ROB EDWARDS STORY

This is a Trials Guru special ‘section’ dedicated to Rob Edwards’ story of his life as an international trials rider, told in his own words. Read about the English trials rider that became the world-wide Montesa brand ambassador, who pioneered this type of promotion …

Rob - Edramucky - EK

1976 ‘Edramucky’ Day One , Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo: Eric Kitchen (Worldwide Copyright)

Link to Rob’s Story on Todotrial: Spanish Version
Rob Classic Bikers Club

Rob Edwards on the prototype Montesa Cota 348 in the 1975 Scottish Six Days Trial captured by Brian Nichols on Bradileig – Photo copyright: Mortons Media, Hornchurch – all rights reserved

Chapter 1 : Introduction:

After meeting up with Rob Edwards at the Centenary Scott Trial on October 18th 2014, Trials Guru decided it would be of interest to our supporters and readers to learn more of the Thornaby lad who went on to become a factory Montesa rider during the golden era of the Cota.

Rob Edwards - LLomond - JY

Rob Edwards (Sandiford Montesa) at the 1980 Loch Lomond 2 Day Trial – Photo Jimmy Young, Armadale

His story of a lifetime as a professional trials rider is fascinating, but also Rob suddenly vanished from the trials scene and stories of a mystery illness emerged. Now you can read exactly what happened, some of it will leave you speechless and the mystery illness is finally explained by Rob himself.

Here is Rob’s own story of his life in trials:

 

Rob seen here on the Montesa Cota in Spain demonstrating the art of trials riding to a gathering of Montesa owners. Photo Courtesy of Luis Munoz, Madrid.

Rob seen here on the Montesa Cota in Spain demonstrating the art of trials riding to a gathering of Montesa owners at a 2 day trials class held in Cerro Alarcón, Valdemorillo (Madrid, Spain) in 1971. Photo Courtesy of Luis Munoz, Madrid.

 

Hi Reader,

I hope you will enjoy this as much as I have had telling it to Trials Guru,  John Moffat.
I’m Rob Edwards, born back in 1945 in Thornaby-On-Tees, and from a very early age I was desperate to be a trials rider.

Although my dad was not a trials rider himself, he was involved in the organising & observing side of the sport.
1970-ssdt-camp-hill-rob-edwards-2nd-place

1970 – Scottish Six Days Trial on ‘Camp Hill’ watched by Ralph Venables (seated in cloth cap) on my way to second place with 32 marks lost. (Photo: Rob Edwards Personal Collection)

Tony Clarke, a fellow Thornaby lad, would get to our section and say: ‘come on lad I’ve had enough for today’… handing me his 250 BSA, I was off!
I was 14 years old at the time. ‘Don’t forget, I’ve to ride home and the bike has no lights’.
For the next 2 hours or so I was in motorbike heaven.
Until I was sixteen, Tony did this dozens of times and if I ever win the lottery, he will be top of the list. Cheers Tony! and many thanks.
Rob early days

One of the earliest photos of Rob Edwards at an event, that’s him second from the right, spectating at a local Middlesborough trial around 1954. The rider is believed to be Derek Smith on a James. Rob’s Dad, Bob Edwards is the observer with the clip-board. Rob was at many trials as an observers’ apprentice until he took up riding at 16 years of age. Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection.

My first job was an apprentice fitter and turner at Head Wrightsons, Teesdale Works.
My main interest was trialing not industry.
Head Wrightsons were not at all sympathetic towards sports especially motorbike sport. However my doctor was and every year when I came back from the SSDT they knew where I had been as our local paper had done a daily report on it.
Thanks to Dr. Kaye who had given me a sick note for the week and as I hadn’t claimed any money there was nothing they could do.
Eventually it did come to a head and we said goodbye.
I was sorry to say goodbye to my friends, but not the management.
Next up, we will be getting into my move to Montesa & the unbelievable life change that was about to happen. – ROB
Trials Guru comment: Rob gained an apprenticeship as a fitter/turner at Head Wrightson, a major employer and large heavy industrial firm based at Thornaby-on-Tees. They specialised in the manufacture of large industrial products such as fractional distillation columns that needed special transport to get them to site. Its products, which were made of cast or wrought iron, were used for boilers, railway chairs, naval ships, and many bridges across the world.

Rob having served his apprenticeship, rarely did any overtime or weekend working for one very good reason; that would have restricted his trials riding activities. One day a manager, called Jack Welham said to him in front of a number of his workmates, “Robbie, you have got to make up your mind, do you want to be a fitter or a motorbike rider?” As Welham turned and began to walk away with a smug smile on his face, Rob shouted back at him: “I have made up my mind Jack; I’m going to be a motorbike rider!”


Chapter 2 : The 1963 SSDT

2014-04-07_11

1963, Monday May 6th. Rob Edwards leaving the start of the SSDT, riding number 168 on the Doug Marshall supplied 250cc Cotton. (Photo courtesy: James Young, Armadale, Scotland.)

1963 – My Disastrous First Scottish!
Back in 1963, the Scottish Six Days, the most famous of all trials, started in Edinburgh and we rode up to Fort William on the first day from where the event was centered until the following Saturday.
Almost all the opening day was by main road. From just leaving the start at Gorgie Market, it rained and rained and more rained.
I rode the 250cc Cotton that year, which was supplied by my sponsor, Doug Marshall Motorcycles from Marske-By-The-Sea, North Yorks.
By the time we reached Rannoch Station I was very numb,
but at least we were about to do a bit of cross country to warm us up a bit.
We  couldn’t have been going for more than a mile when we came to a river that could only be described as a raging torrent.
You know things are bad when you see groups of maybe six riders up to their waist carrying a bike aloft then going back for another.
One person looked as though he had the job sussed it was Peter Gaunt.
After walking along the riverbank he had found a boulder that was part submerged in the mud. “That’s my launch pad!” he said.Peter jumped on his bike and disappeared.
When he returned, I estimated his speed at around 30-35 mph. Gaunt hit his ‘launch pad’ spot on, but due to a slight miscalculation instead of flying horizontally across to the far bank, he went straight up in the air, finally about mid-stream he plummeted into the river in a huge cloud of steam. Peter soon joined the ranks with their spark plugs out trying to dry out their engines.

I was sat wondering what to do next, when a farmer and tractor appeared out of no-where! “Two bikes and two riders at a time”, he shouted. He had a trailer, the type you would carry milk churns in.

Arthur Lampkin's factory 250 BSA (XON688), the bike that won the 1963 Scottish, seen here in 2000 in the capable hands of Rob Edwards' good friend, Alan 'Sid' Lampkin (Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Scotland)

Arthur Lampkin’s factory 250 BSA (XON688), the bike that won the 1963 Scottish, seen here in 2000 in the capable hands of Rob Edwards’ good friend, Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin (Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Scotland)

We were a lot further down stream when we got to the far side. At times it felt as though the current was going to tip us into the drink.
In the meantime it was still pouring with rain.
When I finally got to Fort William I handed in my route card. “You have not done the two sections at Ben Nevis”, the official told me. “Give me my card back and I will nip back and do them”, I said. “Sorry!”,  the official said, “If your card is handed in, there is no getting it back, so I am afraid you are out of the Trial, rules are rules”.
I was bitterly disappointed to hear this, but I had to accept it. Many riders had traveled to the finish of the day in Fort William on the West Highland Railway with their bikes for company.
As well as this, they were allowed to get their bikes started and continue with the Trial.
And they were not penalised for missing Ben Nevis!
I was told I could ride with a R plate meaning retired, but that was not for me.
My dad Bob, came up by car and trailer, so we loaded up and I went home, feeling rather sorry for myself and back to work at Head Wrightons.
Ah well, never mind it happens I suppose … roll on next years’ “Scottish” … Rob
SSDT PR1963

Front cover of the SSDT in 1963, Rob Edwards’ first attempt at the Scottish.

Trials Guru comment: The 1963 Scottish Six Days – The eventual winner was Arthur Lampkin on his factory 250 BSA C15 ‘XON688’ a machine that Arthur still owns to this day.
The details that Rob gives us are very true in that it was a wet week generally and many rivers were in spate. Missing a section or group usually meant instant exclusion in 1963, as having failed to complete the course. Nowadays, riders are awarded extra penalty marks for missing sections, within set limits in the regulations, but rarely excluded.
Rob would have ridden the following first day route to Fort William:
Start, Gorgie Market (now called the Corn exchange); Kincardine Bridge; 2 sections at Culross in Fife; Blair Logie (Check point); Braco; Comrie; Lochearnhead; 8 sections at Glenogle Hill;
Killin SSDT

Killin, Perthshire with riders making their way to Fort William on the first day of the Scottish. The village looks similar to this photo even now.

 
 
Killin; Bridge of Lochay (Petrol & Lunch control); Bridge of Balgie;
Innerwick; 8 sections on Meall Glas; Dall; Rannoch (where the riders met with a raging torrent!); Fersit; Roy Bridge; Inverlochy; Glen Nevis; 4 sections at Ben Nevis; 2 sections at Town Hall Brae, Fort William.
Total mileage Day one: 170 miles; 24 sections for the day. The route-markers over Fersit was most likely to have been Johnny Clarkson from Skirling, Biggar and Bob Paterson from Airdrie, both former Six Days riders in the nineteen fifties.

Chapter 3 : The 1964 Scottish Six Days

By the time the 1964 Scottish came around, I had got over my previous year’s disaster, this time I was allocated number 210 on an AJS 350 bought from Comerfords, this time entered as a ‘privateer’ and riding for the Middlesbrough & District, my home club.The event still started and finished in Edinburgh.
coalasnacoan 1964 - Brian Holder - red

SSDT 1964 on Coalasnacoan with the AJS – Photo copyright: Brian Holder

On the Thursday, we went over the Corrieyarrick Pass.I think I had been following behind Peter Gaunt and what happened next I wasn’t to find out until sometime later.I found myself sat on a banking at the side of the Pass, which is an old General Wade military road.I had no idea at all how I came to be sitting there.
Rob on his 350 AJS at Achintee Farm, Ben Nevis, in the 1964 Scottish. The AJS supplied by Comerfords, hence the Surrey registration number 970PL. If you look closely the front wheel spindle nut has the ISDT type tommy-bar, obviating the need for a spanner. It also has the works style prop-stand tied to the front downtube by rubber bands and a small spigot mounted on the lower-most engine bolt and the attachment spigot mounting on the magneto mounting plate. Photo supplied by Rob Edwards. Photo copyright: Brian Holder.

Rob on his 350 AJS at Achintee Farm, Ben Nevis, in the 1964 Scottish. The AJS supplied by Comerfords, hence the Surrey registration number 970PL. If you look closely the front wheel spindle nut has the ISDT type tommy-bar, obviating the need for a spanner. It also has the works style prop-stand tied to the front downtube by rubber bands and a small spigot mounted on the lower-most engine bolt and the attachment spigot mounting on the magneto mounting plate. Photo supplied by Rob Edwards. Photo copyright: Brian Holder.

Alan Morewood from Sheffield who became a top sidecar driver, came along on his 500 Ariel as he was number 205 that year, he stopped and asked if I was Okay? ‘Yes, fine’ I said, ‘Bye’ he said and rode off.

couple of minutes later and Alan was back. ‘Rob, are you sure you are al-right, you look dazed?’ said Alan. ‘No problem’ I said and off he went again. Somehow I managed to get back to Fort William to finish the day’s run.

The first person I spoke to asked what I had been doing to scratch my face? Then someone said, ‘never mind his face, look at the back of his bike!’

The rear end was totally out of line. I then realised that I must have hit a pothole in the road with the front wheel over Corrieyarrick, cartwheeled and that explained my rest on the bank.

We pulled the bike back into line with a length of pipe that we found. Apart from a bit of a headache, it was back to business as usual.

Rest of the week was not as eventful and had a good old needle match with my mate Sid Lampkin who was on a factory Cotton that year.For the next year, I had bought another AJS from Comerfords, Thames Ditton built by Jock Wilson. I’ll tell you about that ride next!

1964 SSDT Programme

The front cover of the 1964 Scottish Official Programme.

I’ve just been looking again at the fine Brian Holder photograph of me on the AJS on ‘Ben Nevis’ in 1964. The chap directly behind me is Mick Ward from Scarborough.

He built a bike especially for this event. He had the novel idea of taking the exhaust through the back frame loop to save a bit of weight.

However, when he got stuck, the ever helpful spectators would rush to his aid, not realising the exhaust was the rear frame loop and severely burn their hands in their quest to assist! I’m sure the A&E at Fort William were extra busy that week with burns!

