The 1965 Scottish:A few weeks before the ’65 SSDT, I had an out-of-the-blue phone call from Hugh Viney, the competitions manager at Associated Motorcycles (AMC) who owned the AJS & Matchless brands; wanting to know if I would ride in the ‘works’ team in the forthcoming Scottish – WOULD I?
It seemed that they wanted Mick Andrews to either go scrambling or ride the 250cc James, which AMC’s also owned.
And so it came to pass that I became the third member of the AJS factory team.
However, there was no time for them to prepare me a bike and Mick’s bike 644BLB wasn’t available for some reason, so I needed to ride my own Ajay – not a problem!
Both the ‘Gordons’ – McLaughlan and Blakeway, had put my name forward to be in the team to Hugh Viney, so a big ‘thank you’ to them both for that gesture, which I have treasured all my life since.
My week was going well, I was clean on the Tuesday.
Later in the same day, we were looking forward to riding the new section ‘Pipeline’, introduced the previous year.
There were so many stories about ‘Pipeline’ that I wasn’t really sure if it had been cleaned yet or not.
I had teamed up with Alan Chant from Bexley-Heath who was on a 350 Matchless.
In those days all the ‘big bikes’ were grouped at the back of the field.
As we rode up to ‘Pipeline’, the spectators were all heading back into Kinlochleven.
Alan and myself walked the hill and both agreed on bottom gear.
Alan went first and he cleaned it.
I went next and after a bit of a shaky start, by trying to go too fast too soon.
I settled down and at the right speed things were a lot easier and guess what, I cleaned it.
I bet the spectators who left early were a bit peeved!
On the Thursday, I parked my bike close to the first section on ‘Mamore’ and went off to view the sections.
When I returned to my bike, there was a large pool of oil on the floor underneath!
A stone must have flicked up from the front wheel and hit the small alloy casting that the oil feed to the cylinder-head connects to and smashed it.
There was no way of fixing it, so I set off free-wheeling down to the road, expecting to retire from the trial.
I was sitting by the road side at the gate, that is the entrance to the famous Mamore path, when a car and trailer pulled up.
“Whats up Rob” the chap shouted over, I explained my plight.
“No problem mate, give me two minutes and I will take the one off my bike” he said.
In all the confusion and despair, I hadn’t noticed that the bike on the trailer was a 350 AJS, what a stroke of luck – for me anyway.
The engine had ‘gone bang’ and the fellow had retired from the trial.
You don’t have to be good with luck like that!
He got me going and I forget the lads’ name but I am indebted to his sportsmanship and generosity that day.
On the sixth day, we did Town Hall Brae in the centre of Fort William.
We were then faced with the long ride back to Edinburgh.
For me it had been a great week thanks to Gordon Blakeway and Gordon McLaughlan. – Bye for now! – Rob.
Trials Guru: 1965 was the effective beginning of the end for the ‘big bikes’ that Rob talks about. Sammy Miller had been victorious for the last time on his 500cc Ariel (GOV132) and had moved over in late 1964 to the Spanish Bultaco, the creation of Franciso Xavier Bulto.
Miller brought the 244cc Sherpa T (669NHO), home to victory in the 1965 Scottish losing 29 marks, the first win on a foreign machine in the trials’ history.
Second was Arthur J. Lampkin on his 249cc BSA (XON688) losing 33 marks and third was Mick Andrews, 250cc James (307AKV) on 37 marks.
It wasn’t all to go Miller’s way though, a year later, arch rival Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin was to snatch victory from Miller’s grasp on his 249cc BSA (748MOE).
In the ’65 trial, Rob Edwards rode number 207 as part of the works AJS team comprising of Edwards, Gordon S. Blakeway (No. 178) and Gordon O. McLaughlan (No. 177).
Rob rode his own machine registered 970PL with many of the works style modifications.
However, history records that it was Triumph that won the 1965 Manufacturers Team Prize, the Blackford Challenge Trophy.
From the Official Results of the 1965 Scottish Six Days Trial:
Award 16 – For the best performance by a competitor on a solo motor cycle from 251-350 c.c. – R. Edwards (A.J.S.).
In the 1965 Scottish, Rob lost 63 marks and gained a Special First Class Award, just 6 marks behind his friend Alan Lampkin who went on to win the following year.
