ISDT 1974: Appeal for riders to contribute memories to a new book

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Photo - official event logo ISDT 1974

Photo – official event logo ISDT 1974

Our frequent contributor Brian Catt has sent this request – “Marcello Grigorov has just contacted me with the news that he is writing the book of the 1974 ISDT.  I didn’t go to that event, so have no real info on it, but am assisting with tuning the British entry list (current list attached for correction/addition).”

If you are or know of any of the riders of the event can you draw their attention to this appeal for information – thanks

British Riders listed below.

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Sid Wicken 1929 to 2014


It gives me much sadness to announce to the ISDT family of the loss of a popular member of the legion of six days riders.

Sid Wicken – Dad and Grandad – passed away 23/07/2014 in his sleep yesterday – may his Soul rest in peace.

Funeral at St Mary’s Kennardington Kent 12 noon with Crem at 1.20 after service at Charing Asford at 1.20pm

He is at peace now – aged 85 yrs – he had a wonderfull life and will be sadly missed by us all and those that knew him.

WE ARE THINKING OF YOU DAD.

Stephen

ISDT 1935: tracking down an old Triumph 500 reg BMX 621

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I have been slowly sifting through the images found over xmas on the Stilltime Collection website having built a database so I can collect all the details the images allow and then linking those facts to information we hold across the site on the people bikes and places.

The image below of a group of men taken around two of their motorbikes including a Matchless and Triumph with a UK Vehicle Registration MX 621 makes it is likely these are part of the British contingent at the event and has been identified as being taken at the ISDT 1935.

British riders with Matchless and Triumph 500 BMX 621 at ISDT 1935

British riders with Matchless and Triumph 500 BMX 621 at ISDT 1935

link to image at stilltimecollection.co.uk

Obviously all dedicated British ISDT enthusiasts and if anyone can help identify any of the persons in the photo we would be so grateful.

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ISDT 1939: event report in ‘the Motor Cycle’ 31st August 1939

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The 31 August issue of ‘the Motor Cycle’ carried a 12 page article on the ISDT that never was. Possibly heralded as being the best ISDT of all time, on paper the potential obsessive stage management by the German Nazi regime looking to impress foreign powers of its greatness could well have put on the best event ever. The grant finale of the event rather than a speed test was to be a scramble and surviving vide owe have seen shows it to be a quite remarkable event in its severity of technicl difficulty for the tie. However from arrival at the venue the event was beset with problems, firstly to all it appeared the Germans had been expecting the event not to happen at all, so preparations had been rushed and not complete. Despite a lot of man power being committed there were at times fuel shortages and the German officials tried modifying the traditional rules as the event progressed. The going on the other hand was not far off the most extreme the riders had ever seen, not just because of the Alpine setting in North Austria but also the extensive use of unmade tracks across pine forests that had in cases been cleared just for the event. The event withered for many competitors to a dead stop before the final day after Germany declared a pact with Russia that resulted in the division of Poland and was going to lead to the beginning of the second world war. Even though the Germans finished the six days it was a result devoid of competition and so after the end of the war the FIM annulled the results so the Trophies were never awarded.

photo - top left Miss Marjorie Cottle (249 Triumph) follows K Pogner (248 Puch) through a village typical of the area. Bottom left- Fuscher Törl, a check amid the summer snows high up the Grossglockner pass. Right - A loose narrow winding track where time is easily lost: Sgt JT Dalby (490 Norton) kust behind Forstner (490 BMW) ISDT 1939 ( Speedtracktales Archive)

photo – top left Miss Marjorie Cottle (249 Triumph) follows K Pogner (248 Puch) through a village typical of the area. Bottom left- Fuscher Törl, a check amid the summer snows high up the Grossglockner pass. Right – A loose narrow winding track where time is easily lost: Sgt JT Dalby (490 Norton) kust behind Forstner (490 BMW) ISDT 1939 ( Speedtracktales Archive)

read the full event report in ‘the Motor Cycle’ at our issuu.com library here

The greatest of all International Six Days Trials, that held in Germany last week, was virtually brought to an end last Friday. The cause, needless to state, was the European situation. In Salzburg information as to what was really happening was scrappy in the extreme. The German papers revealed little; those British papers available were two days old; wireless reception of the English news bulletins was next to hopeless.

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Bike number 31 The TV175 Alan Kimber Rallymaster Replica, as used in the 1961 ISDT

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Review of the 1962 Lambretta Rallymaster

The story of the Lambretta Rallymaster as used by Alan Kimber in the ISDT 1961

via Bike number 31 The TV175 Alan Kimber Rallymaster Replica, as used in the 1961 ISDT.

