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
alloy bashplate.

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”

What did you think of this article?

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  • 12/2/2007 7:28 PM Steveo wrote:
    Another dandy article and my thanks.My last trials bike was the 1970 mar,sold it and moved to Alberta’s wild west for new experiences,regretted selling my Ossa for 35 years,never dreamed that I’d ever be a trials rider again.Still I drove those gravel roads with a trials eye and responses.Here I am,on the short side of 60 and loving being a born-again trials rider.It’s different now,besides being older and cautious,this is now my main serious passion.That and of course a mans baser instincts!.I’ll be a rider until my body prevents me.Its different here on Gambier island,about 200 souls,water taxi service so going to an event in Vancouver is a trial of several days before I’ve got me arse and bike back home.I’ll say one thing though the riding is absolutely unbelievable,a couple of mountains,and more totally virgin riding than I’ll ever see in my lifetime.once on the way up the mountain you’re surrounded by 1,000’s of sleeping giants,old moss covered trees 6-10 feet in diameter,anywhere you stop to look there’s section possibilities on both sides,very inspiring.I hosted several trials events in the past and the lads are all asking me to hold one here.Everthing in good time,first I’ve got to drum up some trials riders here,though I’ve the secret for getting club memberships up.After a good drunken agm,I found out the next day that I’d been elected president of an “old boys” club of 8 members,in two years of dilegence I was able to get the membership up to 46 riders and a full competition calander.The club is now on a healthy continuum.I know that you’re a busy man in your environs,good work on making the amhra’s circuit.If you ever want to do something out of your box,you are wellcome to come and check out this trials paradise,I’ve got a nice little guest cabin beside the trout pond and 3 bikes ,I use the services of the locals lads boats to haul things like my bike.One of my new prospect’s Gordy,he’s asked me if I’d like to run his barges for him.this would be a class-act way to haul the competitors and their bikes over here!I hope that my efforts will warrant a reply,thanks and keep up the fine work! Steveo
    Reply to this

    1. 12/2/2007 9:26 PM Tony Down wrote:

      Sounds pretty good up there, and when I retire…….. Well done on the promotion of the sport, 46 riders is very impressive in a relatively small area. Can’t say as I’m keen on barges, ferries or anything else that goes on water, you will see why in a article coming soon! If you are thinking of coming down for a few events let me know and I’ll give you the dates. May and Sep are very good this year with 5 events in one week! Don’t forget to look at Brenda’s web some good shots of you for sale going through that mud hole of section 2.  Tony
      Reply to this

      1. 12/5/2007 2:21 AM Steveo wrote:
        Thanks I’ve had the pleasure of seeing those great photos of us all playing in that lovely mud hole at Whittman.They made me laugh at all the fun we were having and the memories.I would have liked to thank the organizers,who laid out a fine challenging,fun and safe event.Having put on several events myself,I truly appreciate someone who “gets it right”.I believe that being the trials master,laying out sections for riders of many skill levels,Is much more challenging and difficult than simply riding an event.Its a treat to ride such a well laid out event,After hosting my own trial for 5 years now,I feel that I haven’t got it right yet.Though perhaps that doesn’t really matter,its really about 3 days of fun,campfires and playing on our trials toys!All events are great,if would be boring if they were to be all the same.Allways give thanks and praise to the organizers,we’re all doing our best for the sport that we love. Happy Trials all Steveo Ps I’m hopeing to be in Az sometime in Feb and /or March?
        Reply to this
  • 11/24/2008 3:06 AM Julian wrote:
    Nice site, Tony. I found it yesterday while looking for info on Mikuni jetting for spanish bikes.

    I also ride vintage trials here in Spain, and have my own website about classic spanish bikes. It all began trying to give some help about Montesas King Scorpions …

    I’m in trouble now. Two weeks ago I bought a Mikuni VM28 for a friend’s Cota 330. And I’m getting crazy trying to rejet it. I can’t find good info about Mikuni jets in Spain, because those carbs were not sold here. No idea about Amal / Mikuni values …

    Can you give me a hand?


    Reply to this

  • 3/9/2013 1:35 PM Grant Humble wrote:
    Hello Tony
    Recently stumbled upon your site. Recently started in trials after racing motocross since 1973. Am having a blast. Riding a 74 TY 250 which I really like and just finished semi-restoring a 86 TY 350. Cant wait to try it out. Really enjoy reading your stories, have learned alot. You have built the nices bikes i’ve ever seen. Keep up the great work. Grant
    Reply to this
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