I bet Mick never thought that one day Valentino Rossi would copy his helmet design! … Rob

PCW AJS 1962

Comerford’s employee, Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson with one of his creations, an ultra short-stroke AJS 16C, photo taken at the back of Comerfords workshop at Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton. Jock was brought up a mile from the old SSDT sections at ‘Meall Glas’ in Glen Lyon, Perthshire. Photo Copyright: Don Morley, Reigate, Surrey

Trials Guru comment: – The 1964 Scottish Six Days, this edition was won by Sammy Miller riding the much modified and much weight reduced, Ariel HT5. This would be the last time he would do so on the British four-stroke, Miller had already been secret testing the 200cc Bultaco Sherpa which he was later to develop to an increased 244cc and thus created a world beating machine with the San Adrien De Besos factory.

From the 1964 Scottish Six Days Trial Results:

No. 210. R. Edwards, Middlesbrough & Dist. M.C., A.J.S. 350 c.c. …. 124 marks S F C (Special First Class Award)

Ron Thomson 1964SSDT Achintee

1964 SSDT another Achintee photo taken the same day as that of Rob Edwards. Here we see the late Ron Thomson a great character originally from St. Andrews who made his home in Inverlochy, Fort William. Seen here on his 500cc BSA Gold Star. Ron called this bike the ‘Stone Crusher’ and was later owned by Billy Maxwell of Newcastle. Thomson and Ali McDonald were great friends. Photo courtesy: Mrs Ron Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William.

Rob’s eventful Scottish ‘Thursday’ was May 7th 1964. The route was as follows, let’s follow where Rob went that day: Start, Fort William; Inverlochy; 2 sections at Annat; Banavie; Gairlochy; 8 sections at Laggan Locks; Corrieyarrick Pass (where Rob has his big off!); Melgarve; Laggan Inn; Roy Bridge; Inverlochy – Lunch control; Glen Nevis; 4 sections at Ben Nevis; Fort William – Down Ashburn Lane; Onich; Kinlochleven; 1 section on Pollock Way; 8 sections at Leitir Bo Fionn; Down Loch Eild Path; 8 sections at Mamore; Check at top of hill; Mamore Road; 2 sections on the Town Hall Brae and Finish of day. Total Mileage 132 miles. 33 sections.

A Macdonald 1964SSDT THB

1964 SSDT shot of the late Ali McDonald, a Fort William man, on his Ariel HT5 on Town Hall Brae in Fort William. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Ron Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William.

SSDT Point of interest: The number plates you see in the SSDT photos were issued to riders by the organising club. The rider paid a fee of ten shillings and forfeited the deposit if they didn’t hand the plates back at the end of the event. In 1964 the number plate official was Bob Adamson who later was to become SSDT Assistant Secretary and Secretary of the Pre’65 Scottish Trial.

1964 - Blackie Holden at Achintee

1964 Scottish at the same section group, Achintee, Ben Nevis that we saw Rob on his AJS, here we have the late Blackburn ‘Blackie’ Holden from Bradford on his works Cotton. Blackie Holden junior supplied this photo.

Blackburn Holden:  “My Dad rode with Rob Edwards many times and considered him a true gentleman of the sport”.


Chapter 4 : The 1965 Scottish :

A few weeks before the ’65 SSDT, I had an out-of-the-blue phone call from Hugh Viney, the competitions manager at Associated Motorcycles (AMC) who owned the AJS & Matchless brands; wanting to know if I would ride in the ‘works’ team in the forthcoming Scottish – WOULD I?

It seemed that they wanted Mick Andrews to either go scrambling or ride the 250cc James, which AMC’s also owned.
And so it came to pass that I became the third member of the AJS factory team.
However, there was no time for them to prepare me a bike and Mick’s bike 644BLB wasn’t available for some reason, so I needed to ride my own Ajay – not a problem!
Both the ‘Gordons’ – McLaughlan and Blakeway, had put my name forward to be in the team to Hugh Viney, so a big ‘thank you’ to them both for that gesture, which I have treasured all my life since.
My week was going well, I was clean on the Tuesday.
Later in the same day, we were looking forward to riding the new section ‘Pipeline’, introduced the previous year.
There were so many stories about ‘Pipeline’ that I wasn’t really sure if it had been cleaned yet or not.
I had teamed up with Alan Chant from Bexley-Heath who was on a 350 Matchless.
In those days all the ‘big bikes’ were grouped at the back of the field.
As we rode up to ‘Pipeline’, the spectators were all heading back into Kinlochleven.
Alan and myself walked the hill and both agreed on bottom gear.
Alan went first and he cleaned it.
I went next and after a bit of a shaky start, by trying to go too fast too soon.
I settled down and at the right speed things were a lot easier and guess what, I cleaned it.
I bet the spectators who left early were a bit peeved!
On the Thursday, I parked my bike close to the first section on ‘Mamore’ and went off to view the sections.
When I returned to my bike, there was a large pool of oil on the floor underneath!
A stone must have flicked up from the front wheel and hit the small alloy casting that the oil feed to the cylinder-head connects to and smashed it.
There was no way of fixing it, so I set off free-wheeling down to the road, expecting to retire from the trial.
I was sitting by the road side at the gate, that is the entrance to the famous Mamore path, when a car and trailer pulled up.
“Whats up Rob” the chap shouted over, I explained my plight.
“No problem mate, give me two minutes and I will take the one off my bike” he said.
In all the confusion and despair, I hadn’t noticed that the bike on the trailer was a 350 AJS, what a stroke of luck – for me anyway.
The engine had ‘gone bang’ and the fellow had retired from the trial.
You don’t have to be good with luck like that!
He got me going and I forget the lads’ name but I am indebted to his sportsmanship and generosity that day.
On the sixth day, we did Town Hall Brae in the centre of Fort William. We were then faced with the long ride back to Edinburgh.
For me it had been a great week thanks to Gordon Blakeway and Gordon McLaughlan. – Rob
1965 SSDT Programme

Front cover of the 1965 SSDT official programme.

Trials Guru added: 1965 was the effective beginning of the end for the ‘big bikes’ that Rob talks about. Sammy Miller had been victorious for the last time on his 500cc Ariel (GOV132) and had moved over in late 1964 to the Spanish Bultaco, the creation of Franciso Xavier Bulto.

Miller brought the 244cc Sherpa T (669NHO), home to victory in the 1965 Scottish losing 29 marks, the first win on a foreign machine in the trials’ history.

Second place was Arthur J. Lampkin on his 249cc BSA (XON688) losing 33 marks and third was Mick Andrews, 250cc James (307AKV) on 37 marks.

It wasn’t all to go Miller’s way though, a year later, arch rival Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin was to snatch victory from Miller’s grasp on his 249cc BSA (748MOE).

In the ’65 trial, Rob Edwards rode number 207 as part of the works AJS team comprising of Edwards, Gordon S. Blakeway (No. 178) and Gordon O. McLaughlan (No. 177).

Rob rode his own machine registered 970PL with many of the works style modifications.

However, history records that it was Triumph that won the 1965 Manufacturers Team Prize, the Blackford Challenge Trophy.

From the Official Results of the 1965 Scottish Six Days Trial:

Award 16 – For the best performance by a competitor on a solo motor cycle from 251-350 c.c. – R. Edwards (A.J.S.).

In the 1965 Scottish, Rob lost 63 marks and gained a Special First Class Award, just 6 marks behind his friend Alan Lampkin who went on to win the following year.

LEP - 1964 - Holder Photo

1964 shot of Rob on his own 350 AJS, the one he rode in 1965 as part of the factory team. Part of Rob’s personal collection of photos. This is the top of Loch Eild Path. Photo: Brian Holder, Teddington, Middlesex.

Rob talks about his AJS 16C:

When the SSDT started and finished in Edinburgh, on the sixth day after the lunch check at Crianlarich there were no more sections until the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill in the city. This was purely to see if your clutch still worked. You had to stop between two yellow lines and when the official dropped his flag you could move on – simple.

When you passed a third yellow line, that was the end of the observed hill. The path was so flat, nobody actually treat it like a section. However, I did see a rider who when the flag dropped he picked up the front wheel and tried to wheelie to the ends cards unfortunately he tipped his bike over backwards and his score went up by five points.

After Blackford Hill was the final scrutineering test when you wheeled the bike onto a wooden workbench for inspection.
The AJS had one big problem, the swinging-arm bushes, they wore out at an alarming rate!
1964 - Cleveland National - Best Perf - Best 350 - One make team - E Yorks Rider - Middsb member

Rob seen here at the 1964 Cleveland National which he won on his AJS 16C. Swinging arm bushes were this models ‘achilles heel’. The swinging arm was a two piece unit held in place by a cotter pin, the bushes wore out at an alarming rate.

If the scrutineer thought that there was excess movement in the bushes, your score could go up by five marks.
I can still see my Dad, Bob at the bottom of Blackford Hill, with a cup of tea in one hand and an industrial grease gun in the other.
After my cup of tea, I pumped the swinging arm full of grease. It only lasted for 100 metres, but it was enough to get through scrutineering!

Chapter 5 : The late 1960’s

Cotton - Rob

Rob testing the Cotton Minarelli 170cc trials machine in 1968. Italian Minarelli motors replaced the 37A Villiers powerplant.

Having ridden a 250 Bultaco in the 1966 Scottish, I moved on to ride Cottons and rode a 250 Villiers powered bike in the 1967 & 1968 events.
Rob Edwards - 1967 SSDT - Mike Illing photo

1967 on the 250cc Cotton negotiating the famous Devil’s Staircase near Lochailort in the Scottish. Watching third from left is Robbie Allan, brother of British motocross champion, Vic Allan. Photo taken by my friend, Mick Illing

 

Rob Edwards 1967 - Mick Illing

1967 Scottish near Glencoe on the 250cc Cotton. Photo copyright: Mick Illing (friend of Rob Edwards)

1968 SSDT on Foyers with the 37A Villiers powered Cotton. Rob was fourth in the event.

1968 SSDT on Foyers with the 37A Villiers powered Cotton. Rob was fourth in the event.

In the late sixties Cotton changed from the 250cc Villiers 37A motor to the Italian made 170cc Minarelli engine. I was given a large gearbox sprocket to carry in my pocket.
The idea was to fit it when we were due to do long stretches of road work.
The problem was, I was always so late on time I didn’t have the time to swap it!
On the final days’ lunch check, the thought of doing 30 miles an hour back to Edinburgh was very daunting indeed. It wasn’t helped by seeing the works Greeves fitted with minute rear sprockets.
Their cruising speed was around 70mph. Bill Brooker was the Greeves competition manager and he really had his finger on the pulse.
On more than one occasion he went out of his way to help me. My idea of a true sportsman and excellent competition manager.
It was short on ‘flywheel effect’ inertia and dreadfully low geared. Thanks to my pals at Head Wrightsons, a brass band was machined to fit onto the flywheel.
Rob Cotton - Workshop

1968 – Rob Edwards (centre) discusses the Cotton Minarelli with Cotton’s competition manager, Pat Onions (left) and frame builder Eric Lee. The photo was a factory publicity shot.

 

 

1968 - SSDT - Bay Hill - Cotton Villiers - RE

1968 on the Cotton Villiers on ‘Bay Hill’ at the Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo: Rob Edwards Collection

This made a big improvement to the engine characteristics, wheel grip and so on.

Entered by Norman Crooks Motorcycles, I rode with this modification in the 1969 Scottish and won the best up to 200cc class.
To solve the low top speed problem, I had sent Cotton a drawing of my flywheel modification but had heard nothing back. I wasn’t surprised when one week after the SSDT there was a half page advert in the Motor Cycle News, telling riders how good the modification was and how much they would sell you one for. I was gobsmacked!
However, I didn’t receive any thanks for the 200cc cup win or flywheel modification!
Rob Edwards in 1969 on the Cotton at Coalasnacoan in the SSDT on his way to win the 200cc Cup.

Rob Edwards in 1969 on the Cotton Minarelli at Coalasnacoan in the SSDT on his way to win the 200cc Cup.

After winning the Alan Jefferies Trial, I decided to treat the Minarelli to a set of piston rings. I rang the Cotton factory up and in due course they posted them to me.
Unfortunately you’ve guessed it – I broke one when fitting them.
I rang Cottons for another set. Two weeks later they still hadn’t arrived.
When I phoned them, the top man answered the phone. ‘Mr. D’ said that he wasn’t going to send me anymore rings until I explained exactly what I had done with the others.
It was then I decided it was time to move on.
When Pat Onions was in charge of the competition shop there was never a problem.
Things were changing and it was time to abandon ship.
But where to? I’ll tell you next – Rob
Rob Cotton - Wheelie

Rob testing the Cotton Minarelli 170 a bike which he made some modifications to make it more competitive.

