Flash­back South

1968 Cotswold Cup

Classic Trial - - NEWS - Words: Clas­sic Trial Mag­a­zine with sup­port from Mor­tons Archive • Pic­tures: Brian Holder

With Christ­mas fast ap­proach­ing, and Sammy Miller once again con­firmed as the Bri­tish Cham­pion, the na­tional tri­als sea­son would close on Satur­day the 16th De­cem­ber at the Cotswold Cup Trial in the Western Cen­tre. The win­ter sea­son’s cold had made for dif­fi­cult driv­ing con­di­tions as the ice and fog had de­scended on the area around the start at Leighter­ton Garage near Nailsworth in Glouces­ter­shire. The sec­re­tary of the meet­ing, Miss Grant Hee­las at Baughan En­gi­neers of Stroud, had re­ceived a dis­ap­point­ing en­try of 53 solo rid­ers and a mere four side­cars for its 28-mile road-based course. A good se­lec­tion of ter­rain had been used in the 47 sec­tions that had been plot­ted out, headed by the Clerk of the Course AF Wy­att with the speed spe­cial test si­t­u­ated just be­fore the fi­nal group of sec­tions at Withy­more.

As the ever-present fog con­tin­ued to keep the ground frozen the starter, John Childs as­sem­bled the rid­ers at Leighter­ton Garage for the 10.30am start. At the fi­nal count, the en­try was even fur­ther re­duced to 50 solo starters and three side­cars. Ex­actly on time num­ber one Tony Davis was flagged away into the freez­ing fog on the Vil­liers pow­ered AJS for the cold six-mile ride to the first of the day’s ac­tion named Court with its ten haz­ards based around the Cotswolds scram­bles track at Nymphs­field. Rock hard Noted usu­ally for its very muddy haz­ards, at the Court this year the ground was rock hard as the ice had taken its hold on the area. De­spite the haz­ards rid­ing bet­ter than in the usual ex­pected heavy mud only five rid­ers would leave the ten haz­ards with clean sheets recorded.

Tony Davis led the way fol­lowed by the ever-smok­ing Don Smith on the new Mon­tesa, Sammy Miller on the Bul­taco with the new five-speed gear­box, and Gor­don Far­ley on the Greeves. The fi­nal rider part­ing with no marks was Mick Bow­ers on the 175cc BSA Ban­tam. ‘Bon­key’ as he is known, was hav­ing a par­tic­u­larly good start to the event as he had a rid­ing num­ber well away from the front run­ners who all had early start­ing num­bers — Bow­ers had started at num­ber 36, to­wards the back of the en­try of 50 starters.

For the even­tual run­ner-up Lawrence ‘Sparkie’ Telling on the Mon­tesa, his two marks lost in the open­ing haz­ards would cost him the vic­tory.

Run­ning wa­ter

It was a fur­ther three-mile ride in the cold to a trio of haz­ards at Ash­mead’s where the wa­ter in the stream was still run­ning de­spite the freez­ing con­di­tions. De­spite the dif­fi­cult ter­rain with the al­most sheer climb out of the last haz­ard, 15 clean rides were recorded.

Sammy Miller needed a hefty prod to keep for­ward mo­tion as the Bul­taco’s rear wheel spun on the ice. Both Tony Davis and East Mid­lands Tri­als Cham­pion Barry Rodgers on the Chee­tah fought for grip, but the clos­ing of the throt­tle re­sulted in both of them be­ing thrown from their ma­chines and back down from the top of the steep climb into the gully be­low.

Wasp-mounted Ge­off Chan­dler fell vic­tim to the same sce­nario, but the ob­server had deemed the front wheel of the ma­chine — with him still on board at this point — had cleared the sec­tions end cards. It was then back onto the road for a fur­ther ride to the next group of haz­ards which con­tained ten in to­tal.

Nat­u­ral haz­ards

Lay­combe Ditch is a very nat­u­ral haz­ard where the rid­ers had, amongst other things, ice-cov­ered slabs of rock to con­tend with. The haz­ards were very de­cep­tive and very costly for both Don Smith and Gor­don Far­ley, but the even­tual first and sec­ond placed rid­ers Miller and Telling both cleaned all ten sec­tions.

Across the road from these haz­ards lay the largest group in the Bin­ley val­ley with 18 in to­tal. A wide va­ri­ety of chal­lenges were aptly named Twist, Gate, Drop, Dell and Climb. The first haz­ards were in a very foul mood and trou­bled the en­tire en­try, but they then eased, and it was a lapse in con­cen­tra­tion that took both Far­ley and Miller for a mark each, much to their an­noy­ance.

The fi­nal haz­ard here was a se­vere test of man and ma­chine as rider after rider was thwarted in their at­tempts to reach the sec­tion ends cards on the steep muddy climb. A few ‘pad­dling’ three-mark penal­ties were recorded, but Far­ley used all his power and ag­gres­sion to be­come the only rider to sum­mit the climb with both feet on the footrests. This ster­ling ef­fort pulled him level on marks with Miller on 13 marks lost as Telling still held the lead on 11 with only one more group of haz­ards left at Withy­more, which con­tained six haz­ards.

