WOLF LONE

The pass­ing of any­one in the world of mo­tor­cy­cles is al­ways sad, es­pe­cially when they at­tained the pin­na­cle of their cho­sen dis­ci­pline as the world cham­pion. In early Fe­bru­ary I was called with the news that the 1980 FIM World Tri­als Cham­pion Ulf Karl­son

Trial Magazine - - REMEBERING - AR­TI­CLE: JOHN HULME • PICTURES: ERIC KITCHEN, TOON VAN DE VLIET, MAURI/FONTSERE COL­LEC­TION AND THE GIULIO MAURI COPY­RIGHT, THE NICK NI­CHOLLS COL­LEC­TION AT MORTONS AR­CHIVE, BARRY ROBIN­SON, RAPPINI/COMMEAT AND IAIN LAWRIE

The sport of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als is quite small in Swe­den but what it has pro­duced is some very com­pet­i­tive riders. With the loss of his fa­ther at eigh­teen years old Ulf Karl­son was very much on his own as he made his way into the tri­als world. In the early seven­ties, as his ca­reer was still in its in­fancy, he had to con­test with three other fel­low Swedish riders who were all very com­pet­i­tive in their own right; these three were Benny Sell­man, Tore Everts­son and Bo Nils­son. It would be quite a bat­tle to win the na­tional cham­pi­onship, as both Sell­man and Everts­son shared the hon­ours un­til Karl­son made the break­through in 1976. He would re­main the na­tional cham­pion of Swe­den with con­sec­u­tive ti­tles un­til he re­tired from the sport in 1984.

Here we have a brief look at a ca­reer of a rider who would achieve the ul­ti­mate goal of the FIM World Tri­als Cham­pion in 1980. He also be­came the first rider to give the ul­ti­mate ac­co­lade to the Span­ish man­u­fac­turer Montesa. EURO­PEAN CHAM­PI­ONSHIP It would be in the lat­ter stages of the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship where the Swedish rider would start to make his mark as a world-class rider. In 1971, rid­ing a Montesa Cota 247 on home soil, he took his first points, fin­ish­ing fourth as Benny Sell­man took the win. As we have al­ready men­tioned, Swedish riders would fea­ture well in the Euro­pean cham­pi­onship mak­ing for strong home com­pe­ti­tion, and Ulf would have to wait un­til 1974 to make the break­through. With four wins from the se­ries he fin­ished just three marks short of the cham­pi­onship; he had ar­rived – or so we thought. This was the last year of the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship be­fore it was given full world cham­pi­onship ap­proval by the FIM. His ef­forts were recog­nised by Montesa, who pro­duced a lim­ited edi­tion Ulf Karl­son Replica Cota 247.

In Swe­den a Post Of­fice stamp car­ried his name, and he would fea­ture on the tele­vi­sion and in the na­tional news­pa­pers. Ev­ery­one would have to take him se­ri­ously now as a cham­pi­onship con­tender. The man­u­fac­tur­ers were very in­ter­ested in him and af­ter the fi­nal se­ries trial in Switzer­land the Bul­taco team man­ager Oriol Bulto men­tioned to Fin­land’s Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen that it would be so nice if Ulf would ride for Bul­taco in 1975. As it hap­pened Ulf would stay loyal to Montesa for his en­tire rid­ing ca­reer. Vesty was ex­tremely re­lieved, as he had enough prob­lems to try to cope with the ex­ist­ing Bul­taco team mem­bers never mind one more cham­pi­onship con­tender!

TRIAL MAG­A­ZINE

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