Mapping the ISDT : 1964, Erfurt – East Germany

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2014 sees the 50th anniversary of the holding of the ISDT 1964 in Erfurt, East Germany. The event is one which gets a lot of attention and is number one International when it comes to enquiries and hits on our web search.

image - route of day 1 ISDT 1964 (Google Earth)

image – route of day 1 ISDT 1964 (Google Earth)

Thanks to the help of our contributor STB who has sent the route maps for the event which we will add to the ‘mapping the ISDT project’ this winter. Keep watching this page to see how it progresses.

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Remembrance Day 2014: The images of a war and motorsport artist Gordon Horner.

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Earlier this year I posted a set of images taken of the ISDT 1961 in Wales painted by Gordon Horner 1916 – 2006, one of the last great staff artists employed by the Motor Magazines. As a result of discovering more about him I was able to acquire 1 of the 500 privately published books he made to record the artwork he made during his time in the Second World War where he was sent to the North Africa campaign where he was taken Prisoner of War, to be transported across the Med into Italy then on to Germany where he was finally held in a Prisoner of War Camp deliberately sited within the complex of several German Armament Factories including the development of the V1 and V2 rockets and finally bombed as the war ended. Even in the supposed safety of PoW status death stalked him as he saw escaping prisoners executed, or the danger of being bombed by Allied Airpower.

Each year in following the tradition set by motorcycle sport in the UK we stop to remember those who fell defending this country, many were not only keen motorcyclists before the war but also served as dispatch riders in the forces which left them very exposed to the work of snipers. This post is my tribute to those who gave both in totality or came back lesser than they were before the experience.

This post features some of 182 the images Gordon drew, mostly with charcoal, of the scenes he saw in his time which should remind us, as part of the generations of children born after the war, of our good luck to not have to survive the indictment of a world war as we think about Armistice Day. I think in particular about those who never returned and plans made that blew away like dust in the wind.

image - "For many gunners the slit trenches, scratched around their guns for cover from enemy fire, served also as their graves. Clephan told me how, at night, these dead were exhumed and given a deeper, descent burial. A rough wooden cross served to mark each grave for such time as the drifting sands of the desert might allow (Original Art by Gordon Horner 1915-2006)

image – “For many gunners the slit trenches, scratched around their guns for cover from enemy fire, served also as their graves. Clephan told me how, at night, these dead were exhumed and given a deeper, descent burial. A rough wooden cross served to mark each grave for such time as the drifting sands of the desert might allow (Original Art by Gordon Horner 1915-2006)

The book follows his time in the Army in the North Africa Campaign where he was captured and then transfered to Italy then Germany. The following extract from the book covers the time of Gordon’s capture in the desert by Italian troops on the 29th May 1942.

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ISDT 1971: the view from a photo album

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It’s always a great moment when we find a reader who not only has a collection of ISDT images in their photo album but they are as keen as we are to share them with anyone keen to learn more about the history of the event and it’s development and the changes in the riders machines and styles of riding. I was therefore very pleased when Roger Newark made contact to offer us access to his images taken at the ISDT 1971 that he still cherishes. Featuring some of the star riders of the time and latest models of motorbikes taking part in this event in the near mecca of Motorcycle Sport since the sports earliest years – the Isle of Man. If any readers have anything extra to add to the people or places in these photos please let us know.

Photo - #208 RB Webster #210 JM Roberts USA Husqvarna ISDT 1971 (Newark Collection)

Photo – #208 RB Webster #210 JM Roberts USA Husqvarna ISDT 1971 (Newark Collection)

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ISDT 1938: Final report and pictures from the Motor Cycle 21 July 1938

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The Most Gruelling Six Days

The Speedtracktales team has now acquired an original copy of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ report on the ISDT 1938 report.

