BUT­TER­FLY BIR­KETT

Trial Magazine - - CLASSIC MACHINE -

The small ca­pac­ity tri­als ma­chines con­tin­ued to be mar­keted, with very mi­nor aes­thetic changes, but the suc­cess story was not over yet. In 1980 the brand had seen a ma­jor over­haul of mod­els in their ex­panded range and the new Cota 200 was born. Me­chan­i­cally this was a stroked ver­sion of the old Cota 123/172. This time though the bore was re­turned to its orig­i­nal size but a 64mm stroke crank­shaft gave a ca­pac­ity of 173.7.

Nigel Bir­kett was a con­tracted Montesa rider but af­ter a poor run of re­sults on the large-ca­pac­ity Cota 349 he was told his con­tract would not be re­newed for 1981. The new white Cota 200 had been in­tro­duced at a se­ries of demon­stra­tion days in Europe for the new model range, and the fac­tory were send­ing it to the UK for eval­u­a­tion by their im­porter Jim San­di­ford. The ma­chine had seen much use but af­ter a good ‘fet­tling’ in the San­di­ford work­shops it was given to Bir­kett for his im­pres­sions. As they say, the rest is his­tory, as he fin­ished 4th in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship hav­ing won two rounds, fin­ished 4th in the Scott and to round off the year won the North­ern Ex­perts in front of Mal­colm Rath­mell on the more pow­er­ful Cota 349! It’s quite in­ter­est­ing that Bir­kett could have won more events but at the na­tional John Dou­glas Trial a de­sign fault put him out of the event. He en­coun­tered se­vere gear se­lec­tion prob­lems and de­spite many en­gine strip-downs it was even­tu­ally found out to be a small dint in the clutch case stop­ping the mech­a­nism work­ing.

Jim San­di­ford of­fered Bir­kett an im­proved con­tract to stay at Montesa on the Cota 200 model, but his mind was set to leave and he moved to Fan­tic. The Cota 200 sold well but af­ter Bir­kett’s de­par­ture and the ar­rival of the mono-shock Yamaha in May 1983 sales were very low.

1981: One of Jim San­di­ford’s sup­ported rid­ers on the Cota 200 was Howard Jack­man, seen here at a Mac­cles­field Tri­als Club event at Rough Hays Quarry near Mac­cles­field. 1981: Jere­mey Cragg would fly the San­di­ford Montesa flag in the B Class school­boy...

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