The Past isn’t what it used to be…..

To continue in the “Motorcycle Trials in Days of Yore” mode – a trip up to Kinlochleven this weekend to view the Scottish Pre-65 2-Day Trial.
Passing the Great Big Buachaille on the way. Looking a bit broody on Friday but not as terrifying as the day long ago when Stan press-ganged me up it.
Curved Ridge. Just to the left of centre line. Just the once thank you………


The interesting thing about the Pre-65 trial is all the qualifying Pre-1965 bikes that are so different to anything made before 1965!
The entry list too is full of makes that no-one in their right mind would have dreamt of riding back then. But with some modifications……
A Velocette Trials Bike? Impossible! – but here it is. (and there were two).


It’s a Velo ENGINE anyway. Ariel-ish frame. Norton forks ( but what’s inside them?) Burman gearbox and clutch and a belt primary-drive = Velocette!

A true classic of the Scottish – the 500cc Ariel HT in action.


Of course very little of this lovely thing ever saw the inside of the Ariel factory. The engine and gearbox castings certainly but very little else. Nobody at Norton would recognise the “Norton” forks either I suspect. But the point is the bikes look fabulous, sound the same and are far lighter and infinitely better than the factory original.

My own favourite British bike is the BSA Gold Star but the big Goldies were never cut out for trials – although the BSA works team did use the early BB model until something a bit more suitable came along. The 250cc BSA C15. There were a good number of THEM this weekend too.
But there was a most excellent new-build oldie but Goldie at Kinlochleven.
Oh! Great was my delight to see THIS!


This BSA seems to be heavily indebted to Royal Enfield cycle-parts and probably much else besides. It’s a 350cc DB32 model although when I asked Mike it’s rider what engine size it was, his voice dropped a bit and he confided “390”.
So, no crossed rifles trademark stamped on THAT piston!

Here’s another post-trial pic. I LOVE this!


I was so enthusing about this beast that Mike offered me a shot – which I politely refused. With my present level of practice and incompetence, that might just have been as terrifying as climbing the Buachaille.

Engineering Beauty!



I still get misty-eyed over my first true scrambles bike and after a recent web-trawl I just had to download this fantastic picture and put it here.
There has positively NEVER been a more beautiful competition bike than a 500 BSA Gold Star.
I bought mine for £149 Quid, raced it for two seasons and traded it in for a trials Montesa.
I got £65 for it against the trials bike.
If you could find a good scrambles Goldie these days you’d pay approximately £10K for one.
Here’s an excessively-happy 18 year-old with his freshly-purchased used Gold Star ready for a season of competition.
The detached retina would come a season later and lead to its unfortunate trade-in.
Ah! well.
All those streets at Balbirnie in Edinburgh have gone now too. Progress…….

Gold Star