Rob on AJS: When the SSDT started and finished in Edinburgh, on the sixth day after the lunch check at Crianlarich there were no more sections until the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill in the city. This was purely to see if your clutch still worked. You had to stop between two yellow lines and when the official dropped his flag you could move on – simple.
When you passed a third yellow line, that was the end of the observed hill. The path was so flat, nobody actually treat it like a section. However, I did see a rider who when the flag dropped he picked up the front wheel and tried to wheelie to the ends cards unfortunately he tipped his bike over backwards and his score went up by five points.
After Blackford Hill was the final scrutineering test when you wheeled the bike onto a wooden workbench for inspection.
The AJS had one big problem, the swinging-arm bushes, they wore out at an alarming rate!
If the scrutineer thought that there was excess movement in the bushes, your score could go up by five marks.
I can still see my Dad, Bob at the bottom of Blackford Hill, with a cup of tea in one hand and an industrial grease gun in the other.
After my cup of tea, I pumped the swinging arm full of grease. It only lasted for 100 metres, but it was enough to get through scrutineering!
To Be Continued …
Words: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, John Moffat 2014.
: Copyright: John Hulme/Trials Media – photograph at Scott Re-Union Dinner 2014.
: Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd for the use of the 1965 programme cover.
: Rob Edwards for the 1964 photo of Loch Eild Path. Brian Holder Photo.
To read all of Rob Edwards’ story of his life in trials click … here
Tommy Sandham, author of “Four-Stroke Finale, The Honda Trials Story” and “The Scottish” books, has produced a bespoke book on the Pre’65 Scottish.
Released in 2010, the photographs are all in colour, featuring the work of Colin Bullock, Donald Young and John Moffat to name but three with a full set of results, year by year included in this fine publication.
Tommy has some future work planned and needs the space, so he has reduced the price to sell the remaining stock.
Once they are gone – they are gone! He has no plans to re-print this book.
Many years ago, the late Tom Ellis, Ripon motorcycle dealer and BSA works trials rider was responsible for organising the Scott Trial Re-Union Dinner at the Ripon Spa Hotel.
Tom was a highly respected rider and event organiser who, after he ceased competing, put a great deal of effort back into the sport he loved. Ellis was a stalwart of the Ripon Motor Club, which was founded in 1909. Tom had contacts throughout the trials world.
The dinner wasn’t just for riders past and present it was open to anyone who had helped the event become a success over the years.
Of course funds were raised on these evenings, held five years apart. for the famous Scott Trial charities. 2014 was to be no exception.
The event organisation was taken over some years past by Alan R.C. Lampkin known of course universally as Sid Lampkin, former BSA & Bultaco factory rider who himself won the Scott in 1966 on his works BSA (748MOE).
The event returned to the ever accommodating Ripon Spa Hotel in Park Street, Ripon as the hotel was able to accommodate at least 100 guests with ease.
The guest list was a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of motorcycle trials over the years.
Sid opened the proceedings by giving the assembled guests a run-down of the itinerary for the evening. He read out the apologies, which included past winners: Bill Wilkinson, Sammy Miller, Malcolm Rathmell, Graham Jarvis and the well-known Gordon L. Jackson who couldn’t manage along this year, but had the courtesy to write to Sid with their apologies.
To propose the “Toast to the Scott Trial” was Sid’s nephew, 12 times FIM World Trials Champion, Dougie Lampkin M.B.E. Doug is of course a multiple winner of the event.
Arthur Lampkin had a few comments to make of his own, his usual ‘dry sense of humour’ shone through, which raised a chortle from the gathering!
The “Reply” was given by the very competent and knowledgeable guest, none other than former Senior Manx GP & Formula 1 TT winner, Honda factory star, Nick Jefferies. His knowledge of the sport and the Scott is un-paralleled. He took us through a little bit of the trials’ history eluding to great names of the past, made in the old ‘formal style’ by their initials and surname as they appeared in ‘official results’ and the press reports of the day. Such notables as: B.H.M. Viney; G.S. Blakeway; S.H. Miller; J.V. Brittain to name but a few.
As far as machines were concerned, the 1912 Scott of Clerie Wood of C.H. Wood of Bradford Film-makers fame was there sporting it’s famous AK222 registration number and loaned specially by the fabulous Bradford Industrial Museum for the occasion. David Wood, Clerie’s son was also a guest and instrumental in gaining the museum’s permission to display the Scott.
