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Competition Page here : who and what?? No prizes just a bit of fun


History and archive of Manchester 17 MCC
Films linked below complements of Gordon Snowball - taken by his Dad George are now on the clubs photo and video sharing site, Fotki, and linked below. Thanks to Paul Tootal for his efforts in helping track em down.

3 films  from the 1960's real pre 65 stuff proper nostalgia

film of the 1970 SSDT

Newsletters from 1947 and then the complete set from 1965 until last one published in Nov 1999

Complete web page archive from 2005 to date

75th Reunion in 2010 - web pages

Dearly missed members


General Heritage / history:

Trials heritage

General motorcycling heritage

John Hartle

Dave Rowland

Motorcycling heritage links

Letters Pages:

Provided via email by Paul Tootall September 2023:

Here is a memory from Keith Rhodes with a story about the late Nev Watts:

 A snippet from circa 1964 ish comes to mind when Nev had entered a club meeting at Oulton Park. For reasons I can't bring to mind. I had arranged to act as Nev's race transport for the day in my trusty Standard Atlas 15cwt van when his own van packed up. Loaded up on Friday night, we made Oulton by early morning in time for scrutineering.

Everything went well, as you might expect from a Nev Watts prepared Honda 125 and he was passed and ready for practice in good time.

Some steady practice laps later and we were ready for his first race.  Sitting in the paddock waiting to form up on the grid, engine nice and warm, then a sudden sputtering from the Honda's motor.

Unruffled, Nev calmly asked me to go and fetch some harder plugs from the van. His outward calm concealed much anxiety lest he failed to make the grid. The van was right across the  other side of the paddock and I ran both ways for the harder plugs, arriving back to Nev just as the race started.

Plugs quickly changed, Nev shot off in last place some 500 yards behind the howling pack that had all rounded Old Hall down the Avenue towards Cascades. It was a short scratch race but after 5 or 6 laps Nev had caught the field and was mixing it for a place.

Sadly I cannot recall the result, but I think we can assume that he acquitted himself with dignity from what had seemed to be a rather shaky start to the day's racing!


Keith R.(Rhodes)


Email received via Paul Tootall early November 2021:

Letter from Canada.

Hello Paul,

I remember Wellington House and many memorable people who would go there in the late 1950’s - John Hartle was one and of course Wilf Earlam, (who with only one hand used to ride in trials and also teach driving lessons), Jack Mathews, Eric Adcock (trials) Pev Attwood and Dennis Rourke.

I remember the various pub meetings which were near Dave Lawson’s parent’s house - a lot closer than my own (Ashton) house.

Many happy memories of setting up the scramble course - roping and driving in posts, and observing and marshalling at the trials. I watched Mick Andrews grow into a World class trials rider and myself riding up Hawk’s Nest on Frank Leaver’s 350 Ariel trials bike.

I’m a little hazy on Dave Chadwick, but the name’s there in my head somewhere.

I’m still riding and at present have a Suzuki (DL1000 ). Counting from my first bike,a Francis Barnett, to the present I have had 34 different bikes since 1959 to 2021. I tried a couple of 650 Suzuki Burgmans (Scooters), but due to going through a cancer /colostomy I now have a pouch/bag and the sitting positions on the scooter didn’t work - although they were wickedly fast - 180km and fun to ride.

I hope to get over next year for the TT and hopefully get to see some of the remaining friends and contacts. I will have arrived at the 82nd fun filled year of my life by then and I’m still riding and playing walking soccer(football) twice weekly a ride of 38km each way and hope to continue to do so for a while yet.

Best wishes to you all my old friends,


Brian Glynn


Emails from Ed Stobbs 21 and 22 February 2021

Subject: Re: Ed Stobbs: Manchester17 Trials Club

In my era there was Lawson, Linney, Abrahams at least! The latter had the addition of Moses from the biblical connection, I know he raced the Vincent at one time, saw a letter of his to Motorcycle Sport. Linney dates from his employment by HJHeinz as a salesman, this came to an end when he applied for an undisclosed ad for a similar sales job at better prospects, which turned out to be an HJH job, to them this meant he was not happy with his present post! One of the perks of the job was that he could keep any of their products which had arrived at shops dented, manys the time we raided his stock of treacle sponges when returning from a cold ride- three cans each and a pint of custard went down well at such times.

