We have just received advance news of a new book to be published this coming Spring that may be of great interest to many Speedtracktales readers.
In late August 1939, Hitler’s armies were poised to invade Poland, while in Austria the International Six Day Trial was underway. The trial was dubbed ‘The Motorcycling Olympics’, where the crème de la crème from five or six nations competed in six days of hard riding.
Following the Olympics in Berlin just three years earlier, the ISDT was seen by Hitler as being another opportunity for Nazi dominance – and the event was unexpectedly held in occupied Austria! Half way through, riding through the mountains surrounding Salzburg and with the British teams once again doing very well indeed, they received a telegram from the British Embassy telling them to get out immediately. WWII started just a week later.
The story of how the British competitors and spectators successfully made it away through Switzerland with the help of their German escort has so far only been mentioned in magazine articles and websites, but extensive research has revealed much new material about this fascinating and exciting event in history.
Maybe you or some of your readers can help me, re the 1939 ISDT please?
I’ve read that Bert Perrigo, BSA Competition Manager, travelled over to Austria in his BSA saloon car with the Army convoy. (This was in addition to Tom Davies accompanying the BSA Team.)
However, when did Perrigo return to England?
Was it early Friday morning, together with the great majority of the competitors, support crews, spectators, with Vic Brittain in the passenger seat of his BSA car, leaving his Norton behind? (as his son, Johnny Brittain says today, and who also says that Allan Jefferies told him he’d seen Vic’s Norton in Austria after the war…..
Was it late Friday evening, after the day’s competitive riding, when “…Perrigo waited for the riders to return, filled their tanks and sign off for good, while Lt.Col.Bennett dealt with the administration.” from p46, Walker & Carrick’s ISDT history Col.Grimm & Col.Bennett then led the three Army teams, together with Cottle, Edge, Sim, Sanders and TSRs and spectators, to the Swiss Border.
Any hard facts re this would be much appreciated, as I’d hate to promulgate false ‘facts’ in my forthcoming book.
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.
In a recent blog here, I re-introduced visitors of Speedtracktales to one of the professional photographers without whom much of this archive of the event would be a very inadequate experience. Erwin Jelinek like many attended most events taking hundreds if not thousands of images. Whilst many end up acquired by image libraries where they more or less go to be forgotten and never seen again, Erwin left his collection to his national archive for public access in 1989 and ultimately recently technology and funding have been bought together by the Technical Museum of Vienna for whom I am very much endebted for the wealth of material they have made available for everyone across Europe.
This post features many of the images taken by Erwin of the British riders in the ISDT 1960:
#58 Don Noys Heinkel 175cc Scooter (Retired Day 2)
Erwin Jelinek was a very active photographer throughout the heyday of the ISDT both well respected and taking a prominant roll in the press corp at any event. With a copious quantity of material when he passed away he bequethed his collection to Public Archive. Subsequently the images found their way into an online archive dedicated to Motorsport
Erwin Josef Jelinek
( 12.02.1907 Braunsdorf in the municipality of Sitzendorf an der Schmida , NE – 15.10.1989 Hofkirchen an der Trattnach , Upper Austria)
Erwin Jelinek’s interest in photography was sparked by his physics teacher in the College of Education in Vienna. During his training as a primary school teacher, he began photographing as an amateur. Already in the 1920s , he joined a photo club. 1928 self-taught he entered an Agfa European photo competition Agfa winning first prize.
1929 bought a Puch 250 TF Jelinek with a sleek Felber sidecar, where later his wife Gertrude accompanied him to the racing events .
After the Second World War, he was a professional press photographer and focused, as well as his colleague Artur Fenzlau, on the booming reconstruction in motorsport. He was a staff photographer of the magazine “Motorrad“. His studio was located on the 2nd Czerninplatz District of Vienna. Erwin Jelinek moved in 1972 from Vienna to Hofkirchen at the Trattnach in Upper Austria , where he died on October 15, 1989.
In contrast to the photographic Estate Artur Fenzlaus the work of Erwin Jelinek includes only photographs from 1949 until 1977. From Jelinek’s written documents it is known that his early photographs were destroyed during the occupation.
The above text was translated from material at www.technischesmuseum.at
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‘
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, 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.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” had been; also Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, team leader of the English army teams, did let his Army teams start.
In this Post we are going to create from modern geographic information such as Google Maps, the route of the ISDT 1939. I needed to have a list of destinations for the event to help tagging a recently discovered photo collection to date the images. As there is not as of yet, any detailed mapping of the route used and so until such maps are re-discovered this list of each days stops are taken from the maps provided with the results and programme. User Caveat: As this event was organised by the German Government and Military I presume they could go very much wherever they chose. It is likely that some of the tracks used for the event and featured in this article may cross private land for which to use now, the consent of the owner may be necessary. To decide if this is the case, you may need to do further research, unfortunately, we are unable to give advice.
Recently noticed in the last few months a new collection of very old Photos started coming up in Google Searches although they appear to have existed since at least 2012. A number of the photos I have seen before in the pages of British Motor Cycling Magazines and these look like scans off glass plates or negatives so I am going to presume the Mortons Archive are using this site as another agency to sell it’s images. No doubt those of you looking for publish quality images for your ISDT / Vintage publications will find this a helpful resource for rights managed images as it appears a lot better than Morton’s own online gallery:
This blog was generated direct off the page but does not appear to share the image but just the key worlds which were for an interwar image taken on the Großglockner. The numbers of images available seem very impressive. The standard ISDT search found 519 images. I was able to create a URL to display the watermarked image here from the gallery page.
Thanking our many many visitors in 2013 and especially those getting in contact to share their own personal and family memories of the ISDT and the riders. We stil lhave lots more to rediscover and save for the event and are reliant on your support. Coming soon will be a bumper posting of images of the ISDT in Wales recovered from back issues of Das Motorrad recently acquired for the web archive.