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PAUL EDMONDSON AND THE HONDA TLM 50cc

Have you ever wondered where his off-road skills came from? We return to the SSDT in 1986.

 Words: John Hulme – Pictures: The Edmondson Archive

His first powered machine was an Italjet “twist and go” before the good old Yamaha TY 80 and Majesty machines came along, where he soon became a regular winner in the schoolboy classes. He mixed this with riding in cycle trials in the early eighties on the Montesa-developed Montesita cycle trials machines imported by Jim Sandiford, taking British championship titles along the way. On approaching sixteen years of age he had his sights set on riding in the famous SSDT but could not find a suitable 50cc machine, which he was required to ride to comply with the road traffic act at the time. The Honda 50cc TLM was a new trials model aimed at the rapidly growing schoolboy market; it also complemented the new TLR 250cc four-stroke. These machines were aimed at giving both father and son machines they could compete on together.

He spoke to Honda UK about the possibility of the loan of a machine for the event and with the publicity it would attract they duly obliged, and a new machine was delivered to the Edmondson household. The machine was stripped of all the unnecessary parts – lights, indicators etc. Some Pirelli tyres were fitted, as were Renthal handlebars and a pair of trick “Rockshocks” rear shock absorbers. The engine was “fettled” to suit the conditions in Scotland and then Paul tested the machine until he found it was to his liking. The SSDT soon came round – he would be riding number five. The week went well despite trying to keep the little 50cc machine on target for a finish, as it was quite slow on the road sections which play an important part of the event. Despite some memorable moments during the event he came home in 146th position from a starting entry of 230, losing 437 marks; he was credited with a first class award, some achievement for a sixteen year old!

He would see the year out riding in various trials on the Honda, including the Manx Two Day Trial. As they say, “the rest is history!

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