LAMPKIN of SILSDEN

A Lampkin 1961

Arthur J. Lampkin gets his factory 250 BSA ‘weighed in’ at the 1961 Scottish Six Days Trial. 

Trials Guru section dedicated to the Lampkin family of Silsden, Yorkshire. Probably the most famous off-road motorcycle sporting family of all time.

From the early days of scrambles and trials ace, Arthur John Lampkin who effectively created the Lampkin legend in the 1950s to Doug Lampkin, twelve times World Trials Champion.

Family friend and former trials competitor, Blackburn ‘Blackie’ Holden, has known the Lampkin family all his life: “The Lampkin family can be summed up in one word – winners. There is something very special about them, from a very early age I remember their tremendous ‘will to win’ it is immense. Whether it be a game of noughts and crosses or a 500 GP, the competitive element with them is incredible. It’s not in a nasty way, they just have to win”.

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The Lampkin Brothers in 2014 at the Scott Trial Reunion at Ripon Spa Hotel: Martin; Arthur & Alan – Photo copyright: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

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Trials Guru will publish as much information on the Lampkin family as possible, mainly from the sport of trials.

To kick-start this feature:

The Lampkin they call ‘Sid’

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Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin captured in 1975 at Gefrees World Round, Germany – Photo: Rainer Heise

Words: John Hulme with Alan Lampkin – with full co-operation, this article first appeared in Classic Trial Magazine – Issue 11.

The three Lampkin brothers are Arthur, Alan and Martin, the youngest, have been part of the motorcycle trials scene for such a long period of time that they are etched in the history of the sport forever. Alan – or ‘Sid’ as he is better known – was the one in the middle; imagine having Arthur as your older brother and Martin as the youngest? He was a very successful Scrambler during the ‘Golden Years’ of British domination and won both the Scottish Six Days and Scott Trials in 1966 for BSA; throw in some ISDT Gold medals and in 1974 winning the first ever American ‘World’ trials round. A very popular character, he received factory support along the way from BSA, Cotton Suzuki and Bultaco. He can still be found on the Trials scene today though, as a spectator on his annual holiday to the ‘Scottish’ or at the Scott, or many of the Classic events. The years may have passed by but one thing that has never gone away over the years is the warm welcome and the smile whenever you come into contact with Sid.

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Alan Lampkin on Blackwater sections in the 1978 Scottish, note the Barcelona registration on his 325 Bultaco. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Alan Raymond Charles Lampkin entered the world on April 7th 1944 in Silsden, Yorkshire, as the younger brother to Arthur John who was born in 1938. Harold Martin Lampkin would come along later, at Christmas in 1950. The Lampkins had moved from Woolwich Arsenal, London, in 1940 to get away from the London Blitz. Their father, Arthur Alan, was a Foreman machine turner and he opened his precision engineering business shortly after his arrival in Yorkshire. He used an old side-valve BSA as his transport and so the boys were soon around motorcycles when they were born.

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Sid Lampkin (325 Bultaco) in the 1977 SSDT on Blackwater – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

TV Time:

Arthur had quickly shown a keen interest and at the age of seventeen became the youngest ever member of the mighty ‘Works’ BSA off-road team after some inspiring results. Alan soon wanted to watch his elder brother in action and remembers watching him at the 1959 Ilkley Grand National where he was allowed to ride without competing, and he loved it. They had no television in the early days at the Lampkin household and they often went around to the next-but-one neighbour to watch Arthur on it in the TV scrambles.

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Scott Trial action from Sid in 1974. Photo Alan Lampkin Archive.

The Lampkin entertainment got even better when Alan started to compete. It was trials riding which first attracted him though and he could not wait to compete in the tough Scott Time and Observation Trial. He joined Arthur in the entry in 1960 for his first event. It was a tough day and one he did not finish, but when elder brother Arthur was announced the winner he set his sights on emulating his brother with a win of his own, after finishing the event! After finding his feet in 1960 with tastes of both trials and scrambling on BSA machinery he started to enjoy the rigors of the off-road action. He picked up a finisher’s certificate at the 1961 Scott and soon began to get noticed by the factory teams and, most importantly, the competition team managers.

He was drafted into the factory BSA team alongside such great names as Bill Nicholson, Fred Rist, David Tye, Brian Martin, Jeff Smith and John Harris – and, of course, his big brother Arthur. He acknowledged the support and delivered the results when in 1963 he won his first National trial, the Travers. Then he was picked by the team selectors to represent his country in the International Six Days Trial to be held in Czechoslovakia. In those days the event covered near-on 1,000 miles during the six days of competition and Alan did himself proud before disaster struck on the fifth day, Friday.

