The story of the Lambretta Rallymaster as used by Alan Kimber in the ISDT 1961
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.
I am grateful to Bill Kershaw one of our home nation welsh riders in the ISDT 1961 who has loaned me his copy of the event programme which we now have scanned and added to our online library over at issuu.com
You can read the program by following the link to our library at issuu.com
(at present due to changes at Issuu and standards in use at WordPress it is not presently to add new embedded copies of Issuu documents in WordPress pages and you will need access this file by the above link .The file requires a user to have a flash plug-in so will not work with a number of digital devices including iPad and iPhone, we are sorry for the nuisance this causes and hope it is fixed soon)
The programme includes an image gallery of each years ISDT event from ISDT 1948 in Italy through to the ISDT 1960 Austria. I have included the photos from that set below.
A copy of ‘the Motor Cycle‘ of 19th October 1961 was keenly opened for the first time today to find a collection of interesting post ISDT 1961 event notes which will appear in a future blog. But of a greater interest to me where a series of sketches made of the event by Gordon Horner. Those not familiar with the man who was a well respected artist and lived 1915 to 2008 and was the last of the major artists working for ‘Autocar‘. I was particularly pleased and surprised to find these drawings and would love to see the originals if they still exist, probably hung framed on the walls of the family of ex-staffer at the old magazine or its publishers and today quite a collectible item.
The motorcycle artists still exist with painters like Robert Kinsey actively covering the motocross scene on canvas mostly for commissioned works by the industry but in the media the use of the artist has largely vanished to be replaced by CAD and 3D design.
Dont forget like with all our blogs clicking on the image will provide a larger image
I was pleased to discover a copy of Das Motorrad covering the ISDT of 1961 in Wales. As much as I am a fan of the quality British Bike Magazines of the period ‘the Motor Cycle‘ and ‘Motor Cycling‘ both of which provided quality detailed reporting and opinion on the events with good journalists. I have also found ‘Das Motorrad‘, even despite my non existent German language skills, provides a superior standard of Quality in a magazine whilst is surprisingly devoid of much of the advertising and classified that fills so much of the English magazines.
I’m going to try to get the article translated and made available via our Issuu library but for now here are the images of the article with their German captions, and my comments in English as appropriate.. many of these images will not have been seen in Britain before.
I am starting the preparation to mapping all the ISDT’s, especially our home nation ones in the UK. Work is commencing as detailed mapping or advice on the route becomes available. Thanks to the kind intervention of Bill Kershaw, we now have a copy of the ISDT 1961 Programme which includes a detailed map with Ordnance Survey detail for the route of each days course in 1961. Whilst work is committed ot existign projects I have posted the maps we have here and hope if anyone has additional information that can help, please drop a line in the comments here or on the guest book