This post is a serialisation of an article that originally appeared over 75 years ago in ‘Das Motorrad’, the popular Motorcycling magazine in the German Language as it covered the proceedings of the 1939 ISDT, an event to finish in controversy and the results eventually annulled by the FIM.
ISDT 1939 – Report from ‘Das Motorrad‘: The 4th Day
report by Von Gustav Mueller
The forth day mainly went through the Tyrol region, so it had been named the Tiroler Strecke. During this day, there were some bad off-road difficulties, especially where one would not expect them. The pass of Grießen and the pass of Thurn were easy, but the Gerlos pass is quite an affair. And then, there were these well known old acquaintances from earlier six days and winter rides, the “Bauer in der Au” and the “Valepp” where they once had to carry emergency supplies by ski to the riders caught on a winter ride, who had been trapped there by snow, and the Sudelfeld. At the “Bauer in der Au” Wiggerl Kraus had been among the spectators, he was quite well again.
The officials had chosen to use this day to sort out the gold medalists. It is quite understandable, that the officials do not like too many gold medalists, but the method they used, simply shortening the time standards, is the wrong way. The very good riders normally will deal with this situation, but with highest dedication, i.e. riding with high risk. If there is opposing traffic in a bend they cut, a crash will happen. Of course, this doesn’t happen so often to the “extra class” riders, as it does happen to the “first class” riders, or even more to the “only good” riders. Reason is, that these “extra class” riders have extremely short reaction times, so that they can get out of these dangerous situations.
But it can’t be the purpose of this event to get the riders into life threatening situations. A different way, means a less dangerous way, must be found to screen out the gold medalists. Without any doubt, the organisers do know this, but they still haven’t found the right way to do it. Also, it is the riders own fault, that the time schedules get always shorter, as they often ride at such high speed, that they have to wait up to half an hour in front of the time checks.
Of course, you need some time in advance, as a reserve for some incidents, but that must be done prudential and within certain limits. As soon as one has some advance, the speed for the rest of the distance should be slowed down. The ambition of some riders to overtake everyone in front of them, is only silly. This senseless chase is the reason for many tyre punctures, and other defects, too.
The best proof that calm riding can be the right way is seen in Pierre van Maldeghem, president of the Belgian motorcycle association, who always rides smooth, and who did stay without marks until the 3rd day, but then he took 3 marks on the 4th day and another 4 on the next day, due to the shortened times. There are some sensible riders who say, that the rider who goes for a silver medal from the beginning, has the best chance to earn a gold medal in the end.Continue reading