All posts by bigjohn2014

Rob Edwards Story – Part Nine – New Horizons

Part Nine – More work overseas!
Hello everybody and once again thank you for the support you have given me since I began writing my account of life as a trials rider with Trials Guru.
I arrived home to find my new contract with Montesa waiting to be signed. No longer was Head Wrightsons my workplace, but the world of trials!
There was also a letter from Modesto Sole. He was the Director for Montesa International Sales, also I suppose, he was my boss.
The only time I could fault him was when he took me to a restaurant and ordered sheeps’ brains for himself. I was sat opposite having to watch him eat them. I politely declined an offer to try them!
After the meal, he told me that I would be doing around fifteen weeks of schools in various parts of the world.
The first was to be in South America. Starting in Chile to Columbia then Venezuela. This was to take six weeks.

Venezuela - Rob
Venezuela. Rob hands out the silverware to happy pupil Guillermo Jesus Meza Hernandez at one of the many trials schools he undertook as part of his Montesa contract.

This was planned for October 1976, just in time to miss the cold weather at home. I arrived in Santiago and was taken to a cocktail party organised by the local motor club.

Everybody was friendly except one person. I was later to find out he was the touring car champ of Chile. He came up to me and said: “…if you are so flippin good come to my garage tomorrow and ride over my car”. His car was a mini, so I thought with low profile tyres lowered suspension etc it would be no problem.

I arrived at his garage to find that the touring cars had to be absolutely standard. Not only that they had hydro-lastic suspension. The driver had invited all his pals and they were doubled up laughing. This made me more determined to do it. Once on top of the car I breathed a big sigh of relief.

My next stop was Columbia. I landed in Bogata and was due to change planes to Medellin. Unfortunately my flight was one hour late. The next flight was in 23 hours time.

My journey had started in Spain so the only currency I had was pesetas because there were no flights from Bogata to Spain they would not change my pesetas. I was sat in the quietest airport I had ever been in and worse than that I was stuck here for the next 23 hours!

There was about four guards with rifles and what may have been National dress. One came up to me he was quite helpful.

“You no go sleep” he quipped. So, laughing I said possibly steal my luggage eh! “No” he said, “first” he said, drawing a line with his fingers across his throat “then steal your luggage”. That really cheered me up!
Shortly after the soldier returned with a person who I can best describe as a ‘Jack the lad’ (not the sort of person you would trust usually)

“You want hotel?”,  “yes please” I said and explained my predicament. “No problem” he replied “Pesatas? – okay follow me”. We set off out of the airport and the soldier gave me a reassuring thumbs up.

My new ‘friend’ was holding the back doors of a Toyota van open telling me to get in. As the doors were closed I thought oh well what have I got to loose only my life – Help! “I will pick you up at 8.30 tomorrow morning” he shouted as he left. I couldn’t believe it when at 8.30am prompt he was there to pick me up. His fee was 1000 pesetas! You live and learn! – Rob

Trials Guru: Rob Edwards was competing week in week out with Montesa.

1973 - SSDT - Altnafeadh
Rob on Altnafeadh in the 1973 SSDT on the Cota 247 with the Buachaille Etive Mor in the background. He finished in eighth position on 89 marks. Photo: Brian Nichols – Copyright: Mortons Motorcycle Media.

The Cota model was being constantly developed and in 1975 was increased to 310cc with the in-coming model ‘348 prototype’ first seen in the hands of Spaniard Francisco Paya, which was later to become the production Malcolm Rathmell Replica/348 models.

1974 saw Rob pick up the Alfred Scott trophy when he was victorious in the Scott Trial, more on that later, but here is a photo taken at the Kings’ Head Hotel, Richmond at the presentation of awards.

1974 - Scott Win - RE - Marjorie Rathmell
1974 – Rob enjoys a well deserved pint, holding the Alfred A. Scott Memorial Trophy, being given a congratulatory hug from Malcolm Rathmell’s mother, Marjorie.

