1913 Scottish Six Days’ Trial

1913 SSDT AW

The ACU Six Days’ Trial, referred to north of the border as the ‘English trial’ was tough, no doubt about it. But having ridden the SSDT The Blue ’Un’s correspondent opined: “The English Six Days’ Trials pale beside this test, and I think that a gold medal won in the Scottish Trials is worth a great deal more than one gained in England.” Prepare for thrills and spills a’plenty…

WE ARE WRITING ON THE EVE of the Scottish Six Days’ Trials, which promise to be by far the greatest success of any of the series. The entries constitute a record in point of numbers, over one hundred being on the spot, and among them are three ladies. Opinions seem divided as to whether they will get through, but every one admires their sporting spirit in making the effort to do so. Mrs Mabel Hardee will ride a 3½hp P&M, Miss Reid a 3½hp Brough, and Miss R Hammett will again try her luck in a long distance trial on her 2¾hp Douglas. Everyone hopes she will get better fortune with tyres than she had last year. Perth was absolutely congested on Saturday night when we arrived, and the presence of so many motor cyclists seemed of great interest to the populace. Not only

Cheerful enthusiasts take it easy before the rigours of the SSDT.

was hotel accommodation at a premium, but it was rather like solving a jig-saw puzzle to get our machine into a garage. However, the proprietor of the Royal George Hotel, directly he knew we were connected with The Motor Cycle, set to work and cleared a space in the packed hotel garage for our machine, and turned the billiard room into a bedroom. We were met almost the moment we arrived by Geo Brough, anxious to have our seals fixed to his machine, for he purposes to ride a further twenty miles at the conclusion of the trials under our observation, so as to complete 1,000 miles in all on his single-geared 6hp Brough without using a tool. He is very cheery and will not hear of defeat, and is quite confident that he can repeat last year’s successful journey. Rex Mundy, who was entered to drive a Morgan, changed his mind at the last moment, and is riding an 8hp Williamson, air-cooled, as a solo mount. A good many critics aver he will find such a large and heavy mount very difficult to manage on some of the twisty mountain roads, but the maker of the machine is confident that this motor cycle, heavy as it is, is quite a manageable solo mount. We are informed that one of the sidecar combinations contain a young couple on their honeymoon! The Edmund, Williamson, Sunbeam, Enfield, Sun-Villiers, and Lea-Francis are notable new-comers to this class of work. At eleven o’clock on Sunday the competitors presented themselves at the garage of Messrs Fergusson. The garage, spacious as it is, was absolutely congested, and the

“Mrs Baxter (6hp Rex) at the second corner on Amulree. The first bend may be discerned in the background.”

proceedings of checking the spaces, sealing, etc, were strung out to an interminable degree. This was partly due to the way in which entirely unauthorised persons were allowed to roam about the garage at their own sweet will, and half the juvenile population of Perth seemed to be treating themselves to a miniature Olympia Show, with the result that it was a matter of acrobatic agility to find one’s way between the closely packed machines. Our first duty was to seal up Geo Brough’s machine on behalf of The Motor Cycle, and this was done very thoroughly, even the tool-bag being sealed. Brough came in for a lot of chaff from other riders while his machine was in our hands, and a wag caused much amusement by asking us to seal the rider’s feet to the footrest! A threat to go on in advance and seal the doors of the bars at the luncheon and night stops was the only thing to cause Brough consternation, for, in the event of any hill being too much for his single gear of 4 to 1, he imagined the thirst he would develop would cause such seals to be rudely broken! A great many riders have attached ‘wire cooling’ devices to their cylinder heads, and this idea may be a good one, but it looks ugly. A neat little machine, making its first essay in a big trial, is the 2½hp Connaught two-stroke. It is fitted with a GH two-speed gear and very heavy driving chains, and a perfect bunch of wire round the cylinder head for extra cooling effect. We were rather taken with the rear springing of the Edmund, ridden by a private rider, RG MacGibbon. Some of the competitors were very sparsely supplied with spares, and although it is well on a trial of this description to ride as light as possible, we fear some of these men will have cause to rue their optimism before many days are over.

Left: “The Motor Cycle representative sealing the 6hp single geared Brough which George Brough is endeavouring to ride 1,000 miles without making any adjustment.” Right: “An 8hp air-cooled Williamson which is being ridden by Rex G Mundy.”

