Archive for January, 2020

Friday January 31st 2020

Friday, January 31st, 2020

It’s a big day in UK Politics today with England breaking away from the European Union - Only time will tell if this is the way to go - but if it gives Immigration control back to the Brits - then I think it’s good.
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The pic below is of Arnold Moffat - Father of Big John Moffat in Scotland at the 1953 SSDT - the bike is a  rigid framed Matchless, which was later upgraded to a swingarm rear suspension.  John later bought back this bike and added it to his impressive collection.
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Another interesting pic this one showing Brian Stonebridge on the BSA Bantam 150 - fitted with an expansion chamber - the real breakthrough for two stroke Scrambles bikes in the late 50’s - you can see the short stubby cut off header pipe on the following bike a Francis Barnet, which was the normal design, before Stonebridge - working for BSA decided to try Road Race technology on the Bantam -( I saw him passing big heavy four strokes on this at Hawkstone Park.

Hmmm!  seem to have lost this pic in cyber space - sorry about that.
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The debate on modern Trials events goes on and on - here is Bernie’s take on things.

Bernard Schreiber Steve Wilson
The debate goes on & on & on and entries/sales less & less & less. We have manufacturers building bikes designed to win a X-Trial world championship, at a price most new riders can’t afford, with performance levels they can’t use in sections they’ll never come close to riding. Forward motion rules provide a different skill set, product and commercial base to the sport. I’ve taken note and scored Stop as a fiasco for the sport of Trials. Imagine if you had to learn all the training skills of a top gun Air Force pilot to fly a commercial airline. You wouldn’t have many pilots. Imagine if the only new plane you could purchase is a USAF-22 Raptor to visit family on the weekend. Not many planes being sold or a commercial industry being built.😉
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Following the recent X-Trial Budapest, which featured the closest-ever X-Trial finish – with several tie-breaks necessary to separate the victorious Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) from arch-rival Adam Raga (TRRS) – this Sunday, February 2, sees the big one, the annual X-Trial Barcelona.

The Barcelona event is the oldest consecutive indoor trial in history and 2020 will see the 43rd edition take place at the huge Palau St Jordi stadium, built for the 1992 Olympics and situated on top of Montjuic.

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Thursday January 30th 2020

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

This is a pic showing Taff trying to warm his hands back in 2005 up on Joss, when we ran into snow. - We made it to the lookout, but had to hike up the last bit from the top. Other riders in the pic are Mark and a guy I can’t recall his name - neither of these ride anymore, but it was Mark that first showed me the route up the Mountain in 2003. He stopped by my place in 2003 and looked at the Trials bikes I had ( we sold Beta,Gas Gas & Sherco at that time)  He decided on a used Gasser we had, but after I asked him what he wanted to ride ie: trail ride or Competition, - he told me about this Mountain with an old Pack Horse trail leading up to a  Fire lookout at 8,000 feet.- built in 1920 - he had tried getting up there on an Enduro bike, but it was so rugged  - that he figured a light Trials bike would be the way to go.  - I made the comment - OK I will sell you the Gasser, as long as you take me with you on the next trip.  -As they say, the rest is History, and I did that ride a total of 8 times. ( It’s now been closed to Motorized Vehicles) I was 63 first time up - 75 the last time.
'August 2004 on top of Joss Mountain - thought another snow pic might cheer everybody up. Taff looks cold !!'

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In Industry News - I see that Norton just went into receivership (again) - We heard that a few of the top snowmobile manufacturers have drastically cut production, because of too much unsold inventory.  ( A sign of the times)
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The Annual Talmag Vintage Trial is always well attended, but the sections this year proved to be just a bit too easy, with over 20 riders going clean for the day - However, I’m sure everybody had fun, and Kudus to the guys who still ride these big heavy 4 Strokes.
Lots of viewpoints on this event and others like it - here is one >>

Gavin Shaw Every year there’s people saying it’s too easy and others saying it’s too hard. This year’s clean sheets have probably got more to do with all the trick bikes with youngsters riding them like moderns. Since when where Mikuni carbs allowed? When did a Suzuki framed B40 become pre65?
The original idea was for the old gits to have a wobble around on their old bangers in sections appropriate to that time.
Either we all accept that it’s no longer a pre 65 event (same as the Scottish) but an event for highly developed British engined machines with no eligibility criteria OR we introduce strict criteria and age limits with the probability that in a short period of time the event will almost certainly die.
We can’t have it all ways!

