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Sammy Miller MBE: Trials legend

Submitted by on February 24, 2010

The motorcycling bug bit Sammy Miller whilst watching motorcycle racing in Ulster. He went on to compete and win his first event in 1953. The rest as they say, is history.

Millers career was an incredible success across several disciplines including, road racing, offroad racing and famously, trials. His career stats make rather impressive reading.

  • 11 times successive British Trials Champion.
  • Twice European Trials Champion.
  • 13 times successive Hurst Cup winner.
  • 18 times successive Walter Rusk Trial winner.
  • 5 times winner of the famous Scottish 6 Day Trial.
  • 7 times winner of the World’s most arduous trial the “Scot Trial” on the harsh and unforgiving Yorkshire moors.
  • Winner of over 1482 Trials events.
  • 9 Gold medals at International Six Day Enduros.
  • Irish Motocross Champion.
  • Irish Sand Racing Champion.
  • Winner of many Irish Road races, including winning the North West 200 and the Leinster 200 three years in succession.
  • Third in the 1957 250cc World Grand Prix Championships on a works Mondial
  • Still rides today at retirement age and wins Trials and competes in classic road race events throughout Europe and as far away as New Zealand

Miller raced mainly for Ariel motorcycles, in both trials events and the Isle of Man TT races. When Ariel were absorbed by BSA in 1964, he formed a partnership with a Spanish company, Bultaco, and effectively changed the face of Traials by developing the concept of modern two-stroke trials bikes. The bike he created that changed everything was the Bultaco Sherpa T.

Legend has it that the development was done in 12 days. Sammy knew he had shifted the goal posts when he finally cleaned a section on the Sherpa that was uncleanable on his famous Ariel.

Miller famously won the 1965 Scottish Six Days Trial on the Bultaco. It was the first win by a foreign marque and the first by a two-stroke after years of domination by the British four stroke machines.

“He was the British Champion 11 straight years and at that point in history the British were the best, so really if you won the British Championship you were the best in the world.” - Lane Leavitt, three-time American trials champion.

In his later stages of his professional trials career, Miller was involved with developing world championship winning  Honda’s.

Miller is best known for the 500cc Ariel HT5 that he lightened considerably from standard ex-factory condition. The bike was famously known by its UK registration mark, GOV 132. It is now an exhibit in the Sammy Miller Museum.

Today, Miller is still riding and still winning events.

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