70 Years Up.

for me Anthony William Prescott ("Charlie") on these pages...


OK... January the fifth nineteen forty six, a louder than normal squawk from the Banbury UK maternity Hospital known as

"The Elms" I think then,

and I popped into this world. And It was Blumming freezing outside said mother Florence Prescott.

Well I can't say I have had a bad life ? Why, Because I have basically done what I wanted to do from when I could walk and talk...

And not long after that started to be creative, and build and make things, that in my head I thought was right, from about the age of two years perhaps...



I hope you don't get bored easily because there is a long story ahead.


Well I have found out the family photo album, and without that I could not really tell the story.

 More photos from the "Horse Box" years will help. And a few more besides.

So take a deep breath because you are going to need it! or I am.

Well we will begin.




You can just see little brother on the right thinking, yes next year when I get bigger I will push him down that path on this.

But I am sure he wasn't thinking that?


It could have been a very short life though.

I think I was about four, when my little brother Richard decided to give my toy elephant a push down the path, this was  the one that uncle John Coy a carpenter from Cropredy hand made for me.

 Well straight through the gate I went onto the main road at "TurnPike"Cottage South Newington where we lived, and I grew up in my younger years.

 I sailed onto the main road right in front of a oncoming Midland Red bus that was coming around the bends up to the turnpike to turn around.

The bus stopped, the driver jumped out to rescue me, and took me and "Elle"Elephant back up the garden path, mother was furious, I got the punishment from the episode, little brother got away scott free.




Anyway by the time I was five, I used to escape to the farm over the road and help with collecting eggs, feeding the ducks and pigs, and help to fetch the herd of milking cows from along the Wigginton road, and generally getting in the way.

You can see where I am going, yes I basically grew up on this farm and only went home to sleep.

Peter and father Hubert Page from Grange Farm were very good to me and I so enjoyed that time of my life.

A few years back I wrote a series of stories about this time the early fifties, and instead of re tracing this, I will find some of these from my old computer and find a page for them... (now at the lower end of the listings...)


Well now by the age of seven I had become a "Guardsman"?



Yes its true, the year of the Coronation, 1953, and to celebrate this time the village decided to have a fancy dress parade as well as a street party or two.

A joyous time was had by all, that joy has never seemed to be repeated in the rest my life time, but I was a child that was enjoying life, and also having fun...

Everyone in our village South Newington were as one, and made every effort to have a good time.

All doors were open, and the couple of early televisions that were in the village had a constant audience, with people popping in and out.

The Page's were one of these households with a tele, and every one there watching the ceremony of the Coronation, were sent home with half a dozen eggs, and a swede.

The other television in the village was owned by the Nelder family, Gramp always with the Jack Russell terrier by his side, or on his lap, father Billy who stars in the "Henhut tales".

Mother Vera, who's sister was the Harper kids mother, and Bobby and John.

Well us kids of the village were allowed, to nip down to the Nelder house for a hour after tea to watch their tele.

We all huddled together on the chairs as it was switched on, and waited for it to warm up, if we got there early enough we would watch the end of Watch with Mother staring Andy Pandy, or Bill and Ben and of course Little Weed...

 But then the good stuff started for the older kids. The Lone Ranger, or the Cisco kid  was usually the top show, there were others like Charlie Chan, but the Western's were my favourite, 




Here is a good one.



I have marked "Old Ken Waller" because if you read some of the Tales later, he features a lot in them.

The pages will be at."Bottom of the listings."



The three chaps walking in front of the parade, and the one playing the Harmonica are the Harper Brothers, Ray on the left fathers drinking mate...Tom with the trilby hat...Harry playing the Harmonica.

Note: the only phone box in the village next to the Walton's house "Eddie" Walton can just be seen between  Harry Harper and his brother Tom, still wearing his Kings outfit from the Nativity play, the Christmas before, if I remember...

I think he was supposed to be "Laurence of Arabia."