The other machine to keep the Scott company, was this years’ winning bike, the factory Beta Evo 300 of James Dabill, still sporting its 200 number plate which in itself was significant for Dabill as his win being the Centenary Scott to go with his Centenary SSDT win in 2011. The machine was loaned by Beta UK boss, John Lampkin.
The guest list was extensive; here is a short summary of some of those present, firstly the ten former winners who attended: Philip Alderson; Nigel Birkett; Johnny Brittain; Rob Edwards; Arthur J. Lampkin; Alan. R. C. Lampkin; Dougie Lampkin; H. Martin Lampkin; Gerald Richardson & Jonathan Richardson.
Other notable riders were: Tony Davis (BSA); Gordon Blakeway & Gordon McLauchlan (AJS); Pat Brittain; Tony Bingley; Peter & Neil Gaunt; John Metcalfe & Mick Wilkinson (Ossa); Norman Shepherd (Comerford Bultaco); Tony Calvert (Gori & Ossa).
A fair number of the Richmond club came by Harkers Coaches as the firms’ owner is Paul Terry, an active current rider and club worker.
Many present agreed that Sid Lampkin had put together a fantastic evening with excellent speeches and memorabilia on display, provided by Chris Wallis, Trial Secretary; Eric Kitchen, the doyen of trials photographers; John Hulme of Trial Magazine & Classic Trial and Tim Britton of Morton’s Motorcycle Media. David Wood supplied a selection of Scott videos that were playing in the ante-room and enjoyed by all.
Borrowing Sid’s gavel, Hulme made special photographic presentations to Dougie Lampkin and John Lampkin accepted a photograph on behalf of James Dabill, this years’ centenary victor.
John Moffat was both surprised and delighted, to be presented with two special photographs for his assistance and promotion of the Scott Trial over the past few years. Moffat, having been the most recent auctioneer at the trial awards evening, then proceeded to auction off the special “Scott Centenary Dinner banner” donated by Mortons, duly signed by everyone who attended, for the generous sum of £350, which of course tops up the Scott Charities pot.
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By the time the 1964 Scottish came around, I had got over my previous year’s disaster, this time I was allocated number 210 on an AJS 350 bought from Comerfords, this time entered as a ‘privateer’ and riding for the Middlesbrough & District, my home club.
The event still started and finished in Edinburgh. On the Thursday, we went over the Corrieyarrick Pass.
I think I had been following behind Peter Gaunt and what happened next I wasn’t to find out until sometime later.
I found myself sat on a banking at the side of the Pass, which is an old General Wade military road.
I had no idea at all how I came to be sitting there.
Alan Morewood from Sheffield who became a top sidecar driver, came along on his 500 Ariel as he was number 205 that year, he stopped and asked if I was Okay? ‘Yes, fine’ I said, ‘Bye’ he said and rode off.
A couple of minutes later and Alan was back. ‘Rob, are you sure you are al-right, you look dazed?’ said Alan. ‘No problem’ I said and off he went again. Somehow I managed to get back to Fort William to finish the day’s run.
The first person I spoke to asked what I had been doing to scratch my face? Then someone said, ‘never mind his face, look at the back of his bike!’
The rear end was totally out of line. I then realised that I must have hit a pothole in the road with the front wheel over Corrieyarrick, cartwheeled and that explained my rest on the bank.
We pulled the bike back into line with a length of pipe that we found. Apart from a bit of a headache, it was back to business as usual.
Rest of the week was not as eventful and had a good old needle match with my mate Sid Lampkin who was on a factory Cotton that year.For the next year, I had bought another AJS from Comerfords, Thames Ditton built by Jock Wilson. I’ll tell you about that ride next. Bye for now! – Rob
Post Script by Rob Edwards:I’ve just been looking again at this fine Brian Holder photograph of me on the AJS on ‘Ben Nevis’ in 1964. The chap directly behind me is Mick Ward from Scarborough.
He built a bike especially for this event. He had the novel idea of taking the exhaust through the back frame loop to save a bit of weight.
However, when he got stuck, the ever helpful spectators would rush to his aid, not realising the exhaust was the rear frame loop and severely burn their hands in their quest to assist! I’m sure the A&E at Fort William were extra busy that week with burns!
