The History of Manchester 17 MCC

updated 27 October 2023

We are looking for as much history of the Northern Experts as we can find from 1960's and 1970's especially the 1970 event. Please email me if you can help.

Archive Trials Results Reports & News

75th Reunion (2010)with lots of history

70th Anniversary (2005) Dinner memento and link to pictures

First Dave Rowland Trophy Trial 22nd July 1979 results

We invented the Dead Easy Trial format and ran the very first on 23rd June 1985

International Six Day Enduro (ISDE) team entries 1982 and 199?

Newsletters from the past 1947 - 1999

Membership cards from the 1940's


The Manx GP Helicopter Fund

Dearly missed members

Training Scheme (see below)

Other notable stuff the club has done:

One of the first TV Scrambles – Crookily Wood Farm – Ashton Road Bredbury (Now J25 of the M60).

Multiple Cheshire Centre Team Trial and Group Trial winners

At least thirty “Gold Shield” winners over fifteen years of competing in the ACU National Rally, with Trevor Cowdrey winning the Cheshire Centre Award twice.  This is a map-reading endurance event – 600 miles in 24 hours calling at as many checkpoints as possible. Over 1500 starters each year. The club established and ran the Buxton checkpoint in the current version of the National Rally which runs in early July.

The only club we know of with members competing in grass-track (two and three wheels) speedway, hill-climbs, sand-racing, moto-cross, road-racing (short-circuit, Manx GP and TT), one-day, six-day and long-distance trials and enduro.


Forming the '17'

In 1935 a group of friends with a common interest in motorcycles got together and decided to form a club after responding to an advert placed by Eric Cave in the window of a cafe in Chorlton, there first meeting was in the April of that year. The question of what to call the new club apparently took some time to settle, until someone suggested that they count the number present and use that as the name.

How do you fancy paying just 'two bob' for the club Christmas dinner ?

Sounds good doesn't it ?

The problem is you're a few years too late....

The Dinner commenced at 6:30pm leaving at 8:30pm, and finally getting all the bikes going at 9:15pm they started leaving for home expecting some trouble as it had been snowing hard and blowing a blizzard.  The roads were not too bad though, none of the snow drifts were more than 2 ft deep!

The first Christmas dinner cost ten pence per person and was held in a cafe in Rainow on January 19th 1936 with a sledging session before hand. Starting from the Princess Hotel on Mouldeth Road at 2pm most of the twelve members were on bikes with the toboggans being taken along in a van

The first Club Run in the log book was on January 5th 1936 to the Inter-University trial around Cheeks Hill in Buxton, afterwards the six members present went via the Cat & Fiddle to Mrs Tinley's Poached Egg Shop at Rainow, which seems to have been a regular haunt in those days.

Article taken from "The Club History - Of Poached Eggs & Diamonds" written by Rick Stewart

1952 Scottish Six Days Trial

Picture via Alan Midgley (who added  the text and miss-spelt Eric Sellars name) and Paul Tootall


Manchester 17 MCC members’ night out at the now-closed Moorfield Arms, Rowarth in the late 1950’s. Many thanks to Sue Hedges (G Wood's niece) for supplying the photo

Left to right on the back row:

?, Pev Attwood, Bran Bardsley, Alan Midgley, Doug Chadwick, Gordon Cormack, ?, ?, ?

Seated at the bar – Eric Sellars and George Wood


1956 Senior TT. John Hartle was 3rd on the Norton. Seen here with M17 President  at the time George Wood on the right.         anyone know who is in the centre please?

Picture supplied by Sue Hedges via Paul Tootall

Picture from the 1959 Club Dinner

donated by Sue Hedges, niece of former president George Wood via Paul Tootall

more on George Wood here

Film of Manchester 17 events in the 1960's (one with sound) & the 1970 SSDT

No sound - which we guess was normal then - 8mm and super 8 film?

Film 1970 Scottish Six Day Trial (SSDT) click here

Film from the 1960's (this a link to our Fotki photo and video sharing site) we suggest you right click and select open in new tab so you can return here while its running if needed.

The club would dearly love more information on this - anything, who, where, when, background anything. Anything we get will be put here to act as a commentary and may be eventually lead to adding it as a soundtrack.