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Alan Lampkin scrambling a 441 BSA Victor – Photo courtesy of Josh Gibbons

He was still ‘clean’ and on course for his first Gold Medal when he crashed and, suffering from heavy concussion, was forced to retire much to his disappointment. BSA though had much faith in him and after recovering he was moved into the number two BSA team for the Scott, where he collected a Scott ‘Spoon’ after finishing in the top twenty-five. By the mid-sixties he was acknowledged as one of the new young riders making headlines in the sport. Riding for BSA he mixed both trials and scrambling with much success. It was a fantastic season scrambling as he took in many of the established events with some impressive results, including some top-five finishes in the BBC Trophy races at Ripon and Durham on the BSA 440 cc, second in the Lancashire Grand National and a third in the Cleveland Grand National. On the trials scene he was a regular winner and top-five finisher in the British championship events, but 1966 was going to be his year.

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Family and friends – Arthur J. Lampkin; H. Martin Lampkin; Rob Edwards; Alan R.C. Lampkin; David Wood; Johnny Brittain & John Moffat – Photo: John Hulme/Trials Media

All Rounder:

It all started with a win at the opening scramble on January 1st at a frozen Hatherton Hall in Cheshire in the 500 BBC Trophy race. It was sheet ice everywhere and his trials skills certainly helped and he felt very confident; he can still remember the look on Jeff Smith’s face as he passed him on the start/finish straight, it was great day and one he remembers like it was yesterday! Jeff Smith had been 500cc World Motocross Champion in 1964 and 1965 and is a very good friend of the Lampkins even to the present day. He then won the prestigious Bemrose Trophy Trial before preparing his 250cc BSA C15 for the Scottish Six Days Trial in the May. At the last minute he was moved into the BSA works team as Dave Rowlands was asked to stand down in case he was called home to attend a court hearing as a witness to a murder. On the first day Alan parted with no marks along with Mick Andrews (Bultaco) – Paul England (Triumph) – Peter Fletcher (Royal Enfield) – Sammy Miller (Bultaco) & Stan Cordingley (Bultaco). Tuesday was a long, tough day taking in 15 sections including Loch Eild Path above Kinlochleven.

Delay built up at the Caillich group of six sections and many riders lost marks on time. Wednesday took in eight sections at Laggan Locks, taking two marks from trials leader Alan Lampkin. Lampkin still held the lead on Thursday. Lampkin nearly lost the trial on the steep rocky hazards at Caolasnacoan when the crowd thought he had stopped, but the official observer recorded a three-mark penalty, giving the trials lead to Sammy Miller. It was on the sections at Leiter Bo Fionn though that Miller went to pieces and parted with a dozen marks whilst Lampkin kept his score down to four to move back into the lead. The final scores were Lampkin on 23 with Miller second on 27.

1967 Programme

The 1967 SSDT programme cover featured the 1966 winner, Alan Lampkin on his factory BSA 748MOE

This would be the last win for a British manufactured motorcycle using a four-stroke engine until James Dabill on the Montesa in 2007. Later in the year he would take his first ISDT Gold on the BSA in effect a TriBSA 504cc in Sweden when he was Great Britain’s best performer with a clean sheet, with the team finishing third overall.

Arthur had won the Scott Trial again in 1965, setting the quickest time as well, and both brothers went to the 1966 event as members of the BSA team along with Scott Ellis, with both wanting to win – the outcome would be very memorable. Alan would win, with Arthur setting the quickest time in 4 hours, 18 minutes and 55 seconds which was a similar time from 1965, but the secret to Alan’s win was his observation score which put him in front of Sammy Miller who was desperate to give Spanish Brand Bultaco their first win in the event. The weather was beautiful, with massive crowds. Alan had shown good form early on with one of the few cleans at Hell Holes up the big step. At Washfold the Green Dragon Public House was hard to find due to the large number of spectators who had all turned out to see the dramatic battle unfold. The day after the event he was part of the winning Yorkshire team in the Inter Centre Team Trial.

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Alan Lampkin and his all conquering 1963 BSA (748MOE) which won the 1966 SSDT and Scott Trials. Reunited with the C15T in 2014 – Photo copyright Jason Batsford, Banbury Oxon

Foreign Machines:

The demise of the once mighty motorcycle industry in Great Britain has been well documented but it also forced the top riders of the time to move to foreign manufacturers. Alan had remained loyal to BSA but had not continued to enjoy his earlier success. 1967 was a bleak results year. At the ‘Scottish’ and riding the BSA C15T the week had started very cold and wet, and on the Tuesday the rear wheel collapsed. He changed the wheel but was removed from the results when he was found to have swopped the marked part by the organisers, forcing him to retire from the event. He was also hugely disappointed at the Scott when a split rear tyre forced his retirement. On the scrambling front he was still riding well and getting some good results. 1968 was pretty much the same as the BSA support in trials was not the same, although in scrambles they still had a winning machine. Many riders including Alan began to took to other machinery for trials and it was the ‘boom time’ of the micro-light machines.