To be continued…

Read the full ‘Rob Edwards Story’ … click Here

© – Rob Edwards & Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)

Rob Shepherd goes for Montesa/Honda 4RT

Rob Shepherd (centre) with his newly acquired Montesa 4RT Repsol 260. With Richard Thorpe (PJ1) and Craig Holmes of Craigs Motorcycles. – Photo Copyright: Barry Robinson.

Former British Trials Champion (1977) and factory Honda rider, Rob Shepherd is making a comeback to trials with a machine that he was associated back in the seventies. Honda powered four-stroke power. ‘Shep’ a Yorkshire farmer has been practising constantly with a Drayton BSA Bantam which he hopes to ride in Pre’65 events next season. He was particularly taken with the Montesa 4RT. Shepherd rode for Montesa back in the early seventies with Rob Edwards, before switching to Honda UK Trials Team with Brian Higgins and Nick Jefferies, managed by Sammy Miller.

hondashortstroke - HB
The Honda RTL300 (short-Stroke) similar to the model ridden by Rob Shepherd. This is Nick Jefferies machine, now owned by a French Trial enthusiast. Photo Copyright: Heath Brindley, Bristol.

According to Rob’s younger brother Norman, also a very competent rider on a Bultaco, Rob has worn the rear tyre of the Bantam to ‘slick’ proportions. He told Trials Guru at the recent Scott Re-Union: “He’s never off the thing, he’s worn the knobbles off the rear tyre”.

In the 1990’s enthusiasts began building ‘Shepherd Replica’ Hondas. Here is a Honda trials TL250 motor bored to 305cc installed in a Jim Susans (Bikecraft) frame. Photo: MoffatRacing Archive.

Rob Shepherd has been out of the sport since 1983 when he last rode it was an Appleyard 340 Bultaco in 1982/83 and a Majesty Yamaha in 1981.

Red Rose Trial 1981
Rob Shepherd in 1981 on a Majesty Yamaha 320 at the Red Rose Trial. Photo: Barry Robinson


rob shepherd 340 appleyard bultaco in one of his last outings at the 1982 wetherby bottle trial
Rob Shepherd 1982, Appleyard Bultaco 340 mounted for the Wetherby Bottle Trial. Photo: Barry Robinson.


Link to more on Honda Trials

Acknowledgement to Trials Media/Trial Mag/John Hulme.


Barry Robinson – All Rights reserved.

Heath Brindley – All Rights Reserved.

MoffatRacing Archive – Copyright.

Rob Edwards Story – Part Eight – Still in the USA!

Back in the USA – 1972!…
Our next port of call was in Kansas at the home of ‘Wick’ and Marilyn Wicker. Like everybody we had met along our route, they gave us a fantastic welcome and really made us feel at home. The area where the school and trial was held was a bit on the dangerous side. All the trees were covered in thorns. “So what?” I hear you say.
These thorns were American! Everything is big in the USA, they were about 125mm long. I wondered at the end of the week if the trees would be festooned with trials riders impaled on them? It’s the only place I have been to where the riders use tyre weld as the thorns could pierce a trials tyre with ease.
Letter - Javier Burgos - 1972-08-03
1972 letter received from Javier Burgos based in Los Angeles, California. This followed the USA tour that Rob undertook for Montesa Motorcycles.
Fortunately, we had no casualties and after saying our goodbyes, we set off towards Michigan. Unfortunately on route, the van developed a ticking noise and soon after the engine blew. We were towed to a garage where we were given a choice wait a couple of days and they would fit a new engine, or swap everything into a Ryder truck rental van and continue in that. We took one look into the rental van and the decision was unanimous, wait two days.
From Michigan we headed for Rhode Island for our final school and trial. The school went very well and so did the trial.
The event that was put on by the Rhode Island Motorcycle Club was really good and by winning it, I had won every trial during our trip. More important than that, Jordi and myself had put a lot of effort into the schools. We gave each other a slap on the back for a job well done.
After six weeks, we had become really good friends and despite the language barrier we never stopped talking!
Thanks Jordi Permanyer for your help and support. – Rob
Wick Wicker marylin Wicker
The late Marilyn & Norval E. ‘Wick’ Wicker – North American Trials Enthusiasts – Photo courtesy of North American Trials Council.
Trials Guru: Ron mentions Norval E. ‘Wick’ Wicker and his wife, Marilyn were trials enthusiasts who made the annual pilgrimage to the Scottish Six Days to be official Observers at the event. Wick, was a commercial airline pilot by profession. The event and school Rob talks about was organised by The ‘Liberty Missouri Chargers MC’.
The Wickers officiated at the Scottish Six Days from 1973 until 1996. The Wickers were the first non -British observers at the annual ‘Sporting Holiday in the Scottish Highlands’.
In 1988, they became the first non-British nationals to be granted Honorary Life Membership of the of the organising Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd.
The Wickers were also inducted into the North American Trials Council ‘Hall of Fame’ for their significant contribution to the sport of trials.
Sadly ‘Wick’ left us on 2003, aged 76 years and Marilyn passed away ten years later aged 84.

