Scottish Six Days Trial

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The Scottish Six Days Trial is an internationally recognised Motorcycle trials competition, which has been running since 1909 (with breaks for the two world wars) making it the oldest motorcycle trials event in the world.[1][2] Motorcycle riders from all over the world compete in this extreme sport, covering as much as 100 miles a day on road and off-road routes around Lochaber on each of the six days. The event is a trial of the skill, consistency and endurance of the riders, as well as a test of the specialised motorcycles used.

History[edit]

The inaugural Scottish motorcycle trial was held in July 1909 and was a five-day event devised by Campbell McGregor of the Edinburgh Motor Cycle Club.[2][3]

Originally, the trial started in Edinburgh, going to John O'Groats before returning to Edinburgh.[2] It aimed to be the most challenging motorcycle trial ever held. The Edinburgh & District Club organised the event from 1911. Prior to that event the organisers were a combination of local clubs in the Edinburgh area.

By 1912 the event was known as the "Scottish Six Days Open Reliability Trial" and by 1914 rules were agreed together with a marking system and time penalties for machine faults. The outbreak of the First World War halted competition but the Six Days Trial returned in 1919. Problems with following the route were solved by marking the course with yellow ochre from a barrel mounted on a car (a system which stayed in place until the mid-1970s, when the present system of marker arrows and orange flags for off road sections was introduced). The scoring system was updated in 1926 to allow for condition, hillclimbing and brake testing but the event was still a test of motorcycle reliability.

From the 1930s factory teams became more prevalent and in 1932 the results system was further amended to identify an outright winner. In 1938, Fort William was chosen as the central point of the trial although, it still started and ended in Edinburgh.[2] The outbreak of World War II stopped competition until 1947, when 108 competitors took part.

In 1977, the event broke its link with Edinburgh and the event started and finished in Fort William. This was due to the Gathering of the Clans taking up a sizeable amount of accommodation in the Capital. The organisers were forced to move the start and finish to Fort William, but it proved very popular move, as it assisted the logistics of the trial for both competitors and officials.[2] During the 1970s and 1980s, the Scottish Six Days Trial grew in popularity and was established as the most important event for trials motorcycles.[2]

The club[edit]

The Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd is based in Edinburgh and was formed through the amalgamation of several Edinburgh based motor clubs in 1911. The headquarters of the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd and hence the SSDT was at 28 Nelson Street, Edinburgh until 2001 when the premises were sold for redevelopment. It is the recognised organisation responsible body for the Scottish Six Days Trial. The club decided to celebrate 100 years of the event in 2011, this resulted in a massive over-subscription of the trial. Since the 1940s the event has been known as "A Sporting Holiday in The Highlands" but in reality it is a truly competitive event.

The 1950s and 1960s[edit]

Over the years particular makes of machine appear to have dominated the trial. One such make was the AJS. Manufactured by Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) in Plumstead, South East London, England, the rugged and reliable AJS Model 16 was considered ideal for the demands of the Scottish Trial, with modifications including upgrading the frame to a welded duplex tubular frame with an engine cradle to reduce weight and redesigned exhaust and footrests to improve ground clearance. In 1957 it was further redesigned to increase clearance from 7 inches to 10 inches. Hugh Viney led the AJS works team in the post war years and won the challenging 1947 Trial on an AJS 16MC at his first attempt - then repeated the achievement the following year and made it three in a row in 1949. In the 1950s this record was beaten by another AJS Works Team rider Gordon Jackson, who won the Scottish four times, in the 1961 event he won the trial losing only one mark. The SSDT, up until 1976, started on the Monday morning from the Gorgie Cattle Market (Now called 'The Corn Exchange') and finished on the Saturday at the Observatory at Blackford Hill, Edinburgh. The event being based at Fort William during the week.[4]

Present day[edit]

The "Scottish" has been completely based at Fort William since the 1977 event and is so popular that there are usually over 500 entries for the 275 places available.[2] Of the 275 places, 30 are reserved for factory teams and a further 50 for allocation by the Club. The remaining places are allocated through a ballot system. Following a period of private refuelling services and the increase in health and safety regulations, the British Army were invited and made use of the SSDT as a live refuelling exercise called 'Operation Highland Trot'. The future of the SSDT was put into temporary jeopardy in 2003 when the Army reluctantly announced in late 2002 that they were no longer able to provide a refuelling service. However, the SSDT was able to continue through 2003 with another branch of the Army taking over the refuelling services. Since the 1960s it has been customary for a Scotsman to be allocated the riding number 1. The trial celebrated its 'Official Centenary' in 2011, 100 years since the 1911 event, which was the first organised by the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd. The majority of the event takes place on private ground, connected by public highway. Following the event by motorcycle on private land is strictly prohibited, as permission for the competitors and officials is only granted under this caveat. Spectators at observed sections are welcome, but those spectating are asked to park sensibly at or near sections. Observing these requirements will thus ensure the future of this prestigious event. The trial organisers work very closely with landowners and government agencies to ensure that the environment is protected during not only the event itself, but the preparations prior to it on an annual basis.

