The John Fulcher Memorial Trial

The John Fulcher Memorial Trial is an event that serves to remember the late John Fulcher, what he did for trials, and the era in which he was active.

John was originally from England where he rode trials and competed against many of the top riders, who were also his friends, in the sixties. He moved to Zambia for a while then to Cape Town in the early seventies with his family, bringing his knowledge of trials with him.

At that time, trials in Cape Town was in it’s infancy with local riders riding trail bikes or homemade specials, as proper trials bikes were only just starting to become available. John brought a Bultaco Sherpa 250 with him, joined Nomads, and took on the job of getting trials going properly. His job at the General Post Office often took him into the field and he soon found good trials venues at Elgin, Bannhoek and Groot Drakenstein and Hout Bay, which lasted for many years.

He encouraged local riders to take part in national trials and through his influence on the committee managed to get financial assistance for travelling expenses.

Over a number of years, and with Nomads backing, he invited several overseas riders to Cape Town to show us how to ride. These riders include Mick Wilkinson, Rob Shepard, Alan Lampkin, Dave Thorpe, Nigel Birkett, Nick Jefferies, Mick Skinner and Dave Clinkard. These guys really showed us a thing or two and raised our game enormously.

John was a great organizer, and it wasn’t long before the first Cape Town National was born. These became a popular fixture on the national circuit and were always in August and usually at Elgin as John’s roots determined that it should be as cold and wet and muddy as possible.

When his son Tim was old enough to ride, a second bike was necessary. John was always a very patriotic Englishman, so instead of buying any of the available Spanish or Japanese bikes, he settled on a British Cotton Expert 220, even though the demise of this brand was probably on the wall. The Cotton however served him well until he started to hang up his boots and eventually handed over the running of trials to others.

Some years later he was hospitalised for a routine operation, but shortly after being discharged he passed away unexpectedly.

It was then decided to honour him with an event in his name, and the inaugural event took place in 1993 in Constantia.

The venue had long been a popular one, and seemed to be the obvious place, especially for socializing afterwards. This continued for several years with the kind permission of Marion who lived on the property. Marion was tragically killed in a hang gliding accident, but the arrangement has continued with the blessing of her sister.

The event is meant for classic and twin shock bikes and the sections are set for two classes; expert and clubman. The sections are easy by modern standards in order to encourage the use and preservation of old trials bikes. John’s Cotton has been restored and as taken part in and won the event several times.

Floating trophies are awarded for the best performance in these categories. Modern bikes can also enter but are not eligible for the awards. The event is also an ideal opportunity for anyone wanting to start trials riding.