Mick Williams marching next to me was Winston Churchill..

Others in the photo, from the left, are adults, Ken Waller, Mrs Stevens,

Mrs  Varney-Waller.. Mother, Florie Prescott...

Kids :  behind Ray Harper I think is Kathleen Walton, then Carol Harper, Valerie Waller, Andrew Varney, Me, Anthony Prescott, Mike Fisher, and Mick Williams, and as I say Eddie Walton...


Photo Nativity.



For the residence still involved with South Newington. and there are probably only a few now that were here at this time.

But from the left, Back row.

Me (Charlie) Anthony Prescott, Diane Hambidge, Ruth Hambidge, Sheila Hambidge, Carol Harper?, Andrew (Varney) Waller, Eddie Walton, Mike Fisher.

Second row, Vannesa Hayward, Kathleen Clifton,(my Cousin). Marlene Hayward, Our Sunday School teacher, Miss Suzie Lister, or was it Gillian Dale? Valerie Waller, and Valerie Hambidge...

Front row. Brother Rich Prescott, Pete Hambidge, Ken Clark, Norman Hambidge, Derek Harper, and Terence Harper. 

Not bad marching alongside Winston Churchill at that age I thought, and Queen Elizabeth the 1st was my favourite, even with brother Andrew Varney (Waller) as Walter Rayleigh escorting her...  Even Wee Willie Winkie, Carol Harper looked the part, or did she just wake up late for the parade?

 Mother was Nell Gwyn, you can just see the basket with the oranges in, she had spent weeks making my guards uniform, and cut up one of the gentry's fir coats to make the Busby, She also made little brothers "Bubbles" outfit, he had the curly hair to match, and had a clay pipe to blow bubbles from a tin with.


Copyright Unilever.

I seem to remember we ate the Oranges from mothers basket for tea later with some Carnation Milk, out of a tin...


You can see that Madness runs in the family though, with the photo of Father below,

and where I get the "Two-wheel" itch from .



Father appeared at the parade, riding a kids bike, I never did know who's it was, Eddie Walton's I think...

Pete and "Norki" Norman Hambidge looking on don't seem too impressed.

And where were their fancy dress?

You would get locked up for going out looking like that today "even in a parade"?

No wonder me gran never turned up, father was wearing her dress and hat over his pyjamas and had his gardening wellies on. 

God knows where the Gramophone horn came from and he had a Coppers helmet at one point.


Anne Williams Ray's wife...kindly sent me this cutting from the "Banbury Advertiser".


Now this Newspaper is also linked to my story as it was owned by Bill Russell, who also owned one half of NorthBar Garage, along with Burt Shorey...

Now Bill used to be a very good Grass Track racer in his youth I was told,

The other link is that the Advertiser chief reporter and photographer, was the one Graham Wilton, who later bought and revived the Advertiser.

His son now owns the "Four Shires" magazine from the same town here at Banbury Oxfordshire...


From Banbury Advertiser 10 June 1953.




There was also a parade in Banbury for the celebrations, that seemed to go on from dawn until dusk, and for days we were there, with constant car horns sounding, trumpets blown, and the smell of beer and crisps filling the air, wafting from the pub doorways, as we walked through the town, but the best thing of all, was that joyous laughter again.


Father was employed has the Laundry Van driver for "Berrymoor Laundry" at that time, collecting, and delivering the fresh smelling laundry in big wicker baskets, from a radius of about twenty miles out of Banbury, around all of the local villages, on a weekly basis.

Here below is his van in the Coronation parade, and I remember he wore a crisp freshly ironed and pressed white coat, just for the occasion, and mother sat on a apple box along side him as passenger,




Here the 1953 Coronation parade was moving down the Warwick Road in Banbury, Oxfordshire... and if you placed the van in the same spot today, not a lot has changed on that bit of road.

(only more traffic and cars parked along it constantly.)

