Trials History

Trials History

In the late sixties, Nomads had an “On The Road Championship” and an “On The Rough Championship”. The latter was decided on the combined results of grass track, scrambles and trials. Grass track events were often held on Noordhoek Salt Pan, scrambles at Sandvlei and Redhill and trials almost anywhere suitable. Most bikes used were stripped down or converted road bikes and some even returned to commuter roles after the weekend’s fun.

One bike that deserves particular mention is a special built by Warwick Williams and Pat Brown and christened the “Watrick”. It had a homemade frame and a Suzuki 120 cc engine. This bike, with a few small changes, was very effective in both trials and scrambles. By the early seventies specialised trials and scrambles bikes were becoming available and the sports were becoming equally specialised. The scrambles guys broke away from the club and formed their own club while the trials riders stayed with Nomads.

By this time John Fulcher had moved to Cape Town from Zambia bringing with him a Bultaco Sherpa 250, his family and years of experience. The three Spanish makes of Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa were well in evidence. The Ossa was the most popular then with Derek Fordham being the agent at Stadium Motors in Green Point. John Fulcher later imported a Cotton Expert 220 cc from England and this bike has been restored and is now used in an annual event held in his memory. The club, with John”s direction embarked on a series of invitations to reputable overseas riders to come and show us how to do it. Over the years visiting riders included Mick Wilkinson, Rob Edwards, Sid Lampkin, Dave Thorpe, Peter Cartwright, Nic Jeffries, Nigel Birket, and Dave Clinkard. This policy paid off very well as within a few years Nomads riders went from being the new kid on the block to National Champion winner. The Nomads team, usually comprising Brian and Duncan Barson, Hans Klein, Johann Van Blerck and Ady Silberbauer would invariably win the team prize at national trials.

By the mid seventies Japanese trials bikes were on the market and well able to compete against the European bikes. Peter Bjergveldt, a regular trials rider himself, had a motorcycle shop in Bree Street Cape Town that became the local hang out of trials riders. Entries at local trials were up to about thirty and at one time entries had to be in at Peter”s shop by the Friday before the event. Locally trials were mostly held at either Louw”s or Watermeyer”s farms in Elgin with nationals on two occasions being held at Ruyterplaats in Hout Bay. The fuel crisis of the mid seventies unfortunately took its toll as trials was included in the Governments blanket decision that off road motorcycle events would have to be run on methanol. Attempts by the riders to use methanol and other alternative fuels had some success but the casual rider wasn”t interested and entries fell. Methylated spirits was one on the fuels tried, much to the dismay of the local street people who could see it being poured into the petrol tanks of the bikes at Peter”s shop. After a while the Elgin venues were no longer available and John Fulcher found new venues at Hels Hoogte (Bannhoek) and Groot Drakenstein. These venues served very well for a number of years until they were subdivided and developed.

At about this time a group of Americans who were working at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station joined the club. They included Sam Mc Nair, Chuck Stiles and Dwayne Strickland. They were soon joined by local boy Ben Van Der Westhuizen also from Koeberg. The club started doing arena trials primarily in an attempt to take the sport to the people and to attract new riders, and make some money at the same time. Two of these goals were achieved, the recruitment of new riders being unsuccessful. Arena trials were often staged at Goodwood Show Grounds before the stock car races as well as at various agricultural shows and other events. The problem of not having suitable obstacles at these events was largely overcome by the making of a number of portable sections that were taken from event to event. These included a see-saw, swinging bridge, barrels and tyres. Peter Little decided that local trials were not enough and went off to ride the Scottish Six Days Trial followed later by Brian Barson. This started a trend that up country riders followed in large numbers.

By the nineties the other centres were producing the best riders in the country with local riders putting up a good show though lacking the younger riders needed to take the sport forward. In the mid nineties the John Fulcher Memorial was started. The event is meant to remember the good old days and the use of old bikes such as John”s old Cotton is encouraged with the sections being made suitably easy. The event is the last one of the year and is also intended as a social event not counting towards any championship. Old photographs, magazines and memorabilia all help to make this a memorable event. Floating trophies are presented to the winners of each class.

By 1994 the sections were getting more difficult and the gap between the serious and casual riders was widening so a Clubmen”s class was then introduced. This involved the use of yellow markers to ease the difficult part(s) of a section and denote the clubman line. This was not unique to the club but happened nationally and overseas too. A year later in July 1995 local riders Ben Van der Westhuizen and John Johnston (“JJ”) were involved in a collision during a National trial in Cape Town in which they both sustained fatal injuries. Their loss was deeply felt both locally and amongst riders from other centres. JJ was the Trials Secretary at the time and his demise left far more than a vacant committee position. His place was taken by Brian Barson and trials continued albeit at a low-key level. A memorial stone now marks the site of the accident.

