A visit to the TT by a jolly bunch of Dutchmen had inspired the launch of an annual Anglo-Dutch trial in 1912—and the Dutchmen won. The Brits were keen to get their revenge.
“THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH-DUTCH reliability trial was held on August Bank Holiday, exactly a year since the date of the first trial held in Holland. It may be recalled that the inauguration of this popular international event was due primarily to the visit of a party of Dutch riders to the Isle of Man two years ago, and later to Messrs Citroen and Ferwerda, of the Dutch Motor Cycle Club, offering a silver cup for international competition. At the request of the Dutch MCC last year The Motor Cycle received the British entries for the event, and there were so many that subsequently committees of clubs throughout the United Kingdom were appealed to to assist in selecting the 18 riders (nine each amateur and trade) who should do duty for England. The visit to Holland proved most enjoyable, and one and all came away impressed for a lifetime with the hospitality and sportsmanship of the Dutchmen. The trial resulted in a surprise victory for Holland, owing mainly to an untimely trouble with an English rider’s magneto. Though, according to the rules, the second trial should have been held in the country which won on the first occasion, it was clear that the Dutchmen were bent upon a visit to England, and, therefore it was arranged that the 1913 event should be held in this country, and in case of a British victory, the final event for the silver trophy would be
contested in the Netherlands next year. The organisation of the 1913 trial devolved chiefly upon Mr W Cooper (Mr Loughborough being too busily engaged in the work of organisation in connection with the ACU Six Days’ Trials). It must be said that Mr Cooper has worked most enthusiastically, and the fact that his arduous duties resulted in such a successful event as last Monday’s proved to be must be some recompense to him. The British riders were most anxious to give their Dutch guests a right royal welcome in part return for the kindness and attention received last year, and accordingly a subscription list was opened to entertain the Dutchmen, and there was an excellent response. The proceedings opened on Saturday last, when, in the early hours, our visitors arrived at Harwich from the Hook, and, after breakfast, were escorted by members of the British teams and of the Ipswich and District MCC to Brooklands. The journey proved a long and trying one, the Dutchmen not appreciating the twists in the road, besides which they especially complained of the dust and the tar, which made their eyes smart. The BARC had kindly invited the international teams to Brooklands, and it was not long before they were careering round the track. One or two expressed their astonishment at the immensity of the track. Many of the wary ones did not seem anxious to try their paces, preferring, apparently, to keep the tune in their engines. Therefore the action of the Rev EP Greenhill, on his GWK, and Messrs Bower and Barnes, on Zenith sidecars, in taking the Dutchmen round the track in turns was greatly appreciated. The next move was to the Imperial Hotel by train, and afterwards to the Royal Automobile Club for the official banquet, at which Mr JR Nisbet presided. The speech-making was necessarily limited by reason of the late hour of arrival of the Dutch riders. After the usual loyal toasts the Chairman proposed ‘The motor cyclists of Holland’, to which Mr R Toe Laer responded. The captains of the British teams, W Pratt and F Dover, followed with ‘The Dutch teams’, their remarks causing considerable laughter. Mr Citroen translated Mr Dover’s remarks for the benefit of those of his countrymen who did not understand English. Messrs Citroen and Ferwerda (captains of the Dutch teams) proposed the English teams, Mr Citroen’s enthusiasm for the motor cycle being plainly evident when he pointed out that their suggestion of the international trial was mainly to develop the ideal machine. He wanted the event to become a perpetual one, and if England did some day win the trophy, then another must be found. He mentioned that he had brought the trophy
merely to ‘show’ the Englishmen—a remark which caused some amusement. In subsequent remarks Mr Citroen paid a high tribute to the work of the Auto Cycle Union. He gave it as his opinion that the good work of the ACU had a world wide effect upon the motor cycle, and the boom which was only beginning in Holland owed its origin mainly to the spade work of the ACU. He added that he believed that last year’s Dutch trial was the forerunner of the Federation Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes. The Dutch Club now had 700 members. In responding, Mr Loughborough returned thanks for Mr Citroen’s flattering remarks, which he considered significant and sufficient incentive to Englishmen to support the ACU in every way that lay in their power. He had been told that in Holland ‘Royal’ was about to be applied to the Dutch MCC, so that at any rate Holland led in this respect. He assured the Dutch teams that they need not be afraid of the hairpins and the course which had been mentioned by the English captains. On Sunday the Dutch party trained to Brooklands to pick up their machines…A late start was made, but nevertheless the run to Oxford was much enjoyed. Lunch was taken at the White Hart Hotel, Windsor, and tea at Henley. The Dutchmen expressed great admiration of the scenery along the Thames Valley. In the evening all the machines were stored at the Morris Garage, Oxford, and the finishing touches were made.
The Day of the Trial.