ISDT 1939: Closing report and the final sprint for the Border

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In the 7th September 1939 issue of the Motor Cycle, the editor of the magazine A. B. Bourne who had been in Germany covering the ISDT 1939 event published an article titles ‘My Week in Germany’ giving his impressions of the events that occurred shaping the history of this notorious sporting occaision.

See the original article in our issuu.com library here

My Week in Germany – A.B. Bourne – Editor the Motor Cycle

To review the International Six Days after all that was written in last Thursday’s issue would be superfluous. Everyone knows what happened and how on Friday, the fifth day, the British contingent withdrew from the trial, left Salzburg and hurried to the Swiss frontier and home.

Photo - Miss Marjorie Cottle (249 Triumph), chatting with Obergruppenfuhrer Kraus, president of the International Jury, at the check at the top of the Grossglockner. Miss Cottle made a magnificent performance in the trial ISDT 1939 (Speedtracktales Collection)

Photo – Miss Marjorie Cottle (249 Triumph), chatting with Obergruppenfuhrer Kraus, president of the International Jury, at the check at the top of the Grossglockner. Miss Cottle made a magnificent performance in the trial ISDT 1939 (Speedtracktales Collection)

It is probably difficult for anyone not among the party to realise how cut off the British contingent was from knowledge of what was going on between the capitals of Europe. All at Salzburg sensed that there was a crisis, but how grave it was none knew. As we said in our description of the trial, the German papers revealed little, those British papers available were two days old, and wireless reception of the English news bulletins was next to hopeless.

Of course, there were many who started in the trial with little idea of what a modern International means. Somehow or other the impression that these trials are merely high-speed tours in glorious country still seems to exist. The facts are, as we have tried to convey in describing the event, that the modern trial as held in Germany is an Alpine Grand Prix with sections just about as bad as any included in British sporting trials.

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ISDT 1948: Event reports – ‘the Motor Cycle’

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Recently arrived at the Speedtracktales Checkpoint central was the two issues of ‘the Motor Cycle’ of 16th and 23rd September 1948 with a full report on the opening of the ISDT 1948, which was held at San Remo, Italy.

The British Trophy Team. Left to right: C.N. Rogers (346 Royal Enfield); Allan Jefferies (498 Triumph), captain; J Williams (499 Norton); B.H.M. Viney (498 AJS); Vic Brittain (346 Royal Enfield) ISDT 1948

The British Trophy Team. Left to right: C.N. Rogers (346 Royal Enfield); Allan Jefferies (498 Triumph), captain; J Williams (499 Norton); B.H.M. Viney (498 AJS); Vic Brittain (346 Royal Enfield) ISDT 1948

You can read both of the articles by following this link to our issuu.com library.

16th September 1948 – ‘the Motor Cycle

23rd September 1948 – ‘the Motor Cycle

The following summary of the event appeared in the editorial of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ 23rd September 1948

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Mapping the ISDT: San Remo Italy 1948

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The ISDT restarted after the war and 1948 was the second year of the resurrection of the event with the British Trophy team victorious with Captain Allan Jeffries (600 Triumph), CN Rogers (350 Royal Enfield), Vic Brittain (350 Royal Enfield), Hugh Viney (500 AJS), and Jack Williams (500 Norton). I now have been lucky to set my hands on copies of both issues of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ covering the event which is featured in this blog on the event. However here is the course map for the ISDT 1948 which we hope to use to digitise a modern map for the original route.

image - route map for ISDT from 'the Motor Cycle' ISDT 1948

image – route map for ISDT from ‘the Motor Cycle‘ ISDT 1948

 

A ripping yarn from 1919 about Motorcycle Trials in Llangollen

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It was interesting to find this news cutting of the 6 June 1919 as it indicates the trials in the area that used the Allt y Bady had some kind of ‘Official’ status back in 1919 which is confirmed in this story of two motorcycle traffic offences which took place in the vicinity of the Allt y Bady although were not related to competitors in the event.

