European Championships 1964-1974
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.