 

Alan Lampkin, World round Bristol, 1975

Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin (325 Bultaco), World Championship round Bristol, 1975 – Photo: Mike Rapley

He was offered the opportunity to ride the new 118cc Suzuki powered machine along with Arthur and Martin for the 1969 season. These were fun times in trials and in 1969 and 1970 he finished in fourteenth position on the Suzuki at the SSDT despite struggling at the event with many problems including a broken frame.

He was still contesting scrambles on the BSA and had some good results including top-five placings in the BBC Grandstand Trophy races before moving to a Husqvarna. The Spanish Armada of trials machines was now in full flow and along with many riders the Lampkins left the cottage industry of small-capacity trials machinery in the UK and went on to Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa, in Alan’s case Bultaco.

At the 1970 Scott he set the quickest time on his way to a top-ten finish on the Bultaco as Sammy Miller took the last of his seven wins. The Bultaco was a breath of fresh air and in 1971 he would finish tenth in the European Championship, once again set the quickest time at the Scott Trial in a team with Martin and Jim Sandiford and finish fifth in the British Trials Championship.

At the year’s ISDT he would also take another Gold medal, this time on a Bultaco. He quickly became a member of the Spanish works Bultaco trials team and with it the added support.

Justifying his works status he finished a fine second in the 1972 SSDT.

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Sid, fourth from the left at the ISDT in the USA in 1973, Triumph mounted that year. – Left to right: Ken Heanes (Team Manager); Gordon Lucas (Asst. Team Manager); Jim Sandiford (Rickman Zundapp); John Pease (Triumph); Alan Lampkin (Triumph); Arthur Browning (Triumph); Malcolm Rathmell (Triumph) & Ernie Page (Rickman Zundapp)

In 1973 he made his final appearance in the ISDT mounted on a Triumph, taking yet another Gold medal, with the trophy team taking second place.

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May 1973 – SSDT awards ceremony in Edinburgh – Manufacturers’ Team Award – Blackford Challenge Trophy – Bultaco – A.R.C. Lampkin; H.M. Lampkin; M.C. Rathmell & Bultaco Team Manager – Oriol Puig Bulto

The development of the Sherpa T range had moved on after Sammy Miller had moved to Honda, with more responsibility on the shoulders of UK based Bultaco riders, including Alan and Martin Lampkin. The sport was also moving from European status to be named the World Championship. Before the move, and with the sport expanding, a ‘World’ round would be held in America. After many problems, including the press thinking it was Martin who had won, a happy Alan was named the winner!

World Championship:

With the move to the FIM World Championship in 1975 the factories were very keen to take the first title, including Bultaco. Along with Alan his younger brother Martin would contest the whole 14 round series, but with only the best 8 scores counting the championship would turn into a three-way fight with Finland’s Yrjo Vesterinen and Malcolm Rathmell.

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Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin with the Comerfords – Bultaco Ford Transit van in 1975. Photo: Rob Edwards Private collection

Alan supported his brother as much as he could, finishing the year in ninth with his best result a third at his home round, as ‘Mart’ won the title by one mark from Vesterinen. The Bultaco team and the Lampkin brothers remained at the cutting edge of the championship right up until 1980, when Sweden’s Ulf Karlson on the Montesa stopped the trend, but by this time Alan had retired from the World Championship.

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Alan Lampkin (Bultaco) takes a steadying dab on Ben Nevis in the 1980 SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

With the glory years of the Bultaco brand over he would ride his last Scott Trial in 1980 and his last Scottish Six Days Trial in 1982 on an SWM. With a young family to provide for he continued to work in the engineering business started by his father many years before but, as with all motorcyclists, if it’s in your blood it’s hard to get rid of!

The Lampkin brothers still had some of their old works BSA machines and these were brought out of retirement for the new Pre-65 SSDT introduced in 1984. These were fantastic times not just for the brothers but also for the spectators, as they came out to witness them in action once again on the world famous ‘Scottish’ hazards such as Pipeline. Good friend Jeff Smith came over from Canada and it was a very happy reunion.

Alan would ride in the event on a few more occasions over the years. Son James is the youngest of his three children, he also has two girls Sarah and Nina, who is the eldest, and James soon became interested in trials riding giving Alan a new interest along with his Golf.

