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Introduction 20th ISDT 1938
This year the 20th ISDT was held in Llandrindod Wells, Wales from the 11th to 16th July 1938
Thanks to reader M Wryan we now have a copy of the programme which can be accessed on this blog post linking to our issuu.com library
“It is reported by cable that again Great Britain has won the International Motor Cycling Six Days’ Trial, the most important contest of its kind in the world, and one which ranks just as important in the motor cycling world as does the Davis Cup contest in the realm of tennis.”
A quote from an report on the ISDT of 1938 published in the Maitland Daily Mercury a regional newspaper circulating in New South Wales, Australia 30 July 1938.
The paper went on to report – “In prior contests for the international trophy, national teams were restricted to two solo riders and one sidecar outfit, but this year, the personnel per team was increased to three solo riders and one sidecar outfit.
The team selected to represent Britain in this year’s test comprised the victors of 1936 and 1937, Messrs. V. N. Brittain (34S c.c. Norton-Dunlop), G. E. Rowley (316 c.c. AJ.S.-Dunlop) and the sidecar specialist, W. S Waycott (596 c.c. Velocette-Dunlop). The fourth and new member of the team was J. Williams (348 c.c. Norton-Dunlop). The first three representatives captured the coveted trophy from Germany in 1936 and retained it in 1937, when the 6 days’ trial was decided on British soil. As the holders of the trophy, this year’s event was again organised by the Auto Cycle Union of Great Britain and decided over a strenuous and tricky mountainous route, mostly in Wales.
This sporting event annually attracts a big field, embracing national teams from most of the European countries, club teams, trade teams and individual entrants. Two contests are decided concurrently — the official national teams competing for the trophy, while other teams compete for the ‘silver vase,’ and private entrants for gold medals and other awards. All told, over 2000 (sic) riders usually take part in the ‘strenuous’ week’s ride, which embraces five days of about 250 miles each, under stringent time checks and a shorter run on the sixth day of the Donington racing circuit, where speed tests are decided.
The severity of the 1938 trial is reflected in the result, the British team for the ‘trophy’ being the only one to finish intact. Second place was filled by Czechoslovakia. It is reported that only one member of the German team finished without loss of points. This result is rather significant, because, to the surprise of other nations, German at almost the last minute before closing of nominations, switched her solo riders to smaller engined machines, viz., 175 c.c. supercharged two-stroke D.K.W.’s, wonderful little machines capable of well over 100 m.p.h. By doing this, Germany banked on getting through the severe time checks on the daily sections without loss of points, owing to the easier schedules set for small powered machines, and then outspeed ing the heavier machines on the Donington racing circuit. Apparently the strenuous daily tests found two ‘175’s’ unable to reach the deciding speed tests without loss of points, with the result mentioned. For the first time, British Army teams took part in the trial. This year’s success gives Britain three successive victories, bringing her total wins in this international event to 11 out of 20, a great tribute to the efficiency and dependability of the British-built motor cycle and the men who so ably handle them.”
Ominous drums of terrible war could be clearly heard, Spain had seen right wing political muscles flexed, few could then realize how world markets plus National economies, unemployment also direct prosperity itself balanced, finely dependant upon outcome results in this 20th International Six Days Trials. Nowadays the internet & televised advertisments have shares of influence, not available then. Petrol Companies, Oil companies, Brake shoes materials, Electrical Ignition, Lighting systems, Chain companies, Goggles suppliers, Riding boots, Control levers, Tyres, plus machines, companies plus factories producing them and working folk needed economic reliable transport to their workplaces plus value for their earnings and had an annual world stage to prove superiority. We may have to use the newspaper cuttings stock currently available to us, Military Contracts & requirements had long been specified.
