The ex-works, Jeff Smith, Jim Sandiford
1960 BSA 343cc C15/B40 Trials
Registration no. 776 BOP
Frame no. C15S 2580
Engine no. B40 3294
One of the foremost trials riders of his generation, the late Jim Sandiford was born into a motorcycling family - his father was a keen sidecar trials competitor and motor dealer - and entered his first trial as a teenager, riding a James. When his father retired, the pair formed James Sandiford (Motorcycles) Ltd and took on a BSA agency. After some successful outings as a BSA-mounted privateer in 1959, Jim was offered a works C15, 'MEN 500', and by 1961 had progressed sufficiently to be loaned a factory BSA for that year's ISDT, winning a Gold Medal, the first of ten. Jim was soon offered his own, '776 BOP', which had been fitted with a 343cc B40 engine and ridden previously by Jeff Smith. (Jeff is pictured aboard '776 BOP' on page 93 of Don Morley's book, 'Classic British Trials Bikes'). Most of his works colleagues preferred the 247cc C15 engine but Jim got on better with the '350'. When BSA axed its works team at the end of 1965, Jim switched to Greeves and continued to be a first-choice selection for Britain's ISDT team, winning the last of his Gold Medals in the 1973 event in the USA.
Some years later, in the late 1970s, Jim tracked down his old works BSA '776 BOP' and managed to buy it, though the machine was well worn and needed full restoration. Its accompanying original logbook lists only two private owners between 'The Birmingham Small Arms Co Ltd' and Jim Sandiford, though Jim's entry is not stamped and there was at least one other owner, Michael Mennell of Knutsford, Cheshire, whose name appears on the accompanying old-style Swansea V5 as owner immediately preceding Jim. The first of the aforementioned two owners - Thomas ('Tommy') Sandham - is author of 'The Castrol Book of the Scottish Six Days Trial' while the second is well known collector Mike Bradbrook.
Like many old competition motorcycles, particularly experimental works bikes, '776 BOP' has undergone many alterations, and although stamped with the correct numbers, neither the frame nor engine can be guaranteed original (the logbook records numerous changes). Indeed, when '776 BOP' was first registered in July 1960 it would have had the original C15T frame, whereas the current frame is the all-welded scrambles type, with duplex rear loop, adopted on the production C15T for 1963 and seen on the works bikes thereafter.
Jim restored the BSA and rode it in selected high-profile classic events to keep his hand in until his tragically early death in 1993. Not wishing to risk damaging it in the heat of competition, he constructed a replica for more regular use (Lot 279). Jim was pictured on '776 BOP' outside his shop in 1990 for an article about his competition career in Classic Motorcycling Legends magazine (No. 11, copy available).
Retained by the Sandiford family, the machine has been maintained and started every 3-4 months and is described as in generally very good condition. This historic ex-works BSA is offered with an expired MoT (1991) and the aforementioned old-style logbook and Swansea V5.