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Alan’s son James Lampkin seen here at Inversanda in the 2006 SSDT. Photo copyright ~ Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

James went on to have his own successful trials career which included an Expert British Championship title and a third position in the 2004 SSDT.

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Sid on Coalasnacoan in 2000 on Arthur’s BSA (XON688) Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

James put his own career ambitions as a trials rider on hold as he supported Cousin Dougie Lampkin to his seven world championship titles. Alan is now semi-retired, working just three days a week at Lampkin Engineering, and still enjoys his motorcycling days and his annual holiday in the Highlands, accompanied by his wife Eileen and usually a gang of grandchildren who will no doubt carry on the Lampkin legend.

Copyright:

Words: John Hulme with Alan Lampkin

Images:

  • Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven
  • Rob Edwards, Middlesborough, Cleveland
  • Mike Rapley, Carnforth
  • Trials Media/ John Hulme
  • Jason Batsford, Banbury, Oxon

With many thanks to Classic Trial Magazine for their kind permission to reproduce this article from Issue 11 – Classic Trial.

Click Links for back issues of Trial Magazine or Classic Trial UK

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Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin

What’s in a name?

Alan or ‘Sid’ Lampkin answers to both his correct and nickname, he isn’t bothered which you call him. But how does one get ‘Sid’ from ‘Alan Raymond Charles Lampkin’ ?

Simple – if you ask the man himself!

At a motorcycle show some years ago at Ingliston near Edinburgh, Trials Guru’s John Moffat was charged with the task of interviewing a host of great riders including: John Giles, John & Pat Brittain, Gordon Blakeway, Alan and Arthur Lampkin (who was rather stage shy, as he always has been).

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Alan Lampkin with John Moffat in 2014 at the Ripon Spa Hotel. Alan organises the splendid Scott Reunion dinner – Photo copyright: John Hulme/Trials Media

When interviewing Alan, John Moffat asked where did the ‘Sid’ nick-name come from?

Alan Lampkin: “It was years ago, Arthur had a bike shop in Silsden and left me one Saturday to try and sort out a whole heap of well worn bikes, rubbish ones really that had been difficult to sell. I was quite good at selling stuff, so I made a start to it and some customers called in. I did very well that day and managed to sell quite a few of them. When Arthur returned, he asked how things had got on and I pointed at the empty space where the heap of bikes had been sat and said that I had sold most of them. Arthur then announced that I was ‘Sid the Second-hand Super Salesman’ and from then on the name of ‘Sid’, stuck!”

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Sid enjoys a nice glass of port in July 2015 at Silsden – Photo courtesy and copyright: Chris Smith (daughter of Jeff Smith, 500cc World Motocross Champion 1964)

748MOE – The 1966 Scottish & Scott winning BSA C15

After many years of searching, Alan Lampkin finally tracked down and bought back his treasured BSA which won the double in 1966, the SSDT in May and the Scott Trial in October.

The machine was purchased from the son of the last owner, who had began negotiations with Alan shortly before his untimely and sudden death in 2014. Fortunately the son was an honorable man and agreed to continue the sale, following the in-gathering of his father’s estate.

When Alan sold the machine, it was bought and sold by a relatively few set of owners, one of which was Scottish rider, John G.G. Fraser known as ‘Jock’ Fraser from Carrington, Midlothian, who had bought the machine from Lampkin and planned to ride the 1968 Scottish with it. For some unknown reason, he didn’t do this, but rode a Greeves instead.

The BSA, albeit not used for perhaps 30 odd years or more, was in surprisingly original condition, used but not heavily modified from when Alan sold it.

Alan Lampkin is both delighted and proud to have his old BSA back and has set about preparing it for the 2016 Pre’65 Scottish to mark the 50th anniversary of his historic win at the SSDT. It will be ridden at Kinlochleven in April 2016, by Alan’s son, James Lampkin.

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Alan Lampkin aboard his historic factory BSA C15 (748MOE), on which he won the 1966 SSDT and Scott Trials – Photo: Fiona Watson

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It all started with Arthur …

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Arthur Alan Lampkin in 1936 – Photo courtesy and copyright: Janet Pawson

Words: Janet Pawson (nee Lampkin)

In 1939, Arthur A. and Violet Lampkin were living in London with their two young children; myself baby Janet and Arthur junior (A.J. Lampkin) at eighteen months old. Dad worked on munitions at Woolwich Arsenal and when war broke out, Violet and the children were evacuated to Burnley.

Soon afterwards, Dad put in for a transfer to one of the newly started munitions factories. He left a large wider family and travelled to Steeton on his motorcycle. After lodging there for a while, he found a house to rent and went south again to buy a sidecar to bring up Mum on the pillion and the two children in the sidecar.

