All posts by bigjohn2014


Trials & Error

Published by Simon & Schuster
17 May 2018 ǀ Hardback ǀ £20.00

When Dougie Lampkin was born, his father Martin had placed a motorcycle next to his cot before he returned from hospital – if anyone can say that they were destined for a career in motor biking it was him.

So far, nine members of the Lampkin family have competed at a high level of the sport, but it was Dougie who set new standards, winning seven consecutive outdoor world titles and five indoor world titles, earning him the MBE at the age of twenty-five.

Off-road motorcycling continues to grow in popularity, with more than 100,000 people taking part in the UK alone, and millions more following online or on television. In this superb memoir, Lampkin brings the excitement of his sport vividly to life.

He also shares the behind-the-scenes drama behind some of his most famous Red Bull challenges – such as the day he took his trials bike for a ride through Red Bull’s Formula One factory, with Christian Horner looking on in sheer amazement as he rode his bike over a multi-million-pound F1 car, leaving it without a scratch.

To date, some 10 million people have watched this episode on YouTube.
Trials and Error is a brilliant book that goes beyond the story behind trial biking, and the journey to becoming world champion – it is also a love letter to his family and community, to whom Dougie attributes his many successes.

About the author:

Dougie Lampkin MBE was born in Yorkshire in 1976 into a motor biking dynasty and became a professional trials and endurocross rider, winning five consecutive World Indoor titles (1997-2001) and seven consecutive World Outdoor championships (1997-2003). Since retiring from competition, he has worked with Red Bull on a series of high-profile events.

Battle of Burwash


Article: Ian Coulter

Image: Bexleyheath & DMCC

Organised by the Bexleyheath & District Motor Cycle Club, the ‘Battle of Burwash’ trial has been running for around seven years. It’s been named after the Battle off Hastings (1066) as it’s only down the road from the famous battle.  

Held on 2nd and 3rd June, it’s run on a brilliant piece of ground over seventy acres of streams, rocks and high banks, which makes a challenge for all abilities.  

Run over two days starting on the Saturday at noon with four laps of eight sections with results and awards that same afternoon.  

Sunday is three laps of thirteen sections, which are different from the Saturday, the results being compiled that night and up on by Monday morning.  

Camping is available with plenty of room for campers, caravans and tents. Easy access via concrete path so no getting stuck problems. There will be toilets and fresh water available on site. Event postcode TN218XA. Camping available from the Thursday afternoon.


Donald Buchan from Perth

Fifteen minutes with former Scottish trials rider – Donald Buchan.

By far the most unusual machine in the 1968 SSDT was the 50cc Sachs powered Heldun ridden by Perth & District clubman, Donald Buchan. He finished in 119th position and a second class award on 508 marks lost – Photo: Ian Robertson, Midlothian

Interviewed by Grandson, Callum Buchan

Photos: Buchan Family; Ian Robertson

Special thanks to the Classic Racing 50cc Club UK for link to their article on Heldun.
Where and when were you born?:

I was born on the 1st of February 1940 in Perth, Scotland.

What is the family history in relation to motorcycles and can you tell us about Jimmy Buchan’s achievements in racing?:

My father, Jack, rode in the TT, the Scottish Six Days and the International Six Days. My brother Jimmy was in my father’s sidecar for the International Six Days at sixteen years of age in 1951 in Italy!

Jimmy rode the Isle of Man for the first time in 1954 and won the Clubmans TT in 1955 riding a BSA Gold Star. Then in 1956 he won the Manx Grand Prix double riding a Manx Norton.

Tell us about the retail motorcycle business you owned in Perth?:

‘Buchan Motorcycles’ was opened in 1960 by my father on Rannoch Road, Perth. In 1972 I took over the business, not because my father had decided to pack it in, retire and play golf all day, but because he felt you’re never too old to travel and got on his bike.

He planned on going from the foot of Argentina to the tip of Alaska. Off he went on his bike with insufficient cash banking on his charisma to be his currency and his iconic tam o’ shanter to explore the other side of the world.

Unfortunately, having reached as far as Mexico, he took ill before making it to the U.S and couldn’t complete his journey.

By the mid 1970s I opened a branch of the business in Forfar and in the next decade another in Perth Town Centre.

As you sold Bultaco and Montesa, did you deal directly with Comerfords and Montala Motors/Jim Sandiford?:

Yes, I dealt with all them directly and also dealt with Greeves Motorcycles, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki directly.

You rode a 50cc Heldun (mistake in SSDT programme saying 60cc Heldun) in 1968. Tell us about the Heldun and how did the SSDT ride come to pass?:

Having spoken to the Heldun representative at the 1967 Motorcycle Show, chatting about trials, they suggested I visit the factory at Birmingham for a test ride. This lead to me being offered a bike for the SSDT for the following year. The Heldun was powered by a Sachs engine.