[Go to Extra ISDT Progs to see the other 1938 ISDT pics being sorted out for us by Netherlands ISDT Historian Jan Melssen. Thanks to another great researcher we now have the short Cine film of 1938 ISDT by Pathe Film, plus 1961 similar & even the 1938 700 cc MG Midget land speed record percent in it’s class, it did get the record!, any enthusiast with genuine interest can have a copy.]Brian Jones’s Mum Audrey & his late father Ben Jones would ardently follow events on Eppynt Mountain Range where ISDT Speed Trials took place, plus the Largest TT circuit of 5.2 Miles on Mainland Britain which saw Post WW2 TT’s of highest quality. 1948 ISDT team selection for the event in ROMA Italy was selected in a 2 Days Event there in a period when Petrol rationing prevailed, below are pics I’d love to have identified, HELP!!! 1937 or 1938 ISDT too may provide info although that flag arrangement over pits in 1938 looks different to the ones in this set of pics. we could be viewing from the other end of course!. [ISDT Historian Netherlander Jan Melssen came to rescue us. Above is 143 J. Ashworth Works Team 499 BSA in 1938 ISDT. plus below.] Part of email From Iain Richardson who actually owns the car in pic:- “I do know quite a bit about the car, – yes I know about the wonderful Automobile Palace, and the charasmatic MD Tom Norton….This car, Heywood L.H.W. was designed and built by three employees Lloyd, Hughes & Williams who were all loyal ‘servants’ of the Palace! – under the watchful eye of Mr Norton…the car featured in a couple of 1938 publications …The Light Car and the Motor Cycle..I have the original letter an 8 page masterpiece from the designer Mr Williams…written in 1991…Mr Hughes [the driver in the 1938 ISDT] drove the car regularly to work in the 50’s…in fact, the whole story of the Heywood L.H.W. would make the basis of a great film! was/am hoping that someone may have a photograph of performing at the event. I have approx a hundred photographs of its ‘metamorphis’ back to how it looked at the 1938 ISDT…I intend to take some more photographs, and I will of course forward you as much as you want, including a few bit & bobs which you may find interesting [including the letter!] …Both Hughes & LLoyd were deceased in 1989 while Mr Williams was in his 80’s, so I guess he is no more, although he did mention that he had married ‘a young, much younger lady’ – so perhaps she is still alive! So, any ‘new’ info/pics’ on FO3705, the only car built at The Automobile Palace, would be most welcome, – and I will of course forward you info which I posess on ‘The Little Car’ as Mr Williams affectionally referred to!
Tom Whitton 500 AJS awaits! that street behind him near the lake in Llandrindod Well still looks so much the same with newer cars same click on link to view the Tom Whitton Album on David Whitton’s Picasa Album, there is so much more than just a picture which just shows there is a story ‘the stories assembled in this website from rough treasured press cuttings & family pictures carry history simply brushed past in transit.Were the above numbers right? there is an image below from a BSA advert in ‘Motor Cycling‘ which appears identical but all with number boards and the correct numbers… (pre digitial photoshop action?)
The above information came from the old site. If this picture is 1938 then these will all be Works BSA’s but #143 should be J Ashworth and #170 is J Arnott. Can anybody clarify the identity of these three riders please.
Cyril G. Rowles at Llandrindod Wells Start point on his 500 Matchless #188 under the scrutiny of an RAC man, riding for the WSW (West South Wales Centre) The picture was provided by Michael Rowles, son of C. G. Rowles & himself a Trials Rider.
From Dave Martin again after his email discussion with Paul Norman (at centre of pic.) with left, Charlie Edwards works Norton mechanic from Joe Craig’s team, his son Tony is on right. That Bike is actually a 1938 ‘Big Plunger Manx’, one of the first 7 built for the 1938 ISDT.
Dave Martin, now exiled in New Orleans but still no less the Welshman he was when he left recently sent the following images to Taff Isaacs who has asked they be displayed here undated likelihood is they are 1938… unless you know different….
This photo maybe from 1937 as it was reported in Motor Cycling that the German Sports President addresses an assembly of German riders at the Pump House Hotel and was accompanied by the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Herr von Beyer Ehrenberg Vice President of the FICM Competition Committee.
Through out this years article the presence of the Nazi Germany teams in a mood for world dominance means there will be a few images of the Nazi Salute being given. We show these pictures only for their historic context and for the avoidance of any doubt neither support or endorse any of political or idealogical views of those giving them and agree subsequent events exposed the underlying evil of that movement whilst many of those sucked in to it did not always have the option to exercise a right to decline.The above images were made available by Deryk Wylde. : Images in this section are protected with a digitally embedded watermark. Copies, without the watermark, may be available – please contact ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ for details. 165 is entered by D.D.A.C. A Von Falkenhaysen’s 500 BMW (thanks to Ben Jones’s Family & Jan Melssen for solving). Jan provided the following fine pictures too
“Sniper duck!” #58 S. Jenkins embarrassingly leaving his 500 Rudge on the track shale surface.many more thanks to Jan Melssen for such rare pictures.