It is amazing how times have changed in the period up-until now, Laundry's are a thing of the past almost.
It was a five and a half day job for him, Saturdays were spent cleaning the plant at the laundry, and some maintenance work, it was vast, and ran mainly on steam from a huge boiler, that was kept running for nearly 365 days a year, and was only shut down for maintenance during the two week summer holidays.

Then there was the new Dry Cleaning department with the strong smell of spirits always present.
And the constant noise and hissing of a compressor, has it changed from stop to overrun.
Father was allowed the use of the Ford Thames Dry cleaning van at the week ends, so if we were lucky he removed the drop in wooden name boards on each side of the van, for a little ride out around the countryside, on a Sunday, although we lived in the country, and father drove around it all of the week, collecting and delivering the hampers, it was mothers little treat, this ride out, and happened on most Sunday afternoons.  That was as long as father was not French polishing a shop counter or frontage in town along with his brothers and father....

 And the Best ride out of the year was in June, to have a ride out to find the "Old Crocks Run" (Banbury Vintage motorcycle run).

Although it always seemed to be a wet day, with thunderstorms.


There was no passenger seat, so an old foot stool and cushion was mothers seat.
We boys used to sit on the rear wheel arches, and hang on.





For the rest of the tales about Growing up in the Fifties go to that page at the bottom of the listings.




Now jumped a few years to the start of my working years...

Posted on Trials Central.

It was a rigid Norman trials bike that got me interested in observation trials as a boy.
Growing up in a small village to the south of Banbury, South Newington,

I used to have the task of droving the milking cows to their field, as often as was possible when not at school.
It was then that I used to block the road with the volume of the herd, and on most occasions would meet Glyn Thomas on his Norman Trials bike winding his way through the herd. ( the bike I was told by Ted Freeman used to belong to him)
Glyn used the bike for work every day, and competed on it at weekends.
Glyn lived with his family at a farm at the top of the hill,"Paradise Farm" South Newington, and with only a cart track to get to it, the trials bike was the best option for transport.
I vowed to myself that this is what I wanted to do own a motorcycle trials bike.

So later when a bit older and five pound in a jam jar, I purchased a plunger framed  James for that princely sum £5. It was parked on the side of the road just outside the village with a £5 pound price tag on it.
New 3-50 x 18" back tyre and rim,and a 275-19 Dunlop trials universal on the front,and a couple of alloy guards, and I had my very first trials bike.

Happy Days.

This is how I spotted my first “TrialsBike’ an old James plunger framed road bike propped against a milk churn, with a for Sale sign scrawled on an old door.  £5 was the princely sum. So has soon as I got home I raided the glass jam jar with my savings in, to buy  the old bike.

As you now know I used to collect the eggs from the deep litter shed for the farmers named Page across the road where I virtually lived by now, running over as soon has school had finished, so got a bit of pocket money from this, and delivering them around the village, and collecting the packets of Players and Woodbine cigarettes from the Steven's post office for them, and any other little job, including chain harrow with the old Standard Fordson Tractor...


                                This was the starting point of my Trialsbike building career.

I learnt to drive a tractor at seven too, an old Standard Fordson, and had to jump on the clutch with both feet to make it stop. luckily they had worm drive, so with this pedal down she stopped.

After a bit more practice, and being to now be able to get the tractor into gear as well, I was allowed to chain harrow the flattest fields, the only thing I could not do was swing the tractor into life, so had to leave it running while I went to the farm for my dinner.


Photo Courtesy Cotswold Vintage tractors.


Up until this time I had not even learnt to ride a bike, I could drive a tractor, well I could now get it into gear, start and stop it moving, and steer the old gal, so that must be driving.

Anyway along the Wiggy road (Wigginton to South Newington) there was a double hedge outcrop grown blackthorn, and a path through the middle where the milking cows used to walk.

In the bottom of the inner hedge was an old push-bike that had laid there for years, well as long as I could remember. I was just about now at seven or eight years old,  big enough to drag it out of the hedge row bottom, after scratching every part of my arms in the process.