Mach later, new houses were built for the munition workers and we moved to Windsor Avenue. In 1944 a new arrival came along, called Alan.

After the war, father Arthur worked at Rolls Royce before starting his own engineering business where Mum was often to be found helping out and into which some of his sons and grandsons continue to this day – A.A. Lampkin, Silsden.

The third son, Harold Martin arrived in 1950 followed in 1952 by another daughter, Veronica.

Dad’s interest in motorbikes was always to feature in our lives. There was always one or more about to be mended and tuned by Dad, ably assisted by his three boys, though he made bikes and flat carts for us all.

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Motorcycles were always a part of Lampkin family life. From left: Family friend, Tim Aaron; Martin Lampkin and Veronica Lampkin on Arthur Lampkin’s factory trials BSA Gold Star photo taken around 1956 – Photo courtesy and copyright – Janet Pawson

Arthur junior started riding early and I soon had a scooter, the rest progressed from there.

And so the intrepid travellers from London came north from ‘down south’ and started the many years or work and play. – Janet Pawson

Trials Guru is grateful to Lampkin family member, Mrs Janet Pawson, the eldest sister of the Lampkin brothers, for the use of this article. 

Copyright: Words & Images: Janet Pawson

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In collaboration with author, Ian Berry, we bring you:

Arthur John Lampkin

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Arthur John Lampkin setting off from the start of the Scottish Six Days Trial at the Gorgie Market in Edinburgh in 1963, which he won on his factory BSA C15 (XON688) – Photo courtesy: Jimmy Young, Armadale

 

Words: Ian Berry
Photos: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic – A.R.C. Lampkin – John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK – Jimmy Young, Armadale

 

Extract with permission from: “Out Front! – British Motocross Champions 1960 – 1974” By Ian Berry, 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-9564975-3-6)
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Arthur J. Lampkin; H. Martin Lampkin and Trials Guru’s John Moffat at Ripon in 2014 – Photo: John Hulme/ Trial Magazine

There wasn’t much that Arthur Lampkin didn’t win in the world of trials and motocross. He was a 250 and 500 GP winner, a stalwart member of the British teams in the Motocross des Nations and the Trophee des Nations and represented the nation in the International Six Days Trial in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1958 and 1962 winning Gold Medals on both occassions. He also capured both the ACU 250 and 500cc Driver’s Stars (the forerunner of the British Championships) and was runner-up in the 1961 250cc European Motocross Championship.

He was a prolific winner of trials events, with victories in the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1963, the Scott Trial (1960/61/65) in his native Yorkshire, and the British Experts Trial. But, despite all of this he is probably best remembered as Mr. Television. a title he earned from his sterling efforts in the televised winter race meetings of the 1960’s.

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Scott Trial winner on three occasions – Arthur Lampkin holds the Alfred A. Scott Trophy – Photo: A.R.C. Lampkin

As the old adage goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and this was certainly true in Lampkin’s case. though he didn’t just go, he usually disappeared clean out of sight.

Arthur was born in May 1938 to the parents as described in sister Janet Pawson’s piece above.

His first contact with motorcycles came when he was given a 1937 side-valve BSA at the tender age of twelve. It was the beginning of a life-long affection for motorcycles, but it wasn’t all roses for the young Yorkshireman. When still only 15 years old he had a brush with the law; he was caught riding the BSA on the public highway! He was summoned to appear in court in nearby Skipton, where his father told the magistrate, “He was born on wheels and wants to be a trials rider”.

A Triumph Tiger 80 followed by a BSA and this in turn was followed by a 197cc James that Aryhur started riding in trials once he turned 16. In his first season he rode it in the toughest trial of them all, the Scott, complete with L-plates and followed a good ride in the Allan Jefferies trial, he graduated to the expert ranks after just five events.

After several successful outings on the James, he graduated to a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet, which was converted from a roadster. On the Bullet, Lampkin took part in his first Scottish Six Days Trial in May 1955, taking a Special First Class award at the end of a gruelling week.

The winner of the trial was none other than Jeff Smith, who would soon become Lampkin’s teammate and close friend.

BSA support:

In the early years, Lampkin was also befriended by one of Yorkshire’s trial riding greats, Tom Ellis. Ellis was a factory BSA rider of some standing, used his influence to persuade the company to give Lampkin the use of a bike. So it was that whilst still only 17 years old, Lampkin was entrusted with a 500cc Gold Star trials bike.

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Arthur Lampkin on his ex-factory BSA Gold Star 500 on Loch Eild Path during the 1984 Pre-65 Scottish Trial – Photo: Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

He returned to Scotland in May 1956 and after day one he was one of four riders tied for the lead on a clean sheet. He had an outstanding week eventually finishing 5th overall and taking the over 350 class in just his second Scottish. Lampkin loved the whole experience, telling Peter Howdle of MCN, ‘It felt wonderful to ride a works bike’.

