Pre-65 SSDT


It was that time of year again when ev­ery­one who had been for­tu­nate enough to get a Pre-65 ‘Scot­tish’ en­try headed Scot­land — Kin­lochleven, to be pre­cise - for the three-day fes­ti­val of clas­sic tri­als. I say three days be­cause Thurs­day is set aside for sign­ing on and scru­ti­neer­ing, which for close on 200 mo­tor­cy­cles takes some time by the time all the greetings and meet­ing up with friends has taken place! Things start to hap­pen early af­ter­noon when it’s time to see who has turned up with what ma­chine. It was com­mon knowl­edge that last year’s win­ner Gary Mac­don­ald was go­ing to be out on a 350cc Tri­umph on loan from Martin Mur­phy, but to see Andy Abra­ham turn up with a 600cc Scott ‘Rigid’ was pretty spe­cial. One rider not en­tered on a rigid this year was Clive Dop­son. He said that hav­ing turned the age of sixty re­cently it was time to have an eas­ier ma­chine to ride than the Nor­ton, and it came in the form of a 250cc Francis Bar­net. As it turned out the three­way fes­ti­val of tri­als would turn into a three-way tie to find the win­ner, ul­ti­mately in the form of lo­cal rider Gary Mac­don­ald..

Fri­day’s pro­ceed­ings got un­der­way with the pa­rade of man and ma­chine through the town, and with so many com­peti­tors the early rid­ers were back very soon af­ter the last com­peti­tors had started out. At 10am this year’s Guest of Hon­our Tim Brit­ton waved away Martin Mur­phy and Bruce Met­calf off the start­ing ramp. The odd num­bers went out on the road loop at Cnoc a Linnhe while the evens started at Loch Eilde Burn.


Cnoc a Linnhe starts eas­ily enough by the road­side, but with the big climb out the end, the section was its usual tough propo­si­tion. Need­less to say, Gary Mac­don­ald cleaned it early on and Rob Bowyer, another Tri­umph Twin man, was good value here with a fault­less climb. Fur­ther down the road, Cao­las­na­con had been rein­tro­duced af­ter hav­ing been rested. Just one section was in­cluded but af­ter the uphill climb came the left-hand turn, which is al­ways awk­ward.

The first clean of the day went to Mark Feather on his 500cc Ariel. It was a section that had plenty of cleans but also tested the grip on rid­ers’ boots when they needed a fi­nal push out, as Andy Abrahams found out as he just man­aged to get the Scott out. Some spec­tac­u­lar crashes were also recorded as the na­ture of the haz­ard changed af­ter ev­ery rider.

There was plenty of wa­ter run­ning down at Lower Cameron Hill; in­tro­duced last year the two sections here saw plenty of cleans but don’t men­tion that to Craig As­bridge, who dropped his Tiger Cub twice in the rather cool river! By com­par­i­son, Donna Fox had a smile on her face with a dou­ble-clean on her BSA Ban­tam. The even num­bers were mak­ing light work of Loch Eilde Burn, and many did like­wise at Alu­minium Works. The first of the two sections here caused more prob­lems for the en­try with its loose river-bound rocks.

The iconic Pipe­line came next and, as al­ways, it was the one section peo­ple liked to clean. Dan Clark, Ben But­ter­worth and Dan Thorpe were all text­book, but Dave Thorpe ran out of good for­tune here with a nasty fall off the haz­ard and un­der the pipes. Thorpe se­nior man­aged to com­plete the day, but he was un­able to ride on day two. By com­par­i­son, out in the wilds above Pipe­line Sma Dam pro­vided some more man­age­able sections for the rid­ers to en­joy, which were fol­lowed by a new group at Meal Ruigh with three long wa­ter haz­ards that, while clean­able, took plenty of marks as rid­ers kept the ma­chines mov­ing. It was out here that quite a few rid­ers ended up with me­chan­i­cal prob­lems which caused many re­tire­ments with amongst them the likes of Chris Koch whose Noriel cried ‘enough!’ at Black­wa­ter.

Other re­tire­ments from day one in­cluded ACU com­mit­tee man An­thony Rew whose Tri­umph re­fused to run cleanly, Tim Hartshorne and pre­vi­ous win­ner Tony Calvert. By the close, it was Gary Mac­don­ald, Dan Clark and Dan Thorpe all clean with Calum Mur­phy and Rob Bowyer both on three. Four Tri­umphs were in the top five for the Meri­den mar­que.