For job reasons I ended up in Yorkshire, but still used to go marshalling at Oulton Park with the club. Always had a bike though, and until last year have ridden in MCC long distance trials, last meeting Heinz en route home after the Edinburgh one year. Doubtless there are few current members still with you from those days, best regards Ed


21 February 2021

Subject: Manchester17 Trials Club

 Greetings, I have just discovered your website! Having been a member from 1963 for about 9 years, your site brings many memories, Dave Linney I encouraged to join in about 1964, after meeting him spectating at a boxing day trial, we both had Ariel Arrows at the time, as did George Long, I see that Dave Abrahams is still a member( ??) could you pass on my email address to him if possible, I would assume he still has his Comet,

    Many thanks, Ed Stobbs


Picture Jim Stevenson

December 2019:

From memory, and keep in mind that this was almost 53 years ago, I can't remember why, but we were temporarily without a scramble course. Can't even remember why, or where we had been previously - anyone recall?

 It would be almost 12 months earlier than this sticker date, when Hilary and I were out in that blue A35 van that we ran, when we saw the sloping field at Golden Hill Farm. We rambled up the farm track and negotiated a deal with the farmer for 4 scrambles a year for £100 all in!

I was riding that 500cc Matchless G80 single. Brian (butcher) Hatton road tested the course on a 250 Husqvarna.

I think we did probably 2 seasons there before we surrendered to the difficulties of access off the A54 onto Golden Hill.

 Dave Rowland found a bigger and better course at Chapel-en-le Frith and we moved on.  Happy days indeed. 

Regards to anyone who cares to remember,




Keith Rhodes


Perhaps a part of the answer to Keith's question was that we moved to Golden Hill from Paul Tootall:

12 December 2019

This turns out to have been our first event at Golden hill after being evicted from Shedyard Farm, Low Leighton, New Mills. 



email from Paul Tootall 28th September 2019

Graham Watson sent me this after we met up at Gordon’s funeral on Monday.

I greatly miss my time with “17” and although I have ridden my Honda ST1100 all over the US and seen some wonderful places, I miss the camaraderie of the “17”.

Up until 2014, I had a great friend in the US (a Brit) and we rode from coast to coast and back.

I left my house in Wilmington N.C and rode to Monterey in Mexico on my ST1100 solo last year, its the bike is the best bike I have ever owned - bought new in 2000, it has over 185,000 miles on the clock, never gives any problems, doesn’t burn any oil and still cruises at 90 mph no problem.


Graham Watson

email from Tony McConville 18th October 2017


Ken, thanks for your reply to my comments on the website. (Fotki photo sharing site)

I started my motorcycle history in September 1971 when I was 16 and attended the Manchester 17MCC RAC/ACU training scheme at that time run by our late Trevor Cowdrey. I passed my test and joined the M/C 17MCC whilst riding my BSA Bantam 175cc. I stayed with the club and In Feb 1977 I took over the running of the training scheme from Trevor. Things changed and the Part one test was born, the training scheme became the ROSPA part one scheme as the RAC/ACU had stopped the normal scheme, however the scheme continued with the addition of the part 1 training and part 1 test. I handed the training to Ken Howard as in 1985 I moved away from Stockport with my job and settled in South West Scotland in TROON. Now retired I still ride but due to health not as much as I would like to.

I do have one of the original cast badges for the club which sits on my desk, I did have the yellow and black pin badge but sadly not really sure where it is. I had a lot of pals down there but as time passes I have lost contact details.


It would be great to get some goodies and wonder how many road riders are in the current club, Do you have long distance members ?, if so what is the current membership cost ? looking through the website brought back memories and reminded me of some of the members from the past.


Well that is enough rambling for now


Regards Tony McConville


Club Member from 1971 until 1985

News from Keith Rhodes, 10 December 2016:

Hi Ken,

Sorry about this delay in responding to your donation of the CD showing Trials & Scrambles. I am currently laid up, recovering from a left knee replacement - I now have a matching pair - so what better time to review the CD and the commentary script. It's not going to be instant, but do regard it as work in progress.

Cheers for now ~ KEITH

Got this email from Rick Stewart on10th August 2016:


  Just been down to Hazel Grove Plumbing to get some bits & pieces and was halfway across the car park when this bloke in a blue boiler suit coming the other way said “Rick Stewart?”

  Which was a bit of a surprise as I didn’t (initially) recognise him at all!

