A Bultaco reunion
Well quite a lot actually, because whilst I have seen four-speed Bultacos many times before, when I saw Chris Gascoigne riding what appeared to be a totally original one complete with the unique four-speed Bultaco exhaust note it brought back those almost forgotten memories of the time I spent such happy hours with the Haydons, particularly as I watched and learned as Ken fettled Ian’s machines. And that was very much the intention of the Bultaco Revival idea that the Westmorland Club came up with at the start of the year when the trial was launched at the Telford Classic Show.
Of course, the years from 1965 through to 1982 were very much Bultaco years as just about everybody who rode trials in those now far-off days will have owned and ridden a Bultaco at some time or another. As the marque is still so popular on the classic scene, and with spare parts still readily available for them, when the Westmorland Club had a meeting earlier this year to announce their new relationship with the Nostalgia Trial the meeting was unanimous in agreeing to call it the Bultaco Revival Nostalgia Trial, believing that it would attract a great many of the Spanish motorcycles and enthusiasts to Holme Farm, Middleton, near Sedbergh. They were correct as 38 competitors signed up to ride a Bultaco in this event for Pre-65 and twin-shock machines, but perhaps of more importance was the display I was just nineteen years old when I moved from my home town of Slough down to Exeter, where I had been appointed as the manager of a small camera shop. I was passionate about the sport of motorcycle trials back then — just as I am now — and it didn’t take me long before I made friends with a few trials guys in the area. In particular one Ian Haydon, who happened to be the South West Centre Champion at that time. I well recall seeing for the first time his 250cc radial-head, four-speed gearbox Bultaco that his father Ken had just purchased for Ian to ride. I can still clearly remember seeing him in his garage and remarking what a superb machine it was when compared to the British models of the era. Being single and living in grim lodgings I spent many, many hours in the Haydon’s front room – a much preferred location to my dingy bed and breakfast – and with the Haydon family, Ken, Ian, Edith and Jenny all mad keen on the sport, we discussed the merits of many different motorcycles. What, you may reasonably ask, has the above paragraph to do with a review of the Westmorland Club’s Bultaco Revival Nostalgia Trial?
With the trial open to all Pre-65 style machines and all twin-shocks, for a third of the entry to be Bultaco mounted was an impressive effort by all concerned. Equally impressive was guest of honour Yrjo Vesterinen’s efforts in managing to persuade many of his Bultaco friends from his World Championship winning days to attend and ride the event, giving it a very international feel. For the well-known trials photographer Eric Kitchen it was also a day to meet up with his many Bultaco friends who he has taken pictures of over the years. of Bultacos that had been gathered for inspection prior to the start of the trial. Inevitably there were some tatty original, un-restored used ones and also machines that are ridden on a regular basis, but equally there were a few that looked as if they had left the factory only the previous day. It was one of those, the model owned by Ian Bradley of Coniston Brewery, that took the Concours Cup for the best presented machine at the trial. Ian made no claims to have been the restorer as that honour went to Sapphire Motorcycles, who were once the sponsor of Classic Trial Magazine test rider Nick Shield whose Bultaco would have probably claimed the cup were it not for Ian’s machine.
Three times a world champion for Bultaco, Finland’s Yrjo Vesterinen was highly instrumental in organising the machines for his friends from Europe.
Team Myers, all Bultaco mounted, which required a purchase from good old eBay.
I can imagine how much enjoyment Frances Charles Coutard got out of beating his good friend ‘Vesty’!
Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin talks Bultaco with John Moffat, himself the ‘Trials Guru’ is a mind of information on anything Bultaco, and his son James who rode in the event.