1978 World Cham­pi­onship

Classic Trial - - CONTENTS -

It was all about Bul­taco at the top of the FIM World Tri­als Cham­pi­onship, as three of their rid­ers had been drawn into a ti­tanic fight for the right to wear the cov­eted crown pro­nounc­ing them as the King of Tri­als in 1978. At the head of the cham­pi­onship was Fin­land’s two-time world cham­pion in 1976 and 1977 Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen, who had man­aged to edge out a small points ad­van­tage over Great Bri­tain’s Martin Lamp­kin, who was the first win­ner of the FIM se­ries in 1975. With nine rounds con­tested of the twelve-round se­ries it was ad­van­tage Ves­ter­i­nen on 98 points play­ing Lamp­kin on 91. Both had won two rounds each but for Fin­land’s tri­als su­per­star his third win in Aus­tria at round nine and Lamp­kin’s poor sixth po­si­tion had pulled him ahead in the cham­pi­onship, leav­ing it all to play for in the fi­nal three rounds. They were both un­der pres­sure from the young Amer­i­can rider Bernie Schreiber. Af­ter a very poor start to the se­ries which in­cluded a DNF in Bel­gium he had found the form in his new dy­namic rid­ing style to take four wins! He was mov­ing up the cham­pi­onship like a steam roller and clos­ing in on both his fel­low Bul­taco rid­ers at an in­cred­i­ble rate of knots. He knew the cham­pi­onship ti­tle was still a big ask but when you are young any­thing is pos­si­ble. The cham­pi­onship was still wide open in the Amer­i­can’s eyes, and he re­ally wanted it.

Words: John Hulme, Motorcycle, Mor­ton’s Archive and Motorcycle News Pictures: Toon van de Vliet, Yoomee Archive, Rap­pini/Com­meat, Eric Kitchen, Mal­colm Car­ling, Honda, CCM, Mauri/Fontsere Col­lec­tion and the Gi­ulio Mauri Copy­right A dive into the tri­als ar­chives would re­veal an in­ter­est­ing cham­pi­onship where it was a case of the ‘Old Guard’ chal­lenged by a new rider and his rid­ing style which would change the di­rec­tion of the sport for­ever. In the first two rounds of the se­ries, cov­ered in is­sue 24 of the mag­a­zine, Ves­ter­i­nen boasted a full house of wins. His two ad­ver­saries Lamp­kin and Schreiber would come back with a clear mes­sage: if he wanted to make it three con­sec­u­tive world ti­tles he would have a fight on his hands to achieve it. Sim­mer­ing just be­hind these three was Swe­den’s ‘Lone Wolf’ Ulf Karlson, who would show his worth as the cham­pi­onship un­folded. These four rid­ers were head and shoul­ders above the re­main­ing rid­ers in the cham­pi­onship.

Martin Lamp­kin (350 Bul­taco-GBR): Rid­ing with a new-found con­fi­dence af­ter his SSDT win, ‘Mart’ was in a very de­ter­mined mood to add the 1978 crown to his first one from 1975.

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