Moto

Celebrate 40 years since Kick Start first aired on TV

Kickstart and Junior Kick Start were nailed on favourites with the UK motorcycle community. Let us take a look back to celebrate forty years since its launch

IT’S hard to believe (to those of us that can remember it) that it is forty years since Kick Start first roared onto our five-channel cathode ray tube TV – which probably didn’t have a remote!

Even watching an episode on YouTube today, it still evokes the same feelings I had as a kid, sat on the rug at my nans in front of the fire. Those feelings were: Buy a Yamaha TY80, go out and get muddy!

For those not old enough to remember the show, the format was simple. Build a tricky trials course with log crossings, narrow beams, steep climbs and often a poor old VW Beetle for some reason. The riders were all amateur, semi-pro or professional trials riders, with separate shows for adults and juniors.

As per trials rules, the riders took to the course against the clock, with time penalties being applied for putting a foot down while attempting an obstacle or if a rider missed it completely.

How Kick Start made trials a mainstream TV ratings hit!

The first series of the show was presented by Dave Lee Travis and shot at a specially constructed and Sammy Miller designed course at Donington Park. Travis was replaced by Blue Peter legend Peter Purvis in series two and the location for the show moved to Easton Neston House near Towcester.

The show was a huge success, regularly pulling in over 10m viewers per episode and running for nine years and putting out 13 series. The show was created by Lombard RAC Rally supremo Nick Brittan, with Derek Smith – of Top Gear – producing for the BBC’s west midlands outpost at Pebble Mill.

It’s just classic TV gold - #BringBackKickStart

Famous competitors on the show include Dougie Lampkin – but of course – who’s dad John was a sometime commentator on the show. Jean-Pierre Goy also appeared on the show, later going on to appear in blockbuster movies like Tomorrow Never Dies as a stunt motorcyclist.

Probably the most famous incident is the one shown above, as course officials and St John Ambulance staff manage to fall into a ditch as they struggle to help a lad back onto his bike.

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