Trials Guru comment: The factory Cotton Minarelli that Rob Edwards rode was to become the production Cotton ‘Cavalier’ which was produced at around five machines per week. Supplied to customers in ‘kit’ form to avoid purchase tax. – The 1969 Scottish – Rob Edwards came home in a creditable tenth position and another Special First Class award on 59 marks on his 170cc Cotton. The eventual winner was Yorkshireman, Bill Wilkinson who was to be the last British rider to win on a British built machine, a 250cc Greeves (WWC169F).
1969 - SSDT - Prog - R Edwards - Cotton

1969 SSDT Programme with a 1968 photo of Rob Edwards on the 250cc Cotton on Glenogle section on the first day.

Rob remembers! : Isn’t it always the way? You start writing about one thing and another one pops into your head! Anyway, here is something I remembered about my Cotton days.

I travelled a lot with Brian Hutchinson. The problem was that Brian worked on the family farm. I would be at the farm at 4.30pm but it would be 6.30 pm before we started our journey.

One time in particular we set off for South Wales with light snow falling.When we reached the M1 motorway, the traffic was almost at a standstill. This didn’t bother ‘Hutch’ – he went straight across into the fast lane that nobody was using because the snow was too deep.

No problem! he had the Austin A55 pick-up to 80mph in no time and we had the fast lane to ourselves all the way to Sheffield!

 We finally arrived at Merthyr Tydfil at 1.30am. No bed and breakfast or anywhere was open. It was freezing cold – you know its cold when your breath freezes on the windscreen. Close to death, we drove to the railway station and as luck would have it there was a gas heater on the wall.
1969 - SSDT - Cotton Minarelli - MDC521G - Cailliach RE

Rob Edwards on the factory Cotton Minarelli in 1969 at the Scottish Six Days on Cailliach – Photo: Rob Edwards collection

You had to reset it every minute but this was the Ritz compared with the pickup. We took turns pressing the start button.
Unfortunately one time it didn’t ignite. I was woken up by the smell of gas and a hissing sound. The next second, there was a tremendous bang and the heater left the wall it was on and splattered against the opposite one.
We were last seen running flat out along the platform with the station master in hot pursuit shouting: “I’ve rung the police boyo you’ll not get away”. –
It was back to the “pickup hotel” after that! – Great memories – Now, as promised, on to where I ended up next … Rob
1969 programme front

The 1969 SSDT Official programme front cover, the year Rob Edwards came home 10th and won the up to 200cc cup on the Cotton Minarelli.


Chapter 6 : Moving on

Rob Publicity Montesa

Montesa recognised at an early stage that Rob Edwards was a most suitable rider to promote the brand worldwide. (Montesa sales brochure from 1971)

Leaving Cotton Motorcycles was a necessary move if I was to improve, but I will always be grateful for the support Norman Crooks gave me.
I knew exactly what I wanted to ride … Montesa!
Plucking up courage, I telephoned Montala Motors in London who were the UK importers at that time. I told them my name and some of my results.
I asked if there was any chance of riding for them?
I was told that they simply had no vacancies. Montala’s ‘dream team’ being Gordon Farley, Lawrence Telling and Don Smith. However, I asked that if a ride became available I would like to be considered. I had set my heart on riding for Montesa but as this was a no-go, I would have to try elsewhere.
The only other top bike in my estimation was a Bultaco Sherpa, so I took a sharp intake of breath and phoned up Comerfords in Thames Ditton, Surrey, the Bultaco importers. Most of the male employees who worked at Comerfords were trials riders. So much to my delight, things started to look a lot better.
Montesa Cota Prototype

An early Cota Prototype. Development work by Christian Rayer (France) Pedro Pi and Don Smith ensured that Rob Edwards had a well-proven machine when he switched camps to Montesa (Permayer S.A.)

Having a bike could be sorted immediately and they were sure that Bultaco Spain would give me a contract. “We will be back in touch as soon as we hear anything”, were their parting words.
I put the phone down and gave a big sigh of relief, things were really starting to move. Then the phone rang, but this time it was Montala Motors boss John Brise. Apparently seconds after I had talked with them, Montesa Competitions Manager, Alberto Mallofre phoned them. Unknown to me, it appeared that Alberto had been a fan of mine for a long time and he had wanted me on a Montesa.
I don’t think John Brise really knew anything about me and was being polite when I phoned him, but the factory did and that was the break I needed!
Montesa Trial prototype n1( 67)

The prototype Cota from 1967, you can see the similarities to the British built Cotton Minarelli. Rob decided that his bike of choice in 1969 would be Montesa.

It seemed that everybody knew about me at Montesa, they had been keeping an eye on my results.
They said everything was in hand, so don’t look elsewhere! Alberto was on the phone to me the next day asking me to go to the Spanish round of the European championships in Barcelona.
While I was there, he had a few things he would like to talk to me about.
I travelled there with fellow Montesa riders Charlie Harris and Ian Haydon.
Now that things were up and moving I was back on the phone to Comerfords to offer my thanks for trying so hard for me. I take this opportunity to thank everyone at Comerfords back then, even although I made the move to ride for Montesa and I didn’t look back – Rob
 Montesa ‘Ambassador’ Rob Edwards:
RE2

The beginning of Rob Edwards’ role as Montesa Ambassador. Seen here at a 2 day trials school held in Cerro Alarcón, Valdemorillo (Madrid, Spain) in 1971. Rob (holding loud-haler) addresses the crowd, on his right are Alberto Mallofre and Pedro Pi. Photo courtesy of Luis Munoz, Madrid.

L Telling - PB - SSDT crop

Lawrence Telling pictured here in the 1969 SSDT – Photo Courtesy, Peter Bremner, Inverness.

Montala Motors, Montesa UK Importers ‘Dream Team’ consisted of Telling; Farley and Smith.
Gordon Farley - PB - SSDTcrop

Gordon Farley – 1969 SSDT – Photo courtesy, Peter Bremner, Inverness

DR Smith - PB - SSDT crop

Don ‘D.R.’ Smith – 1969 SSDT – Photo Courtesy, Peter Bremner, Inverness.

Trials Guru added: Montesa, by 1968, had made serious in-roads into the UK trials market with their Cota 247 Mk1 model. It was becoming a very popular machine which would allow British riders to make a name for themselves in national events. Rob mentions the Montesa ‘Dream Team’ and that is correct in that Lawrence ‘Sparky’ Telling, Don Smith and Gordon Farley had all left the Greeves marque for Montesa. Charlie Harris was effectively a development rider in the Uk for the Cota.

Alberto Mallofre, the competitions manager at Permanyer S.A., the company that manufactured Montesa, was a forward thinking individual. Don Smith was a well-known extrovert on the UK trials scene and promoted the Cota successfully from 1967-70. However, he became frustrated with the lack of development progress and quit the team in 1970 to develop his own machine called the Don Smith ‘Stag’. Utilising his own ideas and a Montesa Cota 247 motor with the ‘M’ symbol carefully removed from the crankcase covers, Smith entered the 1970 Scottish on the black and white machine.

Chapter 7 : Montesa Time!

My First Trip to MONTESA!
The day finally arrived to set off to Barcelona.I met up with  the lads at Charlies home in Redhill (Guru: Charlie Harris, Montesa UK based development rider) then off we went. It was the first time I had met Charlie. Previous to this, I only knew him as a top trials rider in the south of England. A friend of his was travelling with us so we had a car full.There was plenty for me to see Paris The Eifel Tower; Citroen cars and so on. I had not been abroad before as I spent every penny I had on trials. Plus, I would be bored to tears!
We arrived at the Montesa Factory in Barcelona and I felt as if I was on another planet!
Two days later, it was the trial in Terrassa. The events for the European Championship were totally different to anything I had ridden before.
The time limit was six hours, plus one hour with time penalties. Two laps had to be completed approximately 50 sections(zonas) in this time.
I was not hanging about, but it took five hours to complete one lap leaving one hour to get to the finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but by riding flat out, I reached the finish losing only a couple of time penalty points. I finished second position overall, a result beyond my wildest dreams!
The following morning, we went to the Montesa factory before setting off for home. Alberto and Pere ‘Pedro’ Pi took me into an office. After telling me how pleased they were with yesterdays results, Alberto spoke and I couldn’t believe my ears!
Could I go to America for six weeks to promote Montesa and trials in the States?
Montesa were owned by Permanyer s.a. and Senor Permanyer’s son Jorge would be travelling with me. He didn’t speak a lot of English and my Spanish was no better… if not worse!
A month later, I had my American visa, my ticket and I was ready for the off. I only had one thing left to do – to tell Head Wrightsons that I was quitting! I jokingly asked the workshop manager if I could take six weeks unpaid holiday. “You have got to be joking”, he said but he did pass on the news to the top factory manager who decided it was time for me to be put in my place! “That’s it”, he said “I’ve had enough, I’ve had as much as I can take of you and motorbikes – YOUR SACKED!”. “I’m glad about that”, I said “because I’m going to America tomorrow for six weeks!”.
I am sure I heard him whisper under his breath – “thank god for that”.

Chapter 8 : Montesa Abroad!

John ‘GURU’ Moffat has been working flat out to help me with my story doing background research, you see because I was so busy around this time in my life, I didn’t have time to record what I had achieved or where I had achieved it!
John has been super-busy wading through old magazines, programmes and his knowledge, to match the number on my bike to a particular event. For example in 1970, I was number 124 in the Scottish Six Days etc etc.
1970 SSDT - Edramaucky

Rob Edwards gains an ‘unexpected’ five marks at Edramucky, near Killin on day one of the 1970 Scottish Six Days. Watched by observer, Willie Dewar and photographers, Stephanie Wood and Nick Nicholls. Note the spare inner-tubes banded to Rob’s Barbour suit belt. Photo: Rob Edwards personal collection.

Well done John and thank you very much! My story is also in Spanish, thanks to the co-operation between John Moffat and his friend, Horacio San Martin of Todotrial.
1970 - Ben Nevis

Rob in the 1970 Scottish on Ben Nevis, on the Montesa Cota Mk2 near Achintee Farm. We have run the magnifying glass over this and we spot: Jimmy Morton; John Hemingway; Rodger Mount Snr Ralph Venables; Bert Thorn and a young Boyd Webster Snr in the gallery. We wonder if you are in that crowd? Click on the photo to make it a bit bigger to see.

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Now on with my story …
I teamed up with Jordi Permanyer in Los Angeles at the Montesa distribution depot. It was here I met Javier Burgos who ran this department and whose idea it was to make this trip. He took us to look at our transport for the next few weeks. It was a Dodge van with aircraft seats auto-transmission, air-con and so on and so on.
The next day we set off north. Our 1972 trip was finally under way. Everywhere was so different to home. It was warm and pleasant, my life had changed direction in a way I could never have imagined or dreamed of. Our route was pre-planned and at each destination, the people were so pleased to see us. It was a real pleasure to work with them.
1971 Cota 247

1971 Montesa Cota 247 the same model as ridden by Rob Edwards for the factory. Photo by Owner: Javier Cruz, Madrid.

On arrival the first thing they wanted to know was “Have you been beaten yet at one of the schools in the Salt Lake City area?”. I said: “no not yet”,  “well you will here” they said.
We were in an old sand quarry that looked like a great place for a school. All the time, I was bombarded with people telling me how good Donny is. Most of the movable sand had gone, leaving an apple core shaped column with a telegraph pole in the centre. “See that? Rob Donny can go up there!”. This is the sort of thing you dread.
It was possible but the apple core shape meant if you didn’t get onto the top there was a good chance of the bike falling onto you and causing serious damage.
I wasn’t so much worried about that, as if things went wrong the rest of our trip would have to be cancelled. I got onto my bike hoping to get it warmed up and then go for it.
I decided “right go for it”.
Big steps were never my speciality. I hit it as hard as I could in second and I got up it. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the crowd! I inched the bike around the telegraph pole, getting down was trickier than I had thought. It was too high to jump off so I eased the front wheel over the edge but when the sump banged on the edge it kicked the back wheel up.
By now I was descending fast and for one moment I thought I was going into a forward roll.
I managed to land safely and suddenly I was everybody’s hero. Jordi looked relieved.
The next thing to happen was Donny arrived. We will never know what went wrong but he did exactly what I was desperate to avoid his front wheel kicked back. Donny landed first, closely followed by his bike and the end result was a broken leg. Oh well, that was that then! – Rob
1971 - Scottish - Rob finished in sixth position. Seen here on Garbh Bheinn. Notable spectators are Monty Banks on the left with goggles and Dave Rowland on the right. Rob was very friendly with Rowland and held him in high regard as a rider and a person.

1971 – Scottish – Rob finished in sixth position. Seen here on Garbh Bheinn. Notable spectators are Monty Banks on the left with goggles and Dave Rowland on the right. Rob was very friendly with Rowland and held him in high regard as a rider and a person.