  But then GRAHAM WATSON identified himself and we stood blocking the way for ages, chatting about what’s what, who’s where & how, bikes, times past etc.

  • He’s back over here at the moment, working on his house in Marple.

  • Moved from California to N. Carolina but then he & his mate rode their bikes back to San Fran – must have forgotten something I guess.

  • He specifically asked about - in no particular order – Ron Weale, Vernon, Henry, Paul T, Ken, Gordon and others.

  • Biking scene is totally different over there.  Good, long roads but boring.  He really misses biking over here,the good times passed with the club and the good mates.

  • He did a 10 week touring trip in Europe – Albania, Italy etc.

  • I pointed out that we’d recently had a lot of the old newsletters put onto the website – he’s already seen them.

Neither of us had anything with which to write numbers down but I gave him my business card so he has a method of getting in touch should he wish to do so.



email from Paul Tootall 15th June 2016:

Hi Ken,

Went out for lunch with Dave Abrahams yesterday and chatted about old times in the Manchester 17 MCC.

He went to a First Aid/CPR course in Marple today and rang me to say that the instructors were Nev Watts and his wife, Pat.

Nev was an active road racer in the 60’s - 80’s on 125 and 178 Hondas, especially enjoying the Isle of Man where he competed in 29 TTs and 6 Classic Manx GPs.

His best finishes included a 5th place in the 1971 Lightweight TT and 4th in both the 1988 and 1989 Classic Lightweight Manx GPs. Nev always had the Manchester 17 MCC badge on his helmet and won our John Simister Trophy several times:

I lost touch with Nev around 2010 when I saw his house in Mellor up for sale and the e-mail address went offline but I now have his new e-mail address and will try to persuade him to share some memories for the club website.


Paul Tootall

Nostalgia:email from Keith Rhodes to Paul Tootall 26 May 2016:


Hi Paul,


Happy, happy memories indeed, and thanks for sending this Nostalgia Trip. I've only just started to look into your fine archives and an hour has passed already!


Derek Anyon's letter to Keith Haining caught my eye first, since it contained the name of Bert Lacey. Bert was a good friend of my father, Ken Rhodes - who worked for Renold Chains and was a M/Cr Eagle Member [but we won't mention the 'Eagle' word again]. I would have been about 7 or 8 years of age [so we're talking 1955/56] when Bert took my father and I up in his aeroplane from Barton Moss airfield for a quick spin. What a great experience for us both. Sadly Bert was killed only a matter of weeks later when he caught the under carriage coming into land and turned the plane upside down. I guess this is the sad side to good old nostalgia!


I then foraged into some of your newsletters and found myself as temporary editor, along with Dave Rowland, Moses and it seems anyone who cared to write something up. What a great club we had. There was mention of the helicopter fund, which story Bradders and I have dined on for years. But, only last year in my current club - The East Sussex Section of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, I spoke to a 'new pal' Tim Eade who was rather quick in the 70s and later on a sidecar outfit racing in the Manx GP. He remembered our funding efforts to replace the Castrol rescue helicopter and admitted that for many weeks it was touch and go whether the Manx MCC would run the event at all. 


In that same newsletter we ran an advert thus:

FOR SALE - 250 cc Husqvarna Sprite American Eagle, cadmium plated frame, Ceriani forks, Husky front wheel Very quick, this machine is a race winner, will accept Racquel Welch or £125 Tel: G Greaves 061-439 4732

  The said Guy Greaves, owner of the machine, and I were apprentices in the CEGB - he at Stuart Street P.S. and me at Agecroft P.S., both in Manchester from 1964 until 1969. We are still in touch some 50+ years later. I've made a 'note to self' to ask Guy which he received from the sale - the lovely Racquel or £125!

  Must go and get some tea but, just in passing, we came up to Belle Vue in March for the fateful opening of the National Speedway Stadium and the Peter Craven Memorial Trophy. What a fantastic venue but what a wash out evening with no racing!! 


Still we had a nice meal in the VIP suite:

Cheers for now and my regards to anyone who cares ~ KEITH & HILARY


PS: in my next epistle I'll share a story from just last week when I met a chap in a bar in Majorca [you know how it happens]. He knew John Hartle quite well and we concluded after some pints that we must have raced against each other at Hatherton Hall in the late 60s.


You couldn't write it, but that's old bikers for you!  Be good ~ Keith