Day 1, Perth-Inverness, 173 miles: There was a great crowd at the start, and the ladies in particular came in for much cheering as they were given the word “Go” at the commencement of their long and strenuous trip…Cramb (Elswick) broke his pulley in avoiding another competitor, and was obliged to retire…The ascent of the Devil’s Elbow on the Spital of Glenshee provided a number of sensations…Chisholm (Ariel) ran into the gutter and fell heavily without injury. Begg (Rudge) came a cropper at the same spot; but Colliver, on the 7hp Indian, made a beautiful ascent. The Rover and Lea-Francis teams to a man were excellent, as also Berwick (3½hp Humber) and Beveridge (Rudge). Brough, on his single geared 6hp Brough, climbed the hill with ridiculous ease, but the P&M team were not happy, though Mrs Hardee did well. Miss Hammett (Douglas) fell, luckily without serious damage. The Villiers machines made beautiful climbs. Mrs Baxter (Rex) was loudly cheered as she managed her heavy twin magnificently. Hoult (Matchless) made an extraordinary recovery. He charged the bank, climbed up 1 in 2, slid down backwards, and went on without dismounting. Naturally, he was loudly cheered for his exhibition. The best performance among the sidecarists was easily that of Hands, whose passenger came up smoking comfortably in quite his normal position in contradistinction to the other sidecar passengers, who mostly performed acrobatic feats over the carriers…The surface of the road was appalling, being inches deep in loose sand and big stones, whilst the descent from the the Devil’s Elbow to Braemar may be described as the worst road in Britain. Southerners can have no idea of the roughness. On one occasion competitors had to push for half a mile over huge unrolled granite. Great interest was evinced in the trial all along the route, even labourers carrying programmes. The sensation of the day was the burning, by the Devil’s Elbow, of Victor Wilberforce’s GWK. How the fire originated is a mystery, but the petrol tank burst, and instantly the whole machine burst into flames, and was soon a total wreck. Luckily the driver and passenger jumped clear. Gulland (BSA) had to retire at Braemar. His back tyre was wrenched off in climbing Amulree, and a bad fall gashed his head. A doctor refused to allow him to proceed. Before reaching Cockbridge the silencer on Thompson’s Kynoch hit a projecting rock, and was smashed, causing him to retire, as the machine made a terrible noise. All the ladies made clean ascents of Cockbridge Ladder. The descent to Grantown was the worst piece of the journey. There were deep gulleys every hundred yards, and a great strain was imposed on front forks and brakes. A false move on the part of the rider would have been fatal, as on the left there was a deep precipice, and the road was very narrow and winding…Cocker had an accident to his Singer, and was brought into Inverness in the official car…Everyone was glad to see Inverness and all agree that it has been an exceptionally heavy day, especially for passenger machines. The Matchless sidecars ran beautifully, the JAP engines being in perfect tune. Brough continued to play with hills, his performance being remarkable, especially on Cockbridge…

For the SSDT Charlie Collier rode a 1914 model Matchless-JAP complete with a three-speed countershaft gearbox and kickstart.

Day 2, Inverness-Thurso, 140 miles: It was delightful to bowl along over almost perfect roads for the first forty miles to Bonar Bridge. Very pot-holey surface followed to Lairg, where the lunch control was situated. All fittings and accessories are being put to a tremendous test by the road shocks, but, despite the hardness of the trial up to the present, everyone agrees that it is most sporting, and the officials manage everything splendidly…The easy nature of the morning’s run, combined with the lovely weather, had raised the riders’ spirits after the almost indescribable nightmare of the first day’s run. But in some ways this afternoon’s run has proved even worse than yesterday’s, and a formidable list of casualties has been the result of a passage over roads so bad that it was a real physical strain to sit one’s machine at all. All who arrived at Thurso were dead tired, and a good deal of grumbling was heard among the English entrants at being asked to take their machines over such villainous surfaces as we have had to traverse this afternoon. All the same, the contention of the officials, that a machine that will not stand this treatment is no good for Scotland, has a lot of reason behind it, and the jolly sporting go-as-you-please nature of these trials almost makes a pleasure of the toil…Almost immediately after leaving Lairg we found ourselves literally pitching and rolling on a horrible loose stony track, which continued, partly bad, partly execrable, to within 14 miles of Thurso, where we were treated to a perfectly straight level road, upon which a miniature TT was straightway held, everyone being delighted to be able to open the throttle and let the motor roar for a short burst. No one who went over it will readily forget the horrors of the switchback road from Lairg to Altnahana. Great flinty boulders strewed the path, and every now and then we struck a piece of road under repair, which meant perhaps 200 to 400 yards over huge unrolled granite, the worst feature being that the repaired surface was always at least eight or ten inches above the rest of the road- way. One simply had to charge the obstruction, grip the bars fiercely, and crash over the obstruction in a series of terrific wobbles, amid the cheers of the road-menders…Lots of falls naturally occurred, and some of them were serious. GA Lovegrove, on a Raglan, had

