1968 Perce Simon
The Hoad and Perce Simon national trials took part over a weekend of trials action and were made up of very similar conditions. Steep, sandy, tree-rutted climbs and masses of bottomless mud with not a rock in sight. Throw the first three gears away as it’s all usually full throttle and flat-out action. The area for the two days of action had seen heavy rain, making for a real ‘mud plugging’ weekend. The combination of Sammy Miller and the Spanish Bultaco were coming to the event having won on the previous three occasions, could he make it four in a row? Who would bet against it! At the Hoad Trial the previous day he had to play second fiddle to an on-form 21-year-old Paul Dunkley on the Cheetah taking his first national win, pushing Miller down to second. He arrived along with 109 solo riders who would attempt 20 hazards over two laps and 17 sidecars who would cover 20 hazards but only take in the one lap.
Miller had started very strong and was holding a clear advantage in the early part of the first lap when disaster struck. Enjoying the autumn sun on a cloudless day and with a very low sun Sammy was cruising along one of the many New Forest tracks when he failed to see a diversion sign for the trial and a road block which consisted of scaffolding poles. It stopped him and the Bultaco dead, resulting in some sore ribs and a gash on the bridge of his nose. Battered and winded from the impact he got back to his feet to find the Bultaco with a broken top yoke, bent handlebars and twisted front forks; the gate was a write off! He struggled back to his vehicle where the broken parts were replaced, and a cup of coffee and some pain killers were taken. In a show of sheer determination he battled on to take a well-earned victory in front of Derek Adsett with a clear winning margin.
Derek Adsett (250 Greeves): Keeping the Greeves flag flying, the future of the manufacturer in trials was taking its directors to the Puch factory in Austria. The supply of Villiers engines was rapidly drying up. In the showrooms a new 250 Greeves Anglian was priced at £295.00 and a Bultaco at £275.00. With Miller’s continued success the writing was on the wall for Greeves.Sammy Miller (252 Bultaco): With the Bultaco back in one piece it’s a bloodied Sammy who continued on, to take his fourth consecutive win in the Ringwood Motorcycle & Light Car Club’s Perce Simon Trial. Broken ribs and severe bruising were diagnosed after the trial on a visit to the local hospital.Paul Dunkley (250 Cheetah): It was not to be a double winning weekend for the Dunkley and Cheetah combination. Despite the crash and the subsequent injuries Miller was still a class act and, in truth, no one had an answer to his riding skills.
Gordon Farley (250 Greeves): That’s another five for the observers to record. The ground was sodden with the previous week’s rain adding to the deep muddy bogland in the New Forest. With rider after rider attempting the hazards a deep groove opened up on the section ‘line’ and despite a fast attack it stopped Farley in his wheel tracks.Chris Cullen (250 Cheetah): A good quality of finish and the use of superior rear and front suspension were some of the attractions to the Cheetah trials models. Based in the south of the country they proved very popular in the local centre events. Some of the trials models also sported a disc front brake conversion.Mike Jackson (250 Montesa): A sales manager for both Greeves and AJS, it was time for Mike to try one of the new Montesa Cota 247 models in 1968. When he was appointed General Sales Manager for the Norton Villiers Corporation in 1970 he moved to the USA and raced AJS motorcycles in West Coast Desert events.