Trials Guru special feature on Mick Andrews. Often referred to as ‘Magical Mick’ or even the ‘Monarch of the Glen’ (SSDT nickname).
Mick Andrews is a name synonymous with the sport of trials since the early 1960’s. He has ridden for AJS; James; Bultaco (Rickman Brothers, 1966); Ossa and Yamaha, in a career that has taken him all over the world both as a competitor and a brand ambassador.
Andrews was twice European Trials Champion in 1971 and again in 1972 on Ossa, before the official World Championship commenced in 1975.
Nick-named ‘Magical Mick’ by the trials press many years ago and it stuck, he has won the famous Scottish Six Days Trial a total of 5 times, in fact he was only the second man in the events’ history to win it three times in succession, the first being B.H.M ‘Hugh’ Viney who was to become instrumental in Andrews riding for the AJS factory team in 1963, his AJS factory machine carried the index number 644BLB, registered as a 350 Matchless. Viney after retiring from active competition became AMC Competitions Manager.
Due to his SSDT successes, Mick was also dubbed ‘Monarch of the Glen’ after the famous oil painting by Sir Edwin Landseer by the motorcycle press of the day.
Journalist, Ralph Venables (see Trials Guru’s comments below) tipped Viney off about the young Andrews, whom he had been watching the progress of, closely. A phone call to Viney and that was good enough for Hugh!
Andrews began riding for AJS in 1963 and his first SSDT on the heavyweight four-stroke saw him bag a second place finish behind Arthur Lampkin on the factory BSA C15 (XON688). A feat he repeated in 1964, finishing runner-up to Sammy Miller on the 500cc Ariel. The next two years he finished third on the 250cc James (306AKV) and again on the Bultaco (DOT289D).
In 1967 on the prototype Ossa Pennine (ORB222E), machine troubles forced him to retire, but he was back the next year and came home in third, and again in 1969, a second place.
‘Orpheo Sincronic Sociedad Anonima’ ~
His first win in 1970 was on his factory prototype (Barcelona registered: B775073) sporting a much neater tank/seat combination, modified frame and overall a much trimmer package. This particular machine formed the basis for the production ‘Mick Andrews Replica’ (MAR) launched in 1971.
Mick also kept his hand in motocross for the Spanish company, racing a 230cc machine when time allowed. Coupled to this his selection for the British ISDT team on several occasions. He rode a factory prepared Ossa in 1970 at El Escorial, Madrid, Spain. For the British team he rode AJS in 1968 in Italy and a 504cc Cheney Triumph in the Isle of Man in 1971.
Repeating his SSDT successes the next two years, Mick wondered if it was time for a change. The Ossa trials machine had been developed only because of the death of Ossa factory road racer Santiago Herrero in the 250cc Lightweight TT in 1970. This saw Ossa pulling out of racing. Ossa, which stands for ‘Orpheo Sincronic Sociedad Anonima’ switched its focus to off-road development and trials in particular and Mick had signed for them in 1967 with the help of UK importer Eric Housely.
YAMAHA MOTOR COMPANY ~
Yamaha announced the defection from Ossa in 1973. Andrews was to further develop the trials Yamaha that had been kicked off by Frenchman Christian Rayer, but it was not to be the TY (Trial Yamaha) style that Mick would be given. Factory ‘pure racing’ Yamahas were designated ‘0W’ and it was the Yamaha 0W series that Mick was to be given full reign of. (Yamaha factory designation for racing is: 0W – ‘zero W’)
Yamaha’s European operation was called Yamaha Motor N.V., based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands where their race team was officially headquartered. Mick received full factory support and a contract which furnished him with Japanese technicians and a Ford Transit van, suitably liveried in Yamaha racing colours.
As confirmed by Ferry Brouwer, then Yamaha race technician to Phil Read and Tepi Lansivoiri, all factory contracted riders were supplied with Ford Transits, all Dutch registered and suitably sign-written with the riders’ name on the driver’s door. The enormity of Yamaha Motor Company was in stark comparison to the Spanish Ossa concern.
