The 31 August issue of ‘the Motor Cycle’ carried a 12 page article on the ISDT that never was. Possibly heralded as being the best ISDT of all time, on paper the potential obsessive stage management by the German Nazi regime looking to impress foreign powers of its greatness could well have put on the best event ever. The grant finale of the event rather than a speed test was to be a scramble and surviving vide owe have seen shows it to be a quite remarkable event in its severity of technicl difficulty for the tie. However from arrival at the venue the event was beset with problems, firstly to all it appeared the Germans had been expecting the event not to happen at all, so preparations had been rushed and not complete. Despite a lot of man power being committed there were at times fuel shortages and the German officials tried modifying the traditional rules as the event progressed. The going on the other hand was not far off the most extreme the riders had ever seen, not just because of the Alpine setting in North Austria but also the extensive use of unmade tracks across pine forests that had in cases been cleared just for the event. The event withered for many competitors to a dead stop before the final day after Germany declared a pact with Russia that resulted in the division of Poland and was going to lead to the beginning of the second world war. Even though the Germans finished the six days it was a result devoid of competition and so after the end of the war the FIM annulled the results so the Trophies were never awarded.
read the full event report in ‘the Motor Cycle’ at our issuu.com library here
The greatest of all International Six Days Trials, that held in Germany last week, was virtually brought to an end last Friday. The cause, needless to state, was the European situation. In Salzburg information as to what was really happening was scrappy in the extreme. The German papers revealed little; those British papers available were two days old; wireless reception of the English news bulletins was next to hopeless.
In the 7th September 1939 issue of the Motor Cycle, the editor of the magazine A. B. Bourne who had been in Germany covering the ISDT 1939 event published an article titles ‘My Week in Germany’ giving his impressions of the events that occurred shaping the history of this notorious sporting occaision.
See the original article in our issuu.com library here
My Week in Germany – A.B. Bourne – Editor the Motor Cycle
To review the International Six Days after all that was written in last Thursday’s issue would be superfluous. Everyone knows what happened and how on Friday, the fifth day, the British contingent withdrew from the trial, left Salzburg and hurried to the Swiss frontier and home.
It is probably difficult for anyone not among the party to realise how cut off the British contingent was from knowledge of what was going on between the capitals of Europe. All at Salzburg sensed that there was a crisis, but how grave it was none knew. As we said in our description of the trial, the German papers revealed little, those British papers available were two days old, and wireless reception of the English news bulletins was next to hopeless.
Of course, there were many who started in the trial with little idea of what a modern International means. Somehow or other the impression that these trials are merely high-speed tours in glorious country still seems to exist. The facts are, as we have tried to convey in describing the event, that the modern trial as held in Germany is an Alpine Grand Prix with sections just about as bad as any included in British sporting trials.
Recently arrived at the Speedtracktales Checkpoint central was the two issues of ‘the Motor Cycle’ of 16th and 23rd September 1948 with a full report on the opening of the ISDT 1948, which was held at San Remo, Italy.
You can read both of the articles by following this link to our issuu.com library.
16th September 1948 – ‘the Motor Cycle‘
23rd September 1948 – ‘the Motor Cycle‘
The following summary of the event appeared in the editorial of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ 23rd September 1948
The ISDT restarted after the war and 1948 was the second year of the resurrection of the event with the British Trophy team victorious with Captain Allan Jeffries (600 Triumph), CN Rogers (350 Royal Enfield), Vic Brittain (350 Royal Enfield), Hugh Viney (500 AJS), and Jack Williams (500 Norton). I now have been lucky to set my hands on copies of both issues of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ covering the event which is featured in this blog on the event. However here is the course map for the ISDT 1948 which we hope to use to digitise a modern map for the original route.
If you were to ask many current followers of the ISDE what part they might take most interest in.. it will be the ‘Special Tests’ usually one Cross Country and one MX style each days is designed to sort out the wheat from the chaff of the sporting elite off-road motorcycle racers. Back in the early days of the ISDT the to hell or glory race was on the last day and if your national squad got through 5 days unscathed it would be the speed test, usually on a road race style circuit that the race was decided.
Back in the 1950’s it was clear the sport splitting from its roots of being an event to determine the greatness of the bike as the European Nations became more interested in the quality of the riders. However the paymaster of the event, the Motorcycle Industry, wanted to maximise the marketing value of winning the event. However as the global dominance of the British Bike industry started to wain, it was recognised for the sport to thrive required a new objective which was to measure the rider rather than the bike. The drive to this were the european nations however the greatest act to confirm this shift was from Britain’s Auto Cycle Union who supported the need to provide daily tests to identify the best riders as the event progressed.
In 1960 the ISDT in Austria trialled a British idea of having two special tests a day to examine which riders where performing best rather than who was able to hang in to the pace set by the organisers. The trial worked and in 1961 the F.I.M introduced two mandatory special tests a day for the ISDT 1961. The fact this was driven by the British for a British hosted event where the home nation failed to excel is one of the most obvious milestones marking the ultimate demise of the British Motorcycle Industry within 15 years as this editorial from ‘the Motor Cycle’ of the 12 October 1961 alludes to.
