday morning, then it was back to the then Milton Hotel for breakfast, before spending hours that stretched into the next morning working in the office.

Jim was quoted as saying: “When Tommy Melville learned that I could read and write, he invited me to help him in the SSDT office with the administrative work”. His first job at the SSDT was tallying up the results which Jim described as: “the most boring job in the world.”

When he retired from the position of SSDT Secretary in 1995, Jim handed over the reins to Dundee’s Ally Findlay, but Jim continued to be involved with the Motor Club, by becoming Company Secretary and Treasurer, a position he held until recently.

Jim McColm also continued to be involved with the E&Ds’ other event, the Pre’65 Scottish, and was still a director of the E&D until March 2017.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat paid a personal tribute to Jim McColm:

I first met Jim when I was at first year at secondary school, when my late father, Arnott took me to the hallowed halls of 28 Nelson Street, where he jokingly introduced me to Jim by saying, ‘…can you ensure my son John can have a ride in the SSDT when he becomes of age?’. Jim laughed out aloud and replied ‘I certainly will Arnott!’. He then shook my hand firmly and from that moment on, Jim not only remembered my name, but who I was. As the years went by, we became good friends when I acted as an observer, then rider and eventually when I became SSDT Secretary in 2001, we were colleagues on the committee. After that we were co-directors on the E&D board for a further two years. We have been friends for forty-seven years and therefore I am saddened greatly by Jim’s passing. This is the end of an era.

Only a week before he died, the E&D presented Jim with a glass award, duly inscribed to recognize the work he had done for not only the motor club, but the two events over the years he was involved with them.

Jim leaves a widow Heather, daughter Frances, grandson Kyle, grand-daughter Kara and daughter-in-law Brenda, the widow of Jim’s late son, Kevin. Our condolences go to the extended McColm family at this difficult time.

Funeral arrangements are arranged for Friday, 24th November at 11am at the Lorimer Chapel of Warriston Crematorium, 36 Warriston Road, Edinburgh EH7 4HW.

Ross Noble: Off Road

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The film crew charted Ross Noble’s first attempt at the 2017 SSDT – In the background are Nevis Radio’s John Weller and Trials Guru’s John Moffat (on microphone) before one of the daily runs. – Photo courtesy of Trials UK Media


Ross Noble: Off Road – Coming Soon! – Stand-up and TV comedian, Ross Noble took part in this years’ SSDT in May. He was accompanied by James Burroughs and a film crew who have provided footage for a mini series charting Ross’s attempt at the famous annual event.

The series will be aired on DAVE channel on December 7, 14 & 21st at 20.00. Photo: Courtesy of Trials UK Media, showing Ross and Trials Guru’s John Moffat at the Parc-Ferme in Fort William before one of the daily runs. Definitely something pre-Christmas for the trials enthusiast.

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Vesty strikes Gold

Bultaco ‘Manuel Soler’ 1977 Factory Sherpa found in USA:


The prototype 199 model of 1977 discovered in the USA as found by Yrjo Vesterinen – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

For those of you that are interested in Bultacos, Trials Guru would like to show you some pictures of the latest ‘treasure’ from the USA, unearthed by none other than three times FIM World Trials Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen.

Vesty had been offered the machine where it has been laying for many years unused in the USA, having been bought after the 1977 world round, ridden by works development rider, Manuel Soler.

It’s hard to imagine that Manuel Soler rode the world championship round in the USA at Port Huron and that this bike was sold into private ownership 40 years ago.

The Bultaco factory had shipped works bikes out to the USA for their riders to compete in the world series, but logistics dictated that it was cheaper to sell the bikes off in the USA through importer ‘Bultaco International Ltd’ than repatriate them back to Spain. So this particular machine was sold for $600 to a private buyer on 12th September 1977 on the factory’s behalf.


The rear top suspension mount is doubled for experimental shock positioning – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

The most visible difference between this and the standard bike are the dual mounting points for the rear shocks. Most other modifications are hidden from view.


Similarly the lower shock mounts are doubled on the swinging arm which was not gusseteed for the 199 model, this would be done for the subsequent 199A version – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

These include a works air-filter box, a modified cylinder barrel and a new gearbox that gave a much higher top gear, something Scottish Six Days Trial competitors welcomed. Most other things are cosmetic like a slimmer fuel tank and a lower seat were fitted by the factory. The lower seat being a favourite item by works rider and Bulto family member, Soler.


