Category Archives: Obituaries

Tom Ollerton the Bultaco Original

My beautiful picture
Tom Ollerton at Gorgie Market, Edinburgh in 1962 when competing in the Scottish Six Days Trial on his Bultaco when he worked at Anelays Motorcycles. This was the first Bultaco to be ridden in the SSDT.

 

It is with much sadness that Trials Guru brings the news of the passing of  Tom Ollerton at the age of 91 on Christmas Day, 2017.

Ollerton was an active member of Darwen Motor Cycle & Light Car Club (now Darwen Trial Club) in Lancashire, being at one time their club secretary. Tom had the accolade of being the very first rider to compete in the Scottish Six Days Trial on a Bultaco in 1962. The Bultaco machine he rode was a 196cc ‘Sherpa S’ registered in Blackburn, Lancashire as PBV700, his riding number was 8 that year.

He worked at Anelays Motorcycles in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire who were the original importers of the Bultaco brand in the UK and had racing connections. However having ridden the modified Sherpa S in the 1962 Scottish Six Days and again in 1963 riding another Bultaco Sherpa of 155 cc capacity under number 18. Tom was joined in 1964 by Oriol Puig Bultó from the Bultaco factory who provided him with a factory prepared prototype machine riding number 40.

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Tom Ollerton on his factory prepared prototype in the 1964 SSDT, tackles ‘Glen Ogle’ on the first day.

Oriol who is the nephew of Senor F.X. Bultó the founding father of the marque, was very impressed by the modifications that Tom had carried out to the standard, dual purpose ‘Sherpa N’ and Puig Bultó set about altering his own factory machine to a similar specification. Oriol was a very competent international motocross rider as well as being an expert trials and ISDT competitor.

It could be said that Ollerton was the fore-runner/creator of the machine that was the basis for Sammy Miller’s ‘Sherpa T’ of November 1964, the model with increased capacity to 244cc, that literally changed the world of trials forever.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat who has followed the history of the Sherpa since childhood said:   “Tom Ollerton’s involvement with developing the ‘Sherpa N’ to close to ‘Sherpa T’ specification has all but been forgotten except for a handful of enthusiasts. Tom Ollerton has been the ‘missing link’ in the Bultaco Sherpa story, my aim is to put that right. Tom Ollerton’s contribution to the Sherpa’s development was significant in nature, having competed in the toughest trial in the world three times on the brand. I wouldn’t take any credit away from Sammy Miller of course, but the trials Bultaco had been in a constant stage of development before Sammy did his secret testing sessions in company with Roy Peplow in the October of 1964 at Senor Bultó’s ranch, called San Antonio.”

Moffat continued: “Sammy Miller’s development work on the Sherpa which eventually became the production Model 10 is well documented, but Tom Ollerton’s contribution to the Bultaco Sherpa, less so.”

Moffat also said: “Having got to know Oriol Puig Bultó very well over the past few years, we have discussed this many times in conversation. He told me that in 1964 he drove a small Fiat 500cc car with a trailer carrying two Sherpa prototype machines, one for himself and the other for his friend Tom Ollerton to ride, all the way from Barcelona to Edinburgh in Scotland for that year’s SSDT. I know that Oriol held Tom Ollerton in high regard, I am certain he will be much saddened to hear of Tom’s passing.”

Our sincere condolences go to the Ollerton family.

Tom Ollerton’s funeral service will take place at St Anne’s Church, Turton, BOLTON, Lancashire BL7 0ER at 1.30pm on Monday, January 8th 2018, followed by cremation at Pleasington, Blackburn, Lancashire BB2 5LE.

Oriol Puig Bultó wrote on 3rd January 2018:

“I am very sad today by the news of Tom Ollerton’s passing.
This brings my memory back to May 1964, when I drove all the way from Barcelona to Edinburgh taking on my trailer two Bultaco Trial prototypes prepared at the factory for the SSDT, one for myself and the other for my team mate Tom Ollerton. The experience we gained at that event helped us to further develop the Trial model towards the Sherpa T. My sympathy and condolences to Tom’s family.”

For more on the Bultaco story go HERE

Ivan Pridham 1931-2017

South-West Trials enthusiast, Mike Naish has prepared a tribute to Ivan Pridham:

72 knill Trial 3rd 250 Bulto

Ivan Alfred James Pridham 1931-2017

It is with much sadness we report the death of Ivan Pridham, he was 86 years young.