Satur­day started over at the school yard with num­ber 101, Andy Minn, the first rider away to the sounds of the lo­cal pipe band. He was on the start ramp alone as 102 Edward Dob­son had not made the fin­ish on Fri­day. The odd num­bers were head­ing for Lower Mamore and then up to the five groups of haz­ards high above Kin­lochleven. The evens had the road trip, with Garbh Bhien start­ing their day. Garbh Bhien was in fairly gen­tle mood and did not cause too many prob­lems, with the ride back to the road be­ing as tricky as the section. From there it was a sec­ond visit to Cnoc a Linnhe mi­nus the pre­vi­ous day’s easy opener, and then to Cameron Hill and a new loop over the hill­side to Stac A’ Ch­lamhain.

Spec­ta­tors go­ing out to the ‘Pap of Glen­coe’ on the loch side were able to see plenty of good rides and the two Pax­ton brothers looked very steady through the rocky stream. One rider who was very disappointed at the ‘Pap’ was Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen, who was to suf­fer a five for a stop as he took a dab on the early part of the haz­ard. No such prob­lems for Dan Clarke though as he roared through Cnoc a Linnhe with the Tri­umph on full ‘song’. Although the fi­nal step up the bank was not part of section two Dan was all style here and even had time for a thumbs up as he strapped his ruck­sack on! Fel­low Tri­umph Twin rider and the 2013 event win­ner James Har­land was equally ef­fec­tive. He was head­ing for another good re­sult and would take the John Draper tro­phy for his ef­forts.

Over on the far side of the town the odd num­bers had gone through Lower Mamore. This is a section that rides much harder than it looks, with plenty of marks scat­tered in­clud­ing a num­ber of fives. If you fan­cied a long walk then Up­per Mamore was the place to go with ter­rific back­drops look­ing out over Kin­lochleven. Unlucky here was Michael Irv­ing, who re­mained feet up on his 500cc Ariel un­til six feet from the ends cards when it all came to a halt. Big-ca­pac­ity ma­chine rid­ers Dun­can Mac­don­ald, Mark McComisky, Mick Flan­na­gan and Rob Bowyer were all to have ter­rific rides here. Bowyer was on his way to the Best Over 350cc award. No men­tion as yet of Gary Mac­don­ald; well, he was hav­ing great rides ev­ery­where but so too was his main ri­vals ‘Clarky’ and Dan Thorpe over on the other side of the Loch.

Spec­ta­tors were able to keep track of the ac­tion with some very ac­ces­si­ble subs back on the road at Burn­side, Man Na Gualain and Lower Cail­lich. These have proved to be a very wel­come ad­di­tion to the event. Gary Mac­don­ald was by now out at Cnoc a Linnhe but keep­ing his feet firmly on the foot-pegs as last year’s win­ner was look­ing to make it two in a row as we got towards the end of another two clas­sic days.


So it was all down to the pre­sen­ta­tion in the vil­lage hall late on Satur­day evening. Three rid­ers were all clean, hav­ing parted with no marks: Dan Thorpe, Dan Clark and Gary Mac­don­ald. A triple tie was some­thing new, which left the com­mit­tee to con­sult the rule books. The de­ci­sion de­clared Gary Mac­don­ald was the win­ner as he was mounted on the larger ca­pac­ity ma­chine. Dan Clark was sec­ond — on age, as he was one month older than Dan Thorpe. These were some rides by all three, with the rule book, un­for­tu­nately, hav­ing to find the win­ner!

101 Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen (BSA-FIN) Phil Wif­fen (Match­less) Paul Dennis (Tri­umph) Donna Fox (BSA)

Rob Bowyer (Tri­umph) Mark Sunter (Ariel) Cal­lum Mur­phy (BSA) Dan Thorpe (Tri­umph) James Har­land (Tri­umph)

Dan Clarke (Tri­umph) Gary Mac­don­ald (Tri­umph)

TRIAL MAGAZINE Mick Grant (BSA) Mar­tyn Stanistreet (James) Andy Abra­ham (Scott)

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