Ian Ballard's,

Harry Foster framed BSA "Otter".

Number 18...



Ian Ballard riding his "Foster" "Otter", on the 22nd Feb 2015, with engine supplied originally by.

Tom Johnson, and Dave James, of JJ Cables. Warwickshire.


And The 1961 BSA C15T.......



Ian aboard the C15T riding in the Talmag club, Thames trial...




Photo Courtesy Ian Ballard.

Ian aboard the Foster BSA B40 Otter in this years Talmag trial...2024...

Good morning hope all well.

Ian's Report...
Talmag was a good event, with excellent sections, but we had our problems, is not the bikes. Paul had a cold come chest infection, said he was alright on the bike, but did not look well, so 2 points lost could have been avoided. I had a second lap disaster, 6 lost on lap one, then in the last lap stopped on the main track after section to thank the observer, to be told the ends were the other side, 5. Then on section 13 ! at 4.15 went into the start turned on the bank and could not see the red markers, another 5.
Must be getting old, although I am colour blind and do struggle with red, Specsavers here we come.
Paul finished second in his class at the Mike Kemp after looking fine when a tiny holly branch took the chain off.
Bikes now drained of petrol and locked up for end of this year, B40 seems to smoke looking at pictures, but goes well, so C15 next. Once this is done in with the B44.
Attach picture of another Otter at the start of the Talmag ridden by Steve Hammond, but picture taken by Maggie Smith who mentioned it was her old bike... 


Hope this finds you well and looking forward to the new year now that xmas is over.

Charlie~Oo> Thanks Ian, Onwards and Upwards.......


Have attached three pictures, one of me wobbling about, one of my nephew on the Foster Otter and the bikes sat enjoying a rest under the trees. I decided that as I now have two bikes running (more later) Paul could use the Otter in the Talmag and I would use the C15T. We decided to use the Thames trial at Hungry Hill as a try out as Paul has never ridden a British bike, but as you can see he took to it well. Such is youth that after one section he asked if he could use second gear and then proceeded to complete the trial using lots of clutch. He finished in the top eight on the easy route so all bods well for the Talmag.
You may note that the thirty year old Betor rear shocks have been replaced with NJB Ultimate shocks and they appear really well made and did the job well (promised a plug on your site)

Paul  mastering the Foster Otter with the New NJB Ultimate shocks.......
The C15 now has new liner and a genuine BSA trials piston, so all the smoke has now stopped, but the bike ran rich all day on same settings its been on for years. Then on the last lap while flat out on Hungry Hill it just cut out, no splutter, just like a switch had been flicked. Got to bottom of hill, still had spark, but no go so pushed back to car park...........................................should be a recovery service for OAPs. Messed around to check valves and needle ok, gave a kick and after a huge bank, started and ran as normal.
So now to strip carb, check wiring and reset valves as per book to a rattle 8-10 thou, as these were set as per Rupert Ratio at minimum clearance and I am wondering if when hot a valve was not closing properly.
Going to re jet carb, but must get somewhere near as next outing is Talmag.

The C15T now standing proud.......

Will go now and leave you to ponder 2019, but will be back after the Talmag.


There you go Ian.....




Barry Pocock's Foster Triumph Otter...

Good afternoon, many thanks for the video of Paul on the Otter. He did very well for his second outing, but was given a mysterious Five on section 10 which he cleaned both times. If it had not been for that he would have finished third in the Allcomer class. I lost the usual silly marks not sure if its nerves or old age but the C15T ran like a dream. Queuing very bad this year and a long day being at the back of the field, but roll on next year.

Had a long chat with Barry Pocock who’s outfit is attached  and it turns out that its a genuine Foster Triumph frame, but not the one that David Tarwacki  rode as a solo.

So Barry  owns two Foster Otter Triumphs and with my frame makes three in the Southern Centre. That all for now as still trying to thaw out.


Just had a word with Paul and he missed the section first time around and cleaned on second lap with out looking.
So seven lost it is.

Best regards


Charlie~Oo> Still a good ride Ian and a new young face on a Foster Otter...



Ian had is first run out at the Talmag, on the rebuilt BSA C15T.


