The spirit of motorcycle trials and the traditional classic competitions brings enthusiasts of the Pre-65 scene together from around the globe. Mention the Pre-65 ‘Scottish’, and the response will always refer it as ‘The One to Win’. A win in this two-day event will be talked about for years to come and is highly prestigious. On course for his first win in 2014 was James Noble but, in the closing hazards, he was put out of the event with a badly broken leg. After a difficult year to regain full strength and fitness it was a ‘Jumping Jimmy Noble’ who turned it around in 2015 and celebrated the victory on his Ariel.
The 2014 Scottish Pre-65 victor, Rob Bowyer, summed the event up particularly well on the programme notes. His words: ‘The hardest trial to win, the easiest to lose’. You could not put it better as one mistake can cost you dearly, but the whole beauty of the annual Kinlochleven classic is that you simply have no idea who is going to be the winner after the two days of competition.
The event always attracts a full house of entries, and this is even after a ballot as the trial is always well over-subscribed. To preserve the land and control erosion the club strictly limits the entry to 180 riders. These restrictions on the entry are to preserve the future of the event, which is why the organising Edinburgh & District Motor Club asks that only the machines of the riders and officials should be on the course; illegal riding will threaten the event if it continues.
The event takes in many of the traditional hazards used over the years and which are still included in the main Scottish Six Days Trial, which always starts on the Monday after the Pre-65’s two days of Friday and Saturday. The trial is now almost a three-day affair, with
signing on and machine checks taking place on Thursday. It’s a perfect idea that works well and takes much of the stress out of the prelims for rider and organiser alike, as well as adding to the whole event atmosphere. As riders signed on the event secretary, Anne Gordon, told James Noble not to go breaking a leg this year. Don’t worry, said James, I am just going to have a toddle around – yeah, right!
A Classic Parade
Friday morning was bright and clear, giving perfect weather for the event as the 180 riders assembled for the parade at 09:30 to be led away by Jock McComisky. It was also good to see the late Len Hutty’s number 101 on the Matchless from 2014 ridden by his widow Bev right at the front. Len was always a regular rider at the event and this was a very fitting tribute to a great man.
The parade was a great sight, but contained no circuit of the school this year as pupils were sitting a history exam. Anyway, it looked as if Jock took a wrong turn somewhere as riders were coming back across the bridge as the tail end of the cavalcade were just setting out! Whatever, it was still a lovely way to start the day.
Guest of honour Jackie Williamson – himself a Scottish Champion who rode the SSDT 23 times – flagged Duncan Mitchell and Chris Haigh away from the Ice Works car park at 10:00am for Day One. The odd numbers headed down the Glencoe road whist the evens took the moorland route first, to give the riders a fair day’s sport as the roles are reversed on day two.
Murray Whittaker (Triumph) – In his usual trials attire for this event he certainly looks the part. Stuart Blythe (Slippery Smith Triumph) – Not able to ride due to ill health, Steve Smith was in Scotland to watch his machine being put through its paces by his good friend. Eddie Aitken (Triumph) – Riding in the company of good friends winner James Noble and 2nd placed Stuart Blythe, the banter was flowing well over the two days.
Paul Heyes (Triumph)
Scott Dommett (DOT)