TRIALS rider and lubricants expert and supplier Richard Thorpe passed away on Friday morning in Pinderfields Hospital with his wife Christine at his bedside. Richard was seventy two years of age and battled cancer for over a year.

He was PJ1 oils and lubricants specialist and based in the Batley area. He rode a Montesa 4RT machine up to and during his Illness. He competed and supported the Richmond Motor Club’s annual Blue Bar Trial in Coverdale. His business as a specialist lubricants retailer brought him into contact with farmers in Coverdale, Wensleydale and Swaledale. He sponsored national trials star John Reynolds for many years. John rode Richard’s Suzuki in the Kia trial at Sheffield this year and won his class. Reynolds is currently on vacation in America and was shocked at the news of the loss of his friend. Richard also owned a James trials machine which Batley Motor Club official Paul Hobson rode in the President’s Trial this summer.

Motorsport correspondent Barry Robinson said: "Motorcycle sport has lost a respected competitor, sponsor and a gentleman. I have known Richard for many years and he has never changed at all. He was a popular dealer and top competitor."

Funeral details have yet to be arranged.