Category Archives: People

Donald Buchan from Perth

Fifteen minutes with former Scottish trials rider – Donald Buchan.

By far the most unusual machine in the 1968 SSDT was the 50cc Sachs powered Heldun ridden by Perth & District clubman, Donald Buchan. He finished in 119th position and a second class award on 508 marks lost – Photo: Ian Robertson, Midlothian

Interviewed by Grandson, Callum Buchan

Photos: Buchan Family; Ian Robertson

Special thanks to the Classic Racing 50cc Club UK for link to their article on Heldun.
Where and when were you born?:

I was born on the 1st of February 1940 in Perth, Scotland.

What is the family history in relation to motorcycles and can you tell us about Jimmy Buchan’s achievements in racing?:

My father, Jack, rode in the TT, the Scottish Six Days and the International Six Days. My brother Jimmy was in my father’s sidecar for the International Six Days at sixteen years of age in 1951 in Italy!

Jimmy rode the Isle of Man for the first time in 1954 and won the Clubmans TT in 1955 riding a BSA Gold Star. Then in 1956 he won the Manx Grand Prix double riding a Manx Norton.

Tell us about the retail motorcycle business you owned in Perth?:

‘Buchan Motorcycles’ was opened in 1960 by my father on Rannoch Road, Perth. In 1972 I took over the business, not because my father had decided to pack it in, retire and play golf all day, but because he felt you’re never too old to travel and got on his bike.

He planned on going from the foot of Argentina to the tip of Alaska. Off he went on his bike with insufficient cash banking on his charisma to be his currency and his iconic tam o’ shanter to explore the other side of the world.

Unfortunately, having reached as far as Mexico, he took ill before making it to the U.S and couldn’t complete his journey.

By the mid 1970s I opened a branch of the business in Forfar and in the next decade another in Perth Town Centre.

As you sold Bultaco and Montesa, did you deal directly with Comerfords and Montala Motors/Jim Sandiford?:

Yes, I dealt with all them directly and also dealt with Greeves Motorcycles, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki directly.

You rode a 50cc Heldun (mistake in SSDT programme saying 60cc Heldun) in 1968. Tell us about the Heldun and how did the SSDT ride come to pass?:

Having spoken to the Heldun representative at the 1967 Motorcycle Show, chatting about trials, they suggested I visit the factory at Birmingham for a test ride. This lead to me being offered a bike for the SSDT for the following year. The Heldun was powered by a Sachs engine.

In 1968 SSDT I completed the SSDT which is mentioned in this article  (they made a mistake in calling me John instead of Donald!)

Donald Buchan 3
The official ISDT souvenir badge given to riders and officials in 1969

You rode the ISDT in 1969. Tell us about the bike you rode on? None of the Scots finished in 1969, not even Ernie Page, what put you out of the event?:

I rode on a Greeves, it was a Comerfords International Six Days model, 250cc, part of the British Vase B team. I was hit by an Italian rider, I think on day two and fractured my ribs causing my premature departure from the event.

Donald Buchan 1
Donald Buchan’s 1969 British Vase B Team badge from his Barbour Jacket

How many times did you ride in the SSDT?:

I think it was five or six times.

Any favourite events in trials in Scotland?:

Any Scottish champion trial, none in particular. I competed in the length and breadth of Scotland, from Rogart to Ayrshire. Riding various bikes from the aforementioned Heldun to Triumph 500cc.

Were you a member of Scotland’s oldest motorcycle club the Perth and District Motor Club?:

Yes, I was a member from the late 1950s until the late 70s.

Did you organise any events?:

Yes, I was the trials convenor for a few years of the Perth & District MC.

Did you scramble or road race at any time?:

Yes, I road raced on a 50cc in Errol 1958 and at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy in the early 60s. I took part in various organised scrambles and hill climbs.


Many thanks to Donald and his family for putting this interview together.

The article on Heldun, linked to in this article is the copyright of the Classic Racing 50cc Club UK.

TG Logo 2

Other ‘Great Scots’ in the series: HERE

Jeff Smith Trials Expert

jeff_smith_cvr_mktg (Resized)

Coming on to the bookshelves in February 2018 is a new biography written by Ian Berry on Jeff Smith, a man who really should have no introductions, he was of course not only World Motocross champion but also was a very good trials rider, who won the SSDT (1955) and Scott Trial (1954 & 1959).

