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 3rd Day
report by Von Gustav Mueller
Of course, all the officials and team members did meet at the time check up at the Großglockner. The road is too inviting, especially if you can’t get there for free! But even if one has to abstain from something else for this, if one is in this region, you have to ride up onto the Glockner, that is a point of honour. And, possibly directly afterwards to the Franz-Joseph-Haus. But the best is the descent to Heiligenblut. For this, you need to have some luck, as the weather changes quickly up there, and with some bad luck, you may sit in the fog. This part of the event gave a lot to the competitors, as the Glockner road is splendidly constructed, so that it could be done easily within the time schedule. At the top, right in front of the check point, they had some time to have an ample look around.
But, what came afterwards, wasn’t easy. Beyond Heiligenblut, the track partially was so narrow, that even a solo motorcycle wasn’t able to pass the postbus. Thank god, there are not many buses on that road, as they mostly use main roads. For the sidecar outfits, these narrow roads, without any chance of overtaking, are a big obstacle and an outstanding stress for the riders. I believe, that this had not sufficiently been taken into consideration, when fixing the time schedule. It’s not by coincidence, that so many outfits have to retire during such events. Eventually, these outfit riders have to ride fast to get some time in advance, as they, even if they have a spare wheel, need some time for the wheel change, and the punctured inner tube must be changed in the end, too.
The noon time check had been looked forward to by the riders. Bright sunshine and directly at the banks of the Millstättersee. Like birds on the wire, they were sitting and watching the pretty girls bathing in the Millstädtersee. And the Ostmark girls are really pretty, besides the fact, that swimming suits are always a pretty costume… But always when it had been extra nice, the worst is yet to come. In this case the Turracher Höhe with its 80% climb. Additionally, the road is not as good as the Glockner, but gravel with water gutters across the road. A lot of smaller motorcycles had to be pushed uphill.
The 125 cc DKW did it without problems. But these machines had rear wheel suspension and four gears. A clean design, made by the Auto-Union people, but on the other hand, does it make sense? On one side, everything is standardised, on the other hand they build special machines for these events. What we want to know is, how good the serial motorcycles are, and up to which limits they can be used. One should add a clause about stock motorcycles into the regulations. I know, it is difficult to describe how to judge a serial version, but it should be possible, somehow. That is important, so important, that it should be dealt with vigorously.There are funny things told about the afternoon course. “Fat Schlichting”, one of the heavyweights of the fast group from Werningerode, was reported to have said, that he had to lean to the wall for a moment, as the man from the Magdeburger Börde felt dizzy. Sure, this was a better joke, but the English riders did also confirm, that these mountain roads, where you often can look into the depth for hundreds of metres, without any guardrail or other protection between, are a real stress for them.
This day didn’t bring any changes in the competition for the International Trophy. England and Germany still are without penalty points. Italy took two points.
In the vase competition, still both German and both Dutch teams are without marks, also the English B-team and the Italian A-team. The brave Swedish team unfortunately did burst. Hedelin did crash into a lorry and had to retire, while Lindgren did destroy the plug thread by screwing the plug crossthreaded into the cylinder head, when changing the plug at his DKW 250, so that he wasn’t able to ride on.
Within the Adolf-Hühnlein-Trophy, sixteen teams did remain without penalty points.
In the valuable competition of the factory teams for the great gold medal, the Auto-Union, NSU and Steyr each have two teams, and Zündapp one team without marks. The Italians have two Sertum teams without marks, the English have the Norton -, the Triumph-, the BSA-, the Ariel-, the Royal Enfield – and the Matchless-team without marks, and last but not least, the Dutch have their DKW team without penalty points.
In the next edition we will feature Day 4