“IT made a welcome change to be writing in the sunshine and among the mountains of Wales instead of in the office. Yes, I was having a few days on the “International” and enjoying every minute of it.
This report of the 1924 Trial was published in the magazine Motor Sport in December 1924 and shows how the event started from Liverpool and crossed across North Wales and featured many of the ISDT greats such as Miss E Foley, NPO Bradley, Marjorie Cottle, B Kershaw and FW Giles.
The Reliance Cup Trial of the Liverpool Motor Club.
As usual the Reliance Cup Trial proved to be one of the outstanding events of the sporting season now rapidly drawing to a close. The course followed was from Liverpool to the Vale of Llangollen and back, including such important sections as the Colonial portion from Boundary Stone to Cilcain, Maes-y-Safn, Allt-y-Bady, Bryn-Eglwys and Bodfari.
So read the title of the editorial in ‘Motor Cycling‘ in the issue of 25 September 1952 in a report covering the ISDT 1952 that had recently taken place at Bad Aussee in Austria. You can read a copy of the Cyril Quantrills report on the event at our issuu.com library of old ISDT magazine reports and programmes here.
“Bad News From Bad Aussee:
THOUGH these words are being written while we still await the final confirmed results of the International Six Days Trial it seems evident that things have by no means gone as planned by Great Britain. Until our representatives return home it will not be possible to establish a clear picture of what went wrong and, In any case, this is not the moment to conduct a post-mortem. Rather is it one to congratulate the winners on their success, to compliment the organisers on what seems to have been a difficult yet fair trial and to commiserate with those who found that their luck was Out.”
Prior to the handing–in we gained a very definite impression that the organizers themselves were surprised that the event was actually to take place
Many readers of this blog contact me with their thanks for providing what is the non existent ISDT reading room in the National Motorcycle Museum or even the Auto Cycle Union Six Days Archives. Such praise is often only due to the work and help of many readers who are ex riders or the family of ex riders who are willing to share, at no charge, their family material so as to help others who may not be so lucky to be able to recall past exploits of favourite relatives so easily to supplement my otherwise meagre budget to purchase important relics which may appear on eBay from time to time..
No more so are these gifts welcome than a recent contact from Susan Coates now based in the USA but from a British Motorcycling family who she found a collection of old magazines on a recent visit. Amongst this collection was an original copy of the 30th August 1939 edition of ‘Motor Cycling‘ with a full report of the ISDT 1939 which she rapidly sent me a scanned copy to be able to share with others through the site.
Let us hope that peace will prevail and that the 1940 event will take place under happier auspices.
Here is the Editorial article which started each issue of ‘Motor Cycling‘ and provided a useful summary and opinion on the events of 1939. In a forthcoming blog I will be reproducing the latter part of the report ‘The Great Retreat’ which is the story of the riders evacuation from the festering world war about to commence in mainland Europe. I have included in the article the images from the actual report and you can read a copy of the original report at our issuu.com library here
An Unhappy Coming-of-Age
WHATEVER the future may hold in store for the International Six Days’ Trial, the 21st event of the series will go down in history – so far as Great Britain is concerned – as the trial which never finished. In the early hours of Friday morning it was decided to withdraw the entire British entry, and it is fitting, therefore, that the facts underlying that decision should be recorded before they become distorted with the passage of time.
Image left – A wonderful view of the Grossglockner Pass .The leading rider is L/Cpl A.C. Doyle BSA of the War Office ‘A’ Team, centre – This picture gives a good idea of the interest villagers took in the trial, the rider is again L/Cpl A.C. Doyle (348cc BSA), right – A group of NSKK officials operating a time check at the top of the Grossglockner Pass during Wednesday’s run . The riders are #165 E Eisenmann (346 NSU) and #166 Colin Edge (347 Matchless) who, despite carrying on against doctors orders, did not lose a single point up to the time he withdrew with the other British Riders.
Thus read the article headline for the report on the ISDT 1951 that appeared in the 27th September edition of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ for 1951.
The article can be read in full via our online library of vintage magazine articles held at issuu.com here
Fifteenth Success for British Teams in the Trophy Contest: Netherlands Team Wins Silver Vase on Speed Test: An event of Varying Severity in Northern Italy
The issue’s Editorial read
BRITAIN WINS AGAIN
The International Six Days’ Trial in Italy
ONCE more a British team has won the International Six Days’ Trial. This success brings the number of British wins to 15 of the total of 26 Trials that have been held. The British quintet completed the six-day course of some 1,200 road miles and the final hour’s speedtest without loss of marks to beat the Austrian team by one mark. Although there were only three teams competing for the International Trophy – the third was Italy – the lustre of the success is not diminished, since no team could have done better.