Miller’s tie de­cider

Withy­more, with its twist­ing, rocky, mud-filled river, was the scene of con­tro­versy which would leave both Miller and Telling on 14 marks each! Sammy had gone through the six haz­ards just los­ing a sin­gle mark as Far­ley put him­self out of con­tention los­ing two to fin­ish on 15 in to­tal.

It all went wrong for Telling when he was deemed to have put his feet down twice as he ex­ited one haz­ard and en­tered the other in a dou­ble ‘sub’ haz­ard. These two marks left him on the same score as Miller. The de­ci­sion would all go down to the spe­cial test, where the rider’s time was recorded be­tween two marked points over a timed course ad­ju­di­cated by an of­fi­cial time­keeper. It was the clock of the ACU keeper SJ Wragge who would de­clare that Miller was 2.5 sec­onds faster than Telling giv­ing ‘Su­per Sam’ yet an­other vic­tory in his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

In the poorly sup­ported sidecar class, the pair­ing of Roy Bradley and Chris­tine Bull took their Ariel to a five-mark win over Des Kendall on his spe­cial home-built Ken­men.

The day’s ac­tion rounded off with a warm cup of tea in Leighter­ton Café as the 1968 tri­als sea­son drew to a close.

Chris Leigh­field (Tay­lor Suzuki): Rid­ing a Suzuki that had been con­verted by mo­tor­cy­cle dealer John Tay­lor in Stoke, he achieved some no­table re­sults on the na­tional tri­als scene. Many other Suzuki tri­als con­ver­sions would ap­pear over the next few years from bud­ding de­sign­ers.

Derek Ad­sett (Greeves): Re­main­ing loyal to the Greeves brand he con­tin­ued with the Bri­tish man­u­fac­turer un­til the Pathfinder model proved too un­com­pet­i­tive at the end of the six­ties.

Mick Bow­ers (BSA): One year ear­lier, after Dave Row­lands had fin­ished sec­ond in the SSDT, ‘Bon­key’ had re­mained loyal to BSA in a dis­tant hope that one day the Ban­tam tri­als model he was de­vel­op­ing would make pro­duc­tion.

Lawrence Telling (Mon­tesa): Nick­named ‘Sparkie’, the move to Mon­tesa was in­tended to help pro­mote the grow­ing ar­mada of Span­ish ma­chines, which were now start­ing to be­come es­tab­lished on the UK tri­als scene and recog­nised as a com­pet­i­tive ma­chine.

Gor­don Far­ley (Greeves): Tied into a Greeves fac­tory con­tract, Far­ley had to wait to make the move to Mon­tesa where he would even­tu­ally bring Sammy Miller’s Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship dom­i­na­tion to an end in 1970.

Mike Clarke (Bul­taco): It’s two fingers on the clutch with con­cen­tra­tion at 100%!

Jim San­di­ford (Sprite): Look­ing for some­thing new to sell in his ex­pand­ing tri­als shop, San­di­ford spent some time rid­ing a 125cc Sprite. He would soon move to a Bul­taco.

Ge­off Chan­dler (Wasp): Ge­off was a new young emerg­ing ta­lent in the South­ern Cen­tre.

Tony Davis (AJS): A well re­spected na­tional win­ner, Tony tried in vain to make the Vil­liers en­gine AJS into a com­pet­i­tive model along with his brother Mal­colm. The project ended abruptly when Vil­liers ceased pro­duc­tion of tri­als en­gines.

Ian Hay­don (Cot­ton): In later years Ian would ad­mit he stayed loyal to the un­com­pet­i­tive Cot­ton brand for too many years in the face of the grow­ing dom­i­na­tion of the Span­ish ma­chines.

Peter Valen­tine (Bul­taco): Still rid­ing the older ra­dial cylin­der-head four-speed Bul­taco, this was a very good re­sult for the pri­va­teer rider.

Bar­rie Rodgers (Chee­tah): The East Mid­lands Tri­als Cham­pion was one of the first rid­ers to be­come in­volved with the new Chee­tah brand out­side of the South­ern Cen­tre where its man­u­fac­turer Bob Goll­ner was based.

Chris Watts (Wasp): The cot­tage in­dus­try of mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers in Great Bri­tain re­sulted in many spe­cials ap­pear­ing in­clud­ing the Vil­liers en­gined WASP.

Scott El­lis (BSA): De­spite the dis­band­ing of the works BSA team Scott would re­main loyal to the once proud mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer from Great Bri­tain as four-stroke ma­chines fell out of fash­ion.

Brian Fowler (Bul­taco): It’s a very young ‘feet-up’ Fowler here! A suc­cess­ful rider him­self, in the 70s he would be­come the team man­ager for the Beamish Suzuki tri­als team

Karl Row­bothan (Bul­taco): Mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als shop owner Karl could be found rid­ing in many events, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife.

Steve Ab­bott (Bul­taco): With Sammy Miller win­ning ev­ery­thing on of­fer the Bul­taco was be­com­ing well es­tab­lished in tri­als in the UK.

Paul Dunk­ley (Chee­tah): The pair­ing of Dunk­ley and the Chee­tah was a win­ning com­bi­na­tion in the South­ern Cen­tre.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.