BSA's .  Brian Martin,

And the "Works" BSA C15T's.



Photo Credit Maxwell King. scan from Trials Riding.


This Is Brian Martin riding the Prototype BSA C15 "Star" in the 1958 Southern Experts trial in which he won, this clinched the deal with BSA management and the C15 T "Star" was put into production at the end of the year.



Max King on the BSA Trials “Star”.


Turning to the BSA “Star” the proving of this model, was placed in the capable hands of Brian Martin. Who towards the end of 1958 achieved his first major success with the prototype by winning the Southern Experts Trial.

Within a short space of time the other members of the BSA trials team were equipped with similar models, and the results obtained since there introduction has indicated what a successful future this little machines must have.

So impressed was I with the enthusiasm with which a trials version of this “250”had been developed that I felt that I would like to experience at first hand how the machine handled, and what it’s performance was like in the hands of an average rider.

Thank's to ready co-operation of the BSA Development and Competition department, I was given an early opportunity of putting a production model to the test. And my overhaul impressions could not have been better.

It is a most workmanlike trials motorcycle, and has far as I could see a faithful reproduction of the prototype.

True a steel tank was fitted instead of the alloy one used on the prototype that Brian Martin rode, and there could have been other slight differences, but to all pretence and purposes this was the real thing.

Every thing felt just right, the low slung wide handlebars, minimum of controls and the rests moved well back, and made really sturdy, the cranked “U” shaped kick start neatly tucked in and the trim high- level exhaust, with cut down silencer, and the stout steel crank-case shield.

The modified C15 frame was strong but not cumbersome, and able to take a 4” rear tyre with adequate clearance. The wheelbase and overhaul width of the machine were quite moderate.

Doubts were expressed about the adequacy of ground clearance, (7 1/2") but must be admitted that even on a course as rugged as the Exmoor I had no bother at all.

Steering lock was excellent and the front forks in keeping with BSA Tradition.

It had been doubtful whether a small four-stroke engine would “Hang-on” at low revs, or produce that sudden boost of power, which at times is essential.

Actually it did both and I could not praise it to highly.

Starting did call for a “Knack’, but it was not difficult and the Lucas direct ignition was faultless.

I see a great future for the lightweight four-stroke trials motorcycle.


Max King 1960...



Photo Credit Deryk Wylde ORR-e.

Here is Max riding that very bike, YOE388, after riding the bike for a while, even Max fitted BSA Bantam hubs and an Alloy tank.


Photo Courtesy Cristine Tona...
This BSA C15T machine is owned by Edward  Freeman.

And a good example of a Works BSA C15 machine.


Here is a good example of the modifications done to the "Work's" BSA C15T's.

Firstly the Alloy "LYTA" fuel tank, renoundly known has the "Loaf" tank.

The fitment of BSA Bantam hubs, some were fitted with the earlier C10 ...

And an exhaust system that now runs inside the rear subframe tube.

Longer rear shocks were fitted this altering the head angle by 2 degrees and making it steeper. The subframe was lowered by 2" on some and a new front fitting was a tube brazed through the seat tube. 

The works boys used the 40/5094 fork yokes, that were only fitted to the first half of the production run, they also used a 21" front wheel, where as the production bikes had 20" fitted because of issues with wheel clearance, and the wheel hitting the front down tube when the forks were fully compressed.

A 1/2"spacer to reduce fork movement on the works forks cured this, however, this cut the fork movement down to 4 1/2" from the 5" on the standard bike...

BSA management getting their own way again, insisting everything must be has it comes off of the production line.

Ted Freeman's  bike above is also fitted with the valanced alloy rims, that most of the works bikes eventually were fitted with.




Here you can see most of these modifications by 1962 on Jeff Smith's  bike in that years SSDT.

Although the subframe still seems to be standard BSA C15T, but note the "Dogleg" kickstart fitted. And tank dented for that extra bit of lock.



Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde offroad archive.

Here Jeff Smith showing off the mods better in this shot.

You could always tell Jeff's BSA C15 as they had the flat plate welded onto the silencer...

Note: Registration number 486 BOC...and not XOJ 809...

Brother in law "Drapes", John Draper, was also mounted on a similar machine with the high rear subframe, and being not that big in stature surely this machine would have been a disadvantage? May be not... if it was a job footing perhaps this helped John keep his feet on the pegs... 