Very good day on Sunday, meet the usual crowd and bike kept going, but smoked a lot when flat out, with a rattle at the top end, so will take a look during the summer.
Boyer (trials ignition) worked well on precise timing, just turned the distributor until it started and ran, then marked the spot, tried moving it but no better, so left as was.
Started first kick as a rule, and revved out well, but did not stall so all looking good.
Talked to J Castiaux about his Foster BSA Otter, and he has been on  the BSA Otter site and knows all about it.
But I did find out the bike he rides was from Mick and John Dismore, so originally a Southern/ South East machine.
Photo Courtesy Ian Ballard, the J Castiaux Foster Otter, taken in 2016.
As you will have seen there was a varied selection of machines, a lot nearer 2015 than 1964, but at least they all had engines that looked the part.
In our pensioner class, they seemed mostly original and Graham Howes mentioned that he had been riding the same DB32A Gold  Star from the 1990,s, lightened only by the amount of polishing he must do.
Another good set of videos now on Talmag face book page taken by young lad.
Now on 2018 News page.




Ian had a ride out at the Talmag trial on Sunday and enjoyed his ride around.


He never stops sending me new information that he gets about the "Otter" breed, when ever he finds or sees it. 

This time he has probably instigated two new stories.

Thank's mate you know I appreciate it, as I do from any of you that keep helping me make this website better.

Anyway Here is Ian's "Foster Otter" at the Talmag, now sporting New alloy guards including the one for the chain.




Photo Courtesy Ian Ballard.


Ian's ,"Foster" "Otter" BSA B40WD. 2016.


Here is a link to Sliders Talmag coverage 2017. and a really good photo Of Ian on his "Foster Otter" again





Back to 2010...

And the first page from a contributor.

I have decided to give you a page to yourself Ian, as you have given me more information in a week, than I have found out in two years about the "Otter" frames built by "Harry Foster."


This is the "Foster" BSA"Otter" that Ian built,

and as it was when newly assembled...



Note the exhaust is much like the original Scott Ellis bike

BOK 228C.



            This is Ian's bike as it is today.2010


 This is Ian's Story about the Harry Foster "Otter" framed BSA B40 Trials bike that he built.

from the first year of this web site. 2010...


Sorry for the delay, but took a while to find a picture of the bike as it was in 1985. The scruffy version is as it is at the moment, and has not been used for the last 8 years.
Have also found a few more details in the search.
Frame purchased from Ally Clift in November 1984, one of two I bought at £125 each, my brother used the other, but has sold the bike now.
Took a while to deliver as Harry Foster only made in batches of I think 5 frame kits at a time, so probably 1985 before I got this frame.
Engine is ex WD from Johnson Cables in Banbury, who used to get them from ex army sales.
Forks may well be from same place.
Bantam hubs and Sammy Miller rear shocks (Betor)
Tank is original Lyta, bought new from B Hichisson who made the factory ones.
Running on standard point with a 12 volt conversion from OTJ.from Kent.



when new in 1985



The photo below is Ian showing how well the bike handles taken just after the Foster BSA"Otter" was put together.


All Photos Courtesy Ian Ballard.


Ian as also sent me this information, about what may be a picture of the very first Harry Foster

built BSA "Otter".


While looking for my pictures I have found this poor faxed photo and the only thought
that comes to mind is, that Allan (Ally) Clift sent this to me to show the actual frame and bike.
It could well be the first one made!
It is definitely not a Southern Centre bike.
Could this be the first BSA"Otter"frame that Harry Foster built?
 We now think in "2016" that it is the first BSA engined bike built for, Tom Seward.
 Ian again,
The first bike around here was Colin Harvie's, then I built mine and my brother's.
David Tarwacki then built the first Triumph engined version.
So there were at least 4 Harry Foster built Foster Otter's in the
Southern Centre.
of which are still around.

Charlie,> I am hoping Ian will send me more information about the  Southern Centre bikes when he has time...



Jumping on a couple of years now 2014.


Ian is in the middle of rebuilding a BSA C15T at present these are the

"New "Pictures", that Ian has sent me today.

19 June 2014...



Ian is rebuilding this BSA C15 T, for his three year old grand son, has I have mine for grand son George.



This is one of the best examples of a rebuild of a Classic trials bike down to the detail has was! 

 I do know because I had one of the original BSA C15T's as you know, and gratefully still have two today.



There is just nothing like a job done well, no matter how long it takes , it is all in the detail.



Have attached a few photos of the C15T after its first trial last Sunday  and will send more once its cleaned and polished ready for the Talmag at the end of the month.
It went well in places, but rather loud on the top end when revved, so I will have to play around a bit as its on Boyer Ignition so have just set it so it starts well.
It Leaks oil from the gearbox, but after three laps still had oil there so think it looks worst than it is.
Notice our friend on the foreign BSA Otter has entered the Talmag on a  Otter BSA, so will have a chat and try to get more details.
Also sending three other emails including some of Jim Waytes bikes, and  a Don Morley weight test on the Otter.
( Will be on "Testing a Prototype BSA" Page shortly),
Rode with Jim when Pre 65 first started and he was noted for his bikes and their immaculate turnout.
Will send more info when I find it...


