Anatomy of a winner

Words: John McCrink Pictures: John McCrink and Eric Miles

What does it take to win the Pre-65 part of our sponsored scrambles series? John McCrink investigates.

When Liston Bell won the Scottish Classic Racing Motorcycle Club’s Pre-65 Over 350cc Scrambles Championship back in 2011, everyone agreed that the lad could really ride a bike. However, two particular onlookers who had watched his progress with interest were none other than the late John Bethell and Malcolm Bell.

Then you need a rider and a track…

These two guys knew an awful lot about the classic scrambles scene across the UK and both agreed that Liston really should venture south of Hadrian’s Wall and try his luck against the cream of not only English scramblers but the Welsh boys as well.

He had already made a big impression at meetings in Cumbria and achieved some excellent results at that most demanding of circuits and the spiritual home of British scrambling, namely Hawkstone Park in Shropshire. But what John and Malcolm really had in mind was that Liston and his young brother Lewis should have a real go at the increasingly popular and hugely competitive British Classic Scrambles Championship, started a few years back by Dave Gittins.

It wasn’t until 2013 that Liston competed in the championship proper and what a first season it was with him finishing a creditable second. He did exactly the same again in 2014 mounted as usual on a real man’s machine, a rip-snorting 750 Triumph Metisse no less! Hoping for third time lucky, 2015 was actually less successful due to machine problems and some bad luck as well but he still managed to finish a respectable fourth overall in the championship. 2016 was the real defining year for Liston in the British Championships but we’ll get to that later.

Read more in the Summer issue (No. 43) of CDB – out now!