What’s the Story?
1980 was a year of change in the trials world as Bultaco were in significant financial difficulties and the world was watching the Spanish manufacturer. Now based in Thames Ditton, near London, its factory supported rider Bernie Schreiber and he had some tough decisions to make. With the factory doors closed at Bultaco, Bernie was approached by Italian Pietro Kuciukian who was the team manager of SWM. He wanted to buy a Bultaco and support him to ride it on the understanding he would move to SWM for the 1981 season. He declined the offer, to take up an opportunity at the Italian motorcycle manufacturers Italjet. He moved to the green machine mid-season in 1981; a blue Bultaco painted a different colour, winning the last four rounds of the FIM World Trials Championship. Overnight the American world champion from 1979 became a development rider!
Leopoldo Tartarini, the owner, was full of ideas and he believed Schreiber was the best and could win on any machine. Italjet were new to the trials game, and soon Bernie realised he couldn't win on his own and that he also needed a good machine.
This picture from the Mauri/Fontsere Collection and the Giulio Mauri Copyright archive sees Schreiber arrive at the opening world round in Spain 1981.
The Spanish public are motorcycle enthusiasts at heart and wanted to see just how good the new combination of Schreiber and the Italjet was. In a poor season beset with problems, the American dropped to sixth in the FIM World Championship in a challenging year. In 1982 he would move to SWM under the guidance of Pietro Kuciukian.