Here is Ian's BSA C15T before he stripped it and rebuilt it.


Photos Courtesy Ian Ballard.


And Now rebuilt in 2018.



Note that Ian has kept the bike has it came from the BSA factory, even with one of the first exhaust front pipes that were renown for burning the inside of your leg, I still have the scars to prove it .



Take good care of that Smiths D type Speedo Ian, have you seen how much money they are making today.

Good job mate, I must get on with my C15T.



Rebuild of 1960 BSA C15T


I have owned this bike for the last 45 years and decided to refresh it ready to be left for my eldest grandson.

The bike was complete and the engine needed no major parts and all including the trials box was left as was.

Despite the head being refurbished it still smoked flat out on the hills at the Talmag so will need to sort the bore out, but do not want to go down the 280cc route, just need a +60 low compression piston !!!!!


The following is a rough breakdown at work done.


Frame shot blasted and powder coated

New fork stanchions and seals with bushes and gaiters.

Head bearings with top nuts etc in st steel

Tab washers for rear hub

Head steady and clamp

Powder coated hubs ,

st steel rims and spokes

Rear shocks

Irc tyres and new rim clamps

New oil feed pipes

Wheel bearings

Speedo drive

Tab washers, gaskets, and pressure release springs

Aluminium welding on boss by distributor

New wiring and heat shrink

St steel rear wheel adjuster and nuts

Boyer Bransdon, trials ignition

St steel engine bolts

Rear sprocket

Speedo cable.

Non return valve………

Sorry but best way on old bike stood for most of the time

Relined brake shoes

Rear chain and hand grips

Gearbox plug and drain screw

12 Volt Rotor and stator


Around £2500, but hours of fun !!




 Now, Ian has sent me photos of another two frames, that he has, one an original "New " Harry Foster,"Otter" frame, and one from Jim Susan's. 


I now think that I may well do a page on Jim's bikes.  Now Up.


 And will update the Harry Foster  page, with Ian's pictures,of the Triumph Otter Frame.


 I must thank Ian for keeping in touch with me from day one, and making this site what it is today.

Thanks mate.

More Later.




And  New Breaking Story.2016


Well you now know that I have the Original "Foster Otter" frame jig  and I am about to embark on this New mission and build a batch of five, has Harry used too,"Foster BSA Otter" frames using this jig.

Most bits are now sourced and are in my hands. 

When I told Ian about the frame Jig story, he said that if I needed to borrow his New "Original Foster "frame to get the detail right I could, and will, but not only that Ian said he would get it delivered to me as well.

Just a BIG thank-you once again mate for  being with me from day one on this "Otter" site and now helping me in this New Chapter with the "Foster Otter" frames.




Ian also takes me photographs of appropriate machines when he is riding with them in trials.

Here are a few that I have not used before.



This is  Number 28  riding his BSA  Faber "Otter".in the Jack Engelfield Classic trial. 



 Number 26 riding his BSA "Miller Otter" in the same trial.



Number 25 Ariel Arrow Built by Mike Mackenzie.


 Ian:>  February 2015 A few "Otters" seen yesterday at The Jack Engelfield trial at Theale run by the Mortimer Classic club.
No 16 is me (Top of the Page), and the other bikes are no 28 Faber Otter (purchased using your web site) no 26 Miller Otter and the no 25 Arrow which was built by Mike Mackenzie.
It was a good day as we finished before the rain, but plenty of southern mud,also out of the four unit construction BSA's three were "Otters".
The real news is that there was an Otter for sale by Brice Haines and this is the first Foster Otter in the South built and owned by Colin Harvie. (£2700). Also confirmed was the Truimph Otter built by David Tarwacki is the same one still owned as a sidecar outfit by Barry Pocock.

Charlie:> Thanks Ian , we keep getting the information don't we...


Photo Lee Prescott.


Ian, Here is that "Foster Otter" outfit in the 2010 "Classic Trials Show". and a winner...


 I will update as the builds  and photos continue. 

Ian tells me 01/02/2018, that he is Now starting to built the Triumph engined Foster framed Otter Next. So we will update as he sends us information and photos.


Now has its Own Page....

Ian Ballard's Foster Triumph Otter build...



More Later.