Category Archives: Obituaries

Allan Johnston 1933-2017

OBITUARY:

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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.

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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.

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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.”

 

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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)

Brian Valder – Western Stalwart

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Brian Valder (left) receives his ACU medal of honour in 2016
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Brian Valder at Tower Hill Paley Cup Trial in 1961

Words: Ben Falconer, with Credit to: ACU Western Centre

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a great servant of motorcycle sport who put in more than he got out over seven decades.

Brian Valder will be deeply missed in Gloucestershire, where he threw himself in to volunteering at hundreds of events, after moving to Quedgeley in 2004. Prior to that he had been involved in motorcycle sport in the High Wycombe area since the 1950s.

He died aged 83 on May 23, 2017 and on Sunday Cheltenham Home Guard MCC held a minute’s silence and applause before their Hazleton trial, and Zona 1 MCC posted up a photo of Brian at section one of their evening trial on Wednesday, May 24.

He also marshalled at 62 Kingsway Parkruns, where his daughter Amanda and grandson Declan run.

A very capable rider, he placed fourth and fifth in the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1955 and 1956 and rode a Greeves in scrambles, Brian was a key organiser too and in January of this year was presented with the Auto Cycle Union, the sport’s governing body, Medal of Honour for his lifetime of service to the sport.

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Brian Valder riding a scramble on his Greeves

He started competing in the 1950s on a DOT motorcycle. He progressed to a Greeves, which became his preference and occasionally borrowed an Ariel which he enjoyed riding. Known as ‘The Manager’ by his club, Wycombe District Motorcycle Club, he organised their team in the South Midland Inter Club Trial which they won. He once finished the Scottish Six Days on the Saturday and headed home to ride in a major trial on the Sunday.

Such was his enthusiasm that when he stopped riding in the 70’s he became a steward in the ACU South Midland for trials and motocross. He later took on several roles, co-ordinating the centre stewards for twelve years, he was course recorder, and along with his wife Bridie, senior sound meter operator for the centre. Otherwise almost every week they could be found organising the paddock at local and national motocross events held in the ACU South Midland centre.

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Brian Valder (Greeves) in the 1961 Manx Two Day Trial.

For many years, Brian was a respected member of the South Midland Competition Committee, and earned a vice presidency there. Brian was a member of the ACU panel of adjudicators for the sport for many years.

When he moved to Gloucester in 2004 he immediately became involved with ACU Western activities. He became a delegate for the Gloucester and Cotswold Motor Club, also a steward once again for his new centre and an observer at trials most weekends.

He was so much in demand that on one occasion he conducted a ballot to choose between two clubs who had asked for his services as an observer. He was awarded the Dick Wyatt trophy, an award given only for exceptional hard work for ACU Western events. He was also made a vice-president of the centre.

 

ACU Western chairman Tony Noel commented: “It is difficult to imagine someone who has consistently put so many years into ACU sport in different parts of the country, helping to ensure that our sport takes place”.

ACU Western vice chairman Tom Welch said: “He was a true gentleman, respected by all who knew him. Thoughtful, caring, willing, he never grumbled, was considerate, inspirational to the youth riders, he has left a legacy of fairness and abiding by the rules.

His life was extremely well spent. He will be sadly missed, however we have some very fond memories that will be everlasting.”

The funeral will be held on Friday, June 9 at 12.30pm at Gloucester Crematorium. Family flowers only with donations in lieu for the ACU Benevolent Fund or The British Heart Foundation c/o Beechwood Funeral Services Ltd, 7a Highfield Place, Gloucester GL4 4PB.

Mike Rapley wrote for Trials Guru about Brian Valder:

I was sorry to learn of the passing of Brian Valder recently. When I was a kid, I lived in Slough and observed at many South Midland Centre trials with my dad at Wycombe Club events where Brian was a stalwart of the organisation. Indeed, Wycombe organised many great trials using favourite venues that I knew well called Common Hill Wood and Great Wood, places of which I have fond memories.

He rode a Greeves in those days and regularly rode in all SM events as well as setting out his own club’s trials, and as a kid he was very much one of my local favourites as I took photos of riders in those days and tried to sell them for 2/6d

When I moved to the South West aged 19, I lost contact with the Wycombe Club and Brian and it wasn’t until the winter of 2015 that I took a phone call at home one evening with Brian on the line saying that he had heard that I intended to ride in a Western Centre trial that coming weekend.

I did ride that trial, having heard that it was a good event and Brian was there observing. We had a good long chat about his trials that I had observed nearly 50 years earlier, with the roles reversed, me riding and him observing on that December day 2015. It was very good to meet him again and now the sport has lost a great ambassador, who served the South Midland and Western Centres with enthusiasm.