With his trials riding career going from strength to strength, Lampkin decided to try his hand at scrambling. His first event was at Post Hill near Leeds, though it wa no fairy tale debut for Arthur. Riding a 350cc BSA Gold Star. he took an excursion into the bushes whilst trying to keep up wiuth another Yorkshire great, Frank Bentham.

However, he rapidly learnt the art of off-road racing and soon found himself on the BSA factory team as their youngest ever rider, following the departures of Brian Stonebridge, to Greeves, and John Avery who had stepped down to devote more time to his motorcycle business.

As a fledgling BSA rider he was on a steep learning curve. By Easter 1957 he already had the measure of local ace Bentham, beating him on the moors at Boltby and going on to win both the Junior and Senior races at that year’s Cumberland Grand National riding the 350 Goldie. Then in May he switched back to his trials bike for the Scottish, improving to 3rd overall, behind winner Johnny Brittain and his BSA teammate John Draper, who beat him on the special test.

Not surprisingly, the same year he captured the hugely prestigeous Sunbeam MCC ‘Pinhard Prize’ which was awarded to the best performance by an under 21 year old in all areas of competition motorcycling. He was 18 years of age at the time.

1958 found Britain’s most talented young motorcyclist on national service in the army, where he soon became Lance Corporal Lampkin, motorcycle riding instructor. As such, he managed to stay fairly active as a trials rider at least, winning the army championship and taking in his first trip abroad to Germany for the ISDT at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where he rode a 350cc Gold Star to a gold medal. Then following his demobbing, in January 1959, his motorcycling career really started to take off.

That year he was in inspired form on the 500cc Gold Star scrambler, taking the coveted ACU Scrambles Driver’s Star by a comfortable margin of seven points from Derek Rickman and teammate John Draper, who tied on points with Rickman the younger (Don). The sam season, he won the Cumberland GN again, and the Lancashire GN, and all this before he had reached the age of 20.

Europe beckons:

Given his predilection for the 500cc Gold Star, he might well have welcomed a crack at the 500 world championship, but for 1960 BSA turned their attention to the quarter-litre Coupe d’Europe (European Championship). The previous year Lampkin had ridden an experimental 250 to victory in the 250 race at the prestigeous Experts GN meeting at Rollswood Farm near Redditch. This had obviously made an impression on BSA’s Competition Manager, Brian Martin, who asked Arthur, in company with Jeff Smith, to spearhead their efforts riding the C15.

Despite a very impressive start to the campaign, which saw him score poium finishes in the first and second rounds. It would not be until the eighth round in Finland that Arthur took his maiden GP victory. However when his time came, he did it in style buy winning both races. From there, he went on to finish a hotly disputed season in 5th overall, behind Dave Bickers, Jeff Smith, Miroslav Soucek (Eso) and Stig Rickardsson (Husqvarna).

Although he retained the Cumberland GN trophy, Lampkin was no match for teammate Smith in the season long 500 ACU star contest, where his good friend and rival dominated proceedings, amassing 28 points from a possible 32, to claim his third national title.

It was a similar story in the inaugural 250 ACU Scrambles Driver’s Star, where despite winning at the Lancashire GN at Cuerden Park near Preston. In August, he couldn’t mount a sustained challenge to Dave Bickers, who took the title at the season’s end with a 20 point advantage over DOT’s rising star, Alan Clough.

However, in November he achieved one of his major sporting goals, when he won the Scott Trial in his native Yoprkshire, a success he would go on to repeat the following year and again in 1965.

Consistency is the key:

In 1961 his main objective was to wrest the 250 European Championship from the hands of Dave Bickers and Greeves and after a steady start to the campaign, whilst Bickers blazed the trail, he emerged as a real contender thanks to a run of consistent results. Blighted by bad luck in the opening rounds in France and Belgium, he bounced back to finish 2nd in Holland, 2nd in Czechoslovakia, 2nd in Poland, 4th in Luxembourg and 3rd in Finland. Back-to-back victories in Italy and West Gernmany upped the ante for the championship, and despite finishing 2nd to Bickers in the British round at Schrubland Park, another win in Switzerland, where he beat Smith into 2nd place, kept his championship hopes alive.

