Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships 1964-1974

Trial Magazine - - TRIAL MAGAZINE - WORDS: JOHN HULME • PIC­TURES: MOR­TONS AR­CHIVE, MICK AN­DREWS COL­LEC­TION, YOOMEE AR­CHIVE, GOR­DON FRAN­CIS, ALLEN COL­LIER AND DR

The World Tri­als Cham­pi­onship as we know it was of­fi­cially recog­nised by the FIM in 1975. Be­fore this, from 1964 they would com­pete for the Chal­lenge Henry Groutards Trophy un­til 1967, and in 1968 it was of­fi­cially recog­nised as the Euro­pean Tri­als Cham­pi­onship, which ran un­til 1974. Here we look at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship which cel­e­brates its Golden An­niver­sary in 2014.

It’s common knowl­edge that the sport of motorcycle tri­als orig­i­nated in Great Bri­tain in the early 1900s, but where did the idea for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in 1964 start? Dur­ing the fifties, both Don Smith and Sammy Miller wanted to de­velop a tour­na­ment which would bring the best in­ter­na­tional tri­als rid­ers to­gether to com­pete and also cel­e­brate the sport, which they started with the help of Bel­gian Henry Groutards, who was the FIM Vice-Pres­i­dent. This tri­als event was set up from 1963, ini­tially as a team com­pe­ti­tion which the Bel­gians would win. They would re­ceive the Henry Groutards Trophy as a trib­ute to the Vice-Pres­i­dent, who died in 1959.

Don Smith won the first in­di­vid­ual event in 1964 rid­ing a Greeves, fol­lowed by the Ger­man Gus­tav Franke in 1965 and 1966 on a Zun­dapp – de­feat­ing both Smith and Miller. Smith then won the last Henry Groutards Trophy in 1967 in front of his ri­val Franke. The decision to move to a Euro­pean

Don Smith (Greeves-GBR) was the first win­ner in 1964, and the only ever win­ner of the se­ries on a Bri­tish motorcycle.

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