Trials Guru says: Rob was by 1970 a true ambassador for the Montesa brand. He was traveling the USA and getting a great reception from the trials riders, who had read about Rob in motorcycle newspapers and magazines. Remember, this was in the period before the rise of Lane Leavitt, Martin Belair and of course Bernie Schreiber. But there was raw trials talent in the USA, that was to be proven later.

 

Montesa_Team__73

The Montesa USA Team benefited from Rob’s teachings in the early 1970’s – 1973 Montesa Team USA – Left to Right: Xavier Jordi; Derek Edgar (Scotland); Marland Whaley; Richard Delaney; Martin Belair; Vic Conway (Front) – Photo Courtesy: Martin Belair.


Chapter 9 : Back in the USA – 1972

Our next port of call was in Kansas at the home of ‘Wick’ and Marilyn Wicker. Like everybody we had met along our route, they gave us a fantastic welcome and really made us feel at home. The area where the school and trial was held was a bit on the dangerous side. All the trees were covered in thorns. “So what?” I hear you say.
These thorns were American! Everything is big in the USA, they were about 125mm long. I wondered at the end of the week if the trees would be festooned with trials riders impaled on them? It’s the only place I have been to where the riders use tyre weld as the thorns could pierce a trials tyre with ease.
Letter - Javier Burgos - 1972-08-03

1972 letter received from Javier Burgos based in Los Angeles, California. This followed the USA tour that Rob undertook for Montesa Motorcycles.

Fortunately, we had no casualties and after saying our goodbyes, we set off towards Michigan. Unfortunately on route, the van developed a ticking noise and soon after the engine blew. We were towed to a garage where we were given a choice wait a couple of days and they would fit a new engine, or swap everything into a Ryder truck rental van and continue in that.
We took one look into the rental van and the decision was unanimous, wait two days.
From Michigan we headed for Rhode Island for our final school and trial. The school went very well and so did the trial.
The event that was put on by the Rhode Island Motorcycle Club was really good and by winning it, I had won every trial during our trip. More important than that, Jordi and myself had put a lot of effort into the schools. We gave each other a slap on the back for a job well done.
After six weeks, we had become really good friends and despite the language barrier we never stopped talking!
Thanks Jordi Permanyer for your help and support. But, more to come … Rob
Wick Wicker marylin Wicker

The late Marilyn & Norval E. ‘Wick’ Wicker – North American Trials Enthusiasts – Photo courtesy of North American Trials Council.

Trials Guru says: Rob mentions Norval E. ‘Wick’ Wicker and his wife, Marilyn were trials enthusiasts who made the annual pilgrimage to the Scottish Six Days to be official Observers at the event. Wick, was a commercial airline pilot by profession. The event and school Rob talks about was organised by The ‘Liberty Missouri Chargers MC’.
The Wickers officiated at the Scottish Six Days from 1973 until 1996. The Wickers were the first non -British observers at the annual ‘Sporting Holiday in the Scottish Highlands’.
In 1988, they became the first non-British nationals to be granted Honorary Life Membership of the of the organising Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd.
The Wickers were also inducted into the North American Trials Council ‘Hall of Fame’ for their significant contribution to the sport of trials.
Sadly ‘Wick’ left us on 2003, aged 76 years and Marilyn passed away ten years later aged 84.

The Special Shirt!

This was made for me by Marilyn Wicker during my first trip to America. Jordi Permanyer and I stayed with Marilyn and her husband ‘Wick’ who both looked after us during our time there.Wick was a commercial Pilot and every year religiously he went to the SSDT.
He was the one with more cameras than the BBC!
Martin Lampkin and I teamed up one year.
As our numbers were close together we were looking at the Laggan Locks sections when suddenly, Wick in a strong American accent called out, “over the rock Rob!”.
To the left of the rock was okay, to the right of the rock was okay but over the rock was out of the question. Mart by now was stood behind me with his hand on my shoulder asking Whats the line Rob? In my best American accent I said “over the rock Mart!”. “Are you joking?” he said.
At that, Wick shouted, “over the rock Mart there has only been one clean and guess where, yes over the rock”.
I was so pleased when Mart said, well Rob left or right but definitely not over the rock!
Rob - JOM - Telford - DCM

Rob with John Moffat, displaying the special shirt embroidered by Marilyn Wicker commemorating Rob’s USA tour as Montesa Ambassador – Photo: Trials Guru/David Moffat


Chapter 10 : More work overseas!

I arrived home to find my new contract with Montesa waiting to be signed. No longer was Head Wrightsons my workplace, but the world of trials!
There was also a letter from Modesto Sole. He was the Director for Montesa International Sales, also I suppose, he was my boss.
germany-1976-dave-thorpe-martin-sid-re

Germany, 1976 – Dave Thorpe, Martin Lampkin and Sid Lamkin with the Comerfords/Shell-Sport Bultaco UK Ford Transit van – Photo: Rob Edwards

The only time I could fault him was when he took me to a restaurant and ordered sheeps’ brains for himself. I was sat opposite having to watch him eat them. I politely declined an offer to try them!
After the meal, he told me that I would be doing around fifteen weeks of schools in various parts of the world.
The first was to be in South America. Starting in Chile to Columbia then Venezuela. This was to take six weeks.
Venezuela - Rob

Venezuela. Rob hands out the silverware to happy pupil Guillermo Jesus Meza Hernandez at one of the many trials schools he undertook as part of his Montesa contract.

This was planned for October 1976, just in time to miss the cold weather at home. I arrived in Santiago and was taken to a cocktail party organised by the local motor club.

Everybody was friendly except one person. I was later to find out he was the touring car champ of Chile. He came up to me and said: “…if you are so flippin good come to my garage tomorrow and ride over my car”. His car was a mini, so I thought with low profile tyres lowered suspension etc it would be no problem.

I arrived at his garage to find that the touring cars had to be absolutely standard. Not only that they had hydrolastic suspension. The driver had invited all his pals and they were doubled up laughing. This made me more determined to do it. Once on top of the car I breathed a big sigh of relief.

My next stop was Columbia. I landed in Bogata and was due to change planes to Medellin. Unfortunately my flight was one hour late. The next flight was in 23 hours time.

My journey had started in Spain so the only currency I had was pesetas because there were no flights from Bogata to Spain they would not change my pesetas. I was sat in the quietest airport I had ever been in and worse than that I was stuck here for the next 23 hours!

There was about four guards with rifles and what may have been National dress. One came up to me he was quite helpful.

“You no go sleep” he quipped. So, laughing I said possibly steal my luggage eh! “No” he said, “first” he said, drawing a line with his fingers across his throat “then steal your luggage”. That really cheered me up!
Shortly after the soldier returned with a person who I can best describe as a ‘Jack the lad’ (not the sort of person you would trust usually)

“You want hotel?”,  “yes please” I said and explained my predicament. “No problem” he replied “Pesatas? – okay follow me”. We set off out of the airport and the soldier gave me a reassuring thumbs up.

My new ‘friend’ was holding the back doors of a Toyota van open telling me to get in. As the doors were closed I thought oh well what have I got to loose only my life – Help! “I will pick you up at 8.30 tomorrow morning” he shouted as he left. I couldn’t believe it when at 8.30am prompt he was there to pick me up. His fee was 1000 pesetas! You live and learn! – Rob

germany-1976-dave-thorpe-martin-sid-re

Germany, 1976 – Dave Thorpe, Martin Lampkin and Sid Lamkin with the Comerfords/Shell-Sport Bultaco UK Ford Transit van – Photo: Rob Edwards

Trials Guru says: Rob Edwards was competing week in, week out with Montesa.

1973 - SSDT - Altnafeadh

Rob on Altnafeadh in the 1973 SSDT on the Cota 247 with the Buachaille Etive Mor in the background. He finished in eighth position on 89 marks. Photo: Brian ‘Nick’ Nicholls Collection – Copyright: Mortons Motorcycle Media. (This photo must not be copied or used on any social media without the prior permission of Mortons Group)

The Cota model was being constantly developed and in 1975 was increased to 310cc with the in-coming model ‘348 prototype’ first seen in the hands of Spaniard Francisco Paya, which was later to become the production Malcolm Rathmell Replica/348 models.

1974 saw Rob pick up the Alfred Scott trophy when he was victorious in the Scott Trial, more on that later, but here is a photo taken at the Kings’ Head Hotel, Richmond at the presentation of awards.

1974 - Scott Win - RE - Marjorie Rathmell

1974 – Rob enjoys a well deserved pint, holding the Alfred A. Scott Memorial Trophy, being given a congratulatory hug from Malcolm Rathmell’s mother, Marjorie.


Chapter 11 : Venezuela:

Venezuela 1975 - 2
The adventure getting to Medellin still wasn’t over. I didn’t know that Medellin was situated in the bottom of what was probably a extinct volcano. It was only a short journey but I didn’t realise how short.
The plane a DC10, took off and immediately went into a very steep climb then I could hear it throttling back. I looked out of the window and we were definitely losing height.
Suddenly we dropped like a stone everybody screamed but not as loud as me.
The reason for the sudden decent was that there were two white lines on the runway and if the plane hadn’t touched down between them there was a possibility that the pilot might not get the plane stopped before the end of the runway. In which case, his only option would be to try to take off again but there wouldn’t be sufficient runway left.
I am pleased to say that this information was kept from me.
Guatemala 1975

Guatemala on the Montesa promotions trip, 1975 – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

I enjoyed doing the schools but its the sort of thing that’s easier to do than write about especially when you are a rider and not a journalist.

This was without a doubt the first school I had done with six armed guards to keep us safe. Fortunately we didn’t need them!
Venezuela 1975

Press cutting from 1977 from a Venezuelan motorcycle paper showing Rob in action along with Bultaco development rider Manuel Soler.

Only the Venezuela school to go now and then I’m off home. The ride from the airport to Caracas was at night.
It was very picturesque the hillsides were a mass of twinkling lights however in daylight it was a totally different picture.The hillsides were covered with people living in ramshackle wooden shacks and cardboard boxes.
The flickering lights were their only form of light candles.
Venezuela road racer Johnny Ceccoto had recently won the World 250cc Racing Championship, so the whole country was speed mad. Fortunately, the trials riders were keen to learn although sometimes it was difficult when the section became blocked with four or five motocross bikes whose riders thought they would have a go at the section for themselves. The top rider here was Amando Diaz who a few years later came over to ride the SSDT.
Now I am off home and looking forward to some good old fashioned mud! – ROB

Chapter 12 : Fun with friends:

Scott 1973 - RE

Rob gets down to ignition trouble on the Montesa Cota 247 at the 1973 Scott Trial. Photo copyright: Barry Robinson.

I can tell that  photos accompanying my story are very popular. The one of me on the old ‘Ben Nevis’ section is especially good in regards to the crowd. Many names have been put forward, but I wonder how many spotted Mick Andrews’ Dad, Tom; Comerfords’ Derek Cranfield; trials ace Chris Cullen and my Dad, Bob is stood in front of Tom Andrews, Mick’s father. 
I also found some very rare pictures of Trial sidecar aces Andrews and Edwards! See below. They were taken at the Cingles three day trial in Spain.

The trial was round of European sidecar championship. The outfit was borrowed from Colin Dommett and passanger Eric Chamberlain. We changed our names to ‘Colin Dabbit’ and ‘Eric Chambermaid’. With Mick riding and me in the chair, we were fab but when we swapped around we were absolutely pathetic.
Mick Andrews & Rob Edwards aboard Colin Dommetts Beamish Suzuki outfit

Mick Andrews & Rob Edwards aboard Colin Dommett’s Beamish Suzuki outfit

The photos were taken by the little known photographer Dickie Bowes. Most of my photographs got looked at then put away but thanks to ‘The Guru’ I have dug them out again, resulting in some priceless finds!
One in particular I’m again on ‘Ben Nevis’ and sat on the bank is ex -BSA works rider and all round diamond guy, Tom Ellis.
So far 1975 has been a good year, I have done schools in Italy and Greece.
I have had the chance to catch up with my old friends.
That reminds me, my friend and fellow trials rider Mick Welford invited me to Masham to try out some land he had got for practice. When I arrived, I had Martin Lampkin and a very young John Lampkin with me. I was about to learn a very different type of tuition to what I was used to. The section along a stream then around the back of a jagged rock. Around this rock could be a little dangerous, especially if you were going for a clean.
John however was happy to go for a safe dab time after time. Don’t forget he was a very young lad at the time. Mart had noticed this and as John entered the section in a loud voice he shouted “John”  “Yes Mart” John said.
“If you go for a safe dab again I will break your bloody leg” growled Martin.
The theory behind this remark is saying when you practice it’s no good doing sections you can clean.
1971 - On a lake in Finland, with Mick Andrews & Malcolm Rathmell.