In 1968 SSDT I completed the SSDT which is mentioned in this article  (they made a mistake in calling me John instead of Donald!)

Donald Buchan 3
The official ISDT souvenir badge given to riders and officials in 1969

You rode the ISDT in 1969. Tell us about the bike you rode on? None of the Scots finished in 1969, not even Ernie Page, what put you out of the event?:

I rode on a Greeves, it was a Comerfords International Six Days model, 250cc, part of the British Vase B team. I was hit by an Italian rider, I think on day two and fractured my ribs causing my premature departure from the event.

Donald Buchan 1
Donald Buchan’s 1969 British Vase B Team badge from his Barbour Jacket

How many times did you ride in the SSDT?:

I think it was five or six times.

Any favourite events in trials in Scotland?:

Any Scottish champion trial, none in particular. I competed in the length and breadth of Scotland, from Rogart to Ayrshire. Riding various bikes from the aforementioned Heldun to Triumph 500cc.

Were you a member of Scotland’s oldest motorcycle club the Perth and District Motor Club?:

Yes, I was a member from the late 1950s until the late 70s.

Did you organise any events?:

Yes, I was the trials convenor for a few years of the Perth & District MC.

Did you scramble or road race at any time?:

Yes, I road raced on a 50cc in Errol 1958 and at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy in the early 60s. I took part in various organised scrambles and hill climbs.


Many thanks to Donald and his family for putting this interview together.

The article on Heldun, linked to in this article is the copyright of the Classic Racing 50cc Club UK.

TG Logo 2

Other ‘Great Scots’ in the series: HERE

Big Billy Maxwell 1942-2018

Billy Maxwell - JY
Billy Maxwell, seen here Bultaco mounted in the Aberfeldy Two Day Trial in 1980 – Photo: Jimmy Young, Armadale

It is with great sadness that Trials Guru reports the death of North-East trials rider, Billy Maxwell.

Born on the 14th December 1942, Billy was a big man with a big character and a very good rider in his day. Originally from Biggar in Lanarkshire, he emigrated to the North East of England in 1966 and set up in business as a demolition contractor in 1972 as Maxwell’s Demolition.


Maxwells Demolition

As well as riding in his ‘native’ north-east he regularly rode in Scotland especially the Loch Lomond and Aberfeldy Two Day events. His best friend was John Noble of Candie-burn, Biggar.

Maxwells Demo
Billy Maxwell’s Atkinson with Cummins Diesel engine and a Tasker four-in-line low-loader trailer – Photo: Maxwell Demolition, Newcastle

Trials Guru’s John Moffat knew Maxwell for over 40 years and said: “Billy was a great guy, always willing to help an unfortunate rider. This he demonstrated to me as a young rider when in 1975, I rode my first Loch Lomond 2 Day and had not adjusted my drive chain properly, it kept coming off the rear spocket when traversing the moor. Billy arrived with Jimmy Ballantyne close behind. They stopped and Billy got wired in about my stricken Bultaco and properly adjusted the chain cams and soon I was on my way. When I came into the finish, he came over and rechecked the chain and asked if I got round alright.

JY - Billy Maxwell
Billy Maxwell (Montesa Cota 247) at Scottish Experts & National Trial, Achallader, Bridge of Orchy 1978 – Photo: Jimmy Young

Moffat continued: “I once asked Billy why he didn’t properly buckle up his Alpinestar trials boots, he always seemed to ride with the straps flailing about. He said in his Geordie accent, ‘It’s simple John, they don’t make boots wide enough to get around me calves’. I looked and sure enough Billy had the thickest calves I have ever seen and there was no way they could ever have buckled up properly.”

Billy owned a number of classic motorcycles, an Ariel HT5 which he rode in the Pre’65 Scottish and the ex-Ron Thomson Gold Star BSA, PFS916. He certainly loved his bikes.

Ron Thomson 1964SSDT Achintee
Ron Thomson in 1964 at Achintee Farm on the 500cc BSA Gold Star PFS916, which many years later became the property of Billy Maxwell – Photo Courtesy Mrs Ron Thomson, Fort William.

Moffat added: “Billy Maxwell was a big built, tough hard working man, but he also had a heart of gold there is no mistaking, he was one of the sports true enthusiasts.”

Here’s to you Billy!

Maxwell - Billy

Funeral Arrangements:

The family have asked Trials Guru to include the following intimation.

Bill Maxwell’s funeral will take place on Wednesday, 14th March at 1.15 pm at the West Road Crematorium, Newcastle Upon Tyne – NE5 2JL. Followed by a celebration of Bill’s life at the South Gosforth Club, Gosforth, -NE3 1RS

Sammy Miller for Leven Valley

The news is out that the inaugural ‘Leven Valley Two Day Trial’ to be held on 29/30 September 2018 will have Sammy Miller as the Guest of Honour.