The crankcases were machined to take the high top gear pinion, a feature of the production model 199 Sherpa of 1977 – Photo: Y. Vesterinen


Inside the beast, the porting of the cylinder barrel is non standard – Photo: Y. Vesterinen


The real deal, the factory air boxes differed from standard – Photo: Y. Vesterinen


Yrjo Vesterinen says that water ingress has caused some corrosion damage within the clutch case – Photo: Y. Vesterinen


A 1977 photograph clearly shows the doubled shock mounts on Manuel Soler’s prototype 199 Sherpa

Along with the machine came paperwork showing the sale in September 1977 of the machine into private ownership.

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The bill of sale from September 1977 of this very special Sherpa prototype – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

This is without question the prototype for what would become the model 199 Sherpa of 1977and will be of particular interest to those who own or have owned a model 199 Sherpa. – All Photos: Y. Vesterinen


Factory publicity photo of the Sherpa 199 of 1977, a direct descendant of the prototype that Yrjo Vesterinen has repatriated from the USA – Photo: Bultaco Motorcycles, Spain

Vesty has promised to update us of the restoration of this very historic Bultaco over the next few months, here on Trials Guru.

To Be Continued……

Article copyright: Trials Guru & Y. Vesterinen 2017

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Trialsport 500

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The German Trialsport magazine has reached a fantastic landmark with its 500th edition in November 2017.

Originally the brainchild of former German Trials Champion, Felix Krahnstover in the mid 1970s, the magazine has been the staple publication for trials news in Germany for over 40 years.

Rainer Heise was an early contributer who took hundreds of images for the magazine, some of which he allowed Trials Guru to feature in the page: Trials in Germany

The editor currently is Hans Greiner who continues this great tradition.

We at Trials Guru congratulate Trialsport in its achievement of 500 issues, here is to the next 500!

Karl Clark is 2017 NZ Champ


Karl Clark (Beta) – Photo: Ian Yeomans

The New Zealand Moto Trials Championship, which has been run since 1972, was held over three days at Labour Weekend in October.  New Zealand is made up of two Islands, North and South. Throughout the year each Island holds their own championship held over several weekends.  UK’s Jack Sheppard has ridden in the New Zealand Championship back in 2014 and 2016 and has taken the title both times.  Another previous two time winner is Stefan Merriman who would possibly be the best trials rider to come from New Zealand with his first place finish in the junior world championship in 1989.

Stefan’s name will be also been known in the UK competing in the Scottish and British Championship. Stefan finished third in the Scottish Six Day in 1992. Stefan left trials for enduro and became world champion in 2000. Some other previous New Zealand winners are two time winner James Lawton, six times winner Andrew Poad  and seven time winner Warren Laugesen who all have also competed at Scottish Six Day Trial and done very well.

The 2017 New Zealand Championship was held on the 21 – 23rd of October and was held in the North Island near the bottom of the Island on the Kapiti Coast. New Zealand events are held on mostly farmers properties. This year’s terrain was made up of mostly treacherous creeks, slippery tree roots, sharp rocks, steep banks and climbs. Ten sections of four laps were run over the three days and this year’s championship attracted over 55 competitors.

This year’s winner is Karl Clark, born and raised in Motueka, a small town at the top of the south island. Karl has been competing since 1995, 2003 was the first time Karl competed in the New Zealand Championship top class, expert. Karl managed third place on his first attempt, with winning the first day he also received the New Zealand Experts Trial which is held on one of the three days and has also been run since 1972. Karl then had some time away from the sport due to the birth of his twin boys.  Karl came back to the sport in 2008, competing once again in expert class right through till 2014 where Karl finished always in the top three but never managing the top spot.  In 2014 Karl suffered a back injury which meant he couldn’t compete at the top level.


Six weeks before the 2017 New Zealand Championship Karl decided to give it one more crack in Expert as age is now not on his side.  This has always been a childhood dream of Karls to win the New Zealand Moto Trials Championship. Karl was on true form as he won the premier Expert grade on each of the three days, edging out Taranaki’s Matthew Foster, Christchurch rider Jules Huguenin.

