Common knowledge recognises that with a long involvement with the ISDT and ISDE including its founding in 1913 at an event in Carlisle Britain has won the International Trophy the most of any nation. However it is popular belief, held with some disappointment in Britain, that the last time Britain won the Trophy was way back in the ISDT 1953 held in Czechoslovakia. The following year they lost it in Wales, handing the Trophy back to the hosts of their victorious event in the previous year. However a question remains that was ’53 the last year. Many at the time held out the vbiew that Britain should squeeze an extra year of glory if the decision of the Jury about an accident on the route had not reinstated a Czechoslovakian rider, who many felt should have been excluded for breaching the rules. Below is a picture of the first and second team in the Trophy from Motor Cycling and below that is the text of the editorial that appeared in the post ISDT 1954 issue of Motor Cycling which explains the reason why British Riders and supporters were unhappy about the final result.
In the year where we see the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the very first ISDT. For many, especially in Wales, it is also going to be noted as the 80th anniversary of the fifteenth ISDT event which took place in Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire, now Powys in 1933. We have a page dedicated to each year the ISDT took place but also its another anniversary as the ISDT changed its name in 1981 to the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). In 1983, 30 years ago this year, the ISDE rolled back into Llandrindod Wells / Builth Wells, the last time the Six Day spectacular has occurred in Great Britain. During this year I hope to produce a page to commemorate the 1983 event, of which video clips of a Welsh Language TV Show on S4C can be viewed in our ISDT Tube page.
Originally the awarding of the following years event was an honour bestowed on the National Governing Body for the country of the sport whose team won the trophy. However this became increasingly difficult because of the limited number of countries eligible to compete for the International Trophy, which could only be won by a team riding on motorcycles made in their own country. Later on the cost of this restriction limited the number of potential host nations and finding a host with adequate suitable terrain and resources became harder. The Trophy requirements were abandoned teams could ride on what they wanted, and it was later opened up to parties to bid for the rights to hold the event rather than winning the right.
As part of the 1933 celebration we have purchased an original copy of the ‘Motor Cycling‘ report on the week long event which we will be making available on the 1933 page. Below are a couple of images from that report and an extract from the editions forward piece on the ISDT of 1933.
A lucky Google search in 2012 identified friends of the late Jim Alves were selling off a number of his ISDT souvenirs. Photos of a number of these can be found on this blog but of particular interest was the FIM Gold Medal Jim won at the ISDT in 1953.
The importance of the 1953 win was that despite the British Team being, what Americans describe as the “winningest” when it come to the International Trophy, this event marks the last year an ACU team won it. Maybe this is one of the visual milestones that pointed towards the end of domination of British Motorcycle Brands. For another 10 or 15 years individual British riders imposed there brilliance on the ISDT results but by 1970 this was either on non British machines or custom workshop handbuilds like the Cheney or TriBSA
For now the 1953 we had never had it so good and this was our last best win of the ISDT, with the team now gone this is an important piece of the tale of the legend they left.
After brief negotiations the vendors were very keen to ensure the medal remained connected to the ISDT and agreement was quickly made for its acquisition by Speedtracktales. The collection grows.
I was lucky to find the Geoff Charles collection whilst browsing the National Library for Wales Online Photo Collection where I also found these images.
The following post is from an article in a 1984 edition of Classic Motorcycle written by well known Lake District Historians Percy and Margaret Duffy, the prints coming from a collection of antique magic lantern slides:
THE urge to demonstrate in some practical fashion the advantages of one particular machine over its rival came very early in the life story of the motorcycle, and it was in 1903 that the newly formed Auto Cycle Union adopted the idea of a Six Days Reliability Trial involving a series of daily tests, the event to be run annually. When it became known that for the Eleventh Annual ACU Six Day Trial, in 1913, the Lake District was being considered as a venue, the ACU made contact with the two local club – Westmorland CC, and Cumberland County MCC – with a view to electing suitable hills.
I can thank Dave Giles from the VMCC for providing all the content for this Blog which is very much an appeal for help in trying to locate any of the team or other BSA’s that were ridden in the immediate Pre-war period.
I have been provided with a list of the last three events of the ISDT prior to the outbreak of WWII in 1939, an event which for the second time interupted the ISDT. If anyone is able to help us identify any of these bikes by providing a registration or other ID and if they are aware if any collectors have one of these bikes kept under wraps somewhere we would be grateful if you could contact us here by messaging on this post Continue reading
With the 100th anniversary of the holding of the first International Six Day Trial less than 1 year away, as the event was hosted by the ACU in England before becoming one of the most truly international of top class motorcycle events. Which, with the toughness of the six days of effort quickly saw the event being likened to the ‘Olympics of Motorcycling’ a name that has stuck with it ever since as it has been hosted on most of the worlds continents.
German riders Rolf Witthoeft and Herbert Schek were legends in their riding era which was partially due to the longevity of their time riding and also they became best known for riding some of the largest bikes to ever, later known as the Bull Rider Class. These bikes over 750cc may not have had the greatest power to weight ratio but they were powerful and it took a good rider to get these items of heavy metal around a typical ISDT course.
Photo of Rolf Witthoeft as a BMW factory rider in 1979
Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that the WordPress site, to save time during compilation, took direct links to many of the images from a previously archived website that was still accessible on line. We have now noticed that it appears the host has now taken the entire archive site off-line which means many of the images have now gone and will not show in our articles.
We have access to the old images and will slowly correct this and we are grateful for your patience whilst we do so.
In the meantime there is a further unmanaged archive of the original Speedtracktales site which is associated with the National Library of Wales. If you are wanting to see images before we restore them we hope you can see them here.
The image of motorcycle racing is often defined in popular culture by the vision of men motors and leather. There should, however, be no doubt throughout the history of motorcycle sport, which predominantly post dates the era defined by Women’s campaigns for the right to vote and the germination of the principles of equality the ACU banned their taking part in road racing in 1925. Women although few in number instead became active and competitive entrants in off road motorcycle racing Cottle and Edyth Foley both winning Gold Medals in the ISDT in 1925.
In more recent times riders like Katrina Price have been able to show women are as competative and skilled as men and able to take on events of the severity of the ISDT/E. The involvement of women in the sport is featured in its own page. Continue reading