The Highland Classic Two-Day Trial
A Short History
The Highland Classic Two-Day Trial originally started as a one day Pre-65 trial at Alvie Estate back in 2004. It was the brain-child of club chairman, Malcolm Smith to ensure that riders had something special to ride at Alvie, rather than just another modern bike event. Malcolm had purchased the ex-Mick Dismore James 250 (286 FON) from friend Trevor Butts, a machine which had been ridden in the SSDT in 1963, when Dismore enjoyed support from Comerfords of Thames Ditton,Surrey. Smith was keen to ride it more often and Alvie was just the place to do this. After two years of running a one day event, it was decided, after talking to competitors from south of the Scottish border and spurred on by Jock McComisky, that a two-day event would be more worthwhile. The club were keen to encourage our friends from further afield to compete on our wonderful course.
Originally, there had been a Highland Two-Day Trial back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. This event was well supported and organised then by the Highland Car & Motor Cycle Club (now the Highland Car Club).
As a tribute to the original event which was once won by motorcycle dealer Tom Ellis from Ripon riding his factory supported BSA 500cc Gold Star in the mid 1950’s, it was deemed a good idea to partially resurrect the name and modify it slightly, hence the addition of the word “Classic”. As a matter of interest, Ellis put his factory BSA on the train and had it carried in the guard’s van up to Inverness railway station. In those days the event started at the Drummossie Hotel, adjacent to the old A9 trunk road and covered quite a distance from its Inverness base. After his winning ride, he popped the bike back on the train and went back down to his native Yorkshire.
A few years ago, the trial’s format had been re-worked to attract a larger entry by opening it up from Pre-65 machines to include twin-shock machines up to 1983, before the advent of the mono-shock machinery.
The club are ever grateful to owner, Mr. Jamie Williamson and factor, Mr. David Kinnear of Alvie Estates Ltd for their kind permission and assistance in allowing the trial to make use of their ground. Alvie is a hunting and activity estate and we are very lucky to be able to compete on this ground. It lies but 4 miles south of the holiday town of Aviemore which has ample varied accommodation to suit all needs and pocket.
Alvie and its’ associate estate, Dalraddy, support many local businesses including a caravan and camping park along with cottages for holiday lets, pony-trekking and quad biking tours; so we have to be aware that the ground is used for other activities and not just trials. The Inverness & District club work very closely with Alvie’s owners and tenants to achieve this harmony.
The course itself covers around 5-6 miles of a lap, taking in around 18 sections per lap. This is done twice on the Saturday and with some over-night adjustments, a similar two lap course on the Sunday. The going is varied with some traditional Scottish style sections in the river and some dry-land rock going, with a little variation high up on the tree lined hillside. The event is a no-stop in keeping with classic trials and most, if not all, classes are catered for. We run a dual route, with A or “Red” being aimed at twin-shock and B or “Blue” route for the Pre-65 machines and riders who don’t want too much of a challenge. The sections don’t look hard but they can be long and need sustained concentration otherwise marks can be lost.
We usually aim to present the awards no later than 4.00 pm on the Sunday, allowing long distance travellers to set off home down the A9 which is only a mile from the start area.
So far, the Highland Classic has been host to quite a few of our Spanish trials friends including Carlos Casas; Angel Magrina (Delay trials shop owner) regulars’ Javier Cruz of Sotobike Club, Madrid and Alicante based hotelier, Carlos Bosch as well as some trials past masters, such as Peter Salt (former Cheshire Trials Champion); Mick Wilkinson (former Greeves factory rider) Clive Smith (former Montesa rider) and former Vulcan bomber pilot, Wing Commander (rtd), Jonathan Tye In 2013. We started the themed event with The Bultaco Edition and our Guest of Homour was three time World Trials Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen. Since then we have had Dave Thorpe; Bill Wilkinson; Mick Andrews; Rob Shepherd; Nick Jefferies and Douglas Bald as subsequent guests. The Highland Classic has become one of the premier Pre’65 and Twinshock events in the UK.
The Inverness club have run trial events at Alvie Estate since 1981 and we hope to be able to do so for many years to come. It is well worth the long haul up into the Scottish Highlands to ride what has become known as “The Friendliest Classic Trial in Scotland”.
Inverness & District MCC Ltd are proud to be associated with our Trial Partners:
Classic Trial Magazine; Putoline Oils UK; Apico Factory-Racing