Montesa Cota 123/172

Trial Magazine - - TRIAL MAGAZINE - WORDS: JOHN HULME AND DON MOR­LEY • PIC­TURES: ERIC KITCHEN, ALAN VINES, MAL­COLM CAR­LING, MONTESA, THE NICK NI­CHOLLS COL­LEC­TION AT MORTONS AR­CHIVE AND TMX AR­CHIVE

When Gor­don Far­ley knocked Sammy Miller off the top of the Bri­tish Tri­als Cham­pi­onship in 1970 it con­cluded Miller’s run of suc­cess in the se­ries. Miller had held the ti­tle from 1959 on the four-stroke Ariel, be­fore chang­ing the face of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als for­ever when he gave Bul­taco the first ever cham­pi­onship win for a for­eign ma­chine in 1965 and started the Span­ish two-stroke rev­o­lu­tion in tri­als. Far­ley’s win on the Montesa put the name on ev­ery­one’s lips and with it came the sales suc­cess. It was no ‘flash in the pan’ for Far­ley ei­ther, as he suc­cess­fully de­fended his ti­tle in 1971 as Montesa sold their one-thou­sandth Cota tri­als ma­chine. With a team of twenty-one fully sup­ported fac­tory rid­ers around the world Montesa were march­ing for­ward, and made the de­ci­sion to launch the first pro­duc­tion small-en­gined tri­als mo­tor­cy­cle from Spain to reach out to a wider off-road mar­ket.

Montesa de­vel­op­ment rider Pedro Pi had been heav­ily in­volved with the suc­cess of the Cota 247 model that had been rid­den to the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship ti­tle by Far­ley, but he also had ideas for both smaller and larger ca­pac­ity tri­als mo­tor­cy­cles from Montesa. His first at­tempt at a ma­chine for younger rid­ers re­sulted in the pro­duc­tion of the Cota 49, which was a scaled down ma­chine aimed at the school­boy rider. Shortly af­ter this Montesa in­tro­duced the Cota 25 but Pedro Pi was more in­ter­ested in devel­op­ing a ‘Mi­cro’ tri­als model, hav­ing wit­nessed the suc­cess of these small-ca­pac­ity ma­chines from Great Bri­tain. A cot­tage in­dus­try of man­u­fac­tur­ers had risen from the ashes of the once mighty mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try in Great Bri­tain such as Cot­ton, Dales­man, DOT, Greeves, Sara­cen and Sprite to name but a few, us­ing im­ported small ca­pac­ity en­gines rang­ing from 125cc to 175cc.

62 With a bore and stroke of 54mm x 54mm the new Cota 123 pro­duced a very us­able 13bhp @ 7,000rpm.

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