SSDT winners[edit]

(No outright winners were identifiable prior to 1932)

Year Name Notes
1932 Bob MacGregor 499cc Rudge (First Scot to win the SSDT)
1933 Len Heath 497cc Ariel
1934 Jack Williams 348cc Norton
1935 Bob MacGregor Rudge (Last win by a Scotsman)
1936 Billy Tiffen 343cc Velocette
1937 Jack Williams 348cc Norton
1938 Fred Povey 348cc Ariel
1939 Allan Jeffries Triumph
1947 Hugh Viney AJS Model 16
1948 Hugh Viney AJS
1949 Hugh Viney AJS (First SSDT "Hat trick")
1950 Artie Ratcliffe 350cc Matchless
1951 John Draper 350cc BSA
1952 Johnny Brittain Royal Enfield
1953 Hugh Viney AJS
1954 Artie Ratcliffe Matchless (OLH 721)
1955 Jeff Smith 500cc BSA Gold Star
1956 Gordon Jackson AJS
1957 Johnny Brittain 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet - HNP 331
1958 Gordon Jackson 350cc AJS
1959 Roy Peplow 199cc Triumph Tiger Cub (First time a small capacity motorcycle won).
1960 Gordon Jackson 350cc AJS
1961 Gordon Jackson 350cc AJS (187 BLF - Won on 1 mark lost)
1962 Sammy Miller 500cc Ariel - GOV 132
1963 Arthur Lampkin Factory 250cc BSA
1964 Sammy Miller 500cc Ariel GOV 132
1965 Sammy Miller Bultaco two-stroke (669 NHO)
1966 Alan Lampkin 250cc BSA (last four-stroke win until 2007)
1967 Sammy Miller Bultaco
1968 Sammy Miller Bultaco
1969 Bill Wilkinson 250cc Greeves Anglian (WWC 169F)
1970 Mick Andrews Ossa
1971 Mick Andrews Ossa
1972 Mick Andrews Ossa
1973 Malcolm Rathmell 250cc Bultaco (XWW 34L)
1974 Mick Andrews Yamaha OW10 Yamaha
1975 Mick Andrews Yamaha
1976 Martin Lampkin Bultaco
1977 Martin Lampkin Bultaco
1978 Martin Lampkin Bultaco
1979 Malcolm Rathmell Montesa 310 Cota
1980 Yrjö Vesterinen Montesa (First win by an overseas rider)
1981 Gilles Burgat 280cc SWM
1982 Bernie Schreiber 280cc SWM
1983 Tony Gorgot Montesa
1984 Thierry Michaud Fantic
1985 Thierry Michaud Fantic
1986 Thierry Michaud Fantic
1987 Jordi Tarres Beta
1988 Steve Saunders Fantic
1989 Steve Saunders Fantic
1990 Steve Saunders Beta
1991 Steve Saunders 260cc Beta
1992 Steve Colley 260cc Beta
1993 Steve Colley 260cc Beta
1994 Dougie Lampkin 250cc Beta
1995 Dougie Lampkin 250cc Beta
1996 Dougie Lampkin 250cc Beta
1997 Steve Colley 270cc Gas Gas
1998 Graham Jarvis 250cc Scorpa
1999 Graham Jarvis 250cc Bultaco Sherco
2000 Steve Colley 280cc Gas Gas
2001 No SSDT Due to Foot and Mouth Disease the Scottish Six Days Trial was suspended
2002 Amós Bilbao 249cc Montesa
2003 Joan Pons 290cc Sherco
2004 Graham Jarvis 290cc Sherco
2005 Sam Connor 290cc Sherco
2006 Graham Jarvis 290cc Sherco
2007 James Dabill 300cc Future TRW Montesa (First four-stroke win since Alan Lampkin in 1966)
2008 Dougie Lampkin 270cc Beta
2009 Dougie Lampkin 290cc Beta
2010 Alexz Wigg 290cc Beta
2011 James Dabill 290cc Beta
2012 Dougie Lampkin Gas Gas
2013 Dougie Lampkin Gas Gas
2014 Dougie Lampkin DL12 - Gas Gas
2015 Dougie Lampkin Vertigo

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baumann, James (May 13, 2005). "The road not taken". The Press-Enterprise. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Scottish Six Days Trial". ssdt.org. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  3. ^ The Classic Motor Cycle July 1996, p.43 75 Years Ago Accessed and added 27 June 2014
  4. ^ Currie, Bob (1993). Classic British Motorcycles. Chancellor Press. ISBN 1-85152-250-6. 

External links[edit]