The extrovert Bernie Schreiber, the American World Trials champion of 1979, and Bryan ‘Badger’ Goss, the 1970 British 500cc motocross champion, are the exciting guests for the Telford Classic Dirt Bike Show of 2020 sponsored by Hagon Shocks.
Once again, two of the off-road circus’s biggest and most flamboyant names will grace the stage at the International Centre at Telford on February 15 and 16.
Californian-born Schreiber influenced the development of a new riding style by perfecting floating pivot turns and bunny hops to the conformist and traditional sport of trials in the late ’70s. Born in January 1959 in Los Angeles, Bernie was ranked seventh in the world by 1977 and his potential saw him gain a direct contract with the Bultaco factory.
A year later he finished third, winning four world rounds and, in ’79, took the title off three-times world champ Yrjo Vesterinen, becoming the youngest ever champion in the process. In 1982 he also fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition by being the first and still the only non-European to win the Scottish Six Days, riding for the Italian SWM factory.
As well as being contracted to them and to Bultaco, Bernie also had factory contracts with Italjet, Garelli, Yamaha and Fantic. Indeed, show consultant Alan Wright is arranging to have a full display of all such bikes and would welcome a call on 01789 751422 from anyone who could bring a tidy 250/350 monoshock Yamaha with red frame to Telford for the weekend. The rest are already secured.
Since retirement in 1987, Bernie has mainly lived in Switzerland, climbing to the top of the corporate ladder with Omega and Tissot, though he did spend three years in West Palm Beach as US sports marketing director for Omega. As you would expect, Bernie is a master at communication. The stage rapport with show compere Jack Burnicle each lunchtime should simply not be missed. Jack has a formidable talking machine facing him!
Bryan Goss is equally fascinating. Throughout his long career he was known as ‘Badger’, though the characteristics he possessed were more akin to those of a pedigree terrier. His tenacious and doggedly determined style always saw him fight all the way to the flag.
A Dorset-based two-stroke man throughout his career, Badger was fortunate to live close to grasstrack legend Lew Coffin, who became his mentor in the early days. Early success came with Cottons in 1961 but a move to Greeves for the following year saw him become near invincible in the south of England. A firm favourite with Greeves head honcho, Derry Preston Cobb, Badger lay just a single point behind the great Dave Bickers as they journeyed to the last round of the British 250cc scrambles championship at Boltby in October 1963. A first lap puncture curtailed Badger’s challenge, but he still finished runner-up to the Coddenham flyer.
Having struggled to find form in 1964, Badger took control of his own destiny by buying a Husqvarna, and the new combination soon becoming a winning one, though Bickers still beat him to the British 1965 crown. The following year was the start of a real purple patch, concluded at the Trophee des Nations that year held at Brands Hatch. On his 26th birthday he beat the cream of the world’s 250 racers in the opening leg and then repeated the feat in the second leg! Badger had truly arrived!
Ironically, after so many seasons in the top three as a 250cc rider, Badger’s only British crown came on a 500 in 1970, his last year on Huskies. He simply dominated the series, racking up double the points of series runner-up Vic Allan, and clinching the title with one round to spare.
But, for 1971, in a surprise move he switched to Maico power and was then shortly afterwards able to gain the UK importership rights for the West German marque. His business immediately boomed as a result of the bikes’ success, and he sold more than 1000 bikes per year for three years in succession! He retired in 1974, having been one of the lucky band of riders who competed in scrambling in its heyday. A real character who has so many escapades to recall alongside some amazing and actually unbelievable tales, the sport of motocross was all the richer for the contribution of Bryan ‘Badger’ Goss.
Details of what else is on offer at Telford 2020 is to appear in next month’s issue, but don’t forget the annual Saturday evening Telford dinner when, over a sparkling wine or two, you can applaud Jack Burnicle extracting the best stories from this dynamic duo of yesteryear.
As usual, the impressive Telford autojumble, which always has a cornucopia of classic dirt bikes, parts and accessories, opens an hour earlier, at 9am, than the main show (which runs until 5pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday), with a marginal extra charge for the advantage!