East Yorkshire Trial 1968
My good friend Malcolm Carling let me look at some random negatives he had in a box. Over the years they had become detached from their paperwork and so were very much useless. Trying to view them on a lightbox proved very difficult, and so they were scanned onto a computer. As anyone will tell you, scanning is a laborious task which can sometimes be very well rewarded, and this was definitely the case this time! I first looked at these in 2013 and then again a year later, and it was then that they started to come alive. I noted a very young rider sat on a Villiers engined Cotton that looked like Martin Lampkin, but he had never ridden a Cotton – or had he? I called Martin on the Saturday afternoon, and he picked up the call: “Martin Lampkin here” “It’s John Hulme, did you ever ride a Cotton trials machine?” “Yes, sometime around 1968, but only for a few weeks. It wasn’t that good, I think I only rode it in one trial, and I then moved back to a BSA. It was on ‘loan’ from Crooks Motorcycles, and when they realised I had it we had to return it!” he replied, laughing. And so the story started to be uncovered which trial the negatives were from!.
We would like to show our appreciation to the late Martin Lampkin, Alan Lampkin, Bill Pye and John Watson for their input to bringing this article to life.
We ran a picture from the negative strip asking if any readers could help to identify the venue and bingo! Fantic trials specialist Bill Pye wrote a letter to us with the venue’s identification: Clayton Bank, used in the East Yorkshire centre for both trials and motocross. With the pictures now on the computer, viewing was made much easier.
With snow and ice in the pictures, I guessed it would be late 1967 or early 1968. To get a feeling for the event, I took the time on my way to a British Championship round this year to drive past the venue and understand the nature of the terrain.
The phone call
I spoke again with Bill Pye at the 2018 Telford Classic Show where we briefly spoke on the subject, and he gave me more information about Clayton Bank and its motorcycling history. I then nearly gave up on the article as I could find no reference to the event anywhere in the October, November and December of 1968.
It was then a phone call to my good friend, Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin, which accelerated this article’s generation. As honest as they come, I got a gentle bollocking from Sid! He explained that the giveaway was the E and F registration number plates I had talked about. I had forgotten that new registrations had started on the 1st January and not the 1st of August. Martin’s Cotton was on an F plate, and so I had been looking at the end of 1968 by mistake and not the start.
I then contacted John Watson in the East Yorkshire Centre; he contributes to both magazines and was the man behind the excellent Jack Galloway article which opened the door up to more information. I sent copies of the pictures to both Sid and John.
A dead end
Still, I could find no information for the pictures, and so I put some time aside one morning and researched it in depth. I was also working on an article on the 1968 Bemrose Trial at the same time, which should have run on March 30th 1968, but, once again, I could find nothing even though I was convinced I had seen reference to it somewhere.
By a stroke of coincidence, I noticed that the trial had been moved due to snow and ice to later in the year, which further indicated that the trial I was looking for at Clayton Bank could have been around late March or early April. The Bemrose would eventually be run in November. After a few hours, I was about to give up and file the pictures away as ‘unknown’ when there I spotted Martin Lampkin in the results on a Cotton – and the event was an East Yorkshire Centre trial at Clayton Bank. What a result!
It was an East Yorkshire Centre trial run by the Eboracum Club. With the high ground around Clayton Bank affected by heavy rain and then snow and ice it had turned into a very difficult day. Weeks of heavy rain had left the ground saturated, and after the snow it had gone cold, leaving pockets of snow at the venue.
Two laps of twelve sections were laid out with a strict three-hour time limit in place to keep the suffering and exposure to the elements for the observers and officials to a minimum. With 73 starts it was soon apparent it was going to be a tough, hard day’s trials riding. Struggling to keep to the time limit, and struggling with the conditions, many riders retired after the first lap. For the remaining riders, many were out of time at the end of the second lap, leaving just 33 riders to finish the event in the allocated time.
The man on form was the defending centre champion Rob Edwards (250 Cotton) who finished well in front of Brian Hutchinson (250 Sprite). For the young Martin Lampkin (250 Cotton) he showed the stamina that would become evident as a rider to finish the event, as his successful career unfolded.
It’s a brave Brian Hutchinson on the 250 Sprite who, despite the cold weather, has no jacket on! He, along with many riders, would move to smaller capacity machines and along with Rob Edwards would move to Montesa. On the Cota 123 and 172 models he would have some very good results.
Making his name on Cotton machinery, Rob Edwards would eventually move to Montesa. As a global ambassador for the Spanish machines he travelled the world spreading the world of motorcycle trials to far and wide. His win in the 1974 Scott is one of his fondest memories.
Fifty years ago and Clayton Bank looks freezing!
The formidable open and exposed Clayton Bank venue was used for both trials and motocross.
This must be an early hazard as Rob Edwards has his cap on. This would be the last year of the Villiers engined Cottons before the micro-light machines came along and they moved to Minarelli power.
A very young looking Martin Lampkin.
The 250 Cotton was on ‘loan’ from Crooks motorcycles but it was not to Martin Lampkin’s taste and he moved back to his BSA in time for the SSDT in May.
Many riders were moving from British machines to the new models from Spain. This is very much a standard production 250 Bultaco ridden by Paul England.
Riding this same 250 Greeves Malcolm Rathmell would finish seventh in the Scottish Six Days Trial.
That’s some haircut on Paul England!
Malcolm Rathmell had moved from Triumph to Greeves in 1968.
Hugh Chew on his new 250 DOT.
A good all-round motorcycle rider, Tony Sharp goes for it on his Greeves.
Ray Sayer on an early 128 Gaunt Suzuki.
Looking very studious is Ken Raw on his Triumph Tiger Cub.
A few hardy spectators watch Alan Fothergill take his Greeves through the sections ends cards still feet up.
Pockets of snow could still be found at the trial, as Les Atkinson finds out on his 250 Bultaco.
Some riders still believed in Great Britain for its trials machines, such as Derek Winterbotham on his Greeves.
Ken Saddington gets his feet down to keep the Bultaco upright.