Kings of the Hill: Talmag Trophy Trial – report

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Yesterday we talked about Handlebars and how they have changed over the years, but footrests, have also gone through a huge transformation, the early bikes we rode, had just a narrow rigid bolt type  - laughable now when you look at the latest “Platform”  styles. -  Of course Bar to peg set up, is vital, in order for control and traction, but while the High bars of the past seemed good at the time,  the bikes of today, require a much lower bar. - Did you know that both Dougie Lampkin and Tony Bou, use a Renthal fat bar with only a 4.1/2 ” rise?  - and Dougie is 6ft 3″.

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And Finally !!!

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Wednesday January 29th 2020

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Back in the day, Handlebar design was (and still is) very much a personal choice, but in the 70’s - the high reach Renthal  was the choice of many ( including me for a time on my Bultaco)
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Above you see Charles Cutard using this design - while below is a shot of Spanish rider Munez ( killed in the car accident)  Martin Lampkin and Malcolm Rathmell.

Later riders began to use a flatter design- as shown on Mick Andrews Yamaha .
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This video is from the TRS Factory -Welcome to TRS Days.
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An early shot of myself in 1955 riding my first Trial - Note: the low flat handlebars on my James 197cc.also the speedometer - left on in those days because all events included long rides on public roads. ( Events were usually 50-70 miles per day - plus we usually rode our bikes to the event which was sometimes 50 miles from where we lived in North Wales)
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Weather is keeping fairly mild in the Valley. although they are calling for a few snow flurries today -

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Yesterday we had a visit from Jerry Sperling, who lives in Greenwood - he was looking for a Trials helmet ( but left with other stuff as well) Jerry has a whole bunch of Classic Trials bikes, including, a couple of TY 175’s - a TY 250, Suzuki RL - Kawasaki -and recently sold a couple of Honda TL’s he had.  We had a great chat, ( he was very interested in the Xtrack)  It seems he has a whole trail system available right out of his backyard & invited us down to check it out.

We have ridden at Midway ( just up the road from Greenwood) and also at a Trial in Grandforks  a few years ago - it’s a neat area, right on the US border. - In fact I recall we put on a Trials demo at Midway a few years back, organized by local guy Gord . - it was +40 not perfect for riding, but the locals seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards we sat in the River to cool off.  This was back when Barry was riding, also Krash was there and Jimmy Corkle plus a few others.  ( I even rode that day)
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Tuesday January 28th 2020

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The Nanaimo BC lads appear to have a good club going - they call themselves the “Nanaimo Gasoles”  - Rick Whiting is one of their members and often posts pics from their fun rides - This one was posted by Simon.
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This Classic pic - reminded me that it was BSA Scrambler John Banks, who originated the plastic face  mask - he made it out of a veggie Culindar  in his Kitchen - the idea soon caught on and Scott started to manufacture them ( I doubt John ever got any credit for his great idea) - In Canada, the “Iron Jaw” was popular before full face helmets became the norm. - The European Jofa mouth guard was also popular.
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Check this out >>>
Sidecar Trials

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And this  >>
Duke DVD Archive - World Trials 1986 - UK Round

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No words for this one of Adam Raga !! - It didn’t copy too good -
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Jordi Pascuet has resigned with Beta Truebo to promote the Italian brand with his training schools.