photo - LH- Eunant Pass, although rough and cross gullied, gave little trouble. Here is #113 H.Sim (498 Triumph) making a good climb. Centre - The winning British team shown with the Trophy after the presentation at Lilleshall. (l-r) V.N. Brittain (348 Norton), Major H.R. Watling, President of the Stewards and Director of the Manufacturers' Union. J. Williams (348 Norton), G.E. Rowley (346 A.J.S), N.P.O. Bradley, manager of the team ,V. Mundy and W.S> Waycott, passenger and driver of the Velocette sidecar-outfit. RH Side #30 J.J. Booker (248 Royal Enfield) and #7 B. Kratzer on the tiny 98 cc F&S climbing the famous Bwlch y Groes. ISDT 1938 (Mortons Archive)

photo – LH- Eunant Pass, although rough and cross gullied, gave little trouble. Here is #113 H.Sim (498 Triumph) making a good climb. Centre – The winning British team shown with the Trophy after the presentation at Lilleshall. (l-r) V.N. Brittain (348 Norton), Major H.R. Watling, President of the Stewards and Director of the Manufacturers’ Union. J. Williams (348 Norton), G.E. Rowley (346 A.J.S), N.P.O. Bradley, manager of the team ,V. Mundy and W.S> Waycott, passenger and driver of the Velocette sidecar-outfit. RH Side #30 J.J. Booker (248 Royal Enfield) and #7 B. Kratzer on the tiny 98 cc F&S climbing the famous Bwlch y Groes. ISDT 1938 (Mortons Archive)

image - cover of 'the Motor Cycle' issue of 21 July 1938 with report on the ISDT 1938

image – cover of ‘the Motor Cycle’ issue of 21 July 1938 with report on the ISDT 1938

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Mapping the ISDT: 11th ISDT – 1929 Munich to Genéve

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STT editor recently had a trip out to Valasian Alps on the Southern Swiss border with Italy. Arriving at Genéve was followed by a train ride along the northern shore of Lake Genéve through Lausanne, Montreaux, Aigle and at Martigny I realised this was more or less the reverse of the final closing stages of the ISDT 1929 which had begun in Munich and finished in Genéve.

image - scanned copy of route map ISDT 1929

image – scanned copy of route map ISDT 1929

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ISDT 1938: the International and the weather

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The following blog is in two parts featuring two articles, one the editorial and the other jottings and commentary from the Motor Cycling journalist ‘Cyclops’ that appeared in the 13th July 1938 issue of Motor Cycling which covered the initial few days of the ISDT 1938 held in Llandrindod Wells which was the 20th edition of the event.

Photo - GB Trophy Team on 350's GE Rowley (AJS) #120 J Williams and #167 VN Brittain (Nortons) and #84 WS Waycott (598 Velocette sc) with V Munday - ISDT 1938 (image courtesy Morton Media)

Photo – GB Trophy Team on 350’s GE Rowley (AJS) #120 J Williams and #167 VN Brittain (Nortons) and #84 WS Waycott (598 Velocette sc) with V Munday – ISDT 1938 (image courtesy Morton Media)

The initial article discusses the strategy of the British and German entries in the wildly different choice of bikes for the event, the benefits and disadvantages and ends reming the reader of the importance of winning the event for the British home motorcycle industry in supporting its export market.

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Book News: Camino, Italy ISDT 1974

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News recently came in of the long awaited release of the book about the ISDT 1974 that was held in Camino, Italy

Image - book ISDT 1974

Image – book ISDT 1974

I had ridden several Italian events and I knew the Trial would be hard….It was!” Thus quoted John Pease, British Trophy Teamster.

On the 40th anniversary of the 49th International Six Days Trial. held at Camerino, Italy, we are proud to announce that we have published “ISDT1974″

This book contains results, maps, drawings, classifications, interviews and full background information as the result of many years of research.

This volume of 352 pages contains over 500 photographs, many previously unpublished and includes a complete English translation booklet in the same manner as it’s sister publication “ISDT 1968”   After the publication of that book and the “ISDT 1970” book by Javier Benito, this volume adds an important new chapter in the history of this event now with over 100  years of tradition.

More information can be seen on www.mgpublishing.ch

Authors Marcello Grigorov and Roberto Biza.

I’ve not yet seen the book yet but if the content matches the work done on the 1968 and 1970 books do, and I’m told this is certainly the case. If I had a 5 star review series for books this like the other two would get a 7 star award…

ISDT 1938: report from the front line

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A quick update to reward you patience for the usual summer sparsity of speed track tales lately. STT has just acquired an original copy of the 13 July 1938 issue of Motor Cycling covering the opening of the ISDT that precedes the issue of the 20th July covering the events and results that can be found in our issuu library.

