With much thanks to reader Michael Wryan we now have a scanned copy of his original programme for the ISDT of 1933. This event which has it’s 80th anniversary this year was held on the 20th anniversary of the first ISDT in Carlisle in 1913. The event founded in Britain had not taken place on English Soil for 5 years despite the British team being often victorious and earning the right as winning nation to hold the event the awarding of the event was passed to other nations. An explanation of this is provided in the introduction to the programme feature in this Blog post. You can also read (if you are using a flash supporting browser) a copy of the programme online at our issuu.com library. We have added the images of the maps to the ISDT 1933 page
The introduction of the Programme contains a useful resume of the history of the ISDT since 1913 and the previous years conclusion and provides an interesting insite into the background social conditions impacting on traffic and landuse that even then impacted on the organisers ability to hold this event to provide a credible event.
At a meeting of the F.I.C.M. in Paris, on 14th December, 1912, it was decided to promote annually an international motorcycling contest.
The first of the series of international reliability trials was accordingly held in the Lake District of England, in August, 1913, the British Team proving to be the winners. That same year the British Motorcycle Manufacturers presented the Federation with the handsome Challenge Trophy, a photograph of which is reproduced on page 3.
Owing to the war no Trial was held in 1914, although it is interesting to recall that the stage was set and many of the performers were present in Grenoble, France, when another and more peremptory summons recalled them to their respective countries.
In 1920 it was agreed that the Trial should be held in France, and that year Switzerland proved victorious. The Union Motocycliste Suisse organised the Trial in Switzerland in 1921, and again the Swiss Team was victorious. That year definite rules governing the award of the Trophy were drawn up, the most important of which was that giving the victorious country in any year the right to promote the Trial in the succeeding year.
Once more, in 1922, the Swiss were victorious. That autumn the Swiss Union invited the Norwegian and Swedish Clubs to jointly organise the 1923 Trial. The offer was accepted and the Swedish Team, after certain protests had been disposed of, were declared the winners. Belgium offered to organise the Six Days’ in 1924. The F.I.C.M. agreed and the Trophy was won by the British Team, whilst the International Silver Vase-offered for competition for the first time that year – was gained by the Norwegian Team.
There followed a series of International Six Days’ Trials held in England, 1925 – 1926 – 1927 – 1928. These were held ;- over a circular course, Southampton-Taunton-Swansea-Llandrindod Wells-Cheltenham-Brooklands in 1925; over routes radiating from Buxton with a final speed Trial at Brooklands in 1926, in the Lake District in 1927, when it rained every day; and in Yorkshire in 1928 with headquarters at Harrogate. In each of these four years both the International Trophy and the International Silver Vase were won by England, so in 1929 it was decided to risk our reputation abroad and the Trial that year was, therefore, organised jointly by five countries-Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy. Again the A.C.U. proved victorious. The right to hold the 1930 Trial in England, was, however, waived, and the decision as to which of the Continental countries should have this honour was left to the F.I.C.M.
France was chosen and organised an excellent “Six Days” over routes radiating from Grenoble; the Italian Team winning the Trophy and the French Team the Silver Vase.
Italy therefore undertook the organisation of the 1931 Trial, choosing the Dolomites as the area of operations. The home Trophy Team was victorious, but the Dutchmen-consistent supporters of the Six Days’ for many years-captured the Vase. Once more last year Merano was selected as headquarters, and a somewhat longer and more difficult course was set with a seventh day devoted to a Speed Test. There was an excellent entry of 130 individual competitors, four national Teams for the Trophy and twelve Teams amongst seven countries for the Vase. Seventy of the 130 competitors completed the road test without loss of marks, thereby earning gold medals. In the competition for the Silver Vase, only the English” A ” Team and the Italian” B ” Team completed the Trial without penalty, but the. English Team gained 40 min. 18 sec. on their set times in the Speed Test against a gain of 15 min. 32·6 sec. on the part of the Italians, the Vase therefore returned to this country.
The contest for the Trophy was a hard fought one to the very end. Again Italy and England were the finalists, neither Team having lost a single mark on the 2,104 kilometres of the road test which had included no less than twenty-nine mountain passes of over 3,000 feet altitude. The speed test therefore was the decisive factor and in this each of the Italian trio gained on his set time, the aggregate gain being 26 min. 05·6 sec. But the Englishmen did better, even Perrigo, delayed with exasperating plug trouble in the rain, gaining 7 min. 54·4 sec. Bradley, to the surprise of the Italians, improved his schedule by 8 min. 33·8 sec. and Rowley by no less than 11 min. 51·2 sec., our aggregate gain being 28 min. 19·4 sec., thereby beating the Italian Team by a little over two minutes, and so bringing the Trophy back to this country, the eighth English victory in a series of fourteen Six Days’ Trials.
The bare facts related above cannot convey to the casual reader the difficulties or magnitude of the task that is set a competitor in a modern Six Days’ Trial. Neither, therefore, can the layman fully appreciate the sturdiness, the reliability, the speed and the controllability of the machines which enabled over 50 per cent. of the riders to do everything asked of them last year. He will, granting both the difficulties and their conquest, more probably ask what are the objects of these “Six Days’ ” – what good are they? The motorcycle is the most economical means of transport for one or two persons-the Six Days’ demonstrates its amazing efficiency and reliability.
Our considerable export trade in motor cycles has been built up on the reputation of British machines – the Six Days’ provides a magnificent advertisement. Many thousands in this and other countries use their machines for sport and recreation-as a sporting event the International Six Days’ stands in the front rank of international sporting contests.
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Technically, the 1932 Trial demonstrated important improvements. When the Trial was held in England the standard of reliability was satisfactory, but in those days the old speed limit was in force and the test was nothing like so severe as in the last three years. The speed test in Geneva in 1929 found out many weak spots; when, next year, the speed on the road was increased, brake trouble was prevalent, wheels collapsed and engines failed. In 1931 the story was much the same and brakes were still noticeably bad. Last year, however, machines were extraordinarily reliable in every respect, and British machines did not have a single withdrawal through mechanical trouble.
The 1933 Trial-the fifteenth International Six Days’ – is being held in Wales. This decision to exercise our right to hold the Trial in this country was taken only after careful consideration of the pros and cons. It was realised that there are difficulties peculiar to Britain as compared with the Continent – the difficulty of finding a course that is both fair and yet severe enough, the difficulty of suitable accommodation nearby, the crowded condition of our roads in the holiday seasons, the antipathetic attitude of various authorities, the fact that a success abroad must be a better testimony to the excellence of British machines, and so on. On the other hand, it will be five years since the last Six Days’ was held in England, a suitable course has been found, and it was felt that it was not only our right but our duty to run the Trial again, in that country which was its birthplace twenty years ago.
The heartiest welcome, is offered to all those riders and officials from abroad who have honoured the Auto Cycle Union with their attendance at Llandrindod Wells for the XV International Six Days.
Though the Welsh mountains cannot hope to outrival the Dolomites as a testing ground, their conquest will reveal unexpected charms.
Duw sy’n llenwir cwd!
TWL being Tom Loughborough an Englishman official at the FICM (now known as the FIM)