I am joking, but I have heard this story... "Drapes" lived with his machine from before dawn in the morning to after dusk most days of the year, and the "Works" BSA was used to round up the cattle and ferry the empty, milk churns from the collection milk stand on the roadside most days back to the farm. Dedication I think they used to call it, and making use of a tool that helps the daily grind.


Photo Courtesy Offroad Archive.

John Draper BSA C15T. This must be the 1961-2 machine as you can see that the subframe has now been lowered from the bike used in 1960...

And the lower bars...



Note: From this shot in 1961 Drapes handlebars were higher, more like today's. 

Was John setting the trend? Or was it a lot easier to carry the churns with these bars...but by the next year he had lower bars again.


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde. Offroad Archives...

This superb shot of John Draper aboard the Works BSA C15 shows how the taller bars seem to suit his riding style...very well...

Note: this bike has the lowered sub frame and is like the one that I own...


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde Offroad Archives...

Here is a photo of Jim Sandiford riding a works BSA C15 wearing the registration number from the bike Jeff Smith rode in the 1960 Scottish Six Days Trial...XOJ 809...


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde...

Here is a nice shot from Deryk again of John's near neighbour and fellow farmer...

Also a very good trials rider,  but it is in the name, Dave Langston proving the"Works" BSA C15T did have adequate steering capabilities.




Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde.


This is Arthur Lampkin riding in the Scottish Six Days trial of 1966, Arthur won the trial riding this machine in 1963 his works C15T BSA, this bike still uses the swan-necked frame as well in 1966, and also the lowered subframe, but has a later engine and Victor type  tank fitted.


This image scanned from ORR 94 page 14.

Photo Credit Nick Nicholls.

Bryan Povey...

Another rider to do very well on a Works BSA C15T was Bryan Povey.

He rode for BSA early on in his trials career on a Gold Star, but then left and went to James and Greeves before eventually returning to BSA to ride a C15 again...

Again showing his superb "Body Lean" style that I tried to copy in my trials career...

My NOBAC mates used to say look he is doing a "Povey" again...



Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde...

Tony Davis, Jim Sandiford. John Harris, 1962 Scottish BSA C15T.

Note: Leg warmer exhaust pipe still on this bike, and an early modified kickstart lever... also look at the subframe although the top loop is in the original position the tube is of smaller section...


Other works riders of note at this time were John Harris who worked in the development department for a while. And of course Scott Ellis, Dave Rowlands, Tony Davis, and Jim Sandiford.



Now just look at this film Courtesy of Mike Endacott of the Scottish Six Days Trial 1960... and most of the BSA C15 works bikes, only had the Lyta alloy tank conversion, and and most were still using the Production front mudguard stays, although the guards were alloy and not steel..


By now though "The Captain" Brian Martin.

had started to use much more modified machines all in the process of development.


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde...

You can see from this shot thank's Deryk again, that the frame is nothing like the production BSA C15T frame, the steering head angle is defiantly steeper and there is probably enough wheel clearance from the frame to use the full 5"of fork movement.

Still steel rims fitted, and by now probably "D" type engine fitted, but using the Lucas oil-pump shaft  distributor drive still.

Pat Slinn tells me that at this time Alpha Bearings  and others were working on the timing side main bearing, and this could have been one of the transition engines...




Photo Courtesy Jack Knoops.


Here is Andy Paxton riding that self same machine in the 2012 Scottish Two Day Trial, the ex Brian Martin"BSA 250" that was... the engine may have been a later version, but the cycle parts are virtually the same, even down to the steel rims. Ted Freeman's bike again hiding in the colour shot above if you look.

To be continued with the later couple of years that the BSA C15T ruled, in Works hands.

And including the BSA B40 variant.



Now 1966 and the Scottish again, this time Alan Lampkin aboard 748 MOE was the winner. This bike now sporting the MK2 BSA trials frame, well a copy actually, this one using oil in the frame the same as the scrambles bikes.

You can see this from the scaned photo below...



Photo Scan from Motor Cycle magazine. 1966...


Photo Courtesy Offroad Archive.and Jack Knoops...


The bike Alan is riding in the year 2000 Scottish two day trial, (above), is one of Arthur's works bikes which was similar. I am pleased to say that Alan now has back his "Works" C15 that he won the 1966 trial on, and is preparing it for son James to ride in the 2016 event, which will be 50 years after the Machine first won.