In the last couple of years there has been a steady resurgence in local trials with many new bikes being bought, and, importantly, there are a number of young riders who have started, some being the sons of the early riders. Many of the older riders have an interest in classic bikes and a classic trials section is on the cards. This interest has resulted in two members, Hans Klein and Earl Krause taking part in the 2003 Manx Classic Two Day Trial in the Isle of Man. They competed in the clubman”s class where Hans came second and Earl seventh. They returned in 2004 this time with Brian Barson who rode in the Premier class.  All rode Yamaha TY 175’s. Hans has subsequently ridden this event once more and Brian twice.

Local venues currently include Klein Constantia, Wellington, Kuilsriver and Durbanville. Trials are held on the third Sunday of each month between March and October.

After the 1995 tragedy, club trials continued at a quiet pace though there were many new bikes being bought. Trevor Kinnear became the local and national GasGas agent and Michael Krause the local Beta agent.  The pace started to hot up in 2010 as Michael Krause and Mark Du Plessis started doing national events in the experts class, and in 2011 a master’s class was added to local trials. The presence of Cape Town riders at nationals sparked the wish for a Cape Town national and this is due to be held at Kuilsriver on 8th and 9th October 2011. The interest in Classic trials continues to slowly pick up with occasional trials being held and more restorations taking place.

Below is a list of Championship winners, Clubman winners and John Fulcher Memorial Trial winners so far.

Nomads Championship Winners
1973 Warwick Williams and Seamus Daly
1974 Warwick Williams
1975 Brian Barson
1976 Brian Barson
1977 Brian Barson
1978 Brian Barson
1979 Brian Barson
1980 Brian Barson
1981 Brian Barson
1982 Brian Barson
1983 Brian Barson
1984 Johann Van Blerck
1985 Ben Van Der Westhuizen
1986 Ben Van Der Westhuizen
1987 Ben Van Der Westhuizen
1988 Ben Van Der Westhuizen
1989 Brian Barson
1990 Ben Van Der Westhuizen
1991 Ben Van Der Westhuizen
1992 Brian Barson
1993 Ben Van Der Westhuizen

In 1994, the Expert and Clubman classes were introduced.
Experts                                                                Clubman
1994 Ben Van Der Westhuizen                          Ferdi Pretorius
1995 Brian Barson                                               Dannie Heydenrich
1996 Brian Barson                                               Riaan Schaake
1997 Brian Barson                                               Brendon Loncq
1998 Brian Barson                                               Earl Krause
1999 Brian Barson                                               Hans Klein
2000 Brian Barson                                              Hans Klein
2001 Brian Barson                                               Hans Klein
2002 Brian Barson                                              John Finch
2003 Brian Barson                                              John Finch
2004 Brian Barson                                              Roddy Mills
2005 Brian Barson                                              Hans Klein
2006 Brian Barson                                              Jorge Cardoso
2007 Brian Barson                                              Jorge Cardoso
2008 Brian Barson                                              Ryan Altern
2009 Brian Barson                                              Jorge Cardoso
2010 Mark du Plessis                                         Trevor Kinnear

In 2011, a Master’s class was introduced.
Masters                                   Expert                      Clubman
2011 Michael Krause               Brian Barson             Lourens van Rensburg
2012 Michael Krause               Brian Barson             Mark Shearer
2013 Michael Krause               Brian Barson             Mark Shearer

In 2014, an Intermediate class was introduced.
Masters                                  Expert                         Intermediate                      Clubman
2014 Michael Krause              Brian Barson                 Mark Shearer                        Martin Kelsy
2015 Michael Krause              Brian Barson                 Sean Pretorius                      Steve Shearer
2016 Michael Krause              Brian Barson                 Steve Shearer                       Will Gould
2017 Michael Krause              Brian Barson                 Steve Shearer                       Shaun Matthews


1993 Ben Van Der Westhuizen Ian Ruinaard
1994 Ben Van Der Westhuizen Hans Klein
1995 Chris Tanner Tim Fulcher
1996 Johann Van Blerck Hans Klein
1997 Johann Van Blerck Tim Fulcher
1998 Brian Barson Tim Fulcher
1999 Brian Barson Hans Klein
2000 Johann Van Blerck Hans Klein
2001 Johann Van Blerck Charles Mast
2002 Brian Barson John Finch Nicholas Lucas
2003 Johann Van Blerck John Finch Jason finch
2004 Johann Van Blerck Craig McIver Robert Sandell
2005 Brian Barson Tim Fulcher Robert Sandell
2006 Brian Barson Anton Krause Thomas Sandell
2007 Brian Barson Charles Mast

From 2008, the trophy was awarded to the highest placed classic bike rider in each class.

Name in brackets is the lowest scorer if different (i.e. on a modern bike). Novice class discontinued

2008 Brian Barson (J Van Blerck) Charles Mast
2009 Brian Barson Jorge Cardoso (Charles Mast)
2010 Brian Barson Trevor Kinnear(Craig McIver)
2011 Brian Barson Charles Mast
2012 Brian Barson (M Krause) Trevor Kinnear(Craig Els)
2013 Brian Barson (M Krause) Mark Shearer
2014 Brian Barson Mark Shearer
2015 Brian Barson Trevor Kinnear
2016 Brian Barson Johann Van Blerck