The book, which is hardback and has 450 pages will be published by Motorsport Publications LLC and Ian hopes to have copies available for the Telford Off Road Show on the weekend of 17/18 February. Price to be announced shortly.

Carlos Casas – SSDT Ambassador

Carlos Casas (Montesa-ESP) (Medium)
Carlos Casas (Montesa 4RT) – Photo: Trial Magazine UK

Short video presented by TRIALS GURU on Carlos Casas, the ‘SSDT Ambassador’.

For many years Carlos has enthused about the Scottish Six Days Trial to Spanish and Catalan competitors that this has ensured a healthy interest in the event.

With acknowledgement to Trial Magazine UK

Also an article on Carlos HERE

Click on the centre button to run video:



Karl Clark is 2017 NZ Champ

Karl Clark (Beta) – Photo: Ian Yeomans

The New Zealand Moto Trials Championship, which has been run since 1972, was held over three days at Labour Weekend in October.  New Zealand is made up of two Islands, North and South. Throughout the year each Island holds their own championship held over several weekends.  UK’s Jack Sheppard has ridden in the New Zealand Championship back in 2014 and 2016 and has taken the title both times.  Another previous two time winner is Stefan Merriman who would possibly be the best trials rider to come from New Zealand with his first place finish in the junior world championship in 1989.

Stefan’s name will be also been known in the UK competing in the Scottish and British Championship. Stefan finished third in the Scottish Six Day in 1992. Stefan left trials for enduro and became world champion in 2000. Some other previous New Zealand winners are two time winner James Lawton, six times winner Andrew Poad  and seven time winner Warren Laugesen who all have also competed at Scottish Six Day Trial and done very well.

The 2017 New Zealand Championship was held on the 21 – 23rd of October and was held in the North Island near the bottom of the Island on the Kapiti Coast. New Zealand events are held on mostly farmers properties. This year’s terrain was made up of mostly treacherous creeks, slippery tree roots, sharp rocks, steep banks and climbs. Ten sections of four laps were run over the three days and this year’s championship attracted over 55 competitors.

This year’s winner is Karl Clark, born and raised in Motueka, a small town at the top of the south island. Karl has been competing since 1995, 2003 was the first time Karl competed in the New Zealand Championship top class, expert. Karl managed third place on his first attempt, with winning the first day he also received the New Zealand Experts Trial which is held on one of the three days and has also been run since 1972. Karl then had some time away from the sport due to the birth of his twin boys.  Karl came back to the sport in 2008, competing once again in expert class right through till 2014 where Karl finished always in the top three but never managing the top spot.  In 2014 Karl suffered a back injury which meant he couldn’t compete at the top level.


Six weeks before the 2017 New Zealand Championship Karl decided to give it one more crack in Expert as age is now not on his side.  This has always been a childhood dream of Karls to win the New Zealand Moto Trials Championship. Karl was on true form as he won the premier Expert grade on each of the three days, edging out Taranaki’s Matthew Foster, Christchurch rider Jules Huguenin.

“I was over the moon about the result and thought that chapter had closed for me. Also making it even more special for myself it had been twenty-five years since last won by a South Island rider. Looking back at the weekend, experience was the difference as I had more than ten years over the competition.  I thoroughly enjoyed the three days of sections and would like to thank the Ixion Motorcycle Club for putting on a great event. I’m super proud to finally get my name on the Premier Championship grade trophy”.


Karl himself has also competed in the Scottish Six Day Trial from 2014 to 2016 and receiving first class awards.

KARL CLARK 2015 Fersit
2015 SSDT action with Karl Clark (Beta) on ‘Fersit’ – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Karl is adamant the SSDT event is the best event in the world and he would ride it every year if the cost of getting there wasn’t an issue. He feels that riding the SSDT has improved him as a rider.  Not ruling out a return to Scotland, never say never. Karls more than happy to hang his boots up in the premier class but will still continue to support the sport he loves here in New Zealand and to give back to the future young riders.

FRANZ KADLEC – DM Champion 2017

Franz Kadlec, four times German national champion – Photo: Trialsport Magazine/Hans Greiner

Franz Kadlec is the 2017 German National Trials Champion riding for Gas Gas.

From Bad Tolz, Bavaria, Kadlec clinched the series at the final round at Wusten, Nordrheine-Westfalen earlier this month, this is the fourth German title he has to his credit. He is a former European Champion.

Photo copyright: Hans Greiner/Trialsport DE