 I managed to drag the old-bike to the middle rick-yard, and used the Whitworth adjustable wrench from the "Standards" tool box to loosen the wheel nuts to take the rusty wheels out.

This bike was a bit different to bikes as I knew them, it had cow horn handle bars and cable brakes.

After bashing the rusted chain with a couple of big stones I managed to break it to remove the back wheel not only did this wheel not have the normal, has I knew, three speed Sturmy Archer hub, but there was also no ratchet on the back sprocket.

Anyway that was not going to stop me, I carted the pair of rusty wheels along to the farm and in the tractor shed, took off the rotted perished tyres and got out the wire brush to remove some of the rust, I then filled a oil-can with diesel out of the storage tank, and soaked the bearings with it.

The frame was dragged along the next day and this had the same treatment.

There was no saddle on the bike and the frame was full sized 20-21 inch, but that was not going to deter me was it, I would grow into it one day.

The next couple of Saturdays were spent painting the wheels and frame. the frame was painted in the Standard Fordson green that I had left over from painting me tractor, well I always called it mine. The wheels were painted black with the paint that we had painted the farm house guttering with, the crank and pedals had the same coating.

Pete could see that I was going to finish this project no matter what, so had promised to buy me a couple of tyres and tubes, from River's Cycle shop in Bloxham the next Thursday, if I helped Fred with the cows, and did some other jobs like  cleaning out the Bull pen, right on, I never trusted that old Friesian bull at the best of times, but needed the pair of tyres and tubes.

You know when you get that feeling you are going to soil your trousers well this was one of the first times I had had this, except when the Standard Fordson tractor had carted me down the bank towards the brook, when the old cow tie pulling the chain harrows snapped, wheels locked up, she still kept going on the slippery grass.

Well doing a bit of square-dancing around the Bull, never showing him my back, I shook out the huge wire tied bale of wheat straw around him, with out a hitch, I am sure "Old Bill" had known how frightened I was, but could not be bothered, it was too nice a day, and he just stood with the suns rays shining onto his head. 

So the next Thursday after school, I was over the farm quick as lightning, sure enough the pair of tyres and tubes were on the kitchen table.

"There you are boy" Hubert said, "and Pete said don't pinch the tubes trying to fit them, or bend to many of your mothers dinner forks".

I did blessed  struggle and had doused the red rubber tubes up with some of mothers talcum powder.

But I eventually got them on and took the pair round to Mick Williams, Fred's son, to blow them up for me, he also gave me an old Brookes sprung saddle and seatpost to use, but I was not going to need them for a while was I.

 The wheels were fitted and some brown and yellow handle bar tape bound around the ends of the black painted bars, Father had bought me this to wrap around the cracked old steering wheel on the Standard Fordson.

So me bike was mobile no chain and no brakes as the cables and levers were too far-gone to rescue, and not one person in the village had seen a bike with these cable brakes, not even Old Ken Waller, and he had raced bikes around the boards in his youth.


So the next month was spent after school getting the old bike out and wheeling it to the top of the small hill just up from the Turnpike to our cottage.

I then stood on the left hand pedal, and ran the bike down the hill until I could balance it, and this took many collisions to learn and get right? (The only way to stop was to run it up the grass bank at the bottom, and into the wall.) with falling off's, and gravel rash, but eventually I could ride a bike well almost, I could balance one .

 I wish I still had that old bike. it taught me a lot about life at the time.

If you want something bad enough you have to put the effort in to make it happen. And don't expect everything handed to you on a plate, and you have to do things you don't want too, to make this happen. ~Oo>


Bike Picture when built!


Here it is"My Bike" built by Meteor-Works for me...

I had been given an old Motor-Cycle Magazine, in 1957 that one of the blokes just back from doing his National Service, had given me.
“Skid Lewis” was his name, and had an old girder forked BSA with Gate change, and if you saw him ride, you could see where he got his name from.

