High­land Clas­sic


The an­nual High­land Clas­sic Trial took place on the fab­u­lous Alvie hunting es­tate near Aviemore in the Scot­tish High­lands over the week­end of the 8th and 9th June, or­gan­ised by the In­ver­ness & Dis­trict Mo­tor Cycle Club. This year it cel­e­brated the Ital­ian trials mar­que SWM in fine style with no less than the 1979 World Trials Cham­pion and former fac­tory rider Bernie Schreiber as the event’s guest of hon­our. Homage was paid to Schreiber from Los An­ge­les USA, now liv­ing in Zurich, who is the only non-Euro­pean World Trials Cham­pion and the only nonEuro­pean com­peti­tor to have won the Scot­tish Six Days Trial, a feat he achieved in 1982 on the SWM fac­tory ma­chine. Dur­ing the sport­ing week­end, Bernie also launched his line of race cloth­ing with the S3 brand and his ZEROBS trials school on the Alvie Es­tate on the Mon­day fol­low­ing on from the two-day event.

It was in­tended to have Gilles Bur­gat as the Spe­cial Guest, but un­for­tu­nately, he was un­able to at­tend due to an injury sus­tained at this year’s Scot­tish Six Days. The UK’s his­toric SWM main dealer, Martin Matthews who sup­plies spare parts and ma­chines to cus­tomers world­wide, was on hand as a ‘Trial Part­ner’ with two SWM ma­chines, one for Schreiber and the other for Bur­gat. These ma­chines were of­fered for sale after the event.

Guest of Hon­our

As ex­pected, Schreiber, with his knowl­edge and en­thu­si­asm for the sport, was the per­fect guest of hon­our sign­ing the event posters, fuel tanks and side pan­els from en­thu­si­asts’ ma­chines. He was very happy to rem­i­nisce with his fel­low friends and rid­ers about his life and times when mo­tor­cy­cle trials was very much a part of his life hav­ing trav­elled from the USA to Europe in the '70s. His is still the only American World Trials Cham­pion, which he achieved on a Bul­taco in 1979.

No fewer than 30 SWM ma­chines took part, with 182 com­peti­tors present for the event. A spe­cial ‘Parc Ferme’ was set up to have all the SWM ma­chines in one area for photograph­s at the start of the trial on the Saturday morn­ing.

The mo­tor club, In­ver­ness & Dis­trict, ar­ranged for their of­fi­cial piper to play some Scot­tish bag­pipe mu­sic just be­fore the start, adding an ex­tra touch of nos­tal­gia to the oc­ca­sion. John Mof­fat, Gen­eral Secretary of the mo­tor club, opened the cel­e­bra­tions by invit­ing the owner of the Alvie Es­tate to say some words. The Laird of Alvie Es­tate is Jamie Wil­liamson, and he en­joys hav­ing all the rid­ers on his land and en­cour­ages trial com­pe­ti­tions there, such is his en­thu­si­asm for the sport.

Other fa­mous per­son­al­i­ties were also at the trial, which in­cluded road rac­ers Nick Jef­feries, Iain Duf­fus and Don­nie McLeod, trials rid­ers Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen and Bill Wilkin­son, and many more were in­tro­duced, in­clud­ing more rid­ers who had trav­elled many miles to at­tend. There were en­trants from Lux­em­bourg, France, Switzer­land, Ger­many and South­ern Ire­land; this makes for a nice con­ti­nen­tal feel to the now well-es­tab­lished event. Berry Gemelkoorn of AJG Twin-shocks from the Nether­lands was also there show­ing his spe­cial al­loy swing­ing arm kits; he sold many and took or­ders for many more.

Cheese and wine

Clean sheets were posted by both the top Scot­tish clas­sic rider Gary Macdon­ald (Tri­umph) and from the south­erner Chris Koch (Fan­tic) who rode the Red route sec­tions. Owen Hardesty (Honda TLR) picked up the best Post’77 twin-shock award on the Blue route.

It was good to hear such pos­i­tive re­ports on the level of the haz­ards, where the stan­dard is set to suit rid­ers of all abil­i­ties. There is no out­right win­ner at the High­land Clas­sic, it is a class win­ners’ event, and this year the club gave all class win­ners spe­cial pit caps along with prizes from the Trial Part­ners: Pu­to­line,

Clas­sic Trial Mag­a­zine and Rock­shocks. A nice fea­ture of this trial is the ‘Sec­tion 19’ where the club has cheese, wine and Scot­tish spe­cial­ity ale avail­able for all the rid­ers and spec­ta­tors, be­stow­ing some real Scot­tish hos­pi­tal­ity. It is very pop­u­lar with the rid­ers and spec­ta­tors and helps make this truly the ‘Friendli­est Clas­sic Trial in Scot­land’ some­thing the club is very proud of.

Schreiber Ex­pe­ri­ence Days

Bernie Schreiber also held the first of his se­ries of ‘Schreiber Ex­pe­ri­ence’ days which was at­tended by 20 rid­ers, some of which rode the pre­vi­ous two days. It started at 10.00am with an in­tro­duc­tion ses­sion, where all par­tic­i­pants in­tro­duced them­selves and went on to a 70-minute class­room-style pre­sen­ta­tion by Schreiber who proved that he had for­got­ten lit­tle of his vast ex­pe­ri­ence as a world cham­pion, hav­ing been in­volved with other life ex­pe­ri­ences in the 30-odd years since he quit as a full-time mo­tor­cy­cle pro­fes­sional.

After the class­room in­struc­tion, it was lunchtime, and the par­tic­i­pants were treated to a sit-down meal pro­vided as part of the pack­age. The par­tic­i­pants were joined by Alvie Es­tate’s fac­tor, Mr David Kin­n­ear as a spe­cial guest.

After lunch, it was ma­chine-time with Bernie, putting the the­ory into practice. Schreiber’s Ex­pe­ri­ence was well thought out and planned; it went with­out a hitch and was en­joyed by all, who learned some­thing new dur­ing the day. The par­tic­i­pants also re­ceived an in­struc­tion pack, cer­tifi­cate or at­ten­dance and a com­mem­o­ra­tive pit cap to round off the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bernie is host­ing his ZEROBS Ex­pe­ri­ence days in the USA, Canada and Spain this year to cel­e­brate the 40th an­niver­sary of his World Cham­pi­onship win.

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