1971 – On a lake in Finland, with Mick Andrews & Malcolm Rathmell. Photo: Rob Edwards’ Personal Collection.

For some years now, I had traveled with Mart all over Europe in the Bultaco van.
Jim Sandiford had kindly bought the Montesa team a van, however I am sure it was jinxed. In the end it went back to Jim. Turning up at the Montesa factory in a Bultaco van was something that the factory just couldn’t get their heads around and the same at Bultaco.
Alberto Mallofre explained to me that if there were two brothers in a family and one worked at Bultaco and one at Montesa they would treat each other as enemies and never speak. I’m pleased to say this problem was resolved and everybody was happy.
Alan 'Sid' Lampkin with the Comerfords - Bultaco Ford Transit van in 1975. Rob was a frequent travelling companion even although he rode for rivals, Montesa. Photo: Rob Edwards Private collection

Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin with the Comerfords – Bultaco Ford Transit van in 1976. Rob was a frequent travelling companion even although he rode for rivals, Montesa. Photo: Rob Edwards Private collection

So it was back to England from Spain, Mart; Sid; Thorpey; Nigel Birkett and me squashed into a Transit. happy days indeed – It was great! – My next trip was to the land ‘Down Under’ –  Rob.
Martin Lampkin the year he won the World Trials Championship with teh Comerfords-Bultaco Ford Transit. Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection.

Martin Lampkin the year he won the World Trials Championship with the Comerfords-Bultaco Ford Transit. Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection.


Chapter 13 : 1975

Germany 1975 - RE

Bultaco Team 1975 in Germany – Dave Thorpe; Alan Lampkin & Martin Lampkin – Photo: Rob Edwards

After a long break it is now 1975 and following a letter from Modesto Sole I am now off to do schools or as the Spanish say ‘cursillos’ in Sydney Australia.
Rob tries Noel Shipp's Ex-Mick Andrews 350 AJS for size in Australia.

Rob tries Noel Shipp’s Ex-Mick Andrews 350 AJS for size in Australia.

The trials scene here was developed to a standard that was maybe equal to America. This was due to a combination of things.
The enthusiasm of the Montesa importers Lylle and Gary O’Brian Peter Plaice, Australian Champion and our own Chris Leighfield who had emigrated there from England.
Between them I was kept busy and my fortnight flew by.
 
When you are with a factory with the enthusiasm of Montesa you never know what will happen next.
I was due to go to Central America but at the last minute I had a telephone call from Modesto asking me to please go to South Africa before Central America.
My ticket was for Johannesburg.
I couldn’t believe when I got off the plane who was there to meet me but ex-clerk of the course for the Scott Trial 40 years ago now resident in South Africa Eddie Bentley.
 
There was more to come, I heard somebody shout in the broadest Yorkshire accent “Robbie!” the next second I was in a head lock on the ground. It was none other than Mick Wilkinson.
Eddie had been in touch with our factories, Ossa and Montesa and organised this get together. Mick is a character like no other.
He started trialing about two years after me and on two or three occasions our numbers in the SSDT were close enough to be able to team up for the week and a good time was had by all.
Back to South Africa during our schools I acted as interpreter as nobody could understand Mick. We had a fallen tree that we were back and forth over. One rider asked Mick what technique do you use to cross the tree?
Mick looked at him as if to say what are you asking me for? – still looking puzzled, he imparted his knowledge
“Ar just give tord Ossa a gurt hand full and flick ‘t r send over”. Thank you Mick for those pearls of wisdom!
By the time I was due to leave, South Africa was starting to adjust to Mick. Believe me its well worth the effort he is a one and only!
Off again this time to Venezuela.
My main job here was to be clerk of the course for the forthcoming Venezuela Trials Championship.
On my days off, the lads would take me Trial bike Trail rides!
Where the rain water had run down through the jungle it cut deep gullies which made fantastic sections called ‘pikas’.
These were a kilometer or more in length not only did they make good sections they were great for keeping you fit.
On the day of the trial the premier went to Amando Diaz as expected.
My next schools were in El Salvador and Honduras. Trials here were very much in infancy.
My time here was spent going back to the beginning, machine preparation section making and of course balance and throttle control.
Several of my friends from Guatemala had turned up in Honduras. This made my job a lot easier it meant I didn’t have to do all the demonstration so I had more time to talk to people and answer questions.
 
My next stop was Guatemala my home from home.
It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited everywhere you look there are active volcanoes.
As well as this the people are great. The day before I was due to fly back home we all went on a trail ride to the top of one of the volcanoes.
We were able to ride most of the way but to reach the top we had to abandon the bikes and precede on foot. In the soft sand you took one step forward and two steps back.
It was incredible standing on the rim at the top watching the lava bubbling away below.
If the wind changed direction you had to quickly cover your mouth because the sulpher fumes were overpowering. It was so remote here that we stopped for a coke at a village store.
One very kind native came up with a bucket of water and asked if my horse would like a drink?
I thanked him but decided not to explain that Montesas don’t drink water.
Time to go back to England now. So goodbye to Guatemala and thank you very much.
Hope to see you all again someday.
Scott 1974 - Montesa

1974 Scott action! Rob on his way to win the Scott, snapped here on Tottergill by ace photographer, Eric Kitchen.


Chapter 14 : 1980

In September 1980, I set off on what was to be my final promotional trip with Montesa.

It started in Venezuela then Argentina and finally Paraguay. By the time I reached Paraguay I was exhausted and I had no choice other than to go home.

Rob Edwards in the 1979 SSDT on his 349 Montesa at Laggan Locks. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Rob Edwards in the 1979 SSDT on his 349 Montesa at Laggan Locks. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

I visited my doctor who sent me straight to hospital. X-rays showed that I had practically no air in my lungs at all.
I didn’t need an x ray to tell me this, however it was nice to have my suspicions confirmed.
I was put on oxygen 24 hours a day. With daily visits from physiotherapist I began to make a small amount of progress.
Nobody could put a name to it the nearest they could get was asthma.
I had now been ill for almost twenty years being treated for asthma taking large quantities of steroids calledprednisolone. Without these I would not have survived but the side effect is I now have osteoporosis quite badly.
Christmas 1988 I was really ill and after a blood test was admitted straight to hospital.
At first the doctors thought I had Malaria.
After many tests Doctor Amanda Isdale finally diagnosed my problem as a condition called Churg-Strauss Syndrome.
Rob Edwards on an unfamiliar bike, a 250 Ossa in the 1980 SSDT at Rhuba Rhuadh on Day 4. Photo copyright: Jim Young, Armadale.

Rob Edwards on an unfamiliar bike, a 250 Ossa in the 1980 SSDT at Rhuba Rhuadh on Day 4. Photo copyright: Jim Young, Armadale.

The illness causes inflammation of the blood vessels called vasculitus and it can stop the flow of blood anywhere in the body with drastic results. So why the asthma?
The answer to this is Churg-Strauss disguises itself as asthma and that’s the reason its so hard to identify.
At the time of diagnosis I was one of only one hundred people in the UK with this problem. Trust me to get something that nobody else wanted!
 
I had now had the Churg-Strauss for several years so the only treatment open to me was chemotherapy.
I had the treatment every two weeks for nine months. Chemo and me didn’t get along and one morning after my treatment my wife called out our local GP.
When he arrived he told me that after my next infusion I should stop in hospital as I was wasting his time and everybody-elses.
Not exactly what I was expecting but as we know there are good mechanics and bad ones it appears Doctors are the same!
After several weeks in hospital I was allowed home for the weekend.
After the security of the hospital I felt a bit insecure.
I was watching TV when I felt a tremendous pain in the back of my neck at the base of my skull.
The next thing I knew I was in intensive care and I was being told I had suffered a particularly nasty stroke called a Subarachnoid Haemorrage. I am beginning to realise that every illness I get is difficult to spell why cant I get the flu?
Whats happened so far is only the tip of the ice-berg. From now on things get a whole lot worse!

Chapter 15 : Beyond belief :

The part of my story that we have reached now is almost beyond belief.
Many people have asked me over the years, why I suddenly stopped riding and disappeared to? What comes next should answer these questions.
rob-edwards81-pipeline

On the Montesa tackling ‘Pipeline’ during the 1981 Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

After several weeks in hospital following the Subarachnoid haemorrhage, I was allowed home again. I was only home a matter of days when I suddenly got a terrible pain in my left leg. It went from my heel up to my knee. It was a Sunday morning at 4 a.m. but was so bad we had to call the doctor. He wasn’t at all happy and told me I had a pulled muscle. The pain persisted and we eventually called out another doctor and rang straight away for an ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived, the pain had stopped but that wasn’t the end of it. The pain was the Churg-Strauss doing its’ thing. It had cut off the blood supply in my left leg from the knee downwards destroying everything  leaving only the bones. I could spin my foot round like a propeller. I had no feeling in it whatsoever. I couldn’t walk at all. The strange thing was I had no feeling in the leg but I had a toothache type of pain that was to last for years. During this time it was impossible to sleep and I spent the nights watching the TV. I was put onto a pain-killer called Fentanyl which is a lot stronger than morphine but I still had the pain.
I then developed a different pain this time it was Gallstones. I was back in hospital again to have my gall-bladder removed. I came home from hospital but developed a pain in the small of my back. I went to see my local GP and she wanted to admit me to hospital. I declined the offer as I had had enough of hospitals to last me a lifetime. She did however give me an envelope with instructions that if I needed to go into hospital to give this envelope to the ambulance staff. As usual, it all went wrong! Just after midnight we had to phone for an ambulance. The problem this time was a pulmonary embolism or blood clot on the lung following the gall bladder operation. I caused a bit of panic in the hospital because I couldn’t breath and collapsed on the floor. Instead of using the oxygen mask they pulled it off and pushed the plastic pipe directly into my mouth and turned the supply flat out. I was kept in bed for three weeks and was not allowed out of bed at all.
The next thing that happened was I suffered a mini stroke. I woke up and my arms were moving about on their own but this stopped quickly. I was in hospital just overnight. Panic over but not for long. I got a pain in my stomach. I managed to get to the phone to ring my wife, Bev. She came home post haste and finding me laid on the floor she phoned for an ambulance. I don’t remember much about the reception part of the hospital as I was in so much pain but I can remember the consultant telling me that they did not know what was wrong and they would not know until they opened me up. They said something had pushed my diaphragm up into my chest cavity. I was in the operating theater for seven hours. When I eventually woke up, I was told that at the end of my operation they had tried everything possible to keep me alive however this was to no avail and they were prepared with the possibility that I was not going to make it. Suddenly I fired up again, maybe it was just a drop of water in my carb! The problem was a perforated bowel caused by Diverticulitus which was a condition I didn’t know I had.
I think we have all suffered enough for now and as crazy as this sounds there are still more serious problems to come before I am out of the woods.
Thanks for taking the time to read all this, I know its not about riding sections, but it makes things clearer for those who remember me riding and disappearing from the trials scene. 
Happier times, an eric Kitchen photo of Rob Edwards in the 1979 Scottish on his Montesa Cota 349. (Photo Copyright - Eric Kitchen)

Happier times, a superb photo of Rob Edwards in the 1979 Scottish on his Montesa Cota 349. (Photo Copyright – Eric Kitchen)


Chapter 16:

1978 - Rob receives his award at the Scottish Six Days. He came second to Martin Lampkin. Photo Copyright: Mike Rapley

1978 – Rob receives his award at the Scottish Six Days. He came second to Martin Lampkin. Photo Copyright: Mike Rapley

I must apologise for my rather morbid last chapter. I think I have fully answered the question as to where I went to some years ago. Unfortunately I am not out of the woods yet but I will return to less miserable times before we bid each other farewell, but not just yet.