Monday opened dull and overcast, but the threatened rain fortunately did not materialise. The start was made at 9am, quite a good crowd being present…Every chosen rider, according to programme, was present at the start, and as the teams had been fixed some weeks previously, this fact alone says something of the keenness with which the
trial was fought out. Messrs Cooper and Versluijs led off the ball on their Humber and Eijsink machines respectively, followed at minute intervals by the remainder. It was easily possible to distinguish the machines, as those from Holland carried orange number plates with black lettering, and the English machines carried green plates with white letters; a national flag also betokened the country of their origin. The route cards, which had been handed out the previous evening, did not disclose the true nature of the test, as reference to the test hills was carefully avoided. First striking out to Shillingford, through Wallingford to Streatley and Pangbourne, the first hill was encountered, which is a long winding ascent. Here five Dutch competitors came to grief, making the sixth out to this point, as Van Dongen (7hp Indian sc) had to stop, to make some trivial adjustment. The roads were frightfully dusty, and, owing to the continued drought, were extremely loose; in fact, the stones at certain points on the route made riding very difficult and tested the skill of the Dutch riders, who were not used to this sort of work, to the utmost. A long ascent out of High Wycombe and Nap Hill proved two teasers, especially to the Dutchmen. The last-mentioned hill was covered with loose stones, and is a narrow and winding ascent of single-figure gradient. Here Mr TW Loughborough, the clerk of the course, was busy noting down failures, and a long list he was able to compile, though only one was an English competitor, viz, AR Abbott, who was suffering from a slipping clutch. Kop Hill, Princes Risborough, was the test of the day…No fewer than ten of the Dutchmen found it too stiff for their machines, Mr Geidt’s cycle car having to be pushed nearly all the way. As Pink Hill was descended it further meant negotiating the half bend at the hill foot, and as it had to be taken on the run a great many heaved a sigh of relief when the top of Kop Hill was reached. We observed that the surface of the hill had deteriorated. The poor performances of the Dutch riders on the test hills was the result of not being geared low enough, and also not having had enough experience in the successful manipulation of the air lever in hill climbing. We noticed that quite a good number did not know what to do when their machines started to slow down. They get no practice on steep hills in Holland. A Eijsink, on a machine of his own make, with outside
flywheel, made a splendid ascent, and JC Neurdenburg (3½hp Rudge) also shone conspicuously. A Citroen had very bad luck in getting on to the very top of the hill over the worst gradient, and then being obliged to dismount. ABC Van Dongen’s 7hp Indian sc was climbing the hill at a splendid bat when it ran out of petrol. It appears that he had missed the course at one point, but how this was possible it is difficult to explain, as we can testify to the excellent marking of the route…Scores of arrows were used, and just as a reminder cards bearing ‘Links Houden’ (Keep to the left) were constantly encountered. The loose stony surfaces were telling a tale upon the tyres, for quite a number experienced troubles. The Englishmen were riding most consistently, and were climbing the hills in first-rate style. RE Guest had to stop to fasten the locknut of his clutch, but the most serious trouble to the English team was when W Cooper retired at the foot of Kop Hill, owing to the axle of his Mark 6 Armstrong gear twisting and breaking the fork end. Cooper had had the new type of gear fitted to an old frame, and the necessary anchor plates had unfortunately been omitted. This cost the British team eighty marks. The final stage of the morning run was through Wendover to Tring. Lunch was taken at the Rose and Crown Hotel, and there was some very close running to the time schedule at this point. One did not need to discuss experiences long to come to the conclusion that a
British victory was practically assured, this year, at any rate. After an hour-and-a-half’s wait, the competitors were sent off in the same order as at the start, the first hill being Ivinghoe, which was a stumbling block to those who had found previous hills too much for them. The course lay. through Dunstable, Hocklifte and Leighton Buzzard, occasional up-grades and sharp bends being encountered, but there was little from this point to the finish, which was via Aylesbury and Thame, to worry any of the riders, and on the afternoon’s run, except for one hill, the Dutch riders gained a good idea of the average English road. JH Nieuwenhuijs was riding along very comfortably on his Vulcaan-Terrot in front of us when his pulley dropped in the roadway; Fred Dover and ourselves only just missed running over it…Frank Smith had to ride forty miles with a flat back tyre, whilst the rear cylinder plug of Geoffrey Smith’s 2¾hp Humber ceased sparking on two or three occasions, and the rider had perforce to burn away the carbon as he rode along by making a spark gap between the end of the wire and the top of the plug. As it happened, this proved a valuable tip for him, for on time he was the nearest of all the competitors with 10.8sec error, and gained several awards. When the results were made known at 7.30pm, after all the officials had met, it was found that the English victory was a pronounced one, the home team losing 91 marks compared to the Dutch team’s 546.”
Each country fielded 18 riders; 15 Brits earned gold medals compared with one Dutchman; two Brits won silver compared with seven Dutchmen. The Motor Cycle cup for best performance by a trade rider, WB Gibb (2¾hp Douglas); Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Traders’ Union Trophy for the best performance by an English private owner, Geoffrey Smith (2¾hp Humber); silver cup presented by HA Boom for best performance by a Dutch rider, A Eijsink (3hp Eijsink); Silver NMV Plaque D’Honneur for best performance by an English private owner, Geoffrey Smith (2¾hp Humber); Bronze NMV Plaque D’Honneur for best performance by an English trade rider, WB Gibb (2¾hp Douglas); Silver NMV Plaque D’Honneur for the best performance by a Dutch private owner, A Citroen (3½hp Rudge Multi); Bronze Bronze NMV Plaque D’Honneur for the best performance by a Dutch trade rider, A Eijsink (3hp Eijsink); Silver medal, presented by Mr A Citroen for best performance by an English rider, Geoffrey Smith (2¾hp Humber); silver medal for best performance on a Dutch rider on a Dutch machine, A Eijsink (3hp Eijsink).
“On Tuesday the riders visited Coventry (travelling via Stratford and Warwick at the invitation of the Coventry and Warwickshire Motor Club, and Messrs Rudge-Whitworth at the same time invited the teams to luncheon. The Mayor of Coventry (Colonel Wyley) took the chair at the dinner, and subsequently a move was made to the Empire Theatre to see a film of the previous day’s trial. The Rudge and Triumph companies added to the batch of souvenirs received the previous day. On Wednesday morning the final stage was entered upon, the Dutch riders being escorted to Harwich, and given a hearty send off, and voting the trip a most enjoyable one.” …and, some weeks later, the Blue ‘Un reported: “In connection with the rowdy behaviour on the occasion of the Anglo-Dutch Trial, reported at Oxford and Coventry, three prominent riders have been suspended by the ACU, one for six months, and two for three months.”