Alan Aspel – Sammy Miller
As a youngster I was motorcycle trials mad, literally; even in my very juvenile years, all I was interested in was trials. Mention the name Sammy Miller and my ears would prick up and my eyes open wide. My father Ron was just as keen on the sport, and thr
My first port of call was to Brian for some contact details for Alan, but he informed me that he had sadly been killed many years ago while testing a Honda machine on a test track. He remembered that he had been the editor of Motorcycle Illustrated before moving to Honda in a promotional position for their new range of road models. This put a stop to the generation of the article, but not for long as I then contacted Don Morley, and so the story unfolded. WHO WAS ALAN ASPEL? I had never made the connection that Alan was one of the three Aspel brothers until Don pointed it out, with the eldest, Michael, perhaps the most famous. He was a TV star in his own right, and many readers will remember him as the presenter of ‘This is your life’ amongst other programmes he was involved with. The youngest brother Geoff was also involved in the motorcycle press as a journalist for the then weekly paper titled ‘Motor Cycling’. When it finished, he would move on to become a radio DJ, spinning the discs on a professional basis. Despite the passing of fifty years, Brian Holder can still flash his memory back: “We had a nice day in the company of the great Sammy Miller and Alan Aspel, who had become a friend. Sammy, as usual, was very professional and took both of us on a tour of his workshop and his trophy room, something he was quite rightfully very proud of. His machine presentation was exceptional and, despite the fact it was not a competitive event, Sammy was so full of enthusiasm. The training took place at one of his practice areas on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire with his development Bultaco, the one he was winning so many events on.
“Looking back it’s almost unbelievable that Alan did not wear a crash helmet! Despite the fact he was very much a motorcycle road test rider he was okay at going uphill and over the rocks. It was just the downhill he struggled with as he would not use the engine breaking of the Bultaco and he kept pulling in the clutch and pulling on the front brake, despite Sammy correcting him on what he should have been doing. No damage was done but what it did highlight to Alan was just how much control the maestro Miller had of a motorcycle in all situations; many forget that he was also a very accomplished and successful road racer”.
TRIAL MAGAZINE Sammy Miller stands proud in a room in the house with his growing collection of trophies which are all immaculate, just like the man himself.