Alan is looking for a top yoke for this machine with the part number

40-5094 on it.

If you have one of these please contact me, it is the last piece in Alan's puzzle to rebuild the machine...

Hope to get a picture when the machine is finished.


We really should add a photo of Scott Ellis on BOK228C here but I think there are enough on this site.

Unless I or Deryk find a really special one.

Just one then.


Photo "Offroad Archive". 1966 shot I think.

The more I look at the Scott Ellis last BSA C15 frame the one the "Otters" are based on, the more I think there could have been two of these frames constructed, for Scott.  The Nickel plated frame gusseting around the head tubes look different to the original "Black" painted frame? Well that's thrown the door wide open...



Photo Deryk Wylde.and "Otterman"

Does that look the same to you? So then there were two?

I do love that red Shropshire mud.



And The BSA B40 engined C15T's...

From 1962 there also existed a B40 343 cc version of the a C15T.

The first of these with some Works backing that I saw was the bike built and ridden by Oxford dealer Bill Faulkner. 


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde ORR.magazine ...1996...


Bill Faulkner aboard the Faulkner BSA 350...

But the first official BSA B40 was ridden by Jeff Smith, said to be testing parts for the scramblers. The bike was then ridden by Tony Davis until being passed on to Jim Sandiford who was the last person to own 776 BOP....When the factory closed.


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde.ORR Dec 1996..

Tony Davis  in the 1962 Scottish Six Days Trial on Ben Nevis showing the timing side otf the Works BSA C15T with B40 engine 776BOP...

Note: the distributor engine that had the timing side bush still... this engine was said to be a lot softer in its power than the later B40 GB type engines and found better grip...but had to be treated with care...


Photo. Courtesy "Offroad Archive".


Here Tony Davis rides Yorkshire rocks. on 776 BOP.


In difference to what every one believed about the B40 engined bike not being as good as the C15, It may have been a works ply to throw the public off the scent?

Well there was no production BSA B40 trials engined bikes at the time.

And BSA did not want to build them as they had a stock pile of the

BSA C15T' sell...

This is what Tony Davis said about the bike 28/09/2017.


Sorry Deryk, don't totally agree with your engine comments on BOP 776. It was without doubt my favourite bike & took me to many victories. It had plenty of low down grunt & found plenty of grip.



Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde "Offroad Archive".

Here in the 1964 Scottish is Jim Sandiford the last pilot of 776BOP?

DOT. works rider Eric Adcock looks on.

And don't forget Jim Sandiford bought the bike later, so he also must have liked the way it rode... and this version had the later GB type engine fitted...


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde "Offroad Archive".


The first exponent of the BSA B40 engined C15T as I remember again in the 1964 Scottish Six Days trial.

Oxfordshires Bill Faulkner... With some works backing.

and another lover of the B40 engine.


Photo Courtesy "Otterman"...

This is the superb ex John Draper BSA C15T  with BSA B40 engine, this was the last machine John worked on and is now in our collection...

More on the 350's later...


Photo Courtesy. "OffRoad-Archives" Deryk Wylde.


Dave Rowland. Works BSA C15T. Section Llwyncwtta in the 1966 British Experts trial...


Photo "Best trials photo Ever".

I can't find a shot of Dave Rowlands on a BSA C15T until Deryk helps me out.

So I will just use the "Best Trials shot ever" again.


Just one more of the man that did most of the development work on the BSA B40.


Photo Courtesy Pat Slinn.

Here Pat Slinn riding the 440 Victor in the ISDT. Sweden 1966.

It was Pat that did most of the development work on the WD BSA B40, and it was him that juggled the gears available to get the best ratios for on and off road.

And it these gear clusters today that are most sort after. from the BSA B40GB engines..


More Later.


Must add this photo of Brian Martin at the 1999 Victory trial Reunion dinner.

Brian is sandwiched between "One Dab" Gordon Jackson, and long time BSA works rider Tom Ellis. Thank's Deryk Wylde for again coming to the rescue with this shot for Brian's sons Sixtieth Birthday celebration.



Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde.


More later with a story about Brians Brother Mick's "Mickmar" trial machine that he developed.

We will continue later with more of the Works BSA's

Is this One... Big question...

More Later...