Illustration Motor Cycling 20 July 1938 )Speedtracktales Collection)

Illustration Motor Cycling 20 July 1938 (Speedtracktales Collection)

Great Britain wins the Trophy and Germany wins the Vase, Hühnlein and Bowmaker Team awards – A Difficult and Arduous Trial described by –

A Harvey Pascoe

The ISDT 1938 was again, like in 1937, held in Wales and was based on Llandrindod Wells in the County of Radnorshire now part of Powys.

Image - scanned cover of Motor Cycling 20 July 1938 ISDT 1938

Image – scanned cover of Motor Cycling 20 July 1938 ISDT 1938

Motor Cycling‘ were part sponsors of the ISDT in 1938 and their coverage was spread over two issues. We have the main issue of the 20 July 1938 which resumes the coverage of the first day from the 14th July issue. as well as covering the results and the awarding of the Trophies which this year the ACU had arranged its National Rally to coincide with the ending of the ISDT near Donnington Race Circuit at which the Trophies were awarded before a large crowd of motor cycle enthusiasts.

Read a copy of the 20th July 1938 issue at our library at issuu.com below (requires Adobe Flash support)

Graham Walker the father of the famous sports journalist Murray Walker summed up the two events as follows:


Wales Takes Heavy Toll

THE primary purpose of the International Six Days’ Trial is to detect weaknesses in the competing machines. The 1938 event more than fulfilled this function. That it tended to become largely a test of the riders’ stamina was due to the exceptional weather rather than to any failure of the organizers.

The ideal trial permits a competitor to gain a first-class award by steady and consistent riding, but penalizes him in the event of even minor trouble occurring with his machine. The A.C.U. came near to encompassing this ideal, but the unforeseen severity of certain hills caused delays and congestion, resulting in overstressed machines and overtaxed human mechanism, with an exceptionally heavy list of retirements.

It must be acknowledged, nevertheless, that the event achieved its object, in that the destination of the principal awards were settled by the trial proper without recourse to the final speed test as a deciding factor.

We recommend to the A.C.U. that on future occasion alternative time schedules should be available to allow for abnormal weather conditions and that marshals on hills should be given a considerable latitude in deciding when outside assistance may legitimately be used.

Elsewhere in this issue we describe how Great Britain retained the International Trophy and Germany regained the Silver Vase. No praise is too high for the brilliant riding of our selected riders, who once again justified the faith placed in them. The German team deserved it victory in the Vase contest, being the only one to survive the week without loss of marks. Germany is also to be congratulated upon her further successes in winning both the Hühnlein and Percy Bowmaker Trophies.

The British Army teams were dogged by bad luck, no fewer than five of the nine entrants being eliminated by mechanical trouble when in possession of clean sheets. The Royal Tank Corps ultimately won the Motor Cycling Trophy, a member of the team, furthermore, gaining one of the coveted first-class awards.

The trial has taught several valuable lessons, not the least important being the necessity for further research in sidecar design, the wholesale failure of three-wheelers being once again an outstanding feature of the event.

What a Wonderful Rally!

HEARTIEST congratulations to everyone connected with the organization of the National Rally. With the exception of a little confusion caused by overlapping of the distribution of International awards and the grass-track racing, the event was a complete success, and deservedly so, for the A.C.U. complied with the first rule of good showmanship, giving the record crowds entertainment during every minute of a most enjoyable day.

The freshness of the competitors, many of whom had covered over 700 miles, gave convincing proof of the comfort and controllability of the modern motorcycle, this fact being stressed by the number of pillion passengers who completed long distances.

On our way from Llandrindod to Donington we observed a considerable number of entrants, and again on the long trek from Lilleshall to London. In every instance the riders provided an object lesson in considerate driving, and it was obvious that the general public was both interested and impressed.

Motor Cycling pioneered the agitation which resulted in the Rally linking up with the International Trial. No one can deny that that agitation has been justified by results. The motorcycling movement requires powerful propaganda, and there is no doubt whatever that the 1938 National Rally has provided the finest demonstration of motorcycling enthusiasm staged in this country to date.

The space given by the daily Press to the trial and the rally beat all record ; we are beginning to receive both official and public recognition. We must have more publicity of this type. Full marks to the Auto-Cycle Union, the Birmingham M.C.C. and the 677 competitors, not forgetting those sportsmen operating the controls.