For the SSDT Charlie Collier rode a 1914 model Matchless-JAP complete with a three-speed countershaft gearbox and kickstart.

a bad toss and was discovered by an official in a dazed condition. It is believed that he has broken a rib…Hands broke the frame of the sidecar on his Williamson and had to take his passenger into Thurso, some 20 miles, on the carrier…Ingall riding a Lea-Francis suffered a bad fall. His front wheel got into a deep rut on the road near Borgie after leaving the Tongue check, and he was thrown heavily, damaging his knee, and had to be brought in on the official car. Edmond, on the 2¾hp Humber, broke his spring forks on one of the ridges where road repairing was going on near Bettyhill, and Cyril Walden had to be towed in, as the flywheels of his twin Premier came adrift. Pollock, driving a 500cc single-cylinder James and sidecar, was put out of action between Altnaharra and Tongue—his tyre burst and the driving wheel collapsed…Westwood and Meredith, riding nos 1 and 2, on a Triumph and Bradbury respectively, collided through their front wheels getting into ruts, and Westwood had to retire owing to his front wheel being smashed…the strain of driving is terrible when one has to grip the bars tightly for hour after hour on end, and keep one’s eyes glued to the road the whole time. We are informed that we passed through scenery of unparalleled splendour, but no one had the remotest chance of seeing it. The only view was millions of loose stones on a rutty pot-holey road…CR Collier stated very definitely that he would absolutely refuse to ride again in these trials unless better roads were selected…The ladies acquitted themselves splendidly, though the strain of driving must have been very severe. Miss Hammett (Douglas) has shown herself to be a most dashing rider, while Mrs Hardee (P&M) and Mrs Baxter (Rex) keep slogging along in a most determined manner…The dust has been appalling, and we, in company with many others, have suffered from throat soreness from hours of swallowing bits of pulverised granite—not a pleasant beverage.

DH Noble (Rover), H Harrison (Swift) and CW Meredith (Bradbury) tackle Dunbeath Corner.

Day 3, Thurso-Strathpeffer, 146 miles: If yesterday was a nightmare today has been a dream, for anything more magnificent than our trip could not be imagined. The scenery beggars description, and the southerners discovered that Scotland has roads, a belief that was almost shattered yesterday…Despite the perfect going trouble was encountered quite early, for we passed FL Bassett (2¾ Sun-Villiers) stranded. His flywheels, had come adrift, while at Helmsdale, Downie (Lea-Francis) suffered engine trouble and had to withdraw…the going all the way through to lunch at Lairg was perfect, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed scorching along at high speed. The dust was a nuisance, but no one minded that—the relief of being able to travel without clutching one’s bars was worth a Sahara sandstorm…Punctures and bursts have been almost universal. Mellor Jameson (3hp Enfield) had two stops this morning, and the second time found four punctures in a cluster near the valve, and had to ride two miles on the rim before he reached water in which to test his tube, while Keiller wrenched one of the tyres off his GWK on Dunbeath Hill, and after replacing it got a puncture. It is really a great testimony to the excellence of the tyres that they have stood up as well as they have done, but we have not been much struck by the behaviour of the ultra-large covers, for they seem prone to roll and bounce excessively on the rough roads…The main North Road from John-o’-Groat’s, while being of infinitely superior surface to any yet covered, was particularly flinty, this sharp material being responsible for most of the trouble…The majority arrived at John-o’-Groat’s well ahead of time, and seized the opportunity of doing a few adjustments…JH Begg (3½hp Rudge) was rather unfortunate, taking an awkward toss near John-o’-Groat’s…Near Dingwall this evening we came across about three hundred yards of road some four inches deep in loose floury dust, and front wheel skids were common, while the whole countryside was obscured by a dense cloud, and to make matters worse a car dashed by at the same moment. The smaller machines are doing splendidly, and the Gnome-like beat of the Douglases when all out on low gear seems to impress the natives. The energy and courtesy of the officials cannot be too highly praised, and there is a feeling and spirit of bon camaraderie between competitors and officials that makes these trials a jolly trip, in spite of the hard work incurred…76 riders are still left in.

“In Indian file, a Lea-Francis rider leading a string of competitors near Stathpeffer. Right: EA Colliver (Indian) G Featherstonhaugh (3½hp Rover), and AUF Downie (2¾hp AJS). This trio are among the gold medal winners.”

