THE BULLDOZER FROM SPAIN
THE BULLDOZER FROM SPAIN
1975 “SERVICES TRIAL” Weavers Down Hants
When Mick Andrews won the Scottish Six Days three years in a row on this formidable beast
people really took notice. The 1970 version did not look much like the model we associate with the
classic “MAR” but from 1971 onwards there were very few changes to the machine. Like all bikes
of the era it had some “high’s and low’s”.
The engine was exceedingly reliable, would eat mud and water for breakfast, and very seldom
ever gave any problems. Solid state ignition, easy starting, big soft seat, tree trunk forks from
betor, exhaust neatly tucked away, and a massive flywheel that would keep it going and going like
the energiser bunny.
One of the downside were the brakes, or more precisely the lack of! Once wet that was it, you
had better hope you could steer, or the organizers had only little descents where you could look
smooth as you used the decompressor and everything else to try to slow down. The rear shocks
always looked as though they had collapsed but in truth that was one of the Ossa’s fortes. It had
the most amazing ability to find grip when everyone else was struggling. Maybe that combined with
the engines cabability of coming back from the dead resulted in “cleans”on lines that had never
been envisaged on the rider walk through. The swinging arm would often come loose, and to add
to the fun the rear wheel sprindle was soft and could easily bend! Ed
note: most Spanish steel of the era was soft!!
1975 SSDT Edramucky
I rode the OSSA MAR for the 1975 and 1976 seasons and I really enjoyed it as it suited my style
(big, strong and clumsy) but it did steer beautifully and throttle control and grip were phenominal.
Well suited to the rocks you could smash the bashplate into granite, crack the rock, then ride
through the gap! The width of the forks, prevented minor obstactles pulling you off line and when
trouble arrived close the throttle and the John Deere from Spain would just find the grip and away
you went as if you had planned it.
1976 SSDT Edramucky … Again
That soft motor and roadroller flywheel were a delight and you really needed to work pretty hard
to stall the engine. It did sometimes have a mind of it’s own and I have seen many surprised
riders discover that the motor is just as happy in reverse! Try and stall it on a big muddy climb, or
run it backwards in gear down hill trying to find somewhere to turn and start it up again…….. if
that motor sniffed a “rotation” in either direction it was going to fire! …. and suddenly you found
yourself in a “rewind” camera shot shooting downhill in third in REVERSE!
It could sometimes do the same if it kicked back on starting. All seems well, in the right gear,
Observer giving the “Right ho laddie” and with much enthusiasm you release the clutch and fire
up the Bulldozer’s boiler room only to see, and FEEL the tank, headstock and handlebars slip
backwards through your legs!
Well with all those memories it is no surprize I decide to find one and rebuild it for AHRMA
competition. Another E-bay delight is sourced and claims to be another “Strong runner”, fully
restored, with a lot of attention to detail??????
All that Glitters is……..
It duly arrives……… it has a kill switch on the bars, but no wiring? a big double seat off a
Pioneer or Explorer, high level front mudguard,…… a lot of multi colored tape? and a different,
but pleasntly shaped fuel tank? Huumm!
Pull the front brake and compress the forks…… seals shot…….fully restored??… Front wheel
bearings OK, try the back…… clunk, clunk, look a little closer, no it’s the entire swinging arm…
Further dismantling….. self tapping screws??? …… OH, OH! it’s got the ignition wires arse
backwards on the coil!
Usual shopping list, forks, yokes and engine cases for polish, footrests kicker and bits and bobs
for chroming. While that’s away new tank and a seat from Sammy Miller, chain and tires from
Cycle Gear, Bars and grips from Hardrock trials, new Mikuni kit and cables from BJ Racing, along
with some new Falcon shocks, levers from E-bay, and also smaller front sprocket and a Renthall
Remake the side panels out of hard plastic and my man at Advanced Grafix makes the
Turquoise/Gold/Black decals while I repaint the barrel to match.
It all goes together beautifully and is just as I remember them from the 70’s. It had it’s one and
only outing at Wittman in Feb 2006 and won quite convincingly.
There is more on the OSSA under “More from the SSDT”
and “The OSSAMAHA”