A ‘SCOTTISH’ ADDICTION
An addiction in life usually needs a fix, something to make your life feel good. Motorcycle trials becomes an addiction for many people, be it young or old. They may need a new machine, maybe some new riding kit, who knows? In many cases the older you become the more the addiction takes hold as more time becomes available in your life. Many years ago a Spanish motorcycle trials rider by the name of Carlos Casas came to ride in the Scottish Six Days Trial. A foreign adventure to the ‘Highland’ trial. The pleasure and enjoyment of riding in this location became so strong that over thirty years on, this enthusiastic man returns every year to the ‘Scottish’ for his fix to feed his addiction for motorcycle trials.
Words Copyright: Yoomee with Carlos
Pictures Copyright: Casas Collection – Yoomee Archive – EK
Why the Scottish Six Days Trial?
For many reasons, it’s the biggest trial in the world, I love Scotland, the scenery, I love trials, good sections, friendly people as riders, observers, public, organisers and friends from all around the world…and all of this I can meet in the SSDT. This is my favourite event by far and my best holiday every year.
How well do you remember your first trip to the ‘Scottish’?
My first trip to ride the SSDT was in 1979. I was the winner of a challenge/competition for the best private rider at the Santigosa 3 Days and Cingles 3 Days trial in Spain. We travelled with the Montesa factory riders who were Jaume Subira, Miquel Cirera, Pere Olle and Josep Jo. I remember that we travelled by car and van and it was a long trip from Spain.
Was the week’s competition a tough one?
I rode a Montesa Cota 348 and the weather was horrible as each day the route was very long and it was extremely cold with rain and snow. At the end of the week I was happy about the experience and finished in the top fifty with a Special First Class award.
When you returned home did many people ask you about the event?
Yes, all the trials riders and many people asked me about the SSDT – I was a minor celebrity – Carlos laughs at this! This event is very popular in Spain and for many trials riders it is like a dream. It’s incredibly expensive to travel and compete from Spain but at every event we are always talking about the ‘Scottish’. It’s an event that you’ll love or hate. I always say that every trials rider must ride this event at least once. The problem could be that if you then enjoy it, you’ll repeat the experience every year and that’s when the addiction begins or as I always say, an incredible experience.
Did Montesa support you in the early days?
I have always had good support from Montesa. I have never been a good enough rider to make a wage from the sport but I won the Spanish Veterans class over twenty eight years ago, a championship I have won fourteen times. I have also had some other good results and based on this and my loyalty to the brand, they are always happy to loan me a machine. I think of Montesa as family.
How good did it feel to win the Best Foreign rider award?
I can remember it like it was yesterday, the first time I won the Best Foreign rider award. I have won this award four times and my highlights from the event are two thirteenth place finishes. The last time I achieved this result I had tears of joy in my eyes on the last sections on Ben Nevis I was so happy
You continued to support the event even when it went back to full ‘No-Stop’ in the nineties.
Yes, I like the ‘No Stop’ rules at this event and I believe it was the correct decision.
The last years of the event when they were using the ‘Stop’ rules the sections became tighter, difficult, dangerous and boring because of delays at the sections. Each year less competitors entered and I think the SSDT committee made a good job and the decision to go back to ‘No Stop’ was correct for the future of the event. Since then the SSDT is oversubscribed every year and it needs a ballot. One year I suggested to the committee that there should be two SSDT trials, one in May and one in October – Carlos laughs again as he explains he just loves the event!
How important in Spain and to Montesa was the win of Amos Bilbao in 2002?
It was very important for Montesa/Honda to win the SSDT as it’s a very prestigious event, classed by many as nearly as important as the World Trials Championship. Montesa won the SSDT in 1979 (Rathmell), 1980 (Vesterinen), 1983 (Toni Gorgot) but for both Amos and Montesa/Honda the victory in 2002 was more important because it was a Montesa Honda machine and Dougie was contesting the WTC.
Have you ridden all your Scottish Six Days on Montesa/Honda machines?
I have ridden the Montesa Cota 348, Cota 314, Cota 315 and Cota 4RT, twenty four times in total. I rode a Gas Gas one year because there was no support from Montesa. My good friend Manel Jane loaned me his Gas Gas. It’s very important for foreign competitors to know that the manufacturers, through the importers, have full facilities available.
When did you first ride the Pre-65?
My first year was 2004 and since then every year after.
What machines have you ridden in the Pre-65?
I have always ridden a Triumph Tiger Cub usually loaned from my good friend Walter Dalton, but one year I used a ‘Cub’ loaned from Peter Remington. I love all the machines and one year I’d like to ride in the event on a rigid.
Many people think you can win the Pre-65 SSDT – Is this your dream?
Around twenty riders could win the Pre-65. It’s one of my dreams to win it but the most important thing for me is to be there and enjoy every section and every minute of this fabulous event – you would not believe the smile on his face when we talk about the Pre-65 SSDT.
We know you are very good friends with the Vertigo brand owner Manel Jane. How do the Spanish trials riders feel about Vertigo?
People in Spain are waiting for the Vertigo because they understand that it will be well made, good quality, lighter and perform well. Manel is a real trials enthusiast and his dream is to build his own machine and build a good strong team.
How much longer will you come to Scotland and compete in the Six Days and Pre-65 events?
As long as my body allows me to! I love both events and every year the memories are with me forever. I am getting old but the addiction just gets stronger.
Before we finish; the question that gets asked so many times – Stop or No-Stop?
For me as a rider, No-Stop, it is without doubt correct. But sections whatever the rules must be well thought out to make them challenging and interesting, you must try to always make the rider think about the challenge.