Cynghordy Post office, just outside Llandovery, still there with that same arched top wooden Chapel window frame above the door plus those very same guttering drain pipes stared back at me in July 2006 from currently empty holiday or summer homes. (that wooden framed building to the left of the pic has been removed) These chaps were on their way to the timed pause at Llandovery and had apparently stopped to post something. Eppynt TT Races, the largest TT Races on Mainland Britain 1948 to 1953 information had it’s registered Admin office at Llandovery, In the Red Lion Hotel, practically next door to the current Information Centre. Peter Ritchie has contacted us to advise, that mystery lady between the 2 riders is Vera Cunningham. wife of solo rider ‘Buster Cunningham, many thanks to Peter!
H Persoon of the Zuid Holland M.C. Team driving the 600 BMW with Lindner in the sidecar, behind them you can see the Post Office at Cray (Crai in Welsh) village where a meal was proudly prepared for them on 2 days at the 1935 built Village Hall. Post office plus Hall are still there as they were, spares & Newspapers for teams arrived at the Railway station situated then just across the present main road to Brecon.
Riders soup was prepared in a Burco Boiler with a gas ring beneath it and Post Mistress, Sally Lewis even played piano there during their Lunch.
Tom Whitton AJS 500, later in the event at the return to lake portion of Llandrindod Wells with 500 Rudge mounted F A Whitehouse
This was supplied here listed as Men serving in the SS, however the official Listed entrant of Dunz & passenger pictured here at Erwood was NSU Werke (8) their machine a 600 NSU.
Below are pictures from report of the ISDT in ‘the Motor Cycle‘ of 14th July 1938
Eagle eyed readers may recall seeing a photo of Miriam standing by her BSA with Mrs Marjorie Cottle
For more information on Fron Bache read our article about the Heritage Highways of Llangollen used for the ISDT
On the map
In an article that can be found here we have looked at the below maps comparing them with modern maps and have been fairly confidently able to identify much of the original route of the ISDT 1938. In addition an article here examines the checkpoints along the route of the ISDT from the map and using Google Street-view has looked at what these places look like today.
Sadly most areas of Wales have forgotten the Course Route, the Nationalities & dress plus political trend portrayed, go to the Towns & villages en route and very few seem to recall the event.
Using the above information we have been able to map the entire 1938 route pretty accurately although some tweaking by way of correction may still arise read about the work to do this and see a modern map of the course here
C.G. Rowles #188 Matchless 500 heading up the track away (‘past what is now a carpark) from the river near the lower base of Dinas Rock itself, the track is a little firmer today.
Not British, judging by the sidecar arrangement #126, ,TO THE ‘Identifying Rescue’ came VMCC Library folk yet again, W Reinhardt of Germany is seen riding his 597 BMW & Sidecar (from the Rowles collection)
British Entry W (Bill) Peacock on #147 Ariel & Sidecar identified thanks to VMCC Library people yet again.
Esso, Shell, Mobiloil, Castrol, Renold, Lucas Miller, Villiers, Clearhooters, Champion. Lissen, Powell & Hamner, Stadium, Hella, CAV, Michelin, Bosch, Klaxon, Delco Remy, BTH, KLG, Magnetti Marelli, Lissen plus the entire Italian & German motorcycles ranges plus accessories with other European & American machinery & Products had to compete to be the best available & where else to Internationally prove it to be so ISDT.
What the papers said.
‘the Motor Cycle‘ had a feature on the first four days of the event in the issue of the 14th July 1938 – you can read the article at our issuu.com library
A final report on the event appeared in the 21 July 1938 issue of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ which can be read here in a site blog featuring the issue.
‘Motor Cycling‘ carried a review of the first day and lead up in the issue of the 4th July and a more substantive early days report on the 13th July which is reproduced here and was followed by a complete wrap up of the 6 days with the results in the 20 July 1938 edition which can be viewed and is featured in this article
Possibly one of the lost iconic images of the ISDT in Wales from the German magazine ‘das Motorrad‘ here we see German motorcycles thundering through a South Wales village with the roads lined with enthusiastic school boys who for the next seven years may have feared a full German invasion. A copy of this magazine has been acquired any help with translating will be gratefully received.
As a major International sporting event at its time the race was widely covered in the National Newspapers, here is the coverage in the ‘Daily Mail‘ and ‘Glasgow Herald‘ of July 1938.
