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!

The trial

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.

Rob Ed­wards

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.

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