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26th ISDT was held 18th to 23rd September 1951 in Varese, Italy
With 220 starting 146 were able to finish with 89 gaining Gold Medals, 26 Silver Medals and 17 Bronze Medals
A beuatiful view of this mountainous area at high altitude. The area is close to Lago Maggiore in the Lombardy region and is within the Parco Regionale Campo dei Fiori It would be really nice to get a scanned copy of this if anyone ever finds a copy.
On the Map
Some picturesJack Botting won the medal above, both on Francis Barnetts, in 1951 before a very young Brian left back to BSA.
The five images above come from a sales pamphlet about the ISDT produced by Royal Enfield in 1953 which can be read here.
What the Papers Said!
Whilst we are awaiting our first period magazine report for the event we can share with you this article by ‘Motor Cycle‘ Deputy Editor, George Wilson, in the issue of ‘Motor Cycle‘ of 4th October 1951. The article is a critique of the event and aspects of the organisation of a large event in a very rural area short of adequate accommodation that saw major teams like the British with a considerable and sometimes perilous commute on narrow mountain roads each day to reach the start and race HQ. The British had what would have been a very palacial grand hotel high on the top of a mountain, sadly now abandoned.
The article is interesting as it was written at a time when the British motorcycle sport is at its zenith. Great Britain has been winning the Trophy every year since the ISDT resumed after the war. British manufacturers were world market leaders and we had confidence that our large capacity 350-500 singles and 650 – 700 twins ruled the ISDT roost. With the benefit of hindsight learned whilst I have been writing up the story of the ISDT, you can start to see a pattern emerging in the mid 30’s that the paths followed by the British and the rest of the world in developing machines for the ISDT were diverging. Since the British, who staffed and controlled the FIM ( a similar situation occurred in international cycle racing until the continentals quit the world governing body and set one up without the English which became todays UCI), it seemed the empire or commonwealth dominance of motorcycle sport was safe.
George, however, dedicates a long paragraph to the mistaken folly of an industry believing that our big bike domination would enable the survival of the industry and ,as such, our success was artificially retained by check speed schedules being high. However, more and more non British ISDT’s events saw these schedules being altered and more favouring small lightweight bikes of which there was an abundance in Europe and a scarcity in Britain. It would however take Britain a further 15 years before coming to the realisation that the world George paints here was coming and would be embraced by the sport and probably leading to the collapse of the British Bike Companies who more or less up until then had dictated the strategy of British national team selection for the ISDT.
And indeed with a further pointer that I can relate to, myself, once having owned a BSA C15T that often tended to resemble a British made tribute to the Amoco Cadiz or Torrey Canyon for the amount of oil it discharged on the tracks of Wales, the writer alerts his readers to the apparent exceptional build qualities of the German bikes for their oil tight and low maintenance features.
Having alerted us to the problems of sticking with the old guard the writer George, treats us at the end to a worthwhile announcement of the coming of a new guard and singles out 3 under 20 year old riders who rode on the Fast pace for the event achieving Gold medals and all certain to be great names for the future, they all were including one young man who won Gold on his first factory ride with Royal Enfield – Johnny Brittain
George signs his article off with the quick, rose tinted spec wearing review of the Royal Enfield twin he had been loaned for covering the event by Royal Enfield.
The six images below come from the above mentioned article in ‘the Motor Cycle‘ 4th Oct 1951 which can be read here
The results list 15 Vespa and Lambretta scooters, a number of which not only finished but achieved Gold medals.1951 ISDT Team SELECTION Trial to represent GB was held naturally from Llandrindod Wells. The machine above was not used in the ISDT but is connected, plus I believe it still exists in a lovely & restored state. [Pics please if u have?]
The following images appeared in the report of the event that was published in ‘the Motor Cycle‘ on the 27 September 1951 and a copy of the report article can be read on our issuu.com library which can be reached from this speedtracktales blog
Is this the same point in Gravellona today
In this image of the British Army Motor Cyclists entered in the ISDT 1951 in Milan seen parading outside the War Office London.
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!
Triumph are pleased their success in the ISDT for the previous 4 years had seen their success in the manufacturers team featuring Winning Trophy rider PH Alves, PF Hammond, and AF Gaymer.
Where are they now?
Jim Alves’ 650cc Triumph Trophy prepared by Triumph for this event was the first of this model which won not only the International Trophy but also along with Burt Gaymer on [LNX 351] and Peter Hammond [LNX 341] on 500s all won gold medals and also picked up the manufacturers award. Now restored the bike won the best private entry at the 2005 Bristol Classic Bike Show
Taff asks Anything known about this gem? AHHHH, Frazer solves the puzzle delightfully too:-
Your picture of the 1951 ISDT 500cc AJS twin in your assorted ISDT pictures was owned by me from 1973 until I sold it in 2000 to a collector from Oxfordshire.
I wanted an ex-ISDT bike but couldn’t find anything. Then we set upon an unnumbered AMC singles trials frame with fittings for a twin engine. We tentatively identified it was one of the ’51 works bikes (later confirmed to the late Bob Currie by a rider) and Walter Green of Barnsley, probably the best restorer of his day, spend a year rebuilding it to six day spec. It worked beautifully and carried me to trials etc for over 20 years until anno domini (me, not the AJS) suggested I find someone who would use it more frequently.
Any more details needed? email me. BIG THANKS TO FRAZER WRIGHT.
[We would love to get more information and photos of this event if you can help please do.]