Having survived my perforated bowel the next problems were the various things that can occur with this type of operation. First of all the eight inch scar on my stomach wouldn’t heal up. Typical of me I had managed to get MRSA, oh and sepsis as well as a fungal infection in my blood, but apart from this things were going great!
I then had another suspected mini-stroke and had a brain scan just to check. This didn’t show up anything that wasn’t expected apart from an aneurysm at the base of my brain. Knowing the size of my brain I was sure it would only be a small one! 
Back in hospital again it is then. The surgeon told me that if I moved I could be paralysed or it could be fatal, but I still decided to go ahead with the operation.
This involves passing technical gear into an artery in the groin up to the brain. When I was taken to have the operation I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing? The operation was not supposed to take long but it was six hours before I arrived back to the recovery ward. I must admit that I was relieved that the operation was now behind me! I bet you are waiting for something to go wrong? Well you wont have to wait that long.
A nurse would check for bleeding every 15 minutes.At 3am I had to press the emergency button because of a very strong pain in my thigh.
Two nurses came straight away and checked the sheets for blood but I wasn’t bleeding externally I was bleeding internally. When the equipment was removed after the operation they had nicked an artery in my groin.
The blood was filling my thigh to the point where it was twice the diameter of the other before the flow of blood was stopped the swollen side had almost burst open.
The pain was horrendous and the blood that was in the wrong place had to come out in its own natural way, bruising. I was black from the tip of my toes up my back and across my shoulders. I now had to have regular blood transfusions.
You will like this next bit. Three days later I was visited by my specialist.
At first I thought I had not heard him properly. Excuse me I said but did you just say I didn’t have my operation? Yes he said it was not accessible, sorry.
In fairness to my surgeons they didn’t risk anything that could have caused me serious damage  so I am very grateful for that.
When I picked up after this latest episode I was glad to get back to my workshop.
I now make models out of scraps  of aluminium. I was working away then all of a sudden I had no idea what was happening I didn’t know where I was, totally confused. We rang the doctor and he was here within minutes. After a few basic tests like putting on my coat and shoes I failed hopelessly. He said I had suffered a stroke and rang for an ambulance. On arrival at A&E I was checked over and was told I hadn’t suffered a stroke and the confusion was called by the antibiotics I was taking.
I was sent home despite the fact I couldn’t even dress myself properly. I put my jumper and trousers on back to front anybody passing must have thought the circus was in town. After a dreadful night at home walking into door frames and not being able to tell the time we rang for an ambulance first thing.
By now I was beginning to wonder who was more confused me or them? A scan revealed I had suffered another stroke. It had also effected my peripheral vision. This usually effects vision in one eye but I had it in both eyes well I would wouldn’t “eye”.
1979 - Scottish Six Days. Rob was 18th on 167 marks. Photo Copyright: Eric Kitchen.

1979 – Scottish Six Days. Rob was 18th on 167 marks. Photo Copyright: Eric Kitchen.


Chapter 17 : Light at the end of the tunnel!

Rob on his 400cc Triumph in the Pre'65 Scottish in 1993. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Rob on his 400cc Triumph in the Pre’65 Scottish in 1993. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

We are cruising towards a gradual finish now. I mean surely nothing more could happen to me? Well actually yes – just for a change, I had an epileptic fit! I was fitting so badly I had to be put into an induced coma.

I must have been enjoying it because they couldn’t wake me up. The good news is I only had one of these.
However, I did have another stroke which effected my speech, balance and I couldn’t write. Now for the good news all these problems are in the past.
I think its something to do with having a competitive spirit and a lot of luck.
I promise I will not talk of illness ever again! My miracle recovery occurred when I stopped taking the pain killer fentanyl. It took me a year to get it out of my system but it has transformed me.
Don’t expect me to be riding in the SSDT again but I hope to be spectating. From now on this is a stroke-free zone!
To cheer you up the next part of my story is a number of things that I had forgotten about but thanks to doing my story with Trials Guru, I have remembered some. I hope you find them amusing. Read on…
Guisborough - Tocketts Mill trial on a borrowed Triumph Cub. Photo Courtesy: Neil Sturgeon, Darlington

Guisborough – Tocketts Mill trial on a borrowed Triumph Cub. Photo Courtesy: Neil Sturgeon, Darlington


Chapter 18 : Rob Remembers…

My favourite Christmas present, 2014 was an e mail from Alberto Mallofre, formerly of Montesa Motorcycles.
He is struggling with a few health problems, but he sends his best wishes to all.
Unfortunately ‘Guru John’ wants me to continue to write down some details telling you some of the things that have happened along the way, just as they come to mind.
I am happy to do this as I didn’t want to finish my story of trials on the dismal subject of health!

So here we go with ROB Remembers….

Thorpey, Nige, Sid and I were passing through Austria on our way home from a European Trials Championship round.
Mart was at the wheel and as usual we weren’t hanging about – in an effort to catch the ferry to Dover.
Suddenly, an Austrian policeman walked into the road in front of us holding up a lollipop stop sign.
We knew straight away that we must have gone through a speed trap. Leave this to me said our driver and wound down the window. Marts plan was to use the old ‘no comprende’ trick.
As the bobby put his head through the window he was greeted with an ‘all right pal no comprende’.
Ah” said the bobby, “thank you for being concerned about my well-being, however you have just passed through a speed trap at almost twice the legal limit and you must pay me x number of Austrian schillings“.
How unlucky could we be he spoke perfect English!
Mart changed to ‘Plan B’. “Look pal we haven’t any Austrian money at all“.
Oh that’s okay” he said. Had we got away with it?
Pointing up the road he said: “do you see that blue sign?
Well that is a bank you can change money there and when you give me the right number of schillings I will give you back your ignition keys“.
The time had come to admit defeat!
At the risk of sounding like an agony aunt, Simon Valente asked me if I could suggest any modifications to the 250 or 348 Montesa?
Well, I was constantly doing small mods to tailor the bike to suit me like popping the fork stanchions through the top yoke by 6mm.
I also made up footrests that were 6mm down and others that were 6mm back.
This way, I could test the position without grinding off the footrest mountings.
Talking as we were about modifications, I remember going to Jim Sandiford’s at Bury to pick up my new bike.
Jim came up to me in the yard as I admired my new machine.
He put a fatherly arm around my shoulders and said to me quietly: “Rob please promise me that you will ride it before you modify it?” Fingers crossed I agreed.
In the 1975 Scottish Six Days, I stopped to talk to Bill Wilkinson at the top of the Black Water sections.  When we set off to cross over Black Water moor Bill went first and I followed behind.
I’ve crossed dozens of moors with Bill but he was going slower and slower. Eventually feeling very embarrassed I overtook him. I gave him a wave and shouted “see you later“.
I couldn’t help thinking poor old Bill. Once in front I set too to make up lost time.
The course went close to the reservoir for sometime then turned hard left and we went up a steep hillside.
I was enjoying the scenery. About three quarters of the way up the hill I spotted another rider who I presumed must have a puncture. When I got close I could see the rider was laid in the heather eating a topic bar. It was bloody Bill Wilkinson! From the grin on his face it was obvious that I had been set up. So much for me feeling sorry for him. For years now I have tried to get the story out of him to no avail – one to you Bill!
Rob Edwards on a 348 Montesa - Santigosa Three Day Trial 1977. Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

Rob Edwards on a 348 Montesa – Santigosa Three Day Trial 1977. Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

More Bit’s n’ Bobs!

1968 SSDT - Hutchinson

Edwards (centre) with Brian Hutchinson (right) at the Scottish in 1968, showing what every discerning trials rider wore under their Barbour suit back then!

Trials & Motocross News Columnist!

Trials Guru: In late May 1977, the weekly paper Trials and Motocross News was launched by Lancaster & Morecombe Press, the editor was Bill Lawless.
Rob Edwards was given some column inches to write his own column. Here is an example of ‘Observed Section’ written by Rob …
Rob's column from T&MX June 3rd 1977 - Courtesy of Trials & Motocross News, Morecombe.

Rob’s column from T&MX June 3rd 1977 – Courtesy of Trials & Motocross News, Morecombe.

I recently noticed a comment from a fellow Thornaby lad, Ian Instone. Ian remembers me as being a good friend to his late father in law Jack Russell.
Jack had a small Motor Cycle Shop in Thornaby, the like of which we will never see again.
He was a main agent for Villiers engine parts.
If it was a motorbike a lawnmower or concrete mixer or whatever Jack could fix it or supply the necessary spares.
I cycled past Jacks shop everyday on my way to Head Wrightsons where I was an apprentice.
We became great pals and the friendship lasted for years. Many people will remember seeing him around Thornaby on his motorbike and sidecar.
The sidecar had been removed and its chassis had been adapted to carry a motorcycle or anything that had been dumped that he could make a few shillings from.
My first bike was a 197cc Dot and I desperately wanted a longer throttle cable.When I turned the handlebars from lock to lock the engine revs went up and down, but finances couldn’t stretch to a longer cable.
One evening I was on my way home from work and I called in for a chat with Jack. He gave me a bag and when I looked inside,yes it was an extra long throttle cable.
“You can pay me for it when you have finished your apprenticeship”. – “Now in the meantime off you go and get some Trials won!”
Jack built a Motorcycle especially for speed events on Pendine Sands in Wales.
The cylinder liner was a piece of cast iron drainpipe that he machined to size in his lathe.
The bike was considered a bit of a joke but he set a time at Pendine sands that wasn’t beaten for years.
He was probably what we might call eccentric today and I am proud to say that we were friends.
Thanks to Ian for jogging my memory. – Rob
More memories from Rob…
When I thought I was slowly drifting towards a finish, things keep jogging my memory – so off we go again. My friend Trials Guru says I can keep going as long as I want! – Thanks Guru!
The photo of ‘Hutchy’, Kipper Herrington and myself above, taken by Don Crosby at the Scottish made me realise what a scruffy lot we were. I suppose that because everybody else dressed the same we just blended in.
Footwear in those days was usually Fireman’s boots. The stitching would rub against the frame leaving a big hole into which the footrest usually found its way in. The rest of the section was spent trying to get the footrest back out.
Mick Wilkinson pioneered a great idea for keeping the draught and the rain going through the zip of your Barbour jacket. Take one old Barbour jacket and cut a large D shape out of the back this makes you a large bib. Fasten a length of elastic to it to fit around your neck. Along with my Barbour mittens these were stored in a safe place until the next SSDT!
The guru has also put a picture of me on a 250 Cotton riding ‘Foyers’ and the neckerchief can be clearly seen. Not very trendy – but it kept you warm.
After the Fireman’s boots came the ‘Wellies’. The lads at Mile End Motorcycles in Newcastle were the first to come up with this idea. They were actually Coal Miners waterproof boots and were affectionately known as Mile End wellies. They were followed by Dunlop rubber boots.  At first people laughed at the thought of riding in wellies but I must admit it was great to have dry feet. – Rob
There’s more….
I wonder how many Scottish Six Days riders and fans can remember Jonathan Tye’s epic spectacle on Loch Leven?Jonathan was a pilot in the RAF. On the day that we did sections in the Kinlochleven area, Mamore, Grey Mares etc. Jon would fly his Vulcan Bomber slowly and low along the length of Loch Leven and at the last moment, he gave it full throttle over Kinlochleven and headed off over Blackwater. I cant believe I didn’t remember this before! The sight and the noise made the hair on your neck stand up! I haven’t seen Jon for years, so my kind regards to Jon and his elder brother, David. – Rob
Sink or swim?
Here we see three photos from Rob’s personal collection, it shows Rob’s friend Tony Clark on his Dot, who didn’t stop at the section ends cards and found a mini-sink hole!
Tony Clark - 1

Bike? what bike????

Tony Clark - 2

Oh, you mean this bike?

Tony Clark - 3

Back on ‘dry’ land! – Photos from Rob Edwards Collection

Many thanks to super-enthusiast Iain Lawrie from Kinlochleven, who has found a copy of the second edition of Trials and Motocross News showing my column and my thoughts on the 1977 Scottish Six Days Trial.
TMX 2nd edition 1977

1977 – Second issue of Trials & Motocross News – Rob Edwards Column – Reproduction copyright and courtesy of T&MX News

 

Trials Guru gives information about: – Montesa (Permanyer S.A.)

Montesa logo

Rob tells us about his first contact with Montesa concessionaires, Montala Motors Ltd.

Many of us remember Jim Sandiford Imports of Bury as being the UK importers for the Montesa brand. However, before Jim started importation of the brand it was Montala Motors Ltd of Crayford, Kent that had the initial connection with the Montesa factory which was located in Esplugues, an area of Barcelona, Spain.

This was originally due to the Brise family importing tuned Montesa motors primarily for kart racing applications, in which they competed.

Blow Spitfire - Montesa 175 Impala

A ‘Blow Spitfire’ racing Kart with a 175cc Montesa Impala motor installed. This Kart dates from the 1964-1971 period. (Photo Courtesy of the British Historic Kart Club – Copyright)

John Brise was an accomplished Karting driver, as was his son Tony who progressed to Formula three and beyond to Grands Prix levels, he was part of the Embassy Racing team headed up by Graham Hill.

Tony Brise was to tragically lose his life when Graham Hill’s Piper Turbo-Aztec light aircraft came down on Arkley Golf Course, North London in thick fog in 1975. All on board, including Hill, perished.

Montala were instrumental in signing Don Smith, Gordon Farley and Lawrence Telling, who all defected from Essex based Greeves Motorcycles to ride for Montesa from 1967 – 1969. Montala also took on Charlie Harris as a development rider as he was a good trial rider and rode scrambles on the 250cc Cappra motocross machine. In 1972, they contracted Scottish motocross rider, Jim Stuart to ride for them. Montala also contracted Gloucestershire’s Tony Davis originally a Greeves and BSA works supported trials rider to ride the Nationals and West of England local events for Montesa.