Many thanks to Paul Tootall for remembering such a films existed and to Gordon Snowball who kindly dug out and loaned us the films to have digitally copied.

If anyone has any films they would like to share please get in touch with Mr P (click here)


First, a snowy trial: Manchester 17 Boxing Day Trial 1968

1st trials section in the snow; very short clip - one competitor rides away from the camera

2nd trials section in the snow; first view is begins with rider approaching camera and camera pans showing ends and observer on the way which Mr P recons is Chris Worsley (of Worsley's wash fame)

3rd trials section in the snow; Mr P recons that is Booth Farm house in the background and and the 6th rider, after the one in a white jumper and wearing a beret (who cleans) is Dave Rowland on a Bultaco.

then back to 2nd trials section but with sidecars.

Paul Tootall is the observer with fag on.

There are several more snowy sections shown.

Next is the 1969 Lomax Trial - date, where and which club (South Liverpool?)

In trees and the second section shows a youthful Henry Rosenthal (no37?) tackle a steep decent

Club Trial at Kettleshulme

A car park scene

A small boy on a bicycle

An in and out the  stream section with car park in background

Over the log in a stream section

Downhill camber / deep bog section Mr P recons that the 2nd rider and wearing a beret (who has a single dab) is Dave Rowland on a Bultaco, followed by a rider who cleans brilliantly.

Steep slippery grassy bank section,

Stream full of rubbish section

 above picture provided by Jim Stevenson: It was apparently in the side window of a 1960 Morris Traveller that went for £6780 earlier this year. They must have made those stickers from good stuff in 1967

The car park at a typical late 1960's scramble - this is the car park below Sutton Common BT Tower for our Golden Hill Scramble shown in the film linked above

Picture Len Morton

Scramble at Golden Hill Farm Wincle, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0QL OS grid SJ93906696  - this a Manchester17 event.

Arriving at the scramble track

3 Bike preparation scenes

Getting ready for the start - right in front of the farmhouse!

The start and off downhill, toward the farm.

Front wheel less Husqvarna? no 13

Number 79's chain gets some oil.

Getting ready for another start.

The start lights

Lap scorers

Another race start toward the camera

Pictures Len Morton

The pack approaches and passes a crest

The camera pans on individual riders as they pass and ride a crest

Long shot of pack approaching and zoom?

Muddy turn

Muddy turn rider falls

And rider remounts and get going again

Up hill dicing

Over the crest and muddy left turn go the pack

More shots of muddy left turn and up hill track

Fast section of track on left right camber

Crest shot against the sky

Shots with car park in distance and open views of surrounding countryside.

Right hand hairpin shots with washboard as they ride away from camera.

Nice close up as the chequered flag is shown - again just in front of Golden Hill Farmhouse

Spring Trial at Chapel-en-le-Frith (1969 we guess based on the other dates we have been given?) - in warm conditions from what is being worn. Is this a Manchester 17 trial or ??

Up hill open shallow gully section and nice clean

Long shot with riders below coming thorough gate in wall and buildings

More with different angle on shallow gully later with muddy exit

More shots in same area with last rider recording a very nice clean ride

Almost dry stream section stating at broken wall

Small step with riders approaching

Typically narrow rocky stream sections

Section amongst mature trees

Is the last rider seen in the film perhaps Dave (Chippy) Murray?



News of just 2 of our very active members in 1975  (click on picture to get full size version)



Training Scheme

The scheme was run under the auspices of the RAC and ACU with each participating club following a sort of “national curriculum” but having to find all its’ own resources and funds.

Ours was begun by Wilf Earlam in the early sixties, then Trevor Cowdrey and others including Glyn Mellor, Tony McConville and Ian Bottomley.

The RAC/ACU Training scheme was a good PR vehicle for the club, for a as well as giving us a steady trickle of new members, we forged good relations with the local police and took part in local road safety events and the annual Stockport Taxi Drivers’ Outing for underprivileged children (as escort/outriders).

The advent of commercial bike schools saw the end of RAC/ACU Schemes and we had always struggled for a venue (SMBC apathy) and bikes which were reliable. However, the test pass-rate was always excellent.

(any more info / dates pictures will be very welcome please click here to contact us)


Keith Rhodes interviewing Geoff Duke at The Manchester 17 MCC 1985 Dinner and Awards Evening (picture Paul Tootall)