Surprisingly, all Andrew’s factory 0W’s were all road registered in the UK, a must for many of the national trials Mick undertook in that time period.
In 1975 Andrews once again brought the victors spoils home to Yamaha at the Scottish Six Days Trial, there was a very interesting story emerged about this win from film-maker David Wood of C.H. Wood (Bradford) Ltd.
Wood: “Not many people know this, but now will. After I’d filmed Mick winning the ’75 Scottish, I sent him the telegram, top left in Yamaha news. Unfortunately his Japanese mechanic saw it and sent it on to the top brass in Japan. They looked at the first lines, took it seriously and thought it was a great honour for Yamahaand published it in their house magazine. Obviously they didn’t quite understand Yorkshire humour. Nothing was said at the time, I presume to save face. I did get more work from Yamaha though, who were a great company to work for, even if some of the individuals weren’t!”
Much of the development work was undertaken at Mick’s home near Buxton, Derbyshire with new prototypes built in Japan and freighted over to Amsterdam for test sessions.
Return to Ossa ~
In 1979 Andrews once again rode for Ossa in the Scottish Six Days much to the delight of spectators.
Andrews also took young riders under his wing, including the Oakley brothers Nick and Peter. He also started his own ‘Trials Academy’ with the help of Yamaha, the first of it’s type in the UK. Called the ‘Mick Andrews Trials Association’ or MATA for short.
Mick’s bikes were ahead of their time in so far as Yamaha experimented with cantilever/mono shock suspension; fuel injection and reed valve induction systems. Much of the Yamaha development work is described in his 1976 book, ‘Mick Andrews Book of Trials’*, which has become a collector’s item with good copies fetching around £100 per copy.
Some works registration numbers : Mick Andrews
Bultaco (Rickman Bros):
B-1681-C (Prototype MAR)
CRA33L (1973 – Twin-shock bike/cantilever in 1974 with fuel injection module fitted);
ENU29L (1973 – Cantilever bike); JGF729N (1975 – twin-shock bike)
Trials Guru on Andrews: I asked Mick when we were together in Robregordo in Spain 2006; did he ever have a job? He replied with a broad smile: “What, you mean an ordinary or proper job? – yes, I did have an apprenticeship to become a motor mechanic when I was sixteen at Kennings, but then I received the offer of the AJS works ride and I only really had two employers after that, Ossa and Yamaha”.
(*) – Mick Andrews Book of Trials by Tom Beesley & Mick Andrews (ISBN: 9780917856006) Published by: Trippe, Cox. – Now out of print.
© John Hulme/Trials Magazine UK for photos and guidance with this article.
© David Wood Archive, Bradford, England – Worldwide Copyright, All Rights Reserved
© Claudio Pictures, France
© Roz Price, Abergavenny, Wales
© Iain C. Clark, Fort William, Scotland
© Ian T. Robertson, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland
© Barry Robinson, Ilkley, Yorkshire, England
© Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Argyll, Scotland
© Colin Bullock / CJB Photographic
© Kenny McNamee, Motherwell, Scotland
© Escobe Baco, Madrid
© Jim Young, Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland
Special thanks to David Wood for the use of copyright material from The David Wood Film and Photographic Archive, Bradford, England and both the Yamaha Motor Company, Japan & Ossa Motorcycles, Spain.
Mick Andrews Article © – Trials Guru/MoffatRacing/John Moffat – 2017 (All Rights reserved)
More information and reading on MICK ANDREWS:
on the RETROTRIALS website © – A full interview with Magical Mick… Here
Video of Mick Andrews: Courtesy of Ferry Brouwer, Netherlands via YouTube – Filmed on location in Scotland and Derbyshire by C.H. Wood (Bradford) Ltd for Yamaha Motor Company.