Image - cover of 'Motor Cycling' 13 July 1938 featuring A 'report on the early stages of the International Six Days' Trial taking place in Wales. The illustration shows the wild Tregaron Pass, which is typical of the rough country traversed' ISDT 1938

Image – cover of ‘Motor Cycling‘ 13 July 1938 featuring A ‘report on the early stages of the International Six Days’ Trial taking place in Wales. The illustration shows the wild Tregaron Pass, which is typical of the rough country traversed’ ISDT 1938 (Courtesy Mortons Mediagroup)

The cover images is taken of two riders a few miles to the west of Abergwesyn on the old Tregaron – Abergwesyn Mountain Road, as they come from Tregaron. The old road, which was a regular favourite of the ISDT, is now a popular tourist route having been given tarmac surface in the past. This picture was taken at the previous years Llandrindod Wells based ISDT 1937. The riders are #181 A Fritsch of Germany on a BMW 730cc s/car who finished with a Gold Medal and is followed by #206 FC Perks on a privately entered BSA 496cc solo who also finished with a Gold medal, riding in 1938 on a BSA 496cc and retiring on the 5th day.

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Two Men, Two Mounts, Two Countries, Two Days

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The mission of SpeedTrackTales is not just to capture as a record the history of the people the bikes and places of the International Six Days Trial. It is also important we learn of, and reflect on the social and  cultural conditions of those times that contributed to both the development of the sport of Reliability Trials and its evolution to be renamed Enduro as well as the history of land access and the impact of the modernisation of highways and land management during the era. In many cases the sports happily co-existed with local people going about their own daily business.

The road twists and turns all over the place, and it seemed to be full of country folk shepherding home animals from Corwen market.

For this article reproduces an article written and published in the weekly ‘Motor Cycling‘ 28 November 1934. The article is a test of two models of Triumph the 5/5 and the Twin models for 1935. The test compromised of a tour around North Wales, but in particular it took in the classic roads in regular use by the ISDT and reliability trials of the time such as ‘the Reliance Trial’

Early on Wednesday morning we were skirting Bala Lake and heading for Hirnant Pass, en route for Lake Vyrnwy. The lane we traversed were shockingly surfaced. It was an endless procession of large culverts, cart ruts, slimy mud, rocks and everything else imaginable.

It is clear that by 1934 the area was very familiar to many in the Motorcycle industry as a place to both test Motorcycles and to undertake adventure tours by motorbike. It goes without saying to do this motorbikes were required to be reliable and handle well where road surface conditions were still poor. Places like the Bwlch y Groes, Eunant Pass and the Allt y Badi regularly feature in both test articles and event reports.

Long, gruelling climbs made no difference, either. Taking the Eunant Pass from Lake Vyrnwy,” we climbed another 1,000feet, which brought us out near the top of the famous Bwlch-y-Groes.

The article, coincided with the holding of the annual ‘Reliance Trial’ in the North East Wales area, the report for this event can be found here.

image - the artwork and images for the test taken on the Allt y Badi

image – the artwork and images for the test taken on the Allt y Badi (Courtesy Mortons Media Group)

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Restored ISDT classic – ex works Puch MC 175 ex ISDT 1973 appears on eBay

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I am pleased to be able to say another of the classic 1970’s European works two strokes has survived through into modern times. There were 15 of these bikes entered in the ISDT 1973, although in 1973 #89 Johann Sommerauer did not ride a 175 but is listed as being on a Puch 125cc, there were however 4 works Puch MC 175s on the Austrian Trophy Team although they did not enter a Vase team. The Puch Factory did not enter a team in 1973 although the Dutch and Belgians both had Puch teams in the Manufacturers award.

There was no Austrian Trophy team in the Camerino, Italy ISDT 1974 although there was a Vase, however the result sheet only names Trophy and Vase Team entrants with #100 D Pochlatko, #115 S Pacjernegg and #121 J Zotzek all rode Puch 175’s in 1974. This bike just has appeared on an eBay auction in Austria although listed as an ISDT bike of 1973, its registration document seems to indicate it may have been first registered on the road in 1974.

Johann Sommerauer was the only Austrian winner of a Gold Medal in the ISDT 1975 results entry number #278 in this event he is credited as riding a KTM 350.

Hopefully one of our readers will be able to throw some clarification on which bike this was and who rode it?

Photo - Johann Sommerauer's Works Puch MC 175 restored ex ISDT 1973

Photo – Johann Sommerauer’s Works Puch MC 175 restored ex ISDT 1973

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