Day 4, Strathpeffer-Strathpeffer, 137 miles: It has been one of the hottest days we have had this year. A great many competitors had got in last night with their tyres in a more or loss precarious condition, and there was a regular tyre-changing competition against time in the official garage before to-day’s start. Sidecar drivers suffered most, and one of the first we saw was Guest inserting a new tube in his three-inch Palmer cord on the Matchless sidecar. He got a huge nail like a bolt through yesterday, and had a good deal of difficulty in getting it out…Selous Jones turned up on his Douglas, but he was officially declared out of the running yesterday, as he broke a cone in his back wheel—a most unusual and unlikely accident to any machine…GT Gray put a new belt on his long-stroke 5hp Rudge. He explained to us that he was running in three or four belts in readiness for the English Six Days’ Trials next month…Mrs Morgan and Mrs JR Alexander were both working as hard as Grand Prix mechanics, assisting their respective drivers to change the big three-inch tyres on the back wheels of their Morgan and Williamson sidecar respectively, and the cheery way the ladies accept and help to overcome troubles makes us mere men feel rather small…A good many engines are very gummy in the mornings, probably due to over-oiling. Brough’s single-gear 6hp Brough is really a remarkable machine. It starts with almost the ease of a lightweight, and nothing in the way of hills seems to worry it or the driver…H Thompson has turned up to-day with his 3½hp Kynoch, and a remarkable tale to tell. It seems that by some means part of a tappet got into his engine, and he had to take the whole engine to pieces outside Thurso, miles from anywhere. He spent all yesterday doing this, and eventually slept on the mountain side, where he was eventually discovered by a local doctor, who is a motor cyclist, and who took in the unfortunate Thompson, repaired his engine, and generally played the part of good Samaritan. One of the things that strike one most forcibly is the extreme kindliness and hospitality of these northern Scots, nothing being too much trouble for them when the recipient of their kindness is some unfortunate stranded motor cyclist. One sportsman has hired a car specially to start after the last competitor and drive round with the sole intention of rendering assistance to any stranded victim of the Trials he

J Chater-Lea (Chater-Lea) and RE Guest (Matchless sidecar) at the hairpin bend “which was the crucial test on Applecross Hill”.

may come across. He brought in Nott to-day after his collision with a level crossing gate (it would have been advisable had the committee placed a warning sign at this point, DS Alexander (8hp Williamson sc) nearly ran into the closed gates of this same crossing, only pulling up with his front wheel touching the bars)…From the scenic standpoint nothing could be finer than that of to-day, and the majority of the competitors wished that they had had more time to study the beauties of the Western Highlands. Twenty miles per hour does not appear a great speed, but to average this over the roads of to-day’s route required careful driving on the corners and very fast scorching on the favourable stretches…Up the hill to Applecross it was frightful, large stones and loose gravel causing the competitors a great deal of uneasiness, and rendering the steering of the machines a matter of great difficulty…TA McCreadie (2¾hp Sunbeam got into a rut and coming a nasty cropper buckled his front wheel and frame. He luckily was able to get this repaired at a blacksmith’s near at hand, and resumed his journey…The tumble had evidently cracked his handle-bar, since he had not proceeded very far before that part of the bar containing the control levers came adrift entirely, making the driving of the machine anything but an easy matter, and he wisely decided to retire…Graham Taylor fell over the edge of the precipice coming down Applecross and damaged his front wheel…Lunch was served on the seashore at Applecross in blazing sunshine, and a large number of riders pent half an hour paddling and catching limpets while their engines cooled themselves preparatory to the return climb…for once in a way the whole crowd was unanimous on one point—they had come across a real hill that afternoon. Applecross is more than a hill—it is a precipice…69 runners were left in to start on Friday morning.

SSDT teams: Lea Francis, Messrs Ingall, Downie and Francis; and Matchless, Messrs Guest, Hoult and Collier.