Looking at Lampkin’s string of results in the championship, with hindsight one can only sympathise with the Yorkshireman. Such a run would ordinarily have won many a World Championship, but unfortunately for him, he came upagainst Dave Bickers riding at the very top of his form. By the time they set off for the twelfth round in Sweden, the Coddenham man had won five of the rounds. However, he had also retired from four GPs and if he failed to finish at Vannas, Lampkin could, conceivably, outpoint his compatriot. Unfortunately, for Arthur, Bickers was in imperious form for the Swedish round taking the GP by storm and consigning Lampkin to runner-up.

Another Star:

Lampkin may have lost out to Bickers in the European Championship, but he took the 250 ACU Star from his great rival and once again consistency was the cornerstone to his success. Over the five rounds, he never finished outside of the top three, finishing 2nd on two occasions and winning two of the rounds.

However, at Hatherton Hall, Cheshire, for the opening round, try as he might, Lampkin had to play second fiddle to Bickers, who was in tantalising form. In the Star race, Bickers took off like a scolded cat whilst Lampkin found himself trailing Roy Peplow on a very quick Triumph Tiger Cub. Surprisingly, Lampkin could do nothing about catching peplow and Bickers pulled away lap by lap to record a winning margin of 400 yards. Then Lampkin rolled out his trusty 500 Gold Star for the Cheshire Motocross and a great battle ensued. Bickers set the early pace, but Lampkin forced past on the fifth lap with Peplow also getting in on the act. Lampkin and Bickers then eased away from Peplow and swapped places for several laps until Lampkin tired and settled for 2nd place.

But in late July Lampkin, in Bickers’ absence, completely dominated the day’s racing at Belmont near Durham, winning six races from six starts. The only riders to challenge his supremacy were the young Vic Eastwood. all the way up from Kent and racing a 250 AJS, factory DOT runner Pat Lamper and Andy Lee with his 500 Fenman special. Arthur easily took the 250 Star race ahead of Lamper and Eastwood, leading from start to finish and establishing himself as the clear leader in the championship.

However at Schrubland park a fortnight later, Lampkin had no answer for Bickers who, racing on his local track, won the lightweight race for the fourth year in succession and closed to within two points of the Yorkshireman in the general classification.

Lampkin gets a break:

But the East Anglian’s luck ran out at the Gloucestershire GN at Tirley in mid-August. On this occasion the Star was a two-leg motocross style event and Bickers quickly got down to business as he headed the field in race one. But he was soon out of the race and loading up his bike for the long drive back to Suffolk, after the Greeves’ engine had seized up just five laps into the race. With Bickers out, Lampkin turned on the style passing Greeves runners Joe Johnson and Freddie Mayes, as he sped on to victory. In the second race, young Bryan Goss gave the locals something to cheer about, when he raced to his, and Cotton’s first ACU Star race win in front of Lampkin, Mayes and Clough. However, Lampkin was the overall winner ahead of Mayes and Goss, the win guaranteeing him the ACU Star as he extended his lead over the hapless Bickers. It also brought him his second ACU Star in three seasons, as he became the first rider to win Stars in both the 250 and 500 classes.

The final round of the championship was played out on the magnificent Glastonbury Tor circuit in September. Although Lampkin and Bickers had nothing to play for it didn’t stop them putting on a fantastic show for the crowds who came to watch them.

Lampkin got the drop on his rival from the start, but within half a lap Bickers had forged ahead. An enthralling tussle followed, as Europe’s top two 250 riders slugged it out for the opening five laps until Lampkin uncharacteristically slid off. This gave Bickers plenty of breathing space, though fellow Greeves riders Joe Johnson and the Sharp brothers, Triss and Bryan, failed to capitalise on Arthur’s lapse of concentration and he rode in to 2nd at the flag, but Champion in the Star contest eight points clear of Bickers.

With the Star race done and dusted, Lampkin won the Wessex Junior Scramble, but again had to give second best to a rampant Bickers in the lightweight Scratch race.

World Title tilt:

In 1962 BSA gave Arthur a shot at his first World Championship when the 250 class was upgraded and with Bickers missing, Lampkin might well have entertained thoughts of being Champion. Things started very brightly with a win in the season-opener in Spain, which he backed up with another victory in round three in Belgium. But as Jeff Smith began to take control, Lampkin started to fade, eventually slipping back to finish 3rd in the championship, as the super-talented Swedish ace, Torsten Hallman, stormed back to snatch victory from Smith.

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Friends for many years, Jeff Smith MBE & Arthur Lampkin – Photo: John Hulme/Trial Magazine 2009

In April, the BSA factory star came south to race at the Wessex Scramble at Glastonbury. Fellow British Champion, Bryan Goss, vividly remembers it for his encounter with Lampkin. “He was a brilliant rider. He’d won just about everything in the ITV meetings and I’d just gone on to Greeves. I remember beating him in the 250 and 350 races and Cobby (Derry Preston Cobb) was loving it. Then in the second 250 race with everyone waving me on I got to the top of the hill just in front, but he passed me as he jumped down the other side! He didn’t like it when I beat him, but he was on my stomping ground and I gave him some stick! But I learnt a lot from Arthur.