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Monday January 27th 2020

Monday, January 27th, 2020

We don’t get the Classic version of Trial Mag: - but this one looks to have some great stuff in it as usual
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Yesterday I did the PDI on my new 2020 Evo 200 demo - can’t wait to try it out. ( I’ve added a bit of my bling)
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This is a video of the Vic Brittain National Trial held at the weekend in Shropshire, not far from where I grew up - it’s well worth clicking on and watching until the end. The sections are very similar to some we used to ride in my day - Natural gullies full of mud & rocks. - Who knows I may have ridden up that Gully back in the 50’s !!
https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DwhOg4MyiCEA%26feature%3Dshare%26fbclid%3DIwAR1pZ9KQFDJlgTYp_PsdC4Kd-7RApS0FqbKqmNvd4wWHunzp3hByVRReMMM&h=AT3JIlFGIojAp6WgYemaKwhSsQYolZYHx5yt6ZdhqjgvegPIUiM8X4PEAUT8lLmaQgXeSKNTE0×7liiMgK66Qe-dS4HcdUHyb-qHvggJeUPAHLNYzm9zSk-qgfmRK29qKcvxjajtoYbdPIYR9Q-O-pZZs0c68FHxZqnm16c62CNznV1QTVe0Wgb2fMiGBk_e3mNwVcxKldLkRnwkvOWHwO8OIcp79RhvGBvSuaDmt5hXKXRx6skQctFe-qucn3exoIDe0NibwS0DOe68nJyWSVZo935WSlvOk8Jj_SGM4kECh1ETtqAxOPJxbVqMVBbjFhpT5rRVG9G1P8VU9Z9QTfmgF2FLQCezf7F0uOix1ZEtp-11IvY0wOXjSRo2ZowdfA80u17X2aQoshgG7fs143JWH4Xi69nxji1UIWRNqVc6Y9Ebx1ra-Fx4owiustu3082-rO1UD8OPq-d97sYDR1Z1MKhI5n1sfXGHonNQfgx3Ge9BTXBsybWV_68s68HKiAIN7U_um-TgHHeqhM5xw65umD5-GUM1CT2x-QTE-MFyZcaSwcRrUnglcHrmnMr3SnT1jtVzYeDbc9kCAInz8o77yB1Ho4QS2jSH3-HDnf4NphgwdZlk2y1BGUBn2EIZ7W1UHiF6yTVqx6itI9G4MP50OpTD7PU

Here are the results ( sorry the way they printed out - but a good win for Ross Danby (TRS)  who lives in the area, so local knowledge might have helped.
No.NameClubBikeClass123456789101112131415161718TotalM/C48 Ross DanbySSMCCTRS UKExpert 0011100004003106011843 Tom Minta SSMCCScorpaExpert 0020010521055007012984 Sam HaslamHookwoodsJLHondaExpert 0130200218343012013151 Sam YeomansStaff AutoVertigoExpert 00600011461103008084845Chris AlfordLincolnGas GasExpert00601006560108408135847Hugo JervisSSMCCTRS UKExpert01413013446684010045993Tom MossEastbourneGas GasExpert16433012663674310662122Ben SpriggLem VicHondaExpert2031125103821010508167775Will McBainOxfordJLGas GasExpert3151041110582884387896121Steven HarrisRedditchHondaExpert3353625101080108725469782Andrew BlackmanHookwoodsBetaExpe

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Had to laugh when I saw this pic of Mick - but if you check out his score card, you can tell he was having a really bad day !!! - ( Unless his card is turned over)  - I think those are the same pants he wore at my 1975 World Round !!! if in fact this pic was taken at that event - then yes they would have been “5″s., and would explain the look on his face as he finished in 11th spot that day.
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A blast from the past that just showed up on FB - myself riding a Scramble on my first competition bike - a 197cc James - fitted with a different gas tank and Girling rear shocks -Note the lack of a front fender, which I had ripped off in a really big “Endo” in practice. - think the bars were bent as well. ( I rode the bike to the track near Oswestry as it was street legal and my only transportation- things were a lot simpler back then in the early 50’s)
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Sunday January 26th 2020

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

The last Sunday of the month - and what a start to the New Year, with the very cold temperatures and big dumps of snow. - Certainly put a lot of Trials riders in Cabin Fever mode.

