Classic Trial - - FRONT PAGE - Words: Yoomee • Pic­tures: Mal­colm Car­ling

The read­ers of Clas­sic Trial Mag­a­zine who love their side­car tri­als may be feel­ing a lit­tle ne­glected, and quite rightly so. One of the prob­lems we have is iden­ti­fy­ing the riders and pas­sen­gers, as we do not al­ways have the pro­grammes from the events and on some oc­ca­sions the pas­sen­ger is not named; maybe you could help? Here we have a look back at the 1975 North­ern Ex­perts Trial, where you can see just how pop­u­lar the sport was in the seven­ties and eight­ies by the size of the crowd, in th­ese su­perb Mal­colm Car­ling pic­tures, who stayed be­hind af­ter the solo riders had gone to watch the ac­tion on the lower haz­ards at Hawk’s Nest in Der­byshire.

The hot favourite at this an­nual end-of-sea­son event run by the Manch­ester 17 MCC was Jack Mathews and his pas­sen­ger Ray Arm­strong. ‘Jump­ing Jack’ (as he was known for rea­sons bet­ter kept pri­vate!) was the cur­rent Bri­tish Tri­als Cham­pion and en­joyed the lux­ury of works sup­port on his Ossa side­car out­fit from the UK im­porters Cliff and Roger Holden. Liv­ing in Ashton-Un­der-Lyne, Mathews con­sid­ered this a lo­cal event and, hav­ing re­cently opened a new mo­tor­cy­cle shop with his ex-pas­sen­ger Gor­don Ruf­fley, he knew it would be a good op­por­tu­nity to meet the lo­cal tri­als en­thu­si­asts.

A Foggy Start

The 30th run­ning of the pres­ti­gious North­ern Ex­perts was cov­ered by thick De­cem­ber fog, which came down on the start at Win­cle high above Wild­boar­clough near Mac­cles­field as the six­teen side­cars en­tered got un­der­way af­ter the start time was de­layed by clerk of the course Dave Row­land for half an hour to al­low the fog to lift and make way for a clearer day. In the early stages of the event it was the 26-yearold agri­cul­tural en­gi­neer from Wens­ley­dale in York­shire Nor­man Ive­son and his pas­sen­ger Ger­ald Simp­son who bat­tled for con­trol with Mathews. Also in the hunt for the vic­tory was for­mer Bri­tish Cham­pion Alan More­wood with Mick Bai­ley in the chair. More­wood was rid­ing a Suzuki out­fit which was on loan, and he im­me­di­ately felt at home on the sin­gle cylin­der two-stroke ma­chine.

Hawk’s Nest

The for­mi­da­ble group of haz­ards at the well known Hawk’s Nest had a large crowd wait­ing to watch the ac­tion, and they would not be dis­ap­pointed. Ive­son ar­rived at the venue a mark be­hind Mathews but he footed clear to emerge with a three-mark

ad­van­tage over Mathews, who crashed into a rock that was stick­ing out – and for once he blamed him­self for the er­ror! Look­ing very con­fi­dent on his new Ja­panese out­fit Alan More­wood watched his ri­vals fal­ter be­fore at­tempt­ing the haz­ard last and he made a su­perbly con­fi­dent at­tempt to move back into con­tention for the lead. How­ever, all the hard work came un­done in the river be­low Hawk’s Nest at the haz­ards known as Robin­son’s Rocks. It was then a short road ride to the muddy banks and climbs at Booth’s Farm.

Wide Open

The bat­tle for the top spot was still wide open, and More­wood looked very good as he re­gained the up­per hand on the haz­ards at Booth’s Farm. Ive­son parted with five marks through the three haz­ards as Mathews added ten more to his score but More­wood was supreme, los­ing only a sin­gle mark. At the High Edge haz­ards it was now Ive­son’s turn for glory as he was the only rider to mark a clean ride over the lime­stone rocks while the rest of the en­try failed. The pre­vi­ous year it had been East Mid­lands based Wal­ter Bul­lock and Brian Pearce on the Mick An­drews sup­ported Yamaha TY 250cc who won, but this year they parted with nearly twice as many as the win­ners as they en­joyed their day’s sport in the com­pany of Ray Sayer on his Tri­umph twin.

Bul­taco One–Two

Rid­ing very con­fi­dently, Ive­son would not be headed again in the event as the fo­cus moved to the run­ner-up po­si­tions, which would be fought out be­tween More­wood and Mathews. As More­wood be­came more con­fi­dent on his new ma­chine he opened up a two-mark ad­van­tage over Mathews at the Cheek’s Hill haz­ards but his ri­val was not fin­ished, and he came fight­ing back to draw level at Dane Bower quarry. It would be the last haz­ard of the day that would find the win­ner at Wors­leys Wash, with the hon­our go­ing to Mathews by a sin­gle mark. When Dave Thorpe took the solo class win and Ive­son the side­cars it was a first for Bul­taco as they took both class wins.

Mal­colm El­lis/Alan Guest (Mon­tesa)

Ed­die Dew/Peter Potts (Bul­taco)

Joe and Paul How­ells (Suzuki)

Char­lie Gard­ner/Ge­off Berry (Kawasaki)

Jack Matthews/Ray Arm­strong (Ossa)

Wal­ter Bul­lock/Brian Pearce (Yamaha)

Keith Horse­man (Suzuki)

Alan More­wood/Mick Bai­ley (Suzuki)

Nor­man Ive­son/Ger­ald Simp­son (Bul­taco)

Ray Sayer/Mick Gaines (Tri­umph)

The Bul­taco was very pop­u­lar with a side­car on

Ge­off Gadsby/Henry Gaunt (BSA)

Check out the crowd


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