Back in Europe for the Motocross des Nations at Wohlen, Switzerland, in late August, Athur suffered more disappointment, when after being selected to represent his country he had a day to forget. It started brightly enough, as the BSA man rode to a comfortable fourth place in his heat, but in the final he crashed on the first lap and lost a lot of time as he attempted to restart the BSA. In a one-sided contest, the Swedish team dominated the final, all five riders crossed the line abreast, ahead of Derek Rickman and Jeff Smith.

However Lampkin, and the British team, took some consolation when they won the Trophee des Nations event at Shrubland Park a month later. Arthur played his part in the British team’s victory recovering brilliantly from thirteenth, after stalling the little BSA half way round the opening lap, to finish 5th in race one, as teammates Bickers and Smith finished 1st and 2nd to set the team up for a win. In the second leg Lampkin was credited with a third place finish, though, as documented elsewhere, the British team crossed the line abreast for a famous victory taking the first five places.

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Arthur Lampkin amongst off-road motorcycling legends. Left to right: Roy Peplow (Triumph factory trials, scrambles and ISDT rider); John Draper (Norton & BSA works rider); Jeff Smith MBE (World Motocross Champion for BSA); Sammy Miller (Ariel & Bultaco rider and Honda Trials Team manager); Blackie Holden and Arthur Lampkin – Photo: Toon van de Vliet (All rights reserved)

Contesting the ‘blue riband’ series:

In 1963, his loyalty to BSA was rewarded with a crack at the 500 World Championship. Armed with one of the new 420 machines that BSA had developed from the C15 250, and in company with Jeff Smith, Lampkin set out on a gruelling campaign that saw Britain’s likely lads travel to 13 different countries and cover more than 30,000 miles in a long and arduous season.

Incredibly, despite such a hectic schedule, Arthur managed to take time out for a week’s ‘holiday’ in the Scottish Highlands, where he won the Scottish Six Days Trial riding a C15T. Having won the SSDT on Saturday, Lampkin boarded a plane bound for Denmark, to compete in the Danish round of the championship the following day, where he was in inspired form and finished 4th overall to register his first champioship points.

Boosted by his recent upturn in form, he improved to take his first podium place in the 500 class in Italy, with 3rd overall after finishingthird in race two. The circus then moved into the Eastern European leg of the championship and the Czech GP, where a spirited ride in the second leg, when he briefly led the very rapid 263cc CZs of the home riders, Valek and Pilar, saw him finish 6th overall. He improved to 4th in Russia in late May, after finishing 4th and 5th in the two races.

 

 

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Five giants of off-road motorcycle sport: Left to right – Jeff Smith MBE; Peter Fletcher; Gordon Jackson; Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin & Arthur ‘Ping’ Lampkin – Photo courtesy of Colin Bullock/CJB Photographic

To be continued shortly….

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Author, Ian Berry

Who is Ian Berry apart from being a friend of Trials Guru? He was introduced to the world of motocross by the family television when he watched the BBC Grandstand televised series in the 1960s. Ian then attended many scrambles events in his native East Anglia, taking in Wakes Colne; Cadders Hill; Lyng and Hadleigh. He now lives in Lisbon, Portugal with his wife and two children where he works as an English teacher.

Ian has written two books on Motocross: “Out Front! – British Motocross Champions 1960 – 1974” in 2010 and “On Air! – The BBC Grandstand Trophy 1963 – 1970” in 2013.

Trials Guru wish to thank Ian most sincerely for allowing us to make use of the above extract on Arthur J. Lampkin with his permission. The text remains the copyright of Ian Berry, Lisbon.

‘Family Cycle’ – Short Film featuring the Lampkin Family:

 

Comments on ‘Lampkin of Silsden’

Rob Edwards – Former Montesa factory rider: “I wish there was a ‘like’ button on here similar to facebook! I spent many happy days back in the seventies, travelling Europe in company of Sid and Mart when they rode for Bultaco. What great times they were and it’s fantastic to read about some of them here on Trials Guru”. – Rob Edwards

Coming soon – More Lampkin articles …

Harold Martin Lampkin – trials’ first World Champion (1950 – 2016)

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Martin Lampkin (Bultaco) on Laggan Locks in the 1977 Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

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Martin Lampkin (SWM) on Pipeline in the 1981 SSDT – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

We are currently working with other contributors to enhance the Lampkin of Silsden ‘section’  experience, please check back from time to time to read updates to this section.

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