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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.

We have recently started mapping the course of the event which can be found on the blog ‘Mapping the 1939 ISDT

After Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4 we get to Days 5 & 6

ISDT 1939 – Report from ‘Das Motorrad‘: The 4th Day

report by Von Gustav Mueller

The 5th Day

The Bavarian Forest leg lead far into the Bavarian Forest[1], to the noon time check at Viechtach. There were no special terrain difficulties, but the ordinary bad minor roads of the Bavarian Forest. Only a short 15 kilometre distance before the time check at noon had been full of terrain difficulties. The approach to the Bavarian Forest did pass through the hometown of the Führer, Braunau am Inn, where also a time check had been erected.

Photo - Here you can see for yourself, whether there was much space for the sidecar outfits! The outfit is the 600cc NSU of  #234 NSKK Oberscharführer [comparable to Sergeant] Oettinger. The NSU Team, otherwise belonging to the outmost reliable teams we know in the off road motorcycling, had a lot of trouble with their machines blowing out at the cylinder heads, By the way, only Dunz had been excluded from these damages, as he repeatedly had retightened his cylinder head at the beginning of the event,,,The second man shown is NSKK-Oberscharführer [comparable to Sergeant] Boden from Motorgruppe Sachsen [NSKK Motor Group Saxonia] on DKW 248 cc. ISDT 1939 (das Motorrad)

Photo – Here you can see for yourself, whether there was much space for the sidecar outfits! The outfit is the 600cc NSU of #234 NSKK Oberscharführer [comparable to Sergeant] Oettinger. The NSU Team, otherwise belonging to the outmost reliable teams we know in the off road motorcycling, had a lot of trouble with their machines blowing out at the cylinder heads, By the way, only Dunz had been excluded from these damages, as he repeatedly had retightened his cylinder head at the beginning of the event,,,The second man shown is NSKK-Oberscharführer [comparable to Sergeant] Boden from Motorgruppe Sachsen [NSKK Motor Group Saxonia] on DKW 248 cc. ISDT 1939 (das Motorrad)

In the morning, a number of the English participants didn’t show up at the start, as they had been advised by their team leader to go back home. Some of them didn’t follow this procedure, and did start despite all rumors. Amongst those with good nerves, of course, our old friend “Miss Kottelet”[2] had been; also Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, team leader of the English army teams, did let his Army teams start.

But during the day what we had been fearing did happen, the English military teams had been ordered back by highest order from over there.

MotorradImages-11-1939 ISDT

Right at their approach to the finish, they were received by the team staff and they rode immediately to their assembly point, without delivering their motorcycles to the parc fermé

Lieutenant Colonel Bennett did personally say goodbye to the leader of German motor sports, Reichsleiter Korpsführer Hühnlein [head of the NSKK], and did express his gratitude for the sports comrade-like support, the English had received in Germany from their German sports comrades.

The Korpsführer did regret the retirement of the English sports comrades and did express his appreciation for the good sports the English participants had been showing during this event. Soldiers among themselves!

The 6th Day

Photo – This was on the second day, the “5 lakes day, on the road parallel to the Lake “Attersee”. As long as only one solo rider comes along, the road seems quite wide, but imagine how tight it will be, if a sidecar outfit wants to overtake a bus, and they meet up there at the hump! The pictured rider is #217 NSKK- Truppführer [comparable to Sergeant] Wohlfahrt on Zündapp 245cc, a motorcycle that surprised some people with its performance. ISDT 1939 (das Motorrad)

Photo – This was on the second day, the “5 lakes day, on the road parallel to the Lake “Attersee”. As long as only one solo rider comes along, the road seems quite wide, but imagine how tight it will be, if a sidecar outfit wants to overtake a bus, and they meet up there at the hump!
The pictured rider is #217 NSKK- Truppführer [comparable to Sergeant] Wohlfahrt on Zündapp 245cc, a motorcycle that surprised some people with its performance. ISDT 1939 (das Motorrad)

For the end of the sixth day, a fantastic cross country section had been found and chosen. At the Reichenhall military training ground a real circus had been built, which was situated so fine, that from single points nearly the complete route could be overlooked, which was configured in many loops across the terrain.

The difficulty of the track lay in the loose and stony ground, in the short, trench-like depressions to be crossed, and a low-down steep descent.

Surprisingly, a great number of riders still had remained without points.

The German trophy team was the only one without points, as England already had four points, and additionally had retired voluntarily. The Italian team had 43 points in total. In the Silver Vase the German A-team had no points, also the Italian A-team was without points again, due to a decision of the Jury, as the points for a rider had been given incorrectly.

For the “Adolf Hühnlein Trophy”, the NSKK –C team and the –M team, the SS B-team and the A-team of the DDAC did apply. From the foreign teams, only the English team of the war department would have been without points.

In the ‘Bowmaker’ trophy, the selection did take place between the NSKK teams Berlin B and Franconia B, the SS chapter Main A and DDAC team Munich. In total, 155 riders still were allowed to start, thereof 96 without and 59 with points.

The German Trophy team, which already had the victory under its belt, did start first, and did a good finish time on that terrain, nevertheless. Trophy winner is Germany, with Rudi Seltsam on BMW R51, Otto Sensburg on Auto-Union DKW OSR 250 cc, Walter Fähler on Auto-Union DKW OSR 250 cc, and Müller with Mayerhofer in the sidecar on a BMW R66 600 cc outfit. Second in score was the Italian team with 43 points, third England with 804 points (for each rider and each not completed day, 100 points are added, as the English didn’t finish the 5th and the 6th day, 800 points had been added to the four points they had lost).

In the fight for the ‘International Silver Vase’, the fast German motorcycles did decide the win easily for Germany. The German team had a total time of 2hrs., 6 min. and 8.3 sec., against 2hrs., 16 min. and 10 sec. of the Italian team. It must be said, that the Italians did use one 500 cc and two 250 cc motorcycles, which were not able to cope with the fast 500 cc BMW. Perhaps, this result will make the people who write the regulation for the next ISDT think about it.

Due to the large number of riders still in reach of winning the Adolf Hühnlein trophy and the Bowmaker trophy, this competition did become quite thrilling. But, there were many incidents again.

Schaumburg from Berlin did experience a broken front fork head at full speed in the cross country section, and did hit a tree while falling, but the crash helmet did prevent the worst. Anyway, he did swell up strongly at one side! SS man Luthardt on his small and fast dual piston Triumph[3] had a good position, but had to retire due to a broken chain.

Our employee Hahmeyer, who already had had some misfortune in the beginning, when he had been stung by a bee, so that his face did swell asymmetrically, had to ride the final test with a broken frontbrake cable. A second man of the DDAC team, Charbonier on NSU, did participate, although he had 39°C feaver, and last but not least the team also had been handicapped by the fact, that the third man was riding an outfit. But Steinberger and his Zündapp did speed up in a way that it did the trick, and the DDAC team with Steinberger on Zündapp KS 600 outfit, Heinz Hahmeyer on BMW R 66 and Charbonnier on NSU 250 cc did win the Adolf Hühnlein trophy with no points and a time of 2:29:01, in front of the SS-B-team, which also had no points, but needed 2:45:11.2.

Also, the Bowmaker trophy went to the DDAC, namely to the DDAC team Munich with Steinberger, Hahmeyer and Köhler on Auto-Union-DKW 350 cc NZ.


[1] [Region in the east of Bavaria]

[2] [German for “cutlet”, spoofing of the name “Cottle”, is phonetically similar, maybe someone had misunderstood her name in the earlier years, and it became a joke?]

[3] [Triumph Works Nuremberg]

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