I could go on for hours with tales of these lads, And probably will later. 

But looking at this magazine, I just knew I had to get into this motorcycle lark, and dreamed of building a grass track bike using the side valve Villiers engine in the Wheel Horse motor hoe, that I was running up and down the rows of Mangolds in the root field.


Back to the James...

My father was well known in Banbury, being a French polisher by trade, his family used to polish the counters of all banks in town, along with the more upper-class shops with hard wood counters, and even Woolworths got the treatment, anyway one way or another he knew Bert Shorey, and Bill Russell, who owned NorthBar Garage.

So the rear wheel out of the James was dropped into the Garage, and a new chromed WM2 18 rim, and Dunlop Universal trials tyre was fitted, but only a 350 section, because that was thought best for me and the bike?


And when father collected it he also bought a pair of chromed steel trials bars.

A week later he came home with a pair of Alloy guards wrapped up in brown paper.

A second hand 19" front tyre, the same as used on a BSA Bantam trials bike, had be begged from somewhere.

So the build was on.



This machine that was a subject on Trials Central in 2009, could have been brother bike to mine if I had continued to remove the plunger damping, and made it rigid like this, has I had intended.

This is what I said at the time.


Charlie Prescott TC...All I can say is brilliant,
Some one else as done their home work, and put it in to practice with one super result, and it just proves what I always say, that what ever mod you think of, has always been done before in the past. PS. Looks like an Ajax head and barrel to me ? These were made just up the road from where my bikes are kept.

My First trials bike was a James that looked a lot like that, except it had plunger suspension on the back. I spotted the bike on the side of the road for sale for £5.00 when we were out for a ride in the old man's van on a Sunday afternoon. I have got to have this bike I thought and raided my pocket money jam jar, and me Gran gave me the two shillings I was short of.

This I converted to a trials bike and had to save for the next six months for the new back rim and tyre, and the second hand 19 inch front that came from a trials Bantam. Wish I still had the bike, but I seem to remember I cut the frame up for some of the tubing to build a trials side-car.



Anyway I was now fourteen, and had been released from secondary school on a one day a week engineering course at the Banbury Technical College, I was twelve months younger than most boys attending. The owner of the Laundry Mr (Tidlee) Davis had pulled a few strings and got me a place with the head master of the agricultural engineering department.

He also later that Autumn got me an interview  with Mr Sid Young for a job as an agricultural engineering apprentice, and I started straight after Christmas just before my fifteenth birthday at Youngs Garage in Foundry Square. Banbury...

My mentor was to be Brian (Nobby) Clements and I was the first apprentice that had received his guidance.

I spent the first six months mainly washing off filthy black oily Fordson Tractor engine parts in a three foot by two foot tray of paraffin.

Oh, and fetching the mornings pasties from Budd's the bakers shop down the lane, Foundry Street...

Most of my six pound a week wages went straight to North Bar garage on parts to finish the James build.

I had come to work at the right place, for my new trials riding hobby.

Because every one of the mechanic's in that garage were into motorcycle trials in a big way.

If they did not already own a trials bike when they started at the place, within a month or two, they were some way involved in the trials scene.

The walls of the steel Nisan hut we worked in were covered with every British trials bike advertising, and brochures, that were ever produced. Ford tractor literature was confined to Bill Webb the foreman's office.

After a few Sundays out with the boys practising with the James, Nobby had made a decision.

I needed a better machine to bring my talents to the fore.

Well that is what he said  after we had payed a visit while out servicing a tractor, vaguely near Oxford, miles away though I seem to remember.

Spending an hour in John Avery's shop resulted in me now owning a early Greeves Scottish with Villiers 9E engine and chromed steel tank.

That was after Nobby had repeated the talent story to my parents and got them along with himself to sign on the dotted line, for the Never-Never agreement.




The first thing I did to this bike was to tart it up.