To be continued …
Acknowledgements: – the website of the North American Trials Council.

Read the full ‘Rob Edwards Story’ … click Here

© – Rob Edwards & Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)


Rob Edwards Story – Part Seven – Montesa Abroad!

Hello everybody!
I am both amazed and thrilled at the response you have given to my story. John ‘GURU’ Moffat has been working flat out, because I was so busy around this time in my life, I didn’t have time to record what I had achieved or where I had achieved it!
John has been super-busy wading through old magazines, programmes and his knowledge, to match the number on my bike to a particular event. For example in 1970, I was number 124 in the Scottish Six Days etc etc.
Well done John and thank you very much! And now I see it’s in Spanish, thanks to co-operation between John Moffat and his friend Horacio San Martin of Todotrial.
1970 - Ben Nevis
Rob in the 1970 Scottish on Ben Nevis, on the Montesa Cota Mk2 near Achintee Farm. We have run the magnifying glass over this and we spot: Jimmy Morton; John Hemingway; Rodger Mount Snr Ralph Venables; Bert Thorn and a young Boyd Webster Snr in the gallery. We wonder if you are in that crowd? Click on the photo to make it a bit bigger to see.
Now on with my story…
I teamed up with Jordi Permanyer in Los Angelese at the Montesa distribution depot. It was here I met Javier Burgos who ran this department and whose idea it was to make this trip. He took us to look at our transport for the next few weeks. It was a Dodge van with aircraft seats auto-transmission, air-con and so on and so on.
The next day we set off north. Our 1972 trip was finally under way. Everywhere was so different to home. It was warm and pleasant, my life had changed direction in a way I could never have imagined or dreamed of. Our route was pre-planned and at each destination, the people were so pleased to see us. It was a real pleasure to work with them.
1971 Cota 247
1971 Montesa Cota 247 the same model as ridden by Rob for the factory. Photo by Owner: Javier Cruz, Madrid.
On arrival the first thing they wanted to know was “Have you been beaten yet at one of the schools in the Salt Lake City area?”. I said: “no not yet”,  “well you will here” they said.
We were in an old sand quarry that looked like a great place for a school. All the time, I was bombarded with people telling me how good Donny is. Most of the moveable sand had gone, leaving an apple core shaped column with a telegraph pole in the centre. “See that? Rob Donny can go up there!”. This is the sort of thing you dread.
It was possible but the apple core shape meant if you didn’t get onto the top there was a good chance of the bike falling onto you and causing serious damage. I wasn’t so much worried about that, as if things went wrong the rest of our trip would have to be cancelled. I got onto my bike hoping to get it warmed up and then go for it. I decided “right go for it”.
Big steps were never my speciality. I hit it as hard as I could in second and I got up it. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the crowd! I inched the bike around the telegraph pole, getting down was trickier than I had thought. It was too high to jump off so I eased the front wheel over the edge but when the sump banged on the edge it kicked the back wheel up. By now I was decending fast and for one moment I thought I was going into a forward roll. I managed to land safely and suddenly I was everybody’s hero. Jordi looked relieved.
The next thing to happen was Donny arrived. We will never know what went wrong but he did exactly what I was desperate to avoid his front wheel kicked back. Donny landed first, closely followed by his bike and the end result was a broken leg. Oh well, that was that then! – Rob
1971 - Scottish - Rob finished in sixth position. Seen here on Garbh Bheinn. Notable spectators are Monty Banks on the left with goggles and Dave Rowland on the right. Rob was very friendly with Rowland and held him in high regard as a rider and a person.
1971 – Scottish – Rob finished in sixth position. Seen here on Garbh Bheinn. Notable spectators are Monty Banks on the left with goggles and Dave Rowland on the right. Rob was very friendly with Rowland and held him in high regard as a rider and a person.
Trials Guru: Rob was by 1970 a true ambassador for the Montesa brand. He was traveling the USA and getting a great reception from the trials riders, who had read about Rob in motorcycle newspapers and magazines. Remember, this was in the period before the rise of Lane Leavitt, Martin Belair and of course Bernie Schreiber. But there was raw trials talent in the USA, that was to be proven later.
The Montesa USA Team benefited from Rob’s teachings in the early 1970’s – 1973 Montesa Team USA – Left to Right: Xavier Jordi; Derek Edgar (Scotland); Marland Whaley; Richard Delaney; Martin Belair; Vic Conway (Front) – Photo Courtesy: Martin Belair.

