Origins of the Allan Jefferies Trophy Trial
During the 1930s Allan Jefferies had become one of the country’s most outstanding competitors in Open Trials. His selection for the ISDT Trophy Team in 1939 (The first ever Yorkshireman to be selected) and his many National successes prompted the Yorkshire Centre to honour him with a trophy and in August 1939 a fund was opened by the Yorkshire Centre for the purchase of a suitable cup.
Norman Dixon was Secretary/Treasurer and donations were set at 5/- (25p) for Clubs and 1/- (5p) for individuals. The fund was to have closed on the 30th of September but the outbreak of World War II caused a postponement. The subscription fund was reopened in 1946 and a handsome Silver Rose Bowl was purchased. The inscription reads;
To commemorate the many successes of a Yorkshire Motor-Cyclist, including the British Experts
Trial 1938, the Scottish Six Days Trial 1939 and International Six Days Trial 1934 – 39.
Presented by members of the Yorkshire Centre Auto-Cycle Union.
Capacity class cups were donated by other prominent West Yorkshire Group Clubs; whilst Mr. Frank Ellis (Father of Tom and Jack) donated a trophy for the runner up.
The Bradford Club undertook to organise an Open (National) Trial (At that time only one Open Trial took place in Yorkshire – the Scott) and despite problems due to petrol rationing, the first event was held in 1947.
It started from Ilkley and used sections around Haworth and Skipton. Clerk of the Course was Jack Cooper and the Secretary was Jack Whitaker. The event was won by Stanningley cycle dealer, Tommy Wortley on a factory AJS, with Allan, riding a 350 Triumph twin, the runner up.
It was 1949 before the ambitions of the organisers were fully realised and the event moved to Upper Wharfedale. The start was at Long Ashes, near Threshfield and the event was to start from there for the next 11 years. In those early years the most difficult hill was considered to be Moorend at Kettlewell. This hazard, first used in 1921, was used, in various forms, until 1995, when changes to the course made it impractical to include it.
1956 saw a complete change of format and the event was run on International Six Days Trial lines in order to provide practice for the country’s riders and manufacturers at this type of competition. Unfortunately, interference with marking and a cloudburst which flooded a moorland river crossing, gave rise to controversial results.
Due to a Foot & Mouth epidemic the trial was unable to be run in 1957. Thereafter the trial reverted to the traditional format and in addition, the sidecar class, which had previously been dropped, was reintroduced for 1961. The following year the capacity classes were abandoned and the cups reallocated for 2nd to 5th places.
Mr. Frank Ellis had originally provided a trophy for 2nd overall, but in 1949 this was reallocated for Best Sidecar.
The start moved to Yarnbury, outside Grassington, for several years, before moving to Skirfare Bridge and then, in 1996, to its present location at Halton Gill.
In the early years of the trial, ham & egg teas were laid on at the finish and since the start has been at Halton Gill the local ladies have provided hot and cold snacks, homemade cakes and other refreshments for competitors, officials and spectators. The money raised from this initiative goes towards the upkeep of the Halton Gill Reading Room, which, for one day a year, now doubles as the headquarters of this famous trial.