“I was over the moon about the result and thought that chapter had closed for me. Also making it even more special for myself it had been twenty-five years since last won by a South Island rider. Looking back at the weekend, experience was the difference as I had more than ten years over the competition.  I thoroughly enjoyed the three days of sections and would like to thank the Ixion Motorcycle Club for putting on a great event. I’m super proud to finally get my name on the Premier Championship grade trophy”.


Karl himself has also competed in the Scottish Six Day Trial from 2014 to 2016 and receiving first class awards.

KARL CLARK 2015 Fersit

2015 SSDT action with Karl Clark (Beta) on ‘Fersit’ – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Karl is adamant the SSDT event is the best event in the world and he would ride it every year if the cost of getting there wasn’t an issue. He feels that riding the SSDT has improved him as a rider.  Not ruling out a return to Scotland, never say never. Karls more than happy to hang his boots up in the premier class but will still continue to support the sport he loves here in New Zealand and to give back to the future young riders.

FRANZ KADLEC – DM Champion 2017


Franz Kadlec, four times German national champion – Photo: Trialsport Magazine/Hans Greiner

Franz Kadlec is the 2017 German National Trials Champion riding for Gas Gas.

From Bad Tolz, Bavaria, Kadlec clinched the series at the final round at Wusten, Nordrheine-Westfalen earlier this month, this is the fourth German title he has to his credit. He is a former European Champion.

Photo copyright: Hans Greiner/Trialsport DE

Leslie makes his trips worthwhile

KL 2Keith Leslie returned home to Shetland last week after securing a top five place in the SACU Scottish National Trials Championships. He becomes the first Shetlander to make it into the top ten in the overall championship results since it began in 1955, a feat which has not gone unnoticed by his peers.

To commit to travelling south from Shetland for the eight rounds that make up the Championships has been a tremendous effort, along with the associated costs this brings, but he crossed the line last Sunday at Fersit, Spean Bridge to warm applause and lots of handshakes, safe in the knowledge he’d finished in the top five in Scotland in the Over 40 class, narrowly missing out on 4th place overall by just four points.
All the more remarkable is the fact that until this season began, Leslie had only visited three of the five venues that were chosen to hold Nationals, a disadvantage, with his rivals all being seasoned campaigners who’d visited each venue multiple times over the years.

Riding a Gas Gas in the Bon Accord Motorcycle Club, the first test was a ‘local’ trial, if any could be classed as such coming from Shetland. Round one is usually always held at Craiglash Quarry at Banchory on the first week of April, a place Leslie knows well having been there often. This showed in the results as when the points were tallied up he’d secured a career best 4th place, agonisingly missing his first podium by two marks!

Spurred on by that result, and after spending 4 days at the beginning of May in Fort William watching the Scottish Six Day Trial, Keith had to return there with his bike the following weekend for Round 2 at Glen Nevis. Having never really ridden those typical ”Scottish” type gulley sections, and being one of the venues he’d not visited yet, he came away delighted with a 5th place, securing more valuable championship points.

Five weeks passed until another journey south beckoned, this time as far south as he’d go all year when Galashiels was the venue for Round 3. Another one Leslie hadn’t seen yet but some solid riding on the National route saw him set off for home after securing another solid 5th place and more points.

Another five weeks passed before Keith headed away on the boat again for the Dunfermline & District club’s Round 4, Drumcarrow in Tayside was the venue this time, another new one to contend with. Some great riding on the first 2 laps had Leslie in contention for a top 3 finish, but a broken rear brake lever on the third lap meant he had to limp home in 8th place cursing the stone that had shattered his hopes as well as his brake!

Only a month at home before the Perth & District club Aberfeldy Trial in Perthshire was the venue for Round 5. Another place Leslie hadn’t visited, and for all it’s beauty it will be remembered painfully as the scene of his biggest crash of the year! A miscalculation during a steep rocky climb saw Leslie fall with the full weight onto his left leg. Had his good friend Robert James not been riding with him, we might have seen his first retiral of the season as he struggled to put any weight on his leg and had to drop more points on his last lap than he had on the first two combined. Spurred on by Robert, he made it to the end and was glad to finish 6th after his fall.

