Suzuki Rally

Held at the Black Boy public house Knowle Warks summer 1974

Not a great deal to say about this fine and, to the best of my knowledge, the only rally they ran. Can't remember what bike I was riding, what tent I was using, but I do remember the pub and where I camped.

OH MY GOD, the third bike was a four cylinder Trident.


The Black Boy was a large country pub set back from the road about 150 yards with a central access drive with iron railings that curved over at the top at each side of the drive, with neat, mown grassed areas where the camping was. I was camped on the right-hand side.

Most of the normal (can you call us that) crew were gathered. We nearly always planned to arrive in time for a dinner time pint or two. If you got to the site too early we would go visit somewhere nearby. If you got there late we would have stopped for a pint and perhaps a plowman's lunch on the way.

The weather was great but not too hot and people were just outside the tents watching the others turn up when three bikes came down the road quickly and over shot the entrance to the pub. The bikes stopped, we all cheered, the riders talked then turned around and came back and came down the drive slowly as if unsure of what was taking place. We could see they weren't rallists as they had no camping gear. They stopped on the pub car park and asked people what was taking place.

I don't remember how or why but I went over. Someone may have called me I don't know but I was glad I did. I didn't know who the main man was then but I do now it was Doug Hele the Triumph developer/test rider, out testing a couple of bikes.

One was a bog standard looking Trident. I can't recall the second. It may have been a Norton but, OH MY GOD, the third bike was a four cylinder Trident. Everybody was all round it asking questions and getting a few answers. They must have been there for a good 10-15 minutes when some chap asked if they were going to be there a few more minutes as he wanted to go and fetch his camera from the tent. That was it - kick - roar - gone.

For those who don't know the outline of the story, Doug Hele had suggested to his bosses at Triumph that what was needed was a larger capacity bike to help counter the Honda 750 and the Kawasaki 900 threat. NO was the answer. So behind the bosses' backs Doug and his crew cobbled this Quadrant together. If a photo had gotten into the press in those days he would no doubt have been up the road.

The bike is still in existence at the National Motorcycle Museum. Does anyone else remember seeing it there?

- Les Hobbs