The well dented alloy guards were replaced with bright Orange glass-fibre ones from Taylor Dow, along with one of the new Sackville nylon throttles.

 Next job was to cut and shorten the long silencer box.

Nobby and I spent several hours when we should have been out servicing tractors up at his mothers in Easington Road Banbury, converting his brothers road going DOT. into a trials bike, ready for him when he came out of the army. This DOT. was fitted with a Peco silencer box, that was the cool thing to have at the time, but I could not afford one with putting the payments for the Greeves first, so shortening the Greeves silencer got the same result, but without the pop-pop-popping...

By this time my aunts cousin had died one frosty morning from a fall on the ice, which brought on a heart attack.

So the new family residence was Southfield Farm Wigginton, just about classed as the Cotswold's, well on the edge, but still part of North Oxfordshire...

The beauty of this move was that I now had my very own trials ground, forty acres of ironstone banks, a old village quarry, and a meandering stream with rock-steps, and a waterfall.

Absolute bliss, could life get any better for this talented now 16 year old youngster? 


I rode the Greeves for a while, but to be honest, I never really got on with the bike.

The biggest problem was the rear sprocket coming loose all of the time, and little niggling faults with the ignition and clutch.

I had decided by then that I was not really a two-stroke guy.

And had lost faith in the bike the day after I had run into a neighbours tractor on it, skiving off from tech college one lunch time, the Fordson Diesel tractor had been left in middle of the road around a bend, while Bert Bowman the farmer had climbed off to shut the gate. I hit the back tyre of the tractor at speed managing to miss the front thank god.

 The bike was in two parts the steering head retaining 3/8" bolt snapping like a carrot.

Bert thought he had killed me, as I didn't move for a while he said.

The most pain was facing the college head master the next week though.

That bolt was replaced and there was nothing else that I could find wrong with the Greeves it must have been the tyre being low on air on the tractor that saved me and the bike.


Several visits to North Bar garage, again when we should have been attending to some farmers tractor, resulted in Nobby doing a deal with Bert Shorey for a New 1963 TR20 Triumph Cub.

Being a Triumph main dealer, Bert and Dan Shorey had a very good relationship with the factory, and spares were picked up from Meriden on a weekly basis.

Percy Tait used to also call at the garage quite frequently, when he was out testing one Triumph or another. He even arrived on a Triumph"Tina scooter" one day I was told.

Anyway Percy had told Bert that the New batch of Trials Cubs were far superior than the previous batch, they now had points on the side of the timing case and the distributor had been done away with, along with the coil ignition.

The TR20 Cub has it was designated, had this new fangled "Energy Transfer" fitted.

The TR20 Cub arrived, paperwork was signed, and the Greeves was wheeled away to the New back showroom, (Large concrete block shed) that Bert had built.

 That was the end of the Greeves I thought, but if you read below you will see that I blew the Cub up not long after delivery, and my motorcycle riding test was due.

Bert kindly let me borrow the Greeves back for the test, a very slippy snowbound January day in 1963...

The test seemed to go fine until the examiner jumped out into the road for me to do an emergency stop...

My trials riding reaction came into play, and I was up on the pegs and in a controlled slide ended up stopping sidewards on in the middle of the road, just missing the examiner...

He said he was shaking because of the cold, as he signed my Pass paper.

Result I thought....


Going back to the forty acres at the farm there was also the mainly flat eight acre, field named "RawMakers"never found out yet why it had this name but all the fields in the area too had names, the other at the farm were "PitBanks", that was self explanatory and was where our trials riding activities were practised, "Plex", which was the sloping field that joined the "Orchard" next to the farmhouse.

Another field in the area I remember very well was "Wombra" Bank, this was on the South Newington road from Wigginton, in the dip next to the drive, or track, to "Paradise Farm".

This field was owned by the Parish council until the Page's bought it, and it was my first adventure hill climbing? with the Standard Fordson, well chain harrowing really, but it was like a hill climb, and needed every bit of the young concentration I had in my body, and taught me to focus on one thing at a time.

