Classic Trial - - FRONT PAGE - Words: John Hulme • Pic­tures: Malcolm Car­ling

On the 14th July 1963 a good strong en­try of 123 solo com­peti­tors and 9 side­car crews set off to com­pete on a sin­gle lap of just over 60 miles tak­ing in 37 sec­tions in the heart of the York­shire

Dales. The event was the Allen Jef­feries Trial or­gan­ised by the Bradford and District Mo­tor Club. These nos­tal­gic times in mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als at­tracted en­tries of over 100 plus, as seen here,

and were dom­i­nated by a mas­sive in­dus­try in tur­moil as the once mighty Bri­tish mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing was slip­ping into a de­cline it would never re­cover from. Scott El­lis was a fac­tory sup­ported Tri­umph rider, and a very de­ter­mined one at that. De­spite the on­slaught of the larger ca­pac­ity two- and four-stroke ma­chin­ery rid­den by his ri­vals he took the in­di­vid­ual vic­tory and

would lead the Tri­umph team to the pres­ti­gious ‘Best One-Make Team’ award

The en­try in­cluded previous win­ners Johnny Brit­tain, Jeff Smith, Gor­don Blakeway and Ray Sayer but the previous year’s win­ner Mick Andrews was miss­ing, hav­ing bro­ken two bones in his foot at a Scram­bles meet­ing the week be­fore. The man­u­fac­turer team’s award was very much sought af­ter, as the bat­tle to be the best of the ‘Bri­tish Bikes’ car­ried some pride to be part of the win­ning team.

York­shire’s Best

The event was con­tested on an over­cast sum­mer’s day in the heart of York­shire’s best scenery, and in­cluded in its sixty-mile sin­gle lap were haz­ards at Lang­cliffe Gate, Rain­scar Beck, Foun­tains Fell, Coverdale, Plews Wood and Moorend, which is where the ma­jor­ity of the pic­tures used in this report were taken. The Moorend haz­ards could be found above the small vil­lage of Ket­tl­well be­hind the garage owned by the Wilkin­son broth­ers, Bill and Mick, and it at­tracted a good strong crowd to wit­ness the ac­tion. The haz­ards here are plot­ted out to take in the loose rocky lime­stone climbs where rear-wheel grip is al­ways at a pre­mium and 100% con­cen­tra­tion as you at­tempt to hold the line is a must. An early ca­su­alty of the rocky ter­rain was Tom El­lis (249cc BSA) – no re­la­tion to even­tual win­ner Scott El­lis – who trapped his leg be­tween his ma­chine and the ter­rain with such im­pact he be­gan to won­der if it was bro­ken! De­spite show­ing tough York­shire ‘grit’ he was forced to re­tire from the com­pe­ti­tion when he could no longer change gear!

Close Con­test

Sammy Miller was on a roll and was ‘The’ man to beat, hav­ing re­tained his Bri­tish Tri­als Cham­pi­onship ti­tle since 1959, and for ev­ery other rider he was the one they wanted to deny vic­tory. The pres­sure must have been im­mense but he gen­er­ally took it all in his stride. At the Allen Jef­feries he was out on his spare ma­chine, the Ariel car­ry­ing the reg­is­tra­tion 786 GON, while the world-fa­mous ma­chine car­ry­ing GOV 132 was rested. Scott El­lis knew that a good con­sis­tent day’s rid­ing would give him vic­tory. De­spite a five-mark penalty for a ‘stop’ ear­lier on in the day he main­tained his con­cen­tra­tion to part with just a fur­ther three marks and two sin­gle dabs to fin­ish with a six-mark win­ning mar­gin over the Brit­tain broth­ers Pat and Johnny, who had tasted vic­tory at the event way back in 1953 and 1954.

Top Ten

What’s in­ter­est­ing in the re­sults is the fact that the top ten fin­ish­ing po­si­tions are dom­i­nated by the four-stroke ma­chin­ery. Smaller ca­pac­ity four-strokes were eas­ier to han­dle but had to have the mo­tors revved harder to ex­tract the per­for­mance from them, whereas the larger ca­pac­ity four-strokes could be rid­den slower us­ing the torque from the mo­tor to the best ef­fect. This af­forded the rider the op­por­tu­nity to pick his cho­sen line in a hazard and ride it at a slower pace. Twostrokes were now be­com­ing more pop­u­lar, man­u­fac­tured by the likes of Greeves and Dot for ex­am­ple, who were us­ing the Vil­liers sup­plied mo­tors to use in their own chas­sis. The flimsy electrics re­quired so much main­te­nance, but in gen­eral they were lighter in weight and con­sid­ered by many to be the fu­ture power plant of all tri­als ma­chines. Twelve months later, at the close of the 1964 sea­son, that man Miller would change the face of tri­als for­ever as he moved to the Span­ish Bul­taco brand and with it the two-stroke Ar­mada would start to ar­rive, putting another nail in the cof­fin of the Bri­tish tri­als mo­tor­cy­cle.

Top 15 Solo Ma­chines

Greeves 3, Tri­umph 3, AJS 2, Ariel 2, Dot 2, Royal En­field 2, and BSA 1.

More­wood Magic

The side­car scene and its com­peti­tors has al­ways en­joyed a more sport­ing day out than the solo com­peti­tors. Sh­effield based Alan and Merle More­wood soon be­came reg­u­lar win­ners on their Ariel com­bi­na­tion. The Mr and Mrs cou­ple were very com­pet­i­tive and took the hon­ours at the Allen Jef­feries trial in front of Peter ‘Pip’ Roy­d­house, who had the very brave Colin Pin­der in the chair of the Nor­ton out­fit. They were fol­lowed home by Peter Wraight and Hugh Bre­land on another Ariel in a four-stroke dom­i­nated en­try.

By the look of the cloth­ing Johnny Brit­tain (248cc Royal En­field) has on, it was not a par­tic­u­larly warm day We have had to cheat with this im­age of Pat Brit­tain (246cc Dot) as we could not find any from the event but wanted to recog­nise his sec­ond place fin­ish. Don Mor­ley res­cued the sit­u­a­tion with this shot from the Bem­rose Trial in Der­byshire from the same year Scott El­lis (199cc Tri­umph) was a wor­thy win­ner on the doorstep of his York­shire ri­vals

Peter Gaunt (497cc Ariel) fo­cuses on what’s ahead un­der the gaze of the ob­server Eric Ad­cock has al­ways been as­so­ci­ated with the Dot brand and was one of the first rid­ers to use an alu­minium cylin­der bar­rel on the Vil­liers mo­torTed Usher uses ev­ery ounce of his body on the AJS to stay feet-up

The su­perb open tracks around Ket­tlewell in York­shire were made for a tri­als eventThe slip­pery rivers took no prison­ers, as this rider finds out It’s time to push for Peter Wraight, as Hugh Bre­land moves his body­weight across on the 497cc Ariel pow­ered side­car out­fit

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