Kinlochleven MCC

The go-ahead Kinlochleven & District Motor Cycle Club announced that the new event will cater for Brit-shock and the later Twin-shock machines on a course that is completely off-road.

Entries will open at 1.00 am on 31st March on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and limited to 150 riders plus a group of invited ‘Guest Riders’.

Sammy Miller has also presented the club with a trophy, which will then be presented by Sammy to the overall winner of the event which will have 30 sections per day utilising many of the networks of paths and private roads which populate the Leven Valley area which surrounds the Argyllshire village.

JOM - Sammy Miller - SMCS
Trials Guru’s John Moffat has interviewed 10 times British Trials Champion, Sammy Miller on many occasions – Photo: Trials Guru/Helen Thomson

Club chairman Martin Murphy told Trials Guru: “We have invested a lot of time in negotiating with landowners, land managers and the local community to put this much needed event on the ground. We will be making good use of the private roads and tracks that are a feature of the locality to avoid any scarring on the hills.”

Murphy continued: “The club are delighted that eleven times British Trials Champion, Sammy Miller has accepted our invitation to be our guest of honour. I discussed it with him at the recent Telford show and he appeared very excited at the proposal and accepted immediately. After all, it was Sammy that effectively created the so-called Pre’65 movement when he moved from Ariel to Bultaco in 1964 and he won the Scottish Six Days, partly in the hills we will use for our Leven Valley Two Day. It was only right and fitting that Sammy should be our main guest.”

Martin also commented: “We have couched our trial planning in similar terms to the now established Highland Classic 2 Day that the Inverness & District club promote on the Alvie Estate, it has been a real success story in Scottish trials and we are keen to compliment that particular event as it is similar to what we are planning around Kinlochleven. We really appreciate the help and assistance that we have received from our neighbouring clubs, those being Inverness & District and the Lochaber & District. It’s all about the sport of trials.”

The new event was heavily promoted during the recent Telford Off Road show in the Midlands and Trials Guru predicts that this will be an oversubscribed event going by the level of enquiries being received both at the show and afterwards.

The Kinlochleven & District club was reformed after an almost 40 year shut down, local man and former trials rider and club member, John MacGregor of Glencoe happened to have the original club badge which is believed to date back to pre WW2 times.

The reformed club also affiliated to the Scottish ACU in early February this year and their secretary, who will be taking the entries is local man David Dougan.

At the time of this news item, there are ‘Special Guests’ and ‘Guest Riders’ that have been approached, so watch this space as no doubt Trials Guru will be informed.

The entry form will be available as a download file on the club’s facebook page: HERE

Sammy Miller 2014 - Telford - Jake Bee
Sammy Miller developed the Bultaco Sherpa T -Photo: Jason Batsford

Westmorland goes South!

Westmorland logo - crop

It’s all happening up north!

The Westmorland Motor Club, established in 1910, which makes it one of the oldest clubs in North West England, will be out in force at this year’s Telford Off-Road Show (17/18 February) at the International Centre (TF4 8RH).

The members will be promoting the ‘Bultaco Revival Nostalgia’ trial which takes place on 16th June at Holme Farm Sedbergh, Cumbria, a week after the Highland Classic Two Day which is already a sell out.

Guest of honour this year is Alan R.C. Lampkin, better known perhaps as ‘Sid’ Lampkin, former Bultaco works rider who was a winner in the SSDT and Scott Trials in 1966 on a works BSA C15T.

Alan Lampkin
Alan Lampkin (325 Bultaco) – Photo: Mike Rapley

This year there will be team awards for teams of three riders competing for the Martin Lampkin memorial award.

Also attending is American Bernie Schrieber who won the World Trials title in 1979 on a Bultaco. Bernie now lives in Zurich but is really looking forward to riding in Cumbria.

Bernie Schreiber'80 Pipeline
1979 FIM World Champion, Bernie Schreiber (325 Bultaco) on Pipeline in the 1980 Scottish Six Days – © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

The main sponsors are Coniston Brewery, BMW – Lloyd South Lakes and LSS Waste Management. The prime mover is once again Peter Remington who rode a Sapphire Motorcycles sponsored Bultaco back in the late 1970s.

Event Secretary is Mike Rapley and the forms are now released, with the entry limited to the first 120 places.

Last year was the inaugural event and was a great success, raising money for cancer charity.

There are many classes at the event which is not solely for Bultaco machinery, albeit that is the theme.

Download entry form and regulations HERE:

Nostalgia Regs 2018

Nostalgia entry form 2018

BulNos 2018