Kenny Fleming Dies

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1970, Kenny Fleming, second from left in the year he won his second Scottish Trials title. On the far left is Allie Beag Cameron, second right Rodger Mount and on right, Alastair Macgillivray

Former Scottish Trials Champion, Kenneth McLean (Kenny) Fleming has died after a short illness on Thursday 25th May, 2017 aged 81.

Member of both Perth & District and Lochaber motorcycle clubs, the son of a farmer from Dunblane in Perthshire, Fleming was a serious, talented competitor who won the Scottish title twice, in 1965 and again in 1970. He took part in two International Six Days Trials first on an ex-Ken Heanes 500cc Triumph (Garmish-Partenkirchen, 1969) and an East German built 250cc MZ (El Escorial, Madrid, 1970). He was also a keen wrestler and excelled at this sport also.

The farm which his father owned was on reputedly poor arable ground, however the Fleming family opened the land out to create a sand and gravel quarry and benefitted financially from this change of use. The quarry business was run jointly over the years with his brother, the remainder ground which Kenny eventually owned was sold off to CALA Homes for development.

A batchelor all his life, Kenny Fleming was a quite introverted individual but was a highly respected rider in his time. He was fiercely competitive and trained hard for his personal fitness and practiced regularly to maintain his ‘bike-fitness’.

Having ceased competing in trials around 1973, Fleming appeared at a Perth trial at Blair Atholl in 1977 as an ‘unknown’ entering as a ‘novice’ on a TL125 Honda which he had borrowed. He almost won the event but sharp-eyed T. Arnott Moffat of the SACU who was stewarding that day, spotted the falsified entry and had Fleming re-classified as a ‘non-expert’ as a rider can never revert to being a novice having progressed to expert and indeed Scottish Champion!

His private cremation will be on Monday, 5th June with a memorial service open to friends at Westlands Hotel, Doune Road, Dunblane at 11.00am.

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1965 & 1970 Scottish Trials Champion, Kenny Fleming from Dunblane seen here at the 1966 White Heather on his 250 Bultaco Sherpa (model 10), bought from Comerfords, Thames Ditton – Photo: Grant Family Collection

 

David Emmott – a tribute

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David Emmott on his Triumph twin during the 2012 Pre’65 Scottish Trial on the section ‘Coalasnacoan’
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Barry Pickard writes for Trials Guru:

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing of our good friend, long time member and treasurer, David Emmott.

He died at his home during Sunday morning, the 2nd April. He was 60 years of age.

Our sincere condolences go to his sons George and Tom and to those closest to him.

As David had organised the annual dinner for many years it will go ahead as planned at the Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton this coming Saturday as a tribute to him.

He will be remembered by all in the Yorkshire Classic Motorcycle Club and beyond.

 

David S. Tye – BSA works rider passes

David Seymour Tye died on 2nd July 2015 at Oban. Originally from Derbyshire, David Tye was a natural off-road rider who excelled in scrambles and trials and rode in the ISDT. Best known for riding BSA Gold Stars, he also rode the works opposed twin cylinder trials Douglas in 1950-1952, before joining the BSA concern to ride their Gold Star machinery. His factory trials Gold Star bore the registration number BSA350.

David Tye on his factory BSA in the 1954 Scott Trial, an event he won in 1953. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.
David Tye on his factory BSA in the 1954 Scott Trial, an event he won in 1953. Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham.

Tye was an outwardly happy individual who had a ‘do-or-die’ attitude and was always up for a challenge. His younger brother Jonathan also a trials rider of note (and a Flt Lt. in the Royal Air Force commanding Vulcan bombers) told Trials Guru some years ago that their mother was an adventurous type of lady who died at a very elderly age and he believes he and his elder brother David, obtained their adventurous lead from her.

Being a commercial diver, David Tye unfortunately contracted the bends (or Decompression Sickness) whilst on a dive in the 1970’s and was confined to a wheelchair as a result.

He was Managing Director of Oban Divers Ltd.

He never let his paralysis get him down and was a great man for encouraging others’ endeavours. This culminated with his son Michael becoming Scottish Trials Champion in 1975 and again in 1977. His daughter Sally married road racer and motorcycle dealer, John Stoddart. Their daughter is Susie Wolff the racing driver.

David Tye was best friends with Peter Hammond of Triumphs but also had a wealth of friends in off-road motorcycle sport, many attended his funeral at Oban on Tuesday, 7th July 2015.

Former AJS factory rider Gordon McLaughlan wrote “David Tye was a true gentleman and motorcycle enthusiast. I rode with David in the 1952 & 1953 Scottish Six Days Trial and met him numerous times at his Oban home with the fellow ‘Gordons’ – Blakeway and Jackson