Category Archives: Obituaries

Harry Lindsay dies at 92

Harry Lindsay 1953

Popular motorcycle importer and rider, Harry Lindsay passed away on the morning of 11th November 2018 at the age of 92 years.

He was the third generation of the Lindsay family involved in the motorcycle trade.

His grandfather, Robert Lindsay, was already a motorcycle manufacturer in 1898 producing the famous ‘Celtic’.

Robert Lindsay was also fundamental in developing the pneumatic tyre along with his close friend John Boyd Dunlop, eventually convincing him to set-up the first tyre factory in the world on Golden lane, a mere 50 feet from Lindsay’s own business premises.

The first pneumatic tyre prototypes were actually tested on Robert Lindsay’s racing bicycles, winning many all the races they entered.

Born in 1926, Harry’s grandfather Robert and later his father James, traded from premises in Ship Street, Dublin. Lindsay’s was one of the oldest motorcycle businesses in the British Isles, founded in 1897, although prior to that date they were already assembling bicycles and producing steel cart wheel rim casings.

Harry’s passion for motorcycling took priority over everything else and was still riding well into his 80’s. He was a generous sponsor with many riders coming under his support over the years. His sons Alan and Ralph were both accomplished trials riders.

Lindsay was the official Bultaco importer for Ireland and had very strong connections with the Bulto family in Barcelona. He also imported the ‘Super Ser’ brand of gas heaters made by the San Adria de Besos company.

His ongoing relationship with the Bultaco brand led him to enter a Bultaco team in the 1967 Production 250cc TT, with riders Bill Smith and Irishman, Tommy Robb placing 1st and 2nd.

Harry had also been Ireland’s agent for Vincent motorcycles and as such laid claim to being one of only a handful of people fortunate enough to ride Reg Dearden’s supercharged Vincent Black Lightning.


Harry Lindsay’s funeral will take place at St. Mary’s Church in Blessington, Co. Wicklow on Friday, 23rd November at 2 pm.

Kenny McKee

Kenneth “Kenny” McKee

16 December 1948 – 6 November 2018

Kenny Mckee

Kenny McKee was born into a motorbike mad family on 16th December 1948, the youngest child of eight.

Known as ‘King Kenny’ to many, his love of bikes was destined to be, given that his father and his big brother Bobby “RJ” were full on petrol heads.

Growing up around bikes he had a passion for all aspects of the sport, but trials was his true love.  Bobby was riding trials from the early 1950s and Kenny followed him all over the country watching and eventually competing.  He rode trials through the 1970s and into the early 1980s and made long lasting and enduring friendships.  Many nights were spent in the company of good friends reminiscing about all the old boys and the “good old days”.


Bikes were second only to family and Kenny had two sons who took his love for all things bike into trials as well.  Once Warren and Terence started riding in the early 1980s, Kenny put all his enthusiasm and effort into supporting them, taking them all over the country.

His absolute dream event, as with thousands of other was the Scottish Six Days Trial, travelling over for years to watch and also competing in the Pre’65 event a few times too.

A joiner by trade from his teenage years, he was so driven by trials that many a job was put back while the bikes to centre stage.

Latterly Kenny and his wife of almost fifty years, Blossom travelled all over Ireland and GB with Terence, competing in local events, Nationals and the SSDT as well as the Lakes, Loch Lomond and the Isle of Man events.


Sadly Kenny passed away peacefully in his sleep at home this morning, a few weeks short of his 70th birthday.  His loss will be felt by a great many people, not just family, but also the bike family.

The sport has lost a good friend today, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things trials

Kenny is survived by his wife Blossom, sons Warren and Terence, daughter Sharon.  Daughters in law Karen and Natalie as well as grandchildren Jordan, Erin and Oliver, and especially by great granddaughter Katie, who has also been bitten by the bike bug and will no doubt follow those well-trodden footsteps of granda Kenny.

Funeral arrangements:

The service is Friday the 9th November at Clarkes Funeral Home, 12 Court Square, Newtownards, NI, BT23 7NY at 12 mid-day. After the service interment will be at Movilla Cemetery off the Movilla Road for 1pm.

Refreshments will be available afterwards in The Ivy Bar which is across the road from Clarkes and friends are most welcome to call in.

Trials Guru sends sincere condolences to the McKee family at this difficult time. Kenny McKee was an enthusiastic supporter of ‘Trials Guru’ who demanded a supply of Trials Guru decals when he met John Moffat at the SSDT this year.

Photo courtesy of friend, Chris Sharp

Jim Pickering

Jim Pickering - Chris Sharp photo
Jim Pickering on one of his Drayton creations – Photo: Chris Sharp

The trials world was saddened to hear of the passing of Kidderminster’s Jim Pickering on October 4th 2018, best known as the man behind the ‘Drayton’ brand special framed machines that have come to dominate Pre’65 classic trials over the past few years. Jim bravely fought cancer which did not preclude him from riding in trials, the sport he loved.

A talented engineer, always full of enthusiasm and advice, Jim was a regular competitor at classic events countrywide and was overjoyed when Scotland’s Gary Macdonald was the first Scotsman to win the Pre’65 Scottish in 2017 on a Drayton Triumph.

John Moffat of Trials Guru said: “I bought a frame kit from Jim to house a spare BSA B40 motor I had lying under the bench. He could not be more helpful with advice. He was a very friendly, open gentleman who I enjoyed very much conversing with when we met. He will be greatly missed in the sport.”

Trials Guru send it’s sincere condolences to his widow, Jayne and the Pickering family.