Ivan was a long standing stalwart of the South West Centre, a man who has had much success in Trials both locally and nationally, many before some readers were born. He was a rider who has represented his city in International sport and supported a handicap children’s charitable trust. He has carried on in his chosen sport for most of his life with humour, enthusiasm and good nature and who was a popular rider to boot.

Born at Latchley near Gunnislake in Cornwall, he moved to Plymouth when he was fifteen years of age. He did his National Service in the Royal Engineers when he was twenty-one, so that he could finish his apprenticeship with a small lift company which later in life he bought and made it into a business.

Ivan suffered latterly with a bad back that needed surgery after falling down a lift shaft and the operation did curtail some of his riding but he bore the pain stoically,  at least to the outside.

Our thoughts are with his wife Pat, daughter Wendy and family at this time.

Ivan’s funeral will take place at St. Mary’s Church, Market Road, Plympton, PL7 1QW on Wednesday 20th December at 1-45 pm.
St. Mary’s Church can be found by taking the road from the Marsh Mills junction towards Plympton (the old A38), the church is situated just off the roundabout.

On Any Sunday creator dies

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The creator of the definitive bike-sport movie of all time, ‘On Any Sunday’, Bruce Brown has died aged 80 years on Sunday, 10 December 2017.

He was born on 1st December 1937 in San Francisco, California, but was raised in Southern California.

His first real film of note was ‘Endless Summer’ which captured the life-style of surfers. Brown was himself a keen board surfer. It was released in 1966 with ‘On Any Sunday’ released five years later, in 1971. The film followed many riders and motorcycle sports in the 1970 season in both the USA and Europe.

Footage of the International Six Days Trial (now ISDE) was shot at El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain and featured American, Malcolm Smith, the famous desert racer and off-road competitor who also featured in the Baja desert races in the film.

Brown was fortunate to enlist the services of Steve McQueen, a motorcycle enthusiast and racer as well as being an A-list movie star.

McQueen was the central character in the film and it showed that he wasn’t just playing at it either, which enabled him to gain even more respect in the world’s off-road motorcycling community.

But it was Brown’s talent as a movie-maker that was the real shining star. He didn’t have any formal training or education on film-making, but his slow motion filming or riders at speed was a revelation in documentary style films for the time. Brown acknowledged that his lack of formal training probably worked to his advantage as his innovative style was unconventional for the period.

It is thought that his film brought more people into motorcycle sport, not only in the USA, but anywhere the movie was screened.

Trials Guru’s John Moffat was at an early screening near Edinburgh, Scotland in 1971 aged thirteen years and said: “I was completely blown away by ‘On Any Sunday’, I had never seen anything like it previously and although by that time I had a motorcycle, it really captivated me. I remember the theme tune going through my head after watching it. In fact I can still hear it to this day, having bought a video cassette and then a DVD version of the film in more recent years. My sons have been brought up as kids watching it as infants and I believe my Grand-daughter has even been known to watch it too.”

Bernie Schreiber who featured in the remake, ‘On Any Sunday II’ said: “It is sad, I loved Bruce’s film ‘Endless Summer’. 2017 has not been a good year for legends.”

‘On Any Sunday’ covered almost every aspect of motorcycle competition from road racing, motocross, trials, enduro, dirt track, mile (long track), ice-racing and desert racing.

The soundtrack was specially scored by Dominic Frontiere, the American composer, which gave terrific atmosphere to the movie.

Photo courtesy of Cycle News, USA

Jim McColm – SSDT Passes away

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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. Jim was also a Great Grandfather to Ailsa and Molly.

Jim’s Funeral was conducted by a humanist on Friday, 24th November at 11am at the Lorimer Chapel of Warriston Crematorium, 36 Warriston Road, Edinburgh.

It came as a surpise to many that Jim was brought up in Stevenston, Ayrshire as many had thought he was an Edinburgh born man. He spent time in the Navy and was to be posted overseas when a medical examination discovered an ulser, so that put paid to his time on the ocean wave. He was transferred to Rosyth in Fife and it was here that he met his wife Heather.

Jim was a big fan of James Bond movies and it is believed that he did impressions of the first ‘Bond’, Edinburgh born actor Sean Connery.

A great practical joker in both private life and at work, Jim always tried to see the funny side of things.

Chris Milner dies

Sheffield trials and motocross rider, Chris Milner died today Monday 25th September, 2017 after a long battle with cancer.

Milner was a highly respected competitor and was a Comerfords sponsored Bultaco rider in the 1970s and also competed in motocross on both Bultaco and KTM machinery.