At one time Montesa had two importers in the UK; Montala in the south and Jim Sandifords in the north. Eventually, Sandifords took over the whole UK importership and this continued until 2009.

Montala Motors

Montala Motors Ltd, were the original importers of Montesa to the UK, who had their base at 107-115 Dartford Road, Crayford, Dartford, Kent. The machine in the photograph is a 250cc Montesa Impala road bike. (Photographer Unknown)


Rob Edwards 1977 Blackwater - IL

Rob Edwards – 1977 Scottish Six Days on Blackwater, followed by great friend and rival, Martin Lampkin who won the event. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Rob Edwards’ Scottish Six Days Results:

Year : Riding No. : Machine : Result & Score

1963 : 168 : Cotton 250  : First attempt, (Did not finish, missed section. – N/A

1964 : 210 : AJS 350 : Special First Class – 124 marks

1965 : 207 : AJS 350 : Best 350cc Cup & Special First – 63 marks

1966 : 138 : Bultaco 244 : Eighth Equal with Peter Gaunt & Peter Fletcher – 65 marks

1967 : 41 :  Cotton  250  :  Special first Class – 53 marks

1968 : 99 : Cotton 250 : Fourth position – 60 marks

1969 : 27 : Cotton 170 : Tenth position: Best Up to 200cc Cup – 59 marks

1969 - SSDT - Edramucky

1969 – SSDT – Edramucky – Cotton Minarelli – Photo: Rob Edward Private Collection

1970 : 124 : Montesa Cota 247 : Second position – 31 marks

1971 : 66 : Montesa Cota 247 : Sixth position – 56 marks

1971 SSDT Rob Edwards - Mick Illing

1971 at Edramucky on the first day of the SSDT – Photo: Mick Illing

1972 : 112 : Montesa Cota 247 : Third position – 60 marks

1973 : 30 : Montesa Cota 247 : Eight position – 89 marks

1973 - SSDT Laggan Locks

1973 – Scottish Six Days on Laggan Locks, watched by Mrs. Janet Hemingway and Mrs. Isobel Lampkin – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

1974 : 209 : Montesa Cota 247 : Ninth position – 83 marks

1975 : 102 : Montesa Cota 348 : Retired , (Broken Gearbox – Prototype) – N/A

1976 : 17 : Montesa Cota 247 ; Seventeenth position – 106 marks

1977 : 111 : Montesa Cota 348 : Eighth position – 84 marks

1978 : 194 : Montesa Cota 349 : Second position – 113 marks

1979 : 53 : Montesa Cota 349 : Eighteenth position – 167 marks

1980 : 144 : Ossa 250 : Retired, Electronic Ignition Failure – N/A

1981 : 106 : Montesa Cota 349 : Twenty-eighth position – 204 marks

Other Trials Results of Rob Edwards:

Year – Event – Result

1971 – BRITISH EXPERTS – 1st

1972 – BEMROSE – 1st

1972 – RED ROSE – 1st

1972 – VIC BRITTAIN TRIAL – 1st

1972 – NATIONAL JOHN DOUGLAS – 1st

1973 – BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP – 2nd (BEHIND MARTIN LAMPKIN)

1973 – ITALY WORLD ROUND – 2nd

1973 – ST DAVIDS – 2nd

1973 – ALAN TRIAL – 1st

1973 – WELSH TROPHY TRIAL – 1st

1973 – HILLSBOROUGH NATIONAL – 1st

1973 – PRESIDENTS TROPHY – 1st

1974 – SCOTT TRIAL – WINNER

1974 – COLONIAL – 1st

1974 – HURST CUP TRIAL –  1st
1974 – BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP – 4th (RATHMELL; MART LAMPKIN; DAVE THORPE; ROB)

1976 – SANTIGOSA 3 DAY – 3rd (VESTY;  RATHMELL;  ROB)

1977 – CLEVELAND – 1st

1977 – SSDT INJURED – 8th + BEST ONE MAKE TEAM

1977 – SCOTT –  3rd (MARTIN LAMPKIN 81  MALCOLM RATHMELL 82  ROB 82)

1977 – HURST CUP – 2nd

1977 – ST DAVIDS NATIONAL TRIAL – 1ST

1978 – KIEFERSFELDEN – 2nd

1978 – RHAYDER EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP TRIAL – 6th

1978 – SCOTT – SPOON

1980 – SCOTT (ILLNESS STARTED) – SPOON


Rob Edwards – what trials people are saying! :

Caroline Sandiford crop

Caroline Sandiford, daughter of Montesa Importer Jim Sandiford said: – “Rob Edwards – a true gent who my Dad admired greatly .. Both as a bloke / friend and as a rider .. Someone he enjoyed being involved with very much”.

Lane Leavitt 1980

Lane Leavitt, (California, USA) – former Bultaco & Montesa factory rider; former AMA Trials Champion – “It was on Rob’s Trip to the USA where I first met him and this trip changed my life forever. Man this brings back a ton of stories and memories”.

Martin Belair - Montesa

Martin Belair – Montesa USA.

Martin Belair – Montesa USA wrote:I remember first meeting Rob at Saddleback Park in Southern California. He came to compete in our local event and to school us on how to ride a trials motorbike. We all liked him straight away. Rob was always smiling and had a sharp wit. A fine rider, with a great ability to make new friends wherever he went.
Over the years. we saw Rob and Rob Shepherd many more times in Spain at the Montesa Factory. We were all there to ride the Spanish World round at Sant Llorenc del Munt.
I remember Montesa Competition manager, Pedro Pi always referred to them as “Los Robs”.
We had the chance to sample Barcelona and Los Angeles night-life together and some of those stories still survive between myself and Montesa team-mate Mike Griffitts. The nice thing was that where we went, Rob made sure that we were included.
Mike told me that he had gone to Montesa Motors in downtown Los Angeles prior to the 1974 US round of the Euro Championship. The ‘Robs’ and John Hemingway were un-crating stock bikes and prepping them for Sunday’s event, all under the watchful eye of Montesa parts manager Scotsman, Derek Edgar.

Mike noticed that they removed the stock silencer and replaced it with a chrome silencer from a VW bug. Mike being a VW man and having several stingers in his garage made the change and kept using it until the Cota 348 arrived. I remember that it added a bit of a whistle to the exhaust note and it looked cool! 
Rob won that 1974 US round on observation but was excluded on time as was most of the entry. The whole event was disaster. It was poorly organized and not representative of what the US could do.
From my youth till now, I have met many great riders. I have learned that there are those that win races and championships and then there are Champions. Rob is the latter. I hope to see him again someday and share stories over a pint. – Martin Belair

Richard Delaney – Montesa Team USA wrote“It was a great experience having Rob work with us on the U.S. Montesa Team in California. He’s a great ambassador for Trials!”

Classic Trial magazine Issue 6 made use of the Montesa photo of Rob on Pipeline in 1971. Cover photo: Classic Trial Magazine.

Classic Trial magazine Issue 6 made use of the Montesa photo of Rob on Pipeline in 1971. Cover photo: Classic Trial Magazine.

Alberto Mallofre, Head of Competition at Montesa Permanyer SA: (written 19th February 2013) – Pedro Pi from barcelona told me about our dear friend Rob Edwards from Yorkshire through some news he has got from you. Really, I was very happy to hear about Rob. As you probably know, young Rob was deeply appreciated at every corner of the Montesa factory, since he is really the loveliest person. Everybody of us, more or less concerned with Montesa, keep a great memory of nice Rob Edwards character, Rob was absolutely unique. Therefore I would be glad if you are kind enough to express my kindest memory to our old friend Rob Edwards. Nowadays, everyone of us are getting old. I am 87 myself and remember those motorcycle days with a little shade of sadness. Only figures like Rob are helping really a lot to make us happy!

I do remember Rob’s father as well who was also a nice person. Therefore if you are kind enough to give Rob Edwards the best regards from old Alberto Mallofre, I will thank you very much.Alberto Mallofre

Scott Rowland, British Sidecar Champion:Rob, I know that Dave Rowland had a lot of respect for you and I believe that was mutualScott Rowland

SSDT 1976 - Day 4 - Ben Nevis - 17th Pos 106 marks


The 1981 Scott at 'Rock Garden' section on the 200cc Montesa - Photo: Barry Robinson

The 1981 Scott at ‘Rock Garden’ section on the 200cc Montesa – Photo: Barry Robinson

And finally : 

Now then Everyone,
Thanks very much for all your support and reading though my story as a trials rider. That’s all I wanted to do.
Although The ‘Gaffer Guru’ John Moffat has told me I can keep going as long as I want, but I feel that I have subjected you to quite enough punishment and its time to go.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have expected the support you have given me. I have had a fantastic time, a really fantastic time believe me. I was kept going by the The Trials Guru’s enthusiasm. That plus your comments and likes were a real tonic to me. Despite my health problems I still consider myself the luckiest person in the world.
I have always been a people person and the spectators who lined the sections were just as important to me as the sections and they have repaid me a thousand times!
Like all of us I had made mistakes but in general I am pretty pleased.
One thing I will miss is checking the comments and likes each day.
I was pleased and a little surprised when Benny Sellman and Thore Evertson contacted me.
Benny was a fellow Montesa rider and Thore a works Ossa rider.
I also received an e-mail from Martin Belair in California.
These plus dozens and dozens from all over Europe have done me more good than any doctor or medicine could hope to do.
The new generation of Thornaby Trials riders have been following my story – Thanks a lot lads.
I hope to get to the Telford Show again so please say Hello if you see me, tea with milk, no sugar please! I look forward to meeting you, don’t be scared, I don’t bite!
Rob Edwards (Sandiford Montesa) Scottish Six Days Trial 1981 - Mamore Section - Photo ~ Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

Rob Edwards (Sandiford Montesa) Scottish Six Days Trial 1981 – Mamore Section – Photo ~ Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven

It is impossible to thank everybody who made this possible but Eric Kitchen, Barry Robinson, Iain Lawrie and Luis Munoz and all the others mentioned below who allowed ‘Guru John’ (my gaffer) to use their pictures.
When readers send in comments like ‘Scottish Heaven’ you could bet that one of these are responsible.
Keep Clicking and thanks!
Many thanks again to ‘Trials Guru’ –  John Moffat and thank you finally to Alberto Mallofre, Pere Pi and Montesa for having faith in me – ROB EDWARDS
photo 1

Rob Edwards has been making models in metal for some years now. Here is one of a Manx Norton racing machine. Don’t be mistaken – these are not bought kits – Rob makes them by hand from aluminium off-cuts!

Trophy - RE

A model depicting a factory Montesa 4RT in tribute to Dougie Lampkin that I made from aluminium off-cuts.

hml-1975-re

My hand-made tribute to Martin in aluminium and wood

Another of Rob's creations is this model, again made from aluminium off-cuts of an Aston Martin V12 Volante

Another of Rob’s creations is this model, again made from aluminium off-cuts, of an Aston Martin V12 Volante.

Rob Edwards left with John Moffat trying out the 1912 Scott 'AK222' for size. John is on the 2014 Scott winning Beta Evo 300 of James Dabill. Photo Copyright: John Hulme/Trials Media

Rob Edwards left with John Moffat (Trials Guru) trying out the 1912 Scott ‘AK222’ for size. John is on the 2014 Scott winning Beta Evo 300 of James Dabill. Photo Copyright: John Hulme/Trials Media.

Rob’s Practice sessions:

Some photographs that Rob has unearthed after compiling this story, taken mostly by Rob in North Yorkshire, here are some interesting images of his friends training back in 1978. These photos have not been seen in public previously and show some factory riders on unfamiliar machinery.

Group - 1978

Left to Right: Malcolm Rathmell, Charles Coutard (SWM), Colin Bell (SWM) Martin Lampkin (Bultaco) and Dickie Bowes, friend of Rob. Photo courtesy and copyright: Rob Edwards.

Here is a photo taken by Rob in Barcelona at the Montesa Espluges factory gates. It shows his friend, former German Trials Champion, Felix Krahnstover practicing on his 348 Montesa, the factory is in the background.

Felix Krahnstover - Montesa Factory 1977 - Photo Rob Edwards

Felix Krahnstover was the multiple German Trials Champion who rode for Montesa, seen here at the Montesa Espluges factory at Barcelona. Krahnstover was an SSDT regular competitor on Montesa and KTM machines in the 1970’s. Photo: Rob Edwards Personal Collection.

More photos will be added in the section below as they become available.

Credits:

© – The Rob Edwards Story – Copyright Information:

© – Words: Rob Edwards & Trials Guru / Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2016.