Read the full ‘Rob Edwards Story’ … click Here

© – Rob Edwards & Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2014 (All Rights reserved)

Walther Luft at 70

Walter Luft Laggan locks
Walther Luft (Puch 250) on ‘Laggan Locks’ – Scottish Six Days Trial 1983 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Scotland.

Walther Luft, former Austrian Trials Champion, Puch factory rider and exceptional machine developer and innovator is 70 years of age!

Happy Birthday Walther from Trials Guru!

Luft 1970 - SSDT
Walther Luft (crouched) examines the Walwin BSA of Ross Winwood at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh in 1970. Standing middle is Austrian Peter Bous and looking away is Scottish ACU secretary T. Arnott Moffat, a great friend of Luft and Bous. Photo: Hans Maiditz, Graz

Walther’s first Scottish Six Days Trial was in 1970 on a 169cc Puch which he made himself. He was accompanied by his good friend Peter Bous and Puch manager Hans Maiditz a former ISDT rider for Steyr-Daimler Puch A.G. (Graz).

1970 - SSDT - Gorgie Market. Bob Paterson (SACU) examines Walther Luft's 169cc Puch. (W-30823 Vienna registration)
1970 – SSDT – Gorgie Market, Edinburgh. Bob Paterson (SACU) examines Walther Luft’s 169cc Puch. (W-30823 Vienna registration)

Walther won the Edinburgh Trophy for the best foreign rider at his first attempt.

Luft developed the Puch trials machine virtually on his own with parts supplied by the factory at Graz. He took the Puch 169cc six speed motor out to a full 250cc displacement. It was a machine which was nearly 20 years in development.

Luft was always making components lighter, in fact well before his time the same processes were used many years later my mountain bike riders and manufacturers.

Walther was a talented engineer and exceptionally good at metal working as this was his trade or craft.

Much of the Puch was made from Nylon 66 material, such as the sump guard and chain tubes which was a feature of Luft’s machine and was copied by Montesa when they brought out the production Malcolm Rathmell Replica 348 machine in 1976.

Luft also went on to develop along with German champion, Felix Krahnstover the KTM trials machine. However the growing KTM concern decided to pursue motocross and enduro markets, as they were more lucrative and profitable for the Mattighoven based organisation.

A story here from the premier Austrian ‘’ website:

click …

Walther Luft Profile