In the frontispiece editorial in the 8th December 1938 issue of the Motor Cycle the article reproduced below indicates British concerns about proposals being made by Germany as hosts of the ISDT 1939 to revise a number of significant rules if the ’39 event. It is interesting to note the part support and part objection to the prose abandonment of the final speed event in favour of a more typical test based on normal event conditions. Despite British reluctance the rule changes proposed by the Germans continues in the modern ISDE event with the final test now taking place on a motocross circuit. Having been able to watch a copy of a video of a film of the 1939 event, in my opinion the final test although not contested by British Riders was impressive in the manner in which riders with skills were able to make the bikes perform on quite radical off road conditions. I’d probably go as far as saying the introduction of the final test as one of cross country rather than speed may be one of the very few good things to come out of Germany at that time. It is also clear from the article of the existence of a widening gap between the founding principles of the event as a test of motorcycle reliability as followed in Britain and the European view of it being an off-road race for which reliability was one of a number of factors being tested.
“GERMANY is proposing a drastic revision of the rules under which the International Six Days Trial is run. This event, it will be recalled, is to be held in Germany from August 20th to August 27th with headquarters at Kitsbühel, Salzburg or, Berchtesgaden, and the idea is that instead of ending with a high-speed test there shall be a cross-country test. By incorporating this the character of the Six Days as a trial over difficult country would, it is suggested, be retained.
Our views about the undesirability of ending the trial with a high-speed test are in complete accord with those of Germany. When discussing the last event we said:- “In our opinion no trial is a better test of reliability than the International Six Days as run over the past few years. Our only criticism is the high-speed test at the finish. This is an excellent substitute for a final examination, and has the advantage that it weeds out the weaklings among the competing machines, but where two teams tie for an award on the road section the speed test becomes a roadrace, for the winning team is the one that gains more on its schedule than does the other. This causes national teams to think in terms of T.T.-type machines, which is thoroughly unfortunate. A trial, in theory at least, should develop the roadster, and this the International, unlike the majority of trials, would succeed in doing except for this speed business. “Germany goes farther than this and says that the organiser, in the interest of safety, can no longer accept the responsibility of allowing machines which have been driven for six days under such hard conditions to take part in a final speedtest, especially having regard to the ever increasing speed of machines. Her proposal is that in place of the speedtest there shall be three laps of a short course that includes sand with no hardbase, loose stone, grass, freak hills and trenches 5½ yards wide and rather more than a yard deep. Marks are to be lost for failure to keep to the speed schedule, stopping the engine, falling over and soon. While we are keen to see the speedtest discarded, the test that is proposed would seem to be both freakish and militaristic and calculated to prove little. However, now that attention has been focused upon the whole matter ‘it may be that some really useful deciding test will be the outcome. One interesting proposal is that the three solo riders in the Trophy teams shall use different sizes of machine, namely,250, 350 and 500 c.c.”
Also reported in the same editorial was this short note on the success of the British in the ISDT 1938
Great Britain’s Wins in the Big Sporting Events: Excellent Production Models BRITISH riders and British motorcycles have done well this year probably very much better than even the enthusiasts who follow the results of all the big races and trials actually realise. For the third year in succession Britain has won the International Six Days Trial, the most important reliability event held in the world. And she won it on reliability in the 1,495-mile road section, her rivals losing men through retirements. Thus, of the 20 Internationals that have been held to date, Britain has won no fewer than 11. No other country has won more than three.“