Photographic Copyrights & acknowledgements:

: Brian ‘Nick’ Nichols Collection – Mortons Motorcycle Media (Copyright – All Rights Reserved). Trials Guru has obtained direct permission from Mortons Motorcycle Media, Hornchurch for the use of the photograph from the ‘Nick Nicholls Collection’ in connection with this series of articles on Rob Edwards.

: John Hulme/Trials Media – photograph at Scott Re-Union Dinner 2014.

: Rob Edwards for various photos from his private collection including the 1964 photos of Loch Eild Path etc. – Brian Holder Photo.

: All Sport/Don Morley, Redhill, Reigate, Surrey – for permission to use the photograph of Peter ‘Jock’ Wilson for this article.

: Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd – for the use of various programme covers.

: Blackie Holden Junior – for the photo of Blackie Holden Snr in 1964.

: James Young, Armadale, West Lothian – for the 1963 (Cotton); 1980 (Ossa) & 1980 (Lane Leavitt, Montesa) photos

: Luis Munoz-Aycuens Ribas, Madrid – for the photos of Montesa trials school.

Javier Cruz, Madrid – Photo of Montesa Cota 1971

: The British Historic Kart Club – for photo of historic ‘Blow Spitfire’ Kart with Montesa motor.

: Mrs Helen Thomson, Inverlochy, Fort William – for the photographs of Ali McDonald & Ron Thomson.

: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven, Argyll (All Rights Reserved) – Various photos of Rob Edwards.

: Neil Sturgeon, Darlington

: Peter Bremner, Inverness

: Barry Robinson, Ilkley.

: Mike Rapley, Carnforth.

: Eric Kitchen’s Photos are Worldwide copyright – Trials Guru has obtained direct permission from Mr. Kitchen for the use of his photographs in connection with this series of articles on Rob Edwards.

: Acknowledgement: Peter Bremner, Chairman Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. – For Montesa Riders Photographs used in this article.

: Acknowledgement to Horacio San-Martin of the Todotrial website in Spain for identifying locations in Spain. This story is now available in the Spanish language exclusively on Todotrial in collaboration with Trials Guru: click … Here – In Spanish

: Mototrials.com – the website of the North American Trials Council for the photograph of Norval & Marilyn Wicker.

: With acknowledgement to Trials & Motocross News for the use of excerpts from their paper – Observed Section – Rob Edwards column.

: With acknowledgement to Trial Magazine UK/Classic Trial Magazine UK for their assistance with The Rob Edwards Story. Link to: Classic Trial Magazine

For similar stories from the world of trials on Trials Guru:

Gordon Jackson Story

Scottish Six Days Trial

If you want to get in touch with Rob Edwards:

If you would like to send a personal message to Rob, to wish him well or remind him of his trials days, simply complete this online message and send a private message to him. This will be forwarded by Trials Guru website to Rob’s email. Quite a few of his old friends have already made contact.

 

Trials Guru Main INDEX

TG Logo 2

The Life and times of Rob Edwards in action:

A gallery of Rob’s own photographs

The Scott Trial 1974 video – winner: Rob Edwards (Montesa)

 

VIVA MONTESA!

VIVA MONTESA!

1970 - Callart - Mick Andrews - Rob Edwards - Malcolm Rathmell

1970 SSDT – Callart. Mick Andrews, Rob Edwards and Malcolm Rathmell (siting on bank) inspecting the section – Rob Edwards Private Collection

1971 Scott - Orgate Splash - Malcolm Dennis to right

1971 Scott Trial at ‘Orgate Falls’ followed by Malcolm Dennis – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

1971 SSDT - Laggan Locks

1971 – Scottish Six Days Trial – ‘Laggan Locks’- Rob Edwards Private Collection

1973 - SSDT -Laggan Locks - Montesa Team

1973 Scottish Six Days – Inspecting ‘Laggan Locks’ with the Montesa Team – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

Sydney - Australia - July 1975

Sydney, Australia in July 1975 – Photo: Rob Edwards Private Collection

On the 348 Montesa in 1978 Scottish Six Day at 'Camp' section. Final result: Second Place to Martin Lampkin. Photo - Worldwide Copyright: Eric Kitchen

On the 348 Montesa in 1977 Scottish Six Days at ‘Camp’ section. Final result: Second Place to Martin Lampkin. Photo – Worldwide Copyright: Eric Kitchen

1977-santigosa-3-day

1977 – Santigosa 3 Day Trial – Photo: “Tribu” Foto Racing, Barcelona from Rob Edwards Private Collection.

 

Rob Edwards in his final SSDT in 1981 on Muirshearlich, near Banavie. The section is know known as Trotters' Burn. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

Rob Edwards in his final SSDT in 1981 on Muirshearlich, near Banavie. The section is know known as Trotters’ Burn. Photo copyright: Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

yorks-3-day-trial-rob-edwards-ariel-ht5-ph-chris-barnard

Yorkshire 3 Day Trial on the 1956 Ariel (NHE337) – Photo: Rob Edwards Personal Collection

 

1963 - SSDT Day 1 - No. 166 is the Greeves of Doug Theobald; 170 is an Irish rider not in programme; 168 is Rob Edwards (Cotton); 175 - Sammy Miller (500 Ariel); 169 is Terry Hill (250 BSA).

1963 – SSDT Day 1 – No. 166 is the Greeves of Doug Theobald; 170 is Harry Lambert (Dublin – 250cc DOT); 168 is Rob Edwards (Cotton); 175 – Sammy Miller (500 Ariel); 169 is Terry Hill (250 BSA).

 

1971 - SSDT - Rob Edwards on the Montesa Cota 247 was 6th in this event. Other notable people in the photo are Alastair MacGillivray far left and third left: Rodger Mount (3 times Scottish Champion 1971-73)

1971 – SSDT – Rob Edwards on the Montesa Cota 247 was 6th in this event. Other notable people in the photo are Alastair MacGillivray far left and third left: Rodger Mount (3 times Scottish Champion 1971-73)

 

 

1971 Scott Trial - Rob Edwrads was joint third place. In the bacground with camera is the Doyen of trials photographers, Eric Kitchen.

1971 Scott Trial – Rob Edwards was joint third place. In the background with camera is the Doyen of trials photographers, Eric Kitchen.

28 thoughts on “ROB EDWARDS STORY

      • Hi Rob,
        That was a great read. Very Interesting. I believe I have recently bought your 1969 cotton minerelli in a bad condition and I’m currently in the process of restoring it. I’m trying to make it as original as possible but unfortunately the log book didn’t come with it so I don not know the original registration. I wondered if you could remember it or had an old photo with it on?

        Many Thanks
        Mark

        (email supplied and withheld from view)

  1. It was a great experience having Rob work with us on the U.S. Montesa Team in California.
    He’s a great ambassador for Trials!

  2. I knew from our early days when you were an apprentice to me at Head Wrightsons you were going to be successful at your chosen sport, a very confident young man with a true belief in your ability, I remember when I lent you my Jimmy 197 to run around on instead of your push bike, you had it running like a rocket within a couple of days. A true Teesside Trials Legend.

    • Hi Len
      Thanks again for your comments.I would really like to get in contact with you.If you could possibly send an e mail to the trials guru(John Moffat) he will forward it to me.
      Sorry its so complicated for me.I wasn’t a bad Trials rider but I am useless with the internet!
      ROB

  3. Pingback: Rob Edwards – Part 16 – Light at the end of the tunnel | Trials Guru

  4. a great story of a true ambassador from thornaby. I remember rob when he was about 15 years old doing tricks on his push bike at his mam and dads house in lanehouse road. being of the same age I remember him very well..best wishes and good health for the future alan foster former thornaby resident

    • Hi Alan
      Talking about pushbikes reminds me for Christmas one year mam and dad bought me a Triumph Beach Bike all shiny and new, not me at all.The mudguards lights bell etc had to go.All went well until one day they arrived home early, shock horror the bike was reduced to a track bike, as they were called then.They soon realised they were not going to change me.I used to cycle from Thornaby to Carlton bank just to ride on the scrambles track that I had watched the top riders race for the Cleveland Grand National Trophy.Names such as Jeff Smith The Lampkins Arthur & Sid, Gordon Blakeway, Dickie Preston and so on and then cycle home.In those days the only sort of track gearing was a 28th tooth rear sprocket because it was a fixed wheel if you pedalled it backwards you went backwards and because of the fixed wheel it was great for pulling wheelies!
      Hope you are well and thank you for getting in touch.
      ROB

  5. Really enjoyed reading Rob’ s journey, as mentioned he inspired many young riders. Rob’ s visits to Rogart helped to make an excellent trial truelly memorable.
    In the article, Marilyn Wicker is mentioned, was she the lady who had riders autographe a shirt, later to embroyder the signatures ?

    • Hi Ross, Many thanks for your comments and remarks about Rogart.
      The Marilyn Wicker shirt you mentioned, I am lucky to have one of my own from the first time I went to the States.She had embroidered on it, my route from San Fran to Rhode Island.I am sure the Guru will be displaying it in the near future.
      Thanks Again Ross
      ROB

  6. Dear Rob, really enjoyed reading all the great stories. I enjoyed riding in many of the national trials you mention, as I was always in the sidecar class our paths rarely met. I did call and see you in your shop when I worked as a rep for the D.I.D. importer H and S, in the late 70s. You were always great to deal with, Hope to see. you out watching trials soon. All the best.
    Ross Clarkson

    • Hi Ross,Thanks for your comments and sorry for taking so long to reply.
      Mart and I went out on Arthurs outfit and we must have gone fifty yards down a hill, over and over.He looked at me and said I know I said lean out but I didn’t mean that bloody far!
      Did you see the picture of Mick Andrews and me on Colin Dommets outfit?
      ALL THE BEST ROSS
      ROB

  7. Remember taking my Ossa MAR to Robs for some work and was amazed when he just ride it up the return staircase like the pro he is. Then he sold me my favourite trials iron Beamish Suzuki RL 250.
    A genuine lovely bloke!
    Thanks Rob!
    I’ve got an old 348 in the garage now!

    • Hi John
      Thanks for your comment.
      We had fun riding up and down those stairs.Oh what fun it was to be young!
      Hope you are well.
      Look after your 348!
      ROB

  8. Hi Rob,I enjoyed reading about your exploits,I remember overtaking you in a trial on Sutton Bank and you said later that you wished you could ride like that, I think proved you could and better,
    Best of luck Robin Andrew James/AJS

    • Hi Robin,
      Sorry for the delay in replying.
      In our days there was no such thing as ABCD through to Z class and I made the best of it by copying yourself and Go Mac.
      Great memories and proper Trials in those days.
      Many Thanks
      ROB

  9. Hi Rob, I too enjoyed reading about your SSDT exploits
    I Was part of them in 1974 75 & 76 one year in paticular when i had a number between you and Nigel Birkett, a time of my life I will treasure for the rest of my life.
    You are a true professional and in my top ten people I have met in my life time.
    Best wishes
    Dennis Thomas

  10. Hello Rob thank you for the story, so glad to have found it. I remember watching the St David’s and your story suggests it would be ’73 or ’77 not sure which. A section called ‘Millstones’ a friend I was with suggested you took too long walking the section and you wouldn’t get up, I disagreed and as an 8 or 12 year old was quite nervous as it was me against my friend, I was right as you cleaned it. Very impressed and glad to hear you are well. Take care.

    • What a fantastic story! So many memories of your great riding. Never forget going round French World Championship Trial at Sommieres with you. Think we lost quite a few marks between us!!
      Can’t believe that I walked straight past you at the Telford Show recently, so I will apologise for that.
      Best wishes
      Nick Jefferies

      • Now that’s what I call a surprise Nick!
        Its not everyday I hear from somebody who was a demon Trials Rider and in his day could mix it with the very best racers in the Isle Of Man T.T.
        Thanks for your comment about my story.I have enjoyed doing it and when somebody like yourself contacts me it reminds me of the good old days.
        Sorry I missed you at Telford but you were dashing onto the stage to give your speech, so I didn’t shout you back.
        TAKE CARE AND BEST WISHES TO EVERYBODY
        CATCH YOU NEXT YEAR
        ROB

    • Hi Richard
      Many thanks for your comment.
      It was always a problem when there was a time limit as everybody wanted to be a late number for slippery rock sections and early for mud, Decisions, Decisions!
      Good to hear from you.
      BYE FOR NOW
      ROB

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  14. Hi Rob

    I have some photos from the 1960’s of you with my grandfather Doug Marshall and also your father with you in two photos according to my dad Barry. Please let me know if you want to see them and l can forward them onto you by email somehow. Regards Phil Marshall

  15. The photo you say is around 1948 I would suggest is more likely to be around 1954 ( you were older than you think !! ) the rider is Derek Smith. an old friend of mine sadly no longer with us , He rode a James like me and I only came out of the army ( national service in the R M P as a motor cycle instructor )
    Regards Robin Andrew

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