Photo Credits: Gavin Shaw & David Lewis
There will be a very special feature at this year’s Highland Classic Two Day Trial, apart from being the Suzuki Edition where we pay homage to the Japanese marque in trials!
On display for trials enthusiasts will be the 1946 ex-factory AJS 16MC of Hugh Viney who won the 1947-49 Scottish Six Days Trial on this very motorcycle.
1947 was the first year that Hugh Viney had entered the SSDT and he won it on his first attempt!
The machine will be seen in the Trial HQ at Alvie Estate for all to see and appreciate what works riders were issued to compete on in the late forties and early fifties. This is a unique piece of trials history, it is amazing that this 77 year old machine has survived intact after being sold by the factory when later models were developed.
Hugh Viney apart from being a works rider, became the AMC Competitions manager when his trials riding career came to an end after a serious car accident. Viney had also represented his country in the annual International Six Days Trial on numerous occasions post war.
The AJS HXF641 came up for sale at Bonhams in April 2019:
First registered to AMC in October 1946, this 350 AJS was ridden in period by one of the biggest trials stars of the day, Hugh Viney, who had left his job as a local government surveyor to join the London-based manufacturer. During the war, Sergeant Viney had been a riding instructor in the Royal Corps of Signals, honing his off-road skills in the Yorkshire Pennines and moors. By all accounts he was somewhat reserved, preferring to let his results do the talking. And what a sensation he would turn out to be, winning the arduous Scottish Six Says Trial (SSDT) on his debut in 1947 and going on to repeat that victory in 1948 and 1949, securing the first hat-trick in SSDT history. As well as his SSDT successes, Viney won Gold Medals at every International Six Days Trials between 1949 and 1954, cementing his status as one of the greatest riders the sport has ever seen.
It is certain that Viney rode ‘HXF 641’ to win the 1947 SSDT – it was pictured in Motor Cycling magazine (22nd May 1947 edition) as part of an article by Bob Holliday entitled ‘Gentlemen – The Winners’ – and it is believed that he used this same mount in 1948 and ’49. The original logbook (issued 10th October 1946) records Associated Motor Cycles Ltd of Plumstead as first owner and is signed by one of the Matchless founders, Charlie Collier. The first change of ownership is dated April 1950 when the machine passed to one Rodney Bainbridge of Shrewsbury. Many years later, in 1990, Hugh’s son Michael was able to purchase his father’s old SSDT winner, which he sold to Bob Gardiner in 1992 (see correspondence and V5 copies on file). A few years later the ex-Viney AJS was featured in The Classic Motor Cycle (December 2001 edition) in an article written by Roy Poynting.