Jim’s funeral will take place on 18th October, 2018 at 15.30 hrs at the Wyre Forest Crematorium. The family have requested casual dress code with jeans acceptable. Please, family flowers only. Donations if desired, to West Midlands Air Ambulance & Millbrook Suite , Kidderminster Hospital.

Andrew Dignan trials enthusiast

The Scottish trials world was saddened by the news that Lochaber man, Andrew J. Dignan, father of three trials riding sons David, Kevin and Simon and also Mike and Graham, passed away on Thursday 19th July, 2018 aged 84 years.

Andrew for many years, with his wife Grace, were stalwarts of the Lochaber & District MCC and  after Grace’s death in 2001, the club has run an event in her memory every year since.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat said: “Andrew Dignan was a man who always met you with a cheery smile and a good firm handshake. He was a true trials enthusiast who never competed but put a lot into the sport, having observed and officiated at the SSDT and local trials which he helped organise with his wife Grace.”

Moffat continued: “On a personal note, I had a lot of time for Andrew and we could chat for many hours when we met. I valued his friendship highly and I will miss him greatly”.

Andrew’s funeral took place at Noon on Saturday, 28th July 2018 at St Margaret’s Church in Roy Bridge, near Fort William. The R.C. church was filled by neighbours, friends, family, shinty and trials enthusiast from far and near.

His son Graham read a eulogy and his grandson, Cahal Dignan had written a special poem which he read  out.

As already mentioned, Andrew’s wife and sole-mate, Grace passed away in 2001 and part of Andrew died with her, they were a very close couple. They are now buried together in Cille Choirill cemetry high on the hill overlooking the road to Fersit where the Grace Dignan Memorial trial is held.

Young Sandy Cameron from Fersit played the pipes as Andrew’s coffin was carried from the church, the tune being ‘Sands of Kuwait’.

Andrew was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the Scottish ACU in 2014 in recognition of his dedication to Scottish trials over 30 years as an observer, parc ferme marshal and time check controller at the SSDT and his work for the Lochaber & District MCC. Many of their members were at Andrew’s funeral. He also won recognition from the local Lochaber Cammanachd club for services to Shinty.

On a lighter note, the priest commented that the family had all mentioned that Andrew always had a can of WD40 close by, as he believed it sorted most things that had gone wrong, even his arthritic knees!


There was a collection for the local Belford Hospital – Ward One, endowment fund.

We send our sincere condolences to the Dignan family.

Photo courtesy of the Dignan family

Walter Dalton

WD - Mable Dalton - AP
Walter with his wife Mable at their Weardale home – Photo: Alan Pennington, Stanhope

Trials Guru reports the passing of Weardale stalwart Walter Dalton, one of the North East’s best known trials characters.
Walter was employed by Portland Blue Circle Cement at their Weardale plant at Eastgate and was a regular competitor across the border in Scottish trials which also included the Loch Lomond Two-Day and Scottish Six Days events, plus the Pre’65 Scottish.

Walter, Montesa Cota mounted in 1969

In later years he took up riding Pre’65 trials on a 500 Ariel and supported Spain’s Carlos Casas on a 200cc Triumph Cub for many years in the Pre’65 Scottish.

Walter Dalton on an AJS in the 1980s

Dalton competed in many Scottish Six Days Trials back as far as the late 1960s. He rode both Bultaco and Montesa machinery.

Walter Dalton, Triumph Cub mounted around early 1960s

In 1984, Walter entered the SSDT and the Pre’65 Scottish on a Reg May built ‘RM Special’, this machine was actually road registered as such. The machine was a BSA B40 motor in a much modified Bultaco Sherpa frame, with Alpina front wheel and Pursang rear wheel and a modified 340 Sherpa alloy tank and specially fabricated oil tank. The machine was not strictly Pre’65 but the organisers were less strict in those days.

Walter Dalton - 2007 - JH
Walter Dalton in 2007 – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine

Trials Guru extends sincere condolences to the Dalton family.

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

Ulf Karlson 1980 World Champion

Ulf Karlson - 1975
Ulf Karlson (Montesa 348) in 1975 at the German Round of the World Championships at Gefrees – Photo Rainer Heise

It is with sadness that we report the death of the 1980 World Trials Champion, Ulf Karlson aged 65 years.

It is believed that he fought a battle with cancer and passed away on 6th February 2018.

Born in Alvangen, Sweden on March 6th 1952, Karlson will be always associated with the Montesa brand to which he gave the Barcelona company their first World Championship victory in 1980.

Ulf was winner of fifteen trial Grands Prix, his first was in 1974 when it was still a European Championship and was on podium forty times during his European/World series career, which began with the then European Championships by winning his native Sweden round at nineteen years of age in 1971, on Montesa.

Ulf Karlson was not a flamboyant character, but was one of the quieter riders who merely got on with the job in hand without fuss. He was regarded as a true professional rider who, like many learned their craft in their domestic sport before launching onto the European and then World stage of trials sport.

Karlson retired from top line trials in 1983.

Miquel Cirera Lamarca, Team Manager of the Montesa/HRC Trials Team stated on the HRC website: “Today, all the Montesa family are in mourning. We have lost a great friend, an athlete and a great world champion. We are really sorry for the loss of Ulf Karlson, who had a long-lasting professional relationship and friendship with us for many years. We send our deepest condolences to the family and all the friends in the world of trial. Rest in peace.”

Ulf was eight times Swedish Trials Champion and twice Scandanavian Trials Champion.

Trials Guru conveys sincere condolences to the Karlson family.

Photos copyright:

  • Rainer Heise, Germany
  • Toon van de Vliet, Netherlands
Ulf Karlson - Toon van de Vliet
Ulf Karlson was the 1980 FIM World Trials Champion – Photo: Toon van de Vliet