The Most Gruelling Six Days
The Speedtracktales team has now acquired an original copy of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ report on the ISDT 1938 report.
The magazine article has been scanned and can be found in our issue.com library as well as here below.
Britain’s easy victory robs event of interest: Machine Reliability over the Severe 1,495 mile course
Reads the header of the editorial from this issue giving us a period overview of the week long event taking place towards the end of the quite before a great storm that raged the following year and darkened much of the world for 5 years.
“LAST week’s International Six Days’ Trial might be likened to a damp squib, and not merely because of the weather in Wales and later at Donington. The fact is that after the second day the main interest in the trial had disappeared, because in the contest for the International Trophy only Britain had a complete team. Germany lost two of her four representatives on that day and Czechoslovakia one.
Thus, it was almost a certainty that Britain would prove the winner. That this should rob the event of so much interest shows how, in this trial of trials, the trophy competition is paramount.
While Britain won easily, Germany had the lion’s share of the remaining awards, for she won the International Vase, the Hühnlein competition and the Club team prize. She also gained 14 of the 33 gold medals to be awarded; Britain won 12; Holland, 3; Czechoslovakia, 2; and Sweden and Ireland 1 each.
To compare results on a basis of the number of entries per gold medal is of little value. With some countries the competitors consisted almost entirely of picked men, while with others many of those taking part were competing for the sake of a sporting holiday, often without real knowledge of the International and with machines far from suitable for the work in hand.
Because of this it is easy to gain a false impression of the reliability of the modern motorcycle. This year largely because the British Army had entered three teams, the daily Press were present on the trial in force. Their descriptions, as a whole, were better than ever before. Inevitably, however, their reports spread far and wide the fact that of the 209 starters well over half – actually 127- red. These retirements in numerous cases had nothing to do with machine reliability even in this trial, the most gruelling Six Days ever held.
No doubt the A.C.U., after being told that last year’s course was too easy, decided, “Well, that shall not be so this time!” The net result was a I,495-mile “road” course that, by reason of its nature, the highspeed schedules and the settings of the frequent time checks, was more severe even than the German trial at Oberstdorf. The A.C.U. did magnificently, but the fact is that Britain, a country in which roads cannot be closed, is not suitable for such a trial; the competitors, if the test is to be sufficiently severe, a reliable to be endangered. There is no doubt that, for certain classes – notably the sidecar class – there was real danger.
Much discussion will result from last week’s trial. In the opinion of many it is only the few among the competitors who have brought riding in the International, a trial which is entirely different from the normal run of events, to a really fine art. There is also the important point that a member of a trophy or vase team not only has to ride to ensure his team winning, but to use every endeavour to gain a gold medal for the maker who has entered him. These two interests can be diametrically opposed. Obviously, if a team is “sitting pretty” for the vase or trophy with a win assured provided that members of it do not retire, that team should not take the slightest risk. It can be better to lose marks on time and therefore gold medals rather than risk retiring altogether. This team question is important, for it might in some future competition prove a problem. The final question is, “Where will next year’s trial be held?” Various countries have been discussed as possible venues – Germany, France (with Grenoble as the centre), Switzerland, Italy and even Sweden. At the moment, it is likely that Germany, our excellent hosts in 1934 to 1936, will be entrusted with the task.”
More International Gold Medal winners
The digital copy of this article can be downloaded from the Speedtracktales library at issuu.com.