Flight Magazine had this story in August 1938 reporting the unusual arrival at Cardiff Airport of a Junkers Ju 52, an aircraft that was an important element of the German Airforce during the WWII. The unusual visit was in order to pick up a an invalided patient Herr J Preiss who had spent nearly 5 weeks in Swansea Hospital after an accident in the recent International Six Days Trial.
The Silver Vase won by the SS motorcycle team made up of Mundhenke, Patina, Knees and Zimmermann.
The Germans’s also won another award and when the SS-emblazoned green leather-clad team marched up to receive the Adolf Hühnlein Trophy and gave the Hitler salute, a loud raspberry was blown by the director of the British team. Clearly the two nations were still some small distance from being at war.
This image taken by local photographer Rusham Roberts and graced the cover of the 1948 ISDT the first year the ISDT returned to Wales since 1938.
Credibility of Governments plus huge Military Contracts became dependant on results. (Sadly, a year later, developments were later advertised as we see here) ….Steam ship Europa arrived at Southampton at least a week prior to the ISDT start, Germany’s Teams had narrowly been defeated for the previous 2 years and another massive attempt was planned. The entire German team left to stay for 2 days preparation at Cheltenham, then off to Nottingham for another 3 days practice at Donnington Park, then settling seriously into & further Llandrindod Wells plus Welsh Hills acclimatization. Again German machinery was of virtually TT ohc races BMW & three ‘blown’ 175 DKWs & 600cc BMW sidecar outfits, & a field of 209 entrants prepared to compete in earnest. The inevitable conflict to follow did not alter courteous behaviour of all or efforts in catering or assisting all. David Higman is currently Curator of the National Cycle Museum, now occupying that Building to the right of pic. That is Tom Norton’s Automobile Palace which still looks the same, David helped immensely assembling much in this site too & it was a sheer pleasure to see him being awarded an OBE.
Allocated work spaces for teams as in 1938 saw National flags proudly flutter behind the Red Dragon emblem of Wales which is the oldest Flag in Europe, the one at the left soon became involved in a terrible War.
The Final Score: Results
Speedtracktales wishes to thank Marc Pétrier of FIM Information Resources who has facilitated the scanning of the FIM archive of ISDT results material and is allowing us to make it available here as a public service. Download a copy of the original Results and Stewards Report at the link below.
We are currently creating content for this section. In order to be able to keep up with our high standards of service, we need a little more time. Please stop by again. Thank you for your interest!
Where are they now?
Percy Sivell’s 350 BSA Mount in the ISDT of 1938 is still kept as it was & working well with vintage & Trials Specialist John Harding. Peter Sivell can be seen as well on his New Imperial in the 1937 ISDT, no place for an old machine is safer than John Harding’s Collection, John appreciates them, rides brilliantly and maintains them as they were, well done John.
This came in directly from John Harding’s new Mobile phone!!!, absolutely great. Percy Sivell’s BSA lives on. Now we can list the 1938 ISDT Trophy Winners as George Rowley, Jack Williams, Vic Brittain, W S Waycott <(they seldom mention his passenger!) Silver Vase went to the Germany Team Georg Meier, Rudolf Seltsam, J Mejes after hairy dicing in the wet at Donnington Speed Trials, 10 seconds was all between winners & losers!
AdvertsAnother Rowles picture of Cyril G Rowles, with his Matchless plus an array of silverware competitors could well envy. (One thing puzzling Michael Rowles & myself is that diamond shaped mark above the top of the ‘M’ on the Matchless Petrol tank, was it a way of marking by scrutineers?, does anyone care to advise us?. Now we can see from the Programme that Eddie Stephens C.G Rowles & N. Treseder were actually the Carmarthen M.C & L.C.C. entrants (my old Club!), Swansea M. C. had E Gordon Bennett Peter G. Sivell & J. Treseder entered for them.
To commemorate representing West South Wales Centre of the ACU, these were presented to each rider, again this was the one Cyril Rowles received & still treasured today by his family.
A 16H Norton did not really develop to be on a par with the Zundapp BMW or Jawa.
A Closer View of the Norton Big 4 was submitted to MOD & may have looked good here, however the Norton 16H Chugger wd not really be compared with BMW, NSU Zundapp or others of Germany
An article about the 1938 ISDT on the VeloBanjoGent blog from Australia