Classic Trial - - FRONT PAGE - Words: Colin Bul­lock • Pic­tures: CJB, Yoomee, David Dench and Eric Kitchen

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)

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