As it has now warmed up a bit, I did the PDI on the new 2020 Evo 200 yesterday - not a lot of changes, as we know, but one surprise I got when I fired up the bike was to see the small light shining up from the new tank cover, which now houses the ignition advance switch - this button changes the position, so you can always see which mode you are in - Neat!! -

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We haven’t seen  or heard much from any of the Western Motorcycle Shows - unlike the one in Toronto which had good coverage on FB.

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I don’t think many enthusiasts will forget this pic of Bob Hannah from the late 70’s - he was always radical, I met him once when he was at the Calgary Motorcycle show - Yamaha had him and Broc Glover attend and they were on our Yamaha Canada booth, signing autographs. ( Nice young guys)

Does anybody remember that one of Bob’s signing conditions with Yamaha USA was that they bought him a Ferrari?   ( They did)
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Today is Australia Day - so a big shout out to all our friends from OZ - hope the Fires are getting under control - I see Sammy has got himself another Pup a buddy for Tiki. - Not sure how he will fit into the Stunt Shows.

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We have heard from the Quebec Trials Club - who now have two WTC Championship events planned for 2020 at two different locations - one in May and one in July - we will confirm once we know more details.

( We are assuming total points from the series will decide the Championship East)
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And for our Motor Racing readers >
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Saturday January 25th 2020

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

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This is a pic of Jim Sanderford on a Bultaco - Jim went on to become the British Importer for Montesa - He died at a young age from Cancer, but I believe his business is still operating with his two Children in charge - (not Montesa anymore)
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Yesterday turned out to be a busy day for me - in the morning, I was down in Kelowna, then in the afternoon up to Mara - all Opti Snowmobile Oil deliveries. - My Dealer up near Grindod, has likely set something of a record selling a total of 85 gallons in just over three weeks.   We have been supplying them Opti now for over 20 years. - Ev’s son Tyler won the World Snowmobile Hill climb championship a few years ago running his Polaris on Opti Oil.
While I was at Backus Racing, Everett took time to show me the Polaris race car ( side by side) that they run down in Baja. - Really something and very expensive - but the Team have been very successful.
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Friday January 24th 2020

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Check out this lovely Ariel square 4 - A local guy had one when I lived in Oswestry back in 1953 - sounded really neat, but it seems they had some overheating issues with the rear cylinders. - This was a time when British Engineering was still #1 in the Motorcycle Industry.
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The Vancouver Motorcycle Show starts today  at the Tradex Center - No Trials dealers there are far as I know - but maybe Duncan from Vancouver Beta.  - I used to like going down for the day with Pete, just to meet old friends, but the road conditions are going to be ugly this weekend over the Pass.

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I came across this old pic of the last Cross Country race I was in - It was in Kelowna and I won the Danny Amor Memorial Trophy on a YZ 125. -  That was in 1985. -( When I was involved with Kelowna Yamaha) - I took the YZ in trade on the Friday & raced it on the Sunday - I remember I removed the big plastic panels around the Rad, so they wouldn’t catch the brush.  I also remember that this was a very special event for me as Danny was a good friend, and I was determined to do well that day. - His Dad Vern Amor presented the Trophies.

( I also rode an IT 175 earlier that year in the National at Peachland  - finished 3rd Senior, but missed a check along with Blair Sharpless. ( We rode around a bunch of riders in a gully not realizing  it was a dead check)

These were fun times, but after that, I concentrated on Promoting Trials, competing in my last event in 2008 on a Fantic, in Alberta. - Lots of memories.

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In weather news it was raining when I got up today - a good sign for melting the snow. - Maybe I will take a trip to Kelowna later.