Another month of rest and physio on his injured leg saw Keith head off again, this time for Round 6 at the Inverness & District club’s Paul Kilbauskas memorial trial at Alvie Estate, near Aviemore. A place he’d visited before, and knew roughly. Conditions worsened as soon as Keith and his good friend Trevor Gibb arrived, and they knew they’d be in for a serious test. Torrential rain all morning made the burns almost impossible to ride, as foaming water meant nobody could see the line through. Seven riders had to retire with machines that had been drowned in deep water but Leslie persevered and finished 6th, securing more valuable points.

The end was in sight as only two weeks later he had to return south for the final 2 rounds of the Championship on consecutive weekends. Bob Macgregor Trials Academy at Dunlop in Ayrshire was the venue for the penultimate round, another new one for Keith but he rode solidly all day and ended up 5th overall in his class. The highlight of that weekend was seeing his good friend Craig Houston become the first Ayrshire man to ever win the Scottish Premier title for 2017.

A weeks holiday with his daughter beside family in Peterhead meant Keith travelled south feeling quite fresh the following weekend. The Lochaber club’s Grace Dignan memorial trial at Fersit, Spean Bridge was the venue for Round 8, the final round of the 2017 championships.

Rain and strong winds eased as the morning went on, but the ground was slippy and everyone seemed to be crashing Leslie included. A difficult moor crossing where the riders had to summit a Monroe before descending the other side on each lap took it’s fair share of casualties but Leslie hung in to end the trial 5th again overall, and finish 5th place in the championship, only missing 4th by four marks!!

Delighted with how his first attempt competing at National level had gone, Leslie said:

” It’s a dream come true really. Initially I had thought if I could make it into the top 10 in Scotland at my first attempt I’d be more than happy, so to have made it into the top 5 is unbelievable really, especially given I’d never seen five of the eight venues.
I only bought a trials bike when I turned forty, I watched a Julien Dupont video on YouTube and thought, i’d like one of those bikes. I’d had motocross bikes before that but had never swung my leg over a trials bike until I turned 40, and you know the saying about old dogs & new tricks! I was lucky as my good friend Gary Mcmillan helped me with the fundamentals, and we had a couple of coaching weekends from eleven times Scottish Premier Champion Gary Macdonald, and current Champion, Craig Houston which helped massively. All the people above me in the championship have been expert level trials riders in their younger days, so to be competing with them after only five years of practise is something i’m extremely proud of, if a little bewildered by.”

He continued:  ”It has cost me a lot in travel, fuel & digs but it’s something I’ll never forget. It’ll always be in the history books now. Hopefully if I secure some more sponsorship for next year I’d like another crack at it, given how well I’ve done this year.
We’ll see though, as I’ve put an entry in for the Scottish Six Day Trial next year and will find out in December if I’ve been one of the lucky ones and got in. It’s often referred to as the hardest test of machine & man in the world, given it’s duration and the amount of miles you have to cover, and is way over subscribed each year, but fingers crossed, I think it’d make all my effort this year worthwhile if I got in and had a go.”

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Finally, Keith would like to thank everyone who has helped him this year:

Northlink Ferries and their staff; Tay-CAD; Skretting; Highland Leisure Sport; GasGas UK; Factory Kev; Splatshop; Ewen Georgeson; Gary Mcmillan; Brian Gray; Robert James & Trevor Gibb.

Photos: Brian Gray Photography, Shetland

Scott Trial 2017 – Resume

The Scott Trial 2017 is over and time to reflect on a fantastic event.

1st Dougie Lampkin

Scott Trial 2017 Winner Doug Lampkin with Trials Guru’s John Moffat and the coveted Alfred Angas Scott Memorial trophy – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Here are Trials Guru’s observations of a very tough trial held on 21st October 2017 with assistance from photographer John Hulme of Trial magazine UK.

193 started and 87 finished on time.

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First man away at 09:00:00 was Scotsman, Gordon Murray from Evanton, Highland on his Beta, seen here being interviewed by Scott Trial commentator, John Moffat – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Last years’ winner James Dabill set standard time, but it wasn’t enough to take the coveted A.A. Scott Memorial trophy from 41 year old Dougie Lampkin a rider with no less than four previous wins and three fastest finishes to his credit. Lampkin made it win number five, which was coincidentally his late father Martin’s favourite number!

Dabill came home in fourth position and a Gas Gas which resembled a boiling kettle. “Fancy a brew” quipped Dabill when he stalled the motor on the finish line.

