A tribute to trials bikes

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Nearly 40 years have now elapsed since the BSA factory gates at Small Heath closed for the last time. However, thanks to enthusiasts like Bill Faulkner the name’s being kept alive.

Now retired after a working life in the bike trade, Faulkner who also had a long and successful trials riding career, has one of the biggest collections of BSA off-roaders in the country.

It includes not only around 30 of Small Heath’s best, but other rarities like TL Hondas, a 1965 C100 Honda Cub with only 206 miles on the clock, a pair of low-mileage Monkey Bikes, an unregistered DKW rotary plus numerous Triumphs, AJS, Norton and Matchless trials irons.

Faulkner’s dad had the local BSA agency, so it was perhaps inevitable that, at the age of 16, he competed in his first trial on a BSA Bantam – a machine now beautifully restored and taking pride of place in his collection. Other examples from over three decades of trials riding include a Sun two-stroke, Triumph Tiger cub and a BSA B40 used in the 1956 ISDT.

“My first event was a club trial at Henley-on-Thames in 1952,” Faulkner told MCN. “In those days few had cars, so virtually everyone fitted their competition bikes with a set of ‘Bobby dodger’ lights and rode to and from the events.

“By the following year I’d progressed enough to compete in my first national, the Colmore Cup, and later in ’53 I got myself a Sun – my father was an agent for both Norman and Sun.”

“By 1955 I had a BSA Gold Star, but I still didn’t have a car and for my first Scottish Six-Day Trial my bike made the trip on the train while I cadged a lift with a friend.”

Three beautifully-restored examples are now in the Faulkner collection and dwarf a 200cc Tiger Cub – a replica of the works machine he rode in 1956.

Read the full story in this week’s MCN (October 26). Don’t miss out, subscribe to MCN from just £1 per issue.

Andy Westlake

By Andy Westlake