The 348 Cota, was released around 1976 following the current vogue for larger capacity two strokes.
Basically a bored out 247, with which it shared the basic engine and frame, it however piloted a lot of the mods that Malcolm Rathmell, Ulf Karlsen and other factory riders were developing for the soon to be released 349
In the UK, an awful lot were deemed 'Malcolm Rathmell Replicas', bearing a gold autograph decal on the tank unit; however, these seemed to be de-rigueur, and I think Jim Sandiford must have had a lot of the transfers spare, because they almost ALL seem to have them!
A bit like The OSSA's, where Mick Andrews gave his name to the Trials Variant, he rode and developed, with the 'model' acquiring the MAR or Mick Andrews Replica moniker.
Any way, you come across Cota's in the most unexpected of places!
I came across this one, with it's proud owner at my mother's place of work, Rodbaston college, Penkerage, just out side Stafford.
It was a hazy summer day, and the college's annual gala, and I was expecting the tedium of following my mother around, holding armfuls of seedlings, cuttings and other horticultural accoutrements, whilst she gaily pointed at 'green things', and dissertated upon them in Latin.
As it was, I found this chap, whose name I have completely forgot, but hopefully, he'll get in touch and remind me, and maybe tell me a bit more about the bike!
From our brief (by my standards at least) conversation; one of the students came across the bike languishing in the back of a barn where he was on work placement; and brought it back (its a residential college), with the idea of hacking 'the old wreck' around the woods, believing it was an old 'crosser'!
Well our friend here, saved it from that ignominious demise, and offered the lad a few beer tokens and a generous grading, to provide it with a better home.
Any way; after a bit of investigation, seems that the bike had been bought from new by the farmer, and left in the back of the barn when he retired from competitive riding; it was a one owner machine, AND reported to be one of the 'genuine' 500 original Malcolm Rathmell replicas.
So, our friend here set about restoring it, and I arrived on the day he was basking in the completion of his labours, and attempting to convince it to run!
He was a little bit weary and confused, when I approached, and rather more than a little sceptical when I asked if he needed any help, and suggested that I might be able to tickle her into life where he was struggling!
Understandable I suppose; every-one's an expert, aren't they? And would you wouldn't really expect some freaky haired lout like me leaping out of a throng of milling Bank-Holiday gala-goers, to even know what the bike was, let alone own one, let alone have set up the most rated web-site on the net for them!
OK! So its the ONLY web-site on the net for them! But, Hey! Still pretty freaky, hugh?! (yeah, OK, that's just my hair!)
Any way; shame I don't have more pics, or more to report, but maybe, my mother will get him to give me a call or an e-mail, and I can pad this featurette out a bit and tell you more about it at some point.
Meanwhile; just goes to show, that these bikes crop up all over the place; and they are a joy to behold when they are restored as well as this one.
Even better it didn't get thrashed to death round the woods!