“I wasn’t sure if I had another Scott win in me” stated an emotional Lampkin at the award ceremony on the Saturday evening at around 10.45 pm when he hoisted the A.A. Scott trophy high. A trophy which has borne the name ‘Lampkin’ on 12 previous occassions.

At the start, Dougie stated to Trials Guru’s Moffat during a filmed interview that his Uncle Arthur had stated that a Lampkin should always compete in the Scott Trial, the mantle falls to Doug at this time, so we can expect DL to be riding for a few more years yet.

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Trials Guru’s John Moffat interviewing winner Doug Lampkin at the scrutineering in the morning – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

When Doug returned to the finish field at Feldom Lane after 3 pm in the afternoon, he was a man with doubts in his mind, that was evident. Moffat again interviewed him to get his thoughts. He stated that the ‘young ones’ had closed in on him quicker than he could have imagined during the five hours or more that he had been wrestling the 300 Vertigo over a very wet Swaledale.

There had been heavy rainfall prior to the event which used a reverse direction course, which involved a lot of zig-zagging according to one of the local landowners and the moors and overall going was soft and slippery.

Miles Carruthers from Hookwoods commented that: “I’m a southern softie, used to mud trials, but today was very muddy even by my standards, it was super slippery, but yes, I’ll be back in 2018 for another go!”

The course has to be run at least every five years in reverse direction as part of the conditions placed on the event by the Yorkshire Dales, National Park.

But it was Lampkin’s day… again. Eleven minutes late, he lost 43 marks on observation but it was 7 marks in front!

John Moffat said: “You must never, ever underestimate or rule out Doug Lampkin, he is not known as the King of Trials for no reason. He is a thinking rider, he is calculated, but can also suffer from bad luck on the day, but as the saying goes, when the going gets tough… Doug gets tougher!”

There were some other noteable achievements of course, with Ian Austermuhle taking second spot, having won in 2015 and doesn’t ride trials as often as he used to.

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Newly crowned British Champion, Jack Price at scrutineering gives the low-down to Trials Guru’s Moffat – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Fast rider, Jack Price boiled his Gas Gas, a suspected cylinder head ‘O’ ring being the likely culprit. He pushed all the way from Rotton Wood to the finish, but given that his machine had a tow-rope fitted and was seen to have been hauled up the finish field by two spectators, he was unable to be classed as a ‘bona fide’ finisher this year. So near and yet so far, but better luck for 2018.

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Fast on the moors, Gas Gas UK mounted Jack Price at By-Pass, captured by John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Local rider from Skeeby, Jonathan Richardson had a bad day at the office and almost rode clean away from the finish holding area. Fortunately he stayed and commented that it was not hsi day, with problems to overcome. He finished in eighth position, being a former winner and fastest rider in the past, he was justifiably disappointed.

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Duncan McColl (132) centre at By-Pass with Chris Brown entering the section – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Scottish rider and newcomer, Duncan McColl from Glasgow who won the Mintex Trial is a man to watch for the future. He was unlucky and came off at speed, cutting his forehead and required eight stiches and a check-over for concussion, but he got round regardless and finished in 55th position.

Local rider, Jimmy Stones had an excellent Scott, coming home in third position with best on observation, losing 41 marks with 21 time penalty marks.

Thanks to the Richmond Motor Club (Yorks) Ltd for putting on yet another unique Scott Trial.

The Scott Trial will return on Saturday 13th October 2018!

Article: Trials Guru
Photographs: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK – Copyright



Barry’s Pre-Scott


Barry Robinson captures ace photographer Eric Kitchen at Orgate with tons of water pouring over the falls – Photo: Barry Robinson

Barry Robinson who celebrated his 86th birthday yesterday (19th October) was out and about doing what he does best, taking photographs of places and people around the Swaledale area just prior to the 92nd Scott Trial.


A smiling John Shirt of Gas Gas UK when out and about pre-trial – Photo: Barry Robinson

Robinson’s photos have graced quite a few pages of this year’s souvenir programme, which it has been said is selling like ‘hot cakes’ in and around the area pre-trial.


The Trials Monkey, Michael Brown a former winner in 2013 and second last year – Photo: Barry Robinson

Here are just a few of Barry’s photos for your enjoyment pre-2017 Scott Trial.


The Welsh contingent, pre-trial. Iwan Roberts is on the far right – Photo: Barry Robinson