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This is the Crash pic for today - when things go wrong in Modern Day Trials, it can be spectacular  - the rider is Jack Price - the bike about to self destruct is a Gasser.
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Thursday January 23rd 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

This old pic shows Terry Porter on the left and myself on the right at an awards presentation back in the early 70’s while we both lived in Calgary - Terry left to take a job offer in Toronto and I only recall seeing him once after that, when I loaned him a TY 250 to ride an Alberta Trial.  - For years I tried to track down what happened to the Sammy Miller Plaque that I’m holding. as it was a unique Photo Engraving, made by me when I was in that business,  Nobody ever owned up to having it. ( It was supposed to be returned at the end of each year)
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British Trials Champ Jack Price has been signed by Vertigo after spending most of his young career on a John Shirt Gas Gas.
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And this is how it used to be !!!!
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Seeing all the snow in Newfoundland, reminded me of a visit I made there back in 1979 - I was on a Cross Canada  trip - doing Sales Seminars for Yamaha Dealers ( Started in Vancouver then hedge hopped all across the Country)  - Flying out of New Brunswick, we were informed that St Johns was fogged in ( it was late March) and we would be diverted to Gander.

It was pouring rain when we landed to board the buses  that would take us the 500km to St Johns overnight!! unfortunately , I had a lot of Audio Visual Equipment with me, so I was one of the last to get out of the Airport - just in time to see the very nice modern Coach pulling out of the car park - leaving a Yellow School bus for the remaining group of about a dozen passengers. !!! Wonderful - but it was soon to get better as the long trip was on roads that were partly gravel and littered with frost heaves !!  - Dog tired and sitting in the back of the bus, I would doze off, only to be hurled up into the overhead luggage rack when we hit one of these.

Eventually we arrived in St Johns and I had to get a cab back from the Airport to my Hotel - even though the bus drove straight past -(Driver said he couldn’t stop)

Obviously by this time, I was not in a very good mood, so when the young cab driver caught my eye in his rear view mirror, and said “First time on the Island sir?”  - my reply was “Yes- and the bloody last.”

Footnote: Because of the fog - I was stranded there for four days .

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I had just finished lunch yesterday, when the door bell rang, and the guy outside asked for Dave - turned out it was Guy Giroux, from Sherco Canada ( The new Importer) out from Quebec and looking to set up new dealers.   - He seemed like a nice enough guy, and listened to my story of why I would not be interested in selling Sherco again. - We carried  Sherco ( starting with the first 1999 Bultaco) until 2013.
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Wednesday January 22nd 2020

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Take a look at these pics from the Lucas Ranch out in the Shuswap  - Julie is standing on the roof of the house

It’s been an epic winter with as much as 8 feet of snow, keeping them both very busy shoveling  plus going steady with the snowmobile club - Julie says there was so much snow up on Crowfoot Mountain Martin couldn’t even get the groomer up there at one point.
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This is a shot from a couple of years ago, when our small shop was packed with Betas, waiting for winter to end.
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And here is one of young Sammy doing one of his latest stunts at Ioco on the Beta 300 4T.

Our first TRS Xtrack electric start, arrived yesterday - but only after we got the driveway ploughed once again !!!  This one is sold and we have other people already clammering to pick up one of these neat new bikes.          ( which are limited)  All the Beta and TRS models will be in big demand again this year, so if you are in the market better call us quickly to work out a deal.
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Anybody know if Ioco is clear of snow yet ?  We had somebody asking. - this has sure been an old fashioned winter for everybody.

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And finally, here is a pic of my nephews Scooter shop in New York - Robbie ( on the right) was out to see us earlier this year when our Daughter got married and we had a great visit. He married an American lady a few years ago , and they have a couple of red haired lads, who will doubt be into either scooters or bikes as they grow older. - Did you know that back in the 50’s  there were teams of riders on scooters in both the Scottish Six Day Trial and the ISDT ( When it was called a Trial not Enduro)

Note :  Robbie also has a very nice Laverda, which he bought from a guy in BC a long time back, I actually met the guy at a Motorcycle event in Vernon at one time when he had two of these bikes on a trailer for display.  - Later Robbie somehow saw he had one for sale and bought it - like they say it’s a small World.
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