Motor Cycle Trials Sequel.
CONVICTION AT LLANGOLLEN.
At Llangollen Petty Sessions, on Monday, before Lord Trevor and other magistrates, William Amos Rossenall Brown, 5, Bayswater road, Handsworth, Birmingham, was charged, by P.S. H. Jones with having driven a motor cycle at a dangerous speed in the town. Defendant, who did not appear, was represented by Mr. E. Foulkes Jones.- P.S. Jones stated that on May 18th defendant came down a hill and round a corner at a very high speed. There was a lot of motor traffic about and if defendant had met any other vehicle on the corner a serious accident would have occurred. In defence, Mr. Foulkes Jones said defendant’s machine had got very over-oiled and he was travelling down hill on low gear.-— Defendant was fined £5 and costs.
H. W. Graesser Thomas, Riversdale, Ruabon, was charged by P.S. Jones with driving a motor cycle and sidecar recklessly at Grapes Hill, Llangollen, on May 18. Mr. G. M. G. Mitchell, Shrewsbury, appeared for defendant. — P.S. Jones said that from information he received he went to Grapes Hill, on May 18 and saw defendant there. He found an accident had taken place and questioned defendant about it. Defendant told him that he was descending the hill, and when he applied his brake the machine skidded and toppled over. Two children had been knocked down, and defendant gave the children’s mother £2 to cover the injury to the children and the clothing.— Cross examined, He did not know official trials were being carried out at Allt-y-bady. There were a lot of motorists about, witness arrived on the scene about 5 minutes after the accident. The children had their clothes torn, one had a bruised arm and the other a cut knee. — Mr. F. W. Roberts said he was coming down the Grapes Hill at the time together with his two children. He saw defendant’s motor cycle coming behind him, He walked towards the footpath, and as soon as he stopped on the path the cycle knocked his children down. The hill was very dangerous and defendant was on the wrong side of the road. Defendant told witness he did not know he had knocked anybody down, but gave witness’s wife £2. The children, who were aged 3 and 7 years respectively, were walking on the road and not on the footpath. Harold Dean also gave evidence and said, so far as the children were concerned it was a pure accident.— Defendant said he was a manufacturing chemist. He had beem driving for 10 years and daily for the last 3 years. He had travelled over 6,000 miles on his present machine, and had never been summoned before. When he was descending Grapes Hill he picked up Mr. Diggory. He was travelling slowly on second gear. His machine was a 8-10 h.p. machine, which, in second gear, would only travel 18 to 20 miles an hour all out. At the spot where the accident occurred he (defendant) was actually stopping in order to set Mr. Diggory down on the corner. Just when he was slowing down some flies got into his left eye, and in putting his hand to his eye ‘he must have opened the throttle of his machine, which shot forward. He pulled the machine across the road and in doing so; it toppled over. If he had been travelling fast the machine would have suffered, but no damage was done except to bend a foot rest. The lamp was not damaged and neither was the lamp glass broken. He did not see the children until after the accident, when the father told him he had knocked them down. He then gave the children’s mother £2 to cover the damage. – Mr. L. C. Diggory, who was riding on the back seat of defendant’s machine, corroborated defendant’s statement, and said the accident occurred about 30 yards from where defendant was going to put him down. — Defendant was fined £5. We understand that Mr. Graesser Thomas intends to appeal against the decision.

It is possible Mr LC Diggory was one of the Diggory’s who owned iron foundries and Flour water mills at nearby Froncysyllte, 

ISDT 1961: Wales – the arrival of the Special Test

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If you were to ask many current followers of the ISDE what part they might take most interest in.. it will be the ‘Special Tests’ usually one Cross Country and one MX style each days is designed to sort out the wheat from the chaff of the sporting elite off-road motorcycle racers. Back in the early days of the ISDT the to hell or glory race was on the last day and if your national squad got through 5 days unscathed it would be the speed test, usually on a road race style circuit that the race was decided.

Back in the 1950’s it was clear the sport splitting from its roots of being an event to determine the greatness of the bike as the European Nations became more interested in the quality of the riders. However the paymaster of the event, the Motorcycle Industry, wanted to maximise the marketing value of winning the event. However as the global dominance of the British Bike industry started to wain, it was recognised for the sport to thrive required a new objective which was to measure the rider rather than the bike. The drive to this were the european nations however the greatest act to confirm this shift was from Britain’s Auto Cycle Union who supported the need to provide daily tests to identify the best riders as the event progressed.

Photo - "International" spirit: Welsh children cheer #225  J.H.L Lewis (246 Greeves) as he climbs a rocky section near Llandrillo on the fourth day.

Photo – “International” spirit: Welsh children cheer #225 J.H.L Lewis (246 Greeves) as he climbs a rocky section near Llandrillo on the fourth day. ISDT 1961

In 1960 the ISDT in Austria trialled a British idea of having two special tests a day to examine which riders where performing best rather than who was able to hang in to the pace set by the organisers. The trial worked and in 1961 the F.I.M introduced two mandatory special tests a day for the ISDT 1961. The fact this was driven by the British for a British hosted event where the home nation failed to excel is one of the most obvious milestones marking the ultimate demise of the British Motorcycle Industry within 15 years as this editorial from ‘the Motor Cycle’ of the 12 October 1961 alludes to.

IT made a welcome change to be writing in the sunshine and among the mountains of Wales instead of in the office. Yes, I was having a few days on the “International” and enjoying every minute of it.

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