Anyway back to the plot. "Rawmakers" slopped for the top half of the field but then flattened out,although there was some gentle ridge and furrow running down to the drainage stream to the road.

One Sunday morning the gang of us, Nobby Clements, Johny Prickitt, Max Tousigge (Drabble), Rich Tibbets, and Roy Steel, Jim Batsford, and some others, my brother being one, had all been practising our trials riding in "PitBanks', then I said I had found another section at the top-end of  "Rawmakers", so we all trundled off through the middle gate without letting the cows through as it was shut up for mowing, just.

 The rocky out crop next to the hedge yielded quite a descent section, with the dip the stone had been dug from included. So we all practised on this new section found for a while, and then the conversation got around to the Scramble at "Pest Hill"Deddington, it can't be that difficult riding a Scrambles bike can it.

I set off on my Greeves to carve a quick course out on the bottom of the field, well just feeling the lye of the land with the gentle furrow, we soon had a short course that turned out to be more like a mountain grass-track than a scramble. We went around it following each other for most of the time, for about ten laps, I was getting a taste for this, and had started to hang the back of the Greeves out on the bottom sweeping bends over the ridge and furrow.

The others said I was showing off! Well I was, but enjoying every minute.

The others had had enough,  it was to strenuous this grass tracking lark, which it turned into.

"Steelie"  said lets see you ride a proper bike, if you think you are that good.

Well Steelie's bike was a 350 HT Ariel straight out of the factory, and an heavy old bike for me, just a whipper-snapper at the time.

But I would have a go at anything, so jumped aboard, pushed the advance-retard forward and off we went.

I now had a watching crowd didn't I, and was hanging the back of the Ariel out on the wet grass more and more every lap, and getting quicker and quicker.

Well you know what is coming, there is only so much grip in a trials tyre, and with the speed now being more than the weight of the rider could hold onto, the inevitable happened, and I slid off in spectacular fashion, with the bike and me sliding along the ground into the ditch and me ending in the branches of the overhanging ash tree, looking down at the steaming Ariel...

"Steelie" was not pleased,"Look at me bike", well you told me to ride it, I said, through my bleeding teeth and damaged pride. Good Fun though.

I should have kept up with the Grass track.





More later.

Triumph TR20 to  the Sidecar side of Sporting Motorcycle Trials.


LINK to "50 Years of Triumph TR20 Trials Page".

The 1963 Triumph TR20 Trials Tiger Cub.



It really is 50 Years since I had my Brand New Triumph TR20 trials Tiger Cub....


This was the first four stroke trials bike I owned , and like most young lads or even older folk , we had to use our trials bikes to get to work for the week, before using it has a trials machine at week ends.

Now I had a problem, well I still have, I was always late to rise in the morning and this made me late for work.

So the bikes I owned were always thrashed to try and get me to work on time.

Not a good Idea on a New bike that was not run in.

Into about the second week of owning the Cub, it seized on the way into work.

Bert Shorey said to me "you have been caning it Kid haven't you". "No Honest Bert, I haven't". was the reply.

Anyway the bike was loaded onto the back of the Austin A40 pick-up, by Dan, and trundled off back to the Triumph factory for repair.

A week later the bike returned collected again by Dan, and with a new engine fitted, and a few more mods that the factory had done too.

The engine had apparently picked up swarf from some where, and this had blocked the oil pump. So it was not My fault? "well I had been Caning it".

After a few months of ownership and enjoying the ride of a proper four stroke trials bike, even though the energy transfer Ignition was a pain at times.


Then the Inter Centre trials Championships came along, this was 1963...

 Well I was not that good a rider yet. So I passed my bike onto a good friend to use it in the trial. Well they all were good friends in the Banbury NOBAC club.

Anyway Ted Freeman was without a bike to ride for the event ! Pending Francis Barnett contract I seem to remember.