I bet Mick never thought that one day Valentino Rossi would copy his helmet design! – Bye for now! – Rob
TRIALS GURU: – 1964 Scottish Six Days, this edition was won by Sammy Miller riding the much modified and much weight reduced, Ariel HT5. This would be the last time he would do so on the British four-stroke, Miller had already been secret testing the 200cc Bultaco Sherpa which he was later to develop to an increased 244cc and thus created a world beating machine with the San Adrien De Besos factory.
From the 1964 Scottish Six Days Trial Results:
No. 210. R. Edwards, Middlesbrough & Dist. M.C., A.J.S. 350 c.c. …. 124 marks S F C (Special First Class Award)
Rob’s eventful Scottish ‘Thursday’ was May 7th 1964. The route was as follows, let’s follow where Rob went that day: Start, Fort William; Inverlochy; 2 sections at Annat; Banavie; Gairlochy; 8 sections at Laggan Locks; Corrieyarrick Pass (where Rob has his big off!); Melgarve; Laggan Inn; Roy Bridge; Inverlochy – Lunch control; Glen Nevis; 4 sections at Ben Nevis; Fort William – Down Ashburn Lane; Onich; Kinlochleven; 1 section on Pollock Way; 8 sections at Leitir Bo Fionn; Down Loch Eild Path; 8 sections at Mamore; Check at top of hill; Mamore Road; 2 sections on the Town Hall Brae and Finish of day. Total Mileage 132 miles. 33 sections.
SSDT Point of interest: The number plates you see in the SSDT photos were issued to riders by the organising club. The rider paid a fee of ten shillings and forfeited the deposit if they didn’t hand the plates back at the end of the event. In 1964 the number plate official was Bob Adamson who later was to become SSDT Assistant Secretary and Secretary of the Pre’65 Scottish Trial.
Copyright: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, Moffat Racing (c) 2014
Don Morley, Reigate, Surrey for permission to use the photograph of Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson for this article.
Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd for the use of 1964 programme cover.
Rob Edwards for the use of the Brian Holder photo.
Blackie Holden Junior for the photo of Blackie Holden Snr in 1964.
Mrs Ron Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William for the photos of Ali McDonald & Ron Thomson.
To read all of Rob Edwards’ story of his life in trials, click … here
1963 – My Disastrous First Scottish! Back in 1963, the Scottish Six Days, the most famous of all trials, started in Edinburgh and we rode up to Fort William on the first day from where the event was centered until the following Saturday.
Almost all the opening day was by main road. From just leaving the start at Gorgie Market, it rained and rained and more rained. I rode the 250cc Cotton that year, which was supplied by my sponsor, Doug Marshall Motorcycles from Marske-By-The-Sea, North Yorks.
By the time we reached Rannoch Station I was very numb,
but at least we were about to do a bit of cross country to warm us up a bit.
We couldn’t have been going for more than a mile when we came to a river that could only be described as a raging torrent.
You know things are bad when you see groups of maybe six riders up to their waist carrying a bike aloft then going back for another.
One person looked as though he had the job sussed it was Peter Gaunt.
After walking along the riverbank he had found a boulder that was part submerged in the mud. “That’s my launch pad!” he said.Peter jumped on his bike and disappeared.
When he returned, I estimated his speed at around 30-35 mph. Gaunt hit his ‘launch pad’ spot on, but due to a slight miscalculation instead of flying horizontally across to the far bank, he went straight up in the air, finally about mid-stream he plummeted into the river in a huge cloud of steam. Peter soon joined the ranks with their spark plugs out trying to dry out their engines.
I was sat wondering what to do next, when a farmer and tractor appeared out of no-where! “Two bikes and two riders at a time”, he shouted. He had a trailer, the type you would carry milk churns in.
We were a lot further down stream when we got to the far side. At times it felt as though the current was going to tip us into the drink.
In the meantime it was still pouring with rain.
When I finally got to Fort William I handed in my route card. “You have not done the two sections at Ben Nevis”, the official told me. “Give me my card back and I will nip back and do them”, I said. “Sorry!”, the official said, “If your card is handed in, there is no getting it back, so I am afraid you are out of the Trial, rules are rules”.
I was bitterly disappointed to hear this, but I had to accept it. Many riders had traveled to the finish of the day in Fort William on the West Highland Railway with their bikes for company.
As well as this, they were allowed to get their bikes started and continue with the Trial.
And they were not penalised for missing Ben Nevis!
I was told I could ride with a R plate meaning retired, but that was not for me.