Chris Milner - 177 - 1969 - crop
Chris Milner in his first of many SSDT, seen here on a 250cc Ossa on ‘Achintee’ (Ben Nevis) in 1969.

He was a regular competitor in the SSDT from 1969 when he rode an Ossa Pennine 250 in the annual Highland classic.

Chris’s funeral will take place at Brimington Crematorium on Tuesday, 10th of October 2017 at 10.10am, then afterwards to the Blue Bell at North Wingfield.

Trials Guru send their deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time.

Allan Johnston 1933-2017

OBITUARY:

Allan Johnston - red
Allan Johnston 1933-2017

It is with sadness that Trials Guru has to announce the passing of SSDT enthusiast and former competitor, G. Allan Johnston on July 21st, 2017.

Educated at George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh, Allan was a well-known figure in the parc-ferme area of the SSDT in more recent years, being a machine examiner on the team led by Chief Machine Examiner, Archie Plenderleith.

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Allan Johnston checking machines in the Parc Ferme at the SSDT – Photo: Heather Mead, Dingwall

Johnston who lived in Longniddry, East Lothian was father to Scottish trials riders, Keith and Paul and rode in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He leaves a widow, Thelma.

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Allan Johnston’s eldest son Keith was a former Youth Scottish Trials Champion seen here on a 320 Majesty Yamaha prepared by Allan at Edinburgh St. George, Lauder Trial. – Photo: Jimmy Young

Allan also assisted Team Yamscot in the 1970s and 1980s when the Aberdeen dealers Shirlaws Ltd were promoting Yamaha off-road and racing machinery under the Yamscot moniker. He was a member of the Edinburgh Southern MC and worked as a Telephone Engineer firstly with Post Office Telephones and latterly BT.

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Allan Johnston (right) working with SSDT Clerk of Course Jeff Horne in 2013 – Photo Heather Mead, Dingwall

Allan had a passion for anything on two or four wheels and owned a dark blue and black, 1926 Morris ‘Bullnose’ Oxford which was owned previously by a retired Doctor. Unfortunately it was involved in a minor collision with another vehicle and such was his sense of perfectionism, he wouldn’t allow the insurers have it repaired at a garage because: “I would never have been happy with a repair I hadn’t done myself”.

As well as preparing his son’s trials machines and tuning Karts for racing, Allan obtained great pleasure from his work as a volunteer at the East Lothian based ‘Museum of Flight’ at East Fortune where he helped restore Concorde for display and also maintained the models and displays.

Funeral details: Tuesday, 1st August at Seafield Crematorium, Edinburgh at 14.00 hours. Family and friends welcome. Collection fro Cancer Research UK.

Claude Coutard 1928-2017

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Claude Coutard 1928 – 2017 – Photo Trial-Club.com

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of a great enthusiast of the sport, Claude Coutard from France.

CLAUDE COUTARD 1998 Loch Eilde path
1998 Claude Coutard (250 Greeves) on Loch Eild Path – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

He was a well-known rider who competed on Greeves machines in the 1960s. He was father to multiple French Trials Champion, Charles.

CHARLES COUTARD 1998 Loch Eilde Path
Claude Coutard watches his son, Charles Coutard (Greeves) on Loch Eild Path in 1998 – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

French super-enthusiast Oliver Barjon spoke to Trials Guru about Claude’s passing:

I first met Claude Coutard in the seventies, at the world rounds when his was helping his son, Charles. We talked a lot, as Charles was very focused on his riding.
I will never forget Claude’s blue eyes, until his last years.
Claude discovered trials in the nineteen-fifities, in the woods near Paris (St Cucufa), it really was the beginning of trial sport in France. From that time, his life was dedicated to our sport.
Firstly as a rider, he was the vice French champion behind Christian Rayer, and as ‘the’ French promoteur of our sport  for over 50 years, until recently.
I was 30 years and and one week younger than Claude, sometime on the trials we wish each other ‘happy birthday’.
After Greeves, he rode Bultacos and had a shop in Lyon named ‘Coutard Service’.
We will all miss Claude and our hertfelt sympathies go to his widow, Josette, son Charles and all the Coutard family.”

 

Claude Coutard - O Barjon
Claude Coutard and his beloved Greeves in 1994 at Mons, Belgium – Photo: Oliver Barjon

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Claude Coutard (Greeves) – Photo: Jean-Claude Commeat (Photo by Claudio)