So he rode the  Triumph TR 20 Cub, and loved the ride on the little bike.




 As you can see Ted was a stylish rider, and deserved his ride on a works bike  has well as mine for the day, and I learnt a lot from watching him ride it ...


The venue for the trial was Edge Hill quarries, and you can see how loose the Hornton iron stone was in them days, just like shifting sand.



By the end of the year  I was awarded the "Jack Wright  Rose bowl" for best novice rider in there first year of trials riding.

I also received a copy of "Trials Riding" by Max King, and have it today.

although the spine  has masking tape strips holding the little book together, with the use it has had.

I will be passing this onto my grand sons to use when they are older.



Has you can see from the picture using the bike to commute at this time of year was probably the best  option to do the seven mile journey.

And the bonus was that with no lights fitted at this time, I was allowed to leave for home before lighting up time.

I did have a shock one night though, and proved how useless the brakes were ,when the black image of a sheep jumped out in front of me, and I had to prove I could ride a trials bike ?

up on the pegs immediately and take avoiding action.


 Happy days.


October 2015.

Just found this tiny snap taken with a Brownie box camera I think in 1963...

Left to right : Father and Grandmother about Ninety at the time I seem to remember.

My aunt who had just inherited the farm with the cat that I forget its name,Tiga I think...

Then Me sat on the Triumph Cub holding the

"Jack Wright Memorial Trophy"

Then the dog Toby missing his deceased master. and then Mother who had to put up with all of us,and the fad by me to be a world class trials rider!

I take it that it was my brother behind the camera.   Happy days.


There was someone else who had an out of the factory TR20 Trials Cub, soon after I had mine, and I got to be good friends with him in later life has I had been at the time ? Well he used to come to North Bar Garage to collect the parts for his bike from the factory? Dan or Bert used to go to Triumph's on a weekly basis ,and it was more convenient for Chris to collect the parts he needed for his Cub after work, and pick them up from the garage, has we were open until ten O'clock every night of the week for the petrol sales.

The guy I am talking about is the late Chris Leighfield, who in 1972 moved to Australia.

I am just about to do a page on the guy. What a Trooper and a blueprint for all of us!!!

 Here he is riding the Cub in the 1964 Bemrose trial.



They were like that "Honest, Guvner"! straight out of the factory.


Just looking at the pictures, can you see how messy the front brake cables  were, and this out of the factory!

We have come a long way guys, But do we get more pleasure riding the "Trick" bikes we have come up with, pretending they are the same has came out of the factory?


Anyway I rode my bike for the next couple of years, mostly in club trials, before venturing into the Side Car trials game. I had bought the  Ex works BSA Goldie outfit XJO277. and was passengering that with my mentor, has I was his apprentice, Nobby Clements driving the plot.


The the chair in Dan Shorey's outfit became vacant, and the rest they say is history.


Deryk is still looking for  more photos if he has them.




Thanks Deryk for the picture, from number 19 of the Off Road Review series.


Photo Courtesy Offroad Archive

And thanks for this shot Deryk I have waited years for a photo like this to appear from somewhere ,

And know there are more about in Banbury but can't seem to lay my hands on them.


Photo Courtesy  Classic Motorcycle builds.


Well what happened to the TR20 Triumph Cub?


The bike was still ridden on occasions by me, and my mates, and many practice hours were put in on the little bike.

Eventually after a visit from a guy from the USA that owned a racing Triumph Cub, in late 1964 I was persuaded by him to convert the trials bike into a "Formula Cub racing bike", in summer 1965 after an article in the Motor Cycle Magazine.






It is ironic that we now have  Dan's original racing Triumph Cub? from the same stable, so to speak. and I should have left the Triumph TR20 has a trials bike... as soon has I had converted it I started to regret it, and had bought the New CoTTon Telstar to ride that year...


The next part of the story is on the "Works BSA Trials Out XJO277" page OK

I may link it later