My dad Bob, came up by car and trailer, so we loaded up and I went home, feeling rather sorry for myself and back to work at Head Wrightons.
Ah well, never mind it happens I suppose … roll on next years’ “Scottish” … Bye for now, ‘Moaning’ ROB EDWARDS!
TRIALS GURU: The 1963 Scottish Six Days – The eventual winner was Arthur Lampkin on his factory 250 BSA C15 ‘XON688’ a machine that Arthur still owns to this day.
The details that Rob gives us are very true in that it was a wet week generally and many rivers were in spate. Missing a section or group usually meant instant exclusion in 1963, as having failed to complete the course. Nowadays, riders are awarded extra penalty marks for missing sections, within set limits in the regulations, but rarely excluded.
Rob would have ridden the following first day route to Fort William:
Start, Gorgie Market (now called the Corn exchange); Kincardine Bridge; 2 sections at Culross in Fife; Blair Logie (Check point); Braco; Comrie; Lochearnhead; 8 sections at Glenogle Hill;
Killin; Bridge of Lochay (Petrol & Lunch control); Bridge of Balgie; Innerwick; 8 sections on Meall Glas; Dall; Rannoch (where the riders met with a raging torrent!); Fersit; Roy Bridge; Inverlochy; Glen Nevis; 4 sections at Ben Nevis; 2 sections at Town Hall Brae, Fort William.
Total mileage Day one: 170 miles; 24 sections for the day. The route-markers over Fersit was most likely to have been Johnny Clarkson from Skirling, Biggar and Bob Paterson from Airdrie, both former Six Days riders in the nineteen fifties.
Copyright: Rob Edwards/Trials Guru, Moffat Racing (c) 2014
With acknowledgement to Trial Magazine UK/Classic Trial Magazine UK for their assistance with this series of articles.
To read all of Rob Edwards’ story of his life in trials, click … here
After meeting up with Rob Edwards at the Centenary Scott Trial, Trials Guru decided it would be of interest to our supporters to learn more of the Thornaby lad who went on to become a factory Montesa rider during the golden era of the Cota.
Here is the introduction in Rob’s own words:
Hi Reader Thank you for taking the time to read my story. My name is Rob Edwards. I was born back in 1945 in Thornaby and from a very early age I was desperate to be a trials rider.
Although my dad was not a trials rider, he was involved in the organising & observing side of things. Tony Clarke, a fellow Thornaby lad, would get to our section and say: ‘come on lad I’ve had enough for today’… handing me his 250 BSA, I was off!
I was 14 years old at the time. ‘Don’t forget, I’ve to ride home and the bike has no lights’.
For the next 2 hours or so I was in motorbike heaven.
Until I was sixteen, Tony did this dozens of times and if I ever win the lottery, he will be top of the list. Cheers Tony! and many thanks.
My first job was an apprentice fitter and turner at Head Wrightsons, Teesdale Works.
My main interest was trialing not industry. Head Wrightsons were not at all sympathetic towards sports especially motorbike sport. However my doctor was and every year when I came back from the SSDT they knew where I had been as our local paper had done a daily report on it. Thanks to Dr. Kaye who had given me a sick note for the week and as I hadn’t claimed any money there was nothing they could do.
Eventually it did come to a head and we said goodbye.
I was sorry to say goodbye to my friends, but not the management. Hope you will be here next time when we will be getting into my move to Montesa & the unbelievable life change that was about to happen. Bye for now… ROB EDWARDS
Trials Guru: Rob gained an apprenticeship as a fitter/turner at Head Wrightson, a major employer and large heavy industrial firm based at Thornaby-on-Tees. They specialised in the manufacture of large industrial products such as fractional distillation columns that needed special transport to get them to site. Its products, which were made of cast or wrought iron, were used for boilers, railway chairs, naval ships, and many bridges across the world.
Rob having served his apprenticeship, rarely did any overtime or weekend working for one very good reason; that would have restricted his trials riding activities. One day a manager, called Jack Welham said to him in front of a number of his workmates, “Robbie, you have got to make up your mind, do you want to be a fitter or a motorbike rider?” As Welham turned and began to walk away with a smug smile on his face, Rob shouted back at him: “I have made up my mind Jack; I’m going to be a motorbike rider!”
To be continued …
To read all of Rob Edwards’ story of his life in trials, click … here
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