JOHN LAMP­KIN

IN­TER­VIEW

Trial Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - PIC­TURES: ERIC KITCHEN • THE NICK NI­CHOLLS COL­LEC­TION AT MOR­TONS AR­CHIVE • BARRY ROBIN­SON • YOOMEE AR­CHIVE • TOON VAN DE VLIET • ALAN VINES • DR - MAURI/FONTSERE COL­LEC­TION AND THE GI­ULIO MAURI COPY­RIGHT • JAMES MOOR­HOUSE • DIRT BIKE RIDER • JOHN LAMP­KIN

The Lamp­kin name stands proud in the world of off-road motorcycli­ng with the three broth­ers Arthur, Alan and Martin all win­ners of many events and cham­pi­onships. Arthur was the first to present the next gen­er­a­tion of the Lamp­kin chil­dren when his wife Josephine pre­sented John to the world in 1963 fol­lowed by two other sons, Stephen and David. John would be the one who would fol­low his fa­mous fa­ther’s foot­steps into the two wheeled world of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als. Af­ter watch­ing his fa­ther and un­cles from the side­lines he moved into the sport at the birth of the school­boy tri­als scene in the mid-sev­en­ties be­fore mov­ing onto the world stage in 1981. An un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dent in 1986 fin­ished his World Cham­pi­onship as­pi­ra­tions. He be­came the im­porter of the Ital­ian Beta brand and made a suc­cess­ful re­turn to com­pet­i­tive rid­ing in 1987 on the UK tri­als scene. He is still very pas­sion­ate about the sport of tri­als where his world has gone a full cir­cle, as you can now find him as an avid spec­ta­tor and sup­porter of the sport he loves.

Trial Mag­a­zine edi­tor John Hulme met up with John Lamp­kin to have a look back at a ca­reer which has taken the like­able York­shire­man on an un­for­get­table adventure in the world of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als.

What are your mem­o­ries of the early days in the Lamp­kin house?

We were very for­tu­nate as we lived in a small vil­lage called Brun­th­waite which had a field with a stream run­ning through it. I was able to ride my bike and Steve had some foot­ball goals and a small golf hole. Dave was into his push bikes so he just spent his time avoid­ing an out of con­trol mo­tor­cy­cle and fly­ing golf balls. My dad was away quite a lot scram­bling. I re­mem­ber watch­ing him set off in a pickup with nor­mally two ma­chines on the back. We went to watch him a few times but we were very young so I do not re­mem­ber that so well which I re­gret.

How long did you have to wait to throw your legs over a mo­tor­cy­cle?

Ini­tially I rode push bikes with big han­dle­bars. I started rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle when I was about ten. My first ma­chine was a Suzuki pressed frame type road model with big han­dle­bars. Rid­ers did not start as early as they do nowa­days as I sup­pose there were not as many ju­nior mo­tor­cy­cles around at that time. It was still a good in­tro­duc­tion to motorcycli­ng and also a good in­tro­duc­tion to the me­chan­ics as it took a bit of en­cour­age­ment to get it go­ing.

With your ob­vi­ous in­trest in tri­als rid­ing when did you start trav­el­ling to events?

I went to the SSDT each year, sav­ing up all year for my ho­tel by sell­ing eggs from some hens my dad bought for me. I loved watch­ing at the SSDT. There was a real at­mos­phere in those days and each day could not come quickly enough to go and watch some more sec­tions. My first trip abroad was to Ger­many and Italy with Mart and Sid to watch two WTC rounds. That was fan­tas­tic as the crowds were so big in those days. I re­mem­ber in Ger­many watch­ing a sec­tion in a quarry where they had to jump off a mas­sive drop, rid­ers were crash­ing for fun. I re­mem­ber Mart launch­ing off that drop with such style. I wanted to shout, that’s my un­cle Mart! I also re­mem­ber ar­riv­ing in Italy and Mart and Sid could hardly get out of the van as peo­ple wanted their au­to­graphs, I felt so proud.

No doubt they would find you many jobs to do?

The Lamp­kin en­gi­neer­ing busi­ness is based across from where I work now at Green­gates in Sils­den. Lots of ma­chines have been worked on in there, from my dad’s BSA’s to Mart and Sid’s Bul­taco’s and then my CCM’s and Fan­tic’s. Af­ter school I would clean Mart and Sid’s ma­chines with Steve Dale who is a lo­cal tri­als leg­end. We would also clean out the lathes in the fam­ily en­gi­neer­ing busi­ness to get our pocket money. They were mega days as there was al­ways some­thing go­ing on. I re­mem­ber Reg May com­ing to pre­pare Mart and Sid’s Bul­taco’s. He did not like any­body talk­ing to him whilst he was work­ing so he did not make any mis­takes, which at that age I found quite hard, I had loads of com­pletely use­less in­for­ma­tion to pass onto him. I also re­mem­ber the ‘Bulto’ fam­ily com­ing to do some testing. Spe­cial days and a day off school thrown in which was al­ways a bonus.

Your first ‘Pukka’ tri­als ma­chine was the Bul­taco Tiron?

I re­ceived a Tiron 100cc from Mr Bulto as he had watched me rid­ing my push bike at the SSDT and thought it was time for me to start rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle. It was a very spe­cial time for me and I still have the let­ter which Mr Bulto sent be­fore I re­ceived the bike which Mart and Sid brought home from the fac­tory in Spain. It was quite hard to ride as it had a 250cc bot­tom end which made it quite heavy and it was hard to get knob­bly tyres for it so it taught you how to find grip. I still have the Bul­taco.

You then moved into the emerg­ing School­boy scene rid­ing the 125cc Bul­taco with the yel­low fuel tank.

This model was called a Lo­bito. It was a lovely look­ing ma­chine and ran very well. I ac­tu­ally started tri­als on the Tiron but I did not ride it so much. I rode the Lo­bito more and loved rid­ing in the lo­cal tri­als at the time. My dad built me a work­shop at home for my Christ­mas present so I started to pre­pare my own ma­chines which I have al­ways liked do­ing.

1977 SSDT: John with Un­cle Martin, a true in­spi­ra­tion for any rider to fol­low.

1977: John at a Youth Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship round at Back Cowm Quarry at Whit­worth near Rochdale.

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