1907 Six Days’ Trial

THERE WERE 38 ENTRANTS FOR THE ACC’S fifth annual Six Days’ Trials (that in 1913 would evolve into the International Six Days Trial and in 1981 into the International Six Days Enduro). The trial was already international—among the foreign bikes was the first American to be entered in a British competition, a 4hp Indian ridden by TK Hastings, vice-president of the American Federation of Motor Cyclists. Of the 33 bikes (16 one-lungers, 17 twins) and five tricars that started, 21 completed the course.
“The first phase of the competition, the most important in the motor cycling world, took place at Messrs Waters’ garage at Hatfield on Saturday last,” The Motor Cycle reported. “This consisted in weighing the riders, their machines, and accessories, in examining the machines carefully, and in sealing the most important parts…The motor bicycles were notable for an absence of anything in the nature of makeshift appliances or carelessly fitted accessories. We only noticed one or two machines with batteries slung on with straps, and other similar methods of attaching such vital parts. They were a distinct improvement on previous years.

“The American representative, TK Hastings, created a favourable impression with his twin-cylinder Indian, which was enamelled cream with red lines.”

It is interesting to note that all those machines fitted with two-speed gears climbed Birdlip Hill without their drivers dismounting. All the gears were in sound condition at the end of the trial, and the troubles experienced by their users were due to small details which may be easily remedied by the manufacturers. The two-speed geared machines created much admiration from all who watched their performances, especially in respect of easy starting and the magnificent way in which they tackled every hill they had to encounter, from Birdlip downwards. Surely this is sufficient inducement to manufacturers to devote more attention to this all-important item.”
It was a tough event, particularly for Martin Geiger (6hp NSU twin) who was passing a cart on a remote road in North Wales when “a long knife was thrown at him by one of the occupants of a cart…when he challenged this behaviour the miscreant drew a revolver and fired two shots at him”. The knife-throwing gunman was arrested soon afterwards.

Martin Geiger and FC Dee were aming the first riders to weigh in.

There was anger among competitors who made almost perfect runs but were rewarded with no more than ‘scraps of paper’. Billy Wells of Vindec summed up the popular view: “The Auto Cycle Club is killing the goose that lays the golden egg in short-sighted policy of skimping the awards. Last year nearly every rider who went through the Lands End to John o’Groat’s ride and scored 85% of marks received a gold medal, and everyone was satisfied. This year the ACC left the award of medals very vague in its rules and regulations, and after the trials were over when we found it only gave gold medals to those who lost no marks. The company which I represent thought this was exceedingly hard on the other riders who completed this tour, and immediately decided that they would take it themselves to award a gold souvenir medal to each Vindec rider who finished the course. However, at the most, this is only poor consolation for riders who expected to get at least something in the way of a piece of metal from the ACC for completing a 1,000-mile ride.”

Left: The highest and lowest powered bikes in the trial: DG Gilmour’s 9hp Bat and W Smith’s 1¼hp Motosacoche. Right: Engines were sealed at Waters’ garage at Hatfield.

Only six riders gained the maximum 1,325 points and earned gold medals. JH Slaughter, ES Myers, J Marshall and FC Mustard rode 3½hp Triumphs; WH Wells rode a 5hp Vindec and R Moore, unsurprisingly, was aboard a 3½hp Phelon & Moore, his being one of the names on the tank. First-Class Certificates (but no medals) were awarded to: JD Hamilton (3¾hp NSU, 1,305 marks), WG Pople (3½hp Triumph, 1,285), SW Carty (3¾hp NSU, 1,280), TK Hastings (4hp Indian, 1,275), T Woodman (3½hp Vindec, 1,265), DG Gilmour (9hp Bat-JAP, 1,265), IB Hart-Davies (3½hp Triumph, 1,255), RM White (3½hp Hazel, 1,245), WG McMinnies (5hp Vindec, 1,199) and AS Phillips (5hp Vindec, 1,173).
Second-Class Certificates were awarded to: FC Dee (5hp Vindec, 1,121 marks) and F Cozens (10hp Lagonda).

Top: Rex and NSU teams at the six days’ trial. Bottom: The Vindec team, including Billy Wells who remarked: “The ACC is killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Triumph picked up the team prize. The lightweight prize, awarded by TK Hastings on behalf of the American Federation of Motor Cyclists, went to W Smith (1 ¼ hp Motosacoche, 1,213 marks). Hastings returned to the USA with a prize for the best looking bike (the judges also commended Messrs Hastings, Woodman, Moore and Marshall for the condition of their machines at the end of the trial). The Motor Cycle awarded medals to the best performance by privateers in the ‘bicycle’ and ‘passenger’ classes to FC Mustard and F Cozens (10hp Lagonda). Captain L’Estrange presented a prize to the best performance on a variable-geared machine to the two-speed Phelon & Moore.
The judges noted that marks were deducted from: Hart-Davies and Phillips, for repairs caused by falls; Dee, for a workshop repair to his steering head; and Cozens, for a wheel which had to be changed.

“All those machines fitted with two-speed gears climbed Birdlip Hill without their drivers dismounting.”