Day 5, Strathpeffer-Grantown, 199 miles: The crux of the day was the passage of a very sharp hill called Mam Ratachan, a few miles before Glenelg, the luncheon stop. The contour gives it as 1 in 7, but that is apparently the average gradient, and it is a real little teaser with a bit of something very near 1 in 3. CR Collier made a splendid ascent on his 6 Matchless sidecar, and so did Hugh Gibson (3½hp Bradbury sc). If we were asked to pick out any one performer in the Trials deserving of special merit we should select this rider. His hill-climbing powers are really extraordinary, and up to the time of writing he has made a clean ascent of every hill and lost no marks. His sidecar is quite a heavy substantially built one, and his passenger by no means light. His climb up the long, tiring Glendoe, with its miles of collar work and tricky, unexpected little stiff incline right at the end, was really amazing. There has been a great deal of grief and woe to-day, and as we are writing this, late at night, stragglers are still coming into Grantown. Luckily, it keeps light up here till after ten o’clock, which is a great boon, for nearly everyone is equipped with the tiniest outfits in lamps and generators. We are sorry to say that Mrs Hardee has had a very nasty fall, which has caused her retirement when she practically had a gold medal in her grasp. She informed us this evening that she took a wrong turn on the way home from Fort Augustus and did not discover her mistake till she had traversed five miles or so. Then she put on speed to make up time, and when she was travelling all out on her P&M the rear tyre burst and she was thrown with great force, and lay on the ground for some time, when two ladies picked her up. She was brought in by Sam Wright on his Humberette Luckily, no bones were broken, but she naturally suffered from shock, and her machine was smashed…Donaldson was towed in late on his Quadrant with timing gear troubles. One of the officials towed him in from Craggie Inn. Gordon Fletcher smashed the frame of his Douglas on the way up Glenelg when crossing a donkey-back bridge at speed, and came in with the brake fastened up with straps, and Roberts broke the carrier on his Zenith at the same spot. Miss Hammett had a day of trouble. The driving chain of her Douglas broke and, becoming entangled in the sprocket, locked the wheel, and she was thrown; and then she had great difficulty in fitting the spare as it was too short. Douglas Alexander stripped the second speed wheel in the gear box of his Williamson sidecar, and had to put it on the trade for Inverness and retire from the Trial between Craggie Inn and Glendoe, and Macrae fell heavily near Fort Augustus and smashed the front wheel of his LMC too badly to continue. CR Collier had the misfortune to fracture the left back fork stay on his 8 Matchless sidecar, but strapped it up and got in to time without loss of marks…Cocker tried to continue his climb up Glendoe on a flat tyre, with the result that his belt was pulled off three times and as he had such trouble with punctures and got in so late, he decided to give up…the remaining machines did well, and no praise is too high for any man, woman, or machine that survives this tremendous ordeal. We have no hesitation in describing these Trials as infinitely harder for machines and drivers than the average English Six Days. Edinburgh will be the pleasantest view to-morrow night that most of the riders have seen for a week. Late at night news has come in that Thompson has had a smash on his Bat, but hopes to continue. Chater-Lea has also broken his sidecar frame.

AW Walden (8hp Premier combo) tackles the second bend on Amulree, ahead of HW Hands (Williamson combo).

Day 6, Grantown-Edinburgh, 184 miles: It was a perfectly glorious morning at Grantown, when at 7 o’clock the first man was sent off on the last stage of the Trials. Mrs Hardee was out and about, the recipient of a great deal of sympathy for her smash overnight, and was bought on by an official car, which, by the way, was not quite so punctual as her P&M had invariably been, for tyre troubles galore overtook it and it made a very late arrival in Edinburgh…WG McMinnies, driving a Grand Prix Morgan, also had a remarkable escape, for when travelling at high speed his steering failed and the vehicle dashed into a telegraph pole and was totally wrecked. The driver escaped without injury, but Johnny Gibson, his passenger, sustained injuries to his side, and it was feared some ribs were broken. It will be recalled that Gibson was badly hurt in the Isle of Man last year. Soon after the start the Cockbridge Ladder had to be climbed the reverse way to Monday’s run, and the numerous gullies across the road made it an abominably uncomfortable ascent, and steering was very difficult. A mistake would have proved dangerous, as a precipice was on the right-hand side, and the road is very narrow. Prior to reaching the hill, Sam Wright, whose Humberette had been going splendidly all the week, had the bad luck to be run into by a cart, the result of which was a broken front spring. Wright managed to make an excellent repair, but the delay cost him marks and was fatal to his chances of a gold medal. It was a piece of real bad luck, and Wright would not be consoled…Kenmore Hill is the opposite side of Amulree, and is more severe. It is quite two and a half miles long, and contains seven corners, four of them being acute hairpins with precipitous gradients and loose, sandy, stony surface…Many of the solos, although climbing successfully, knocked frightfully at the hairpins. The little Connaught two-stroke went up beautifully, and the Indians, Rovers, and Bats were admirable, while the five Ariels were all splendidly handled, and got up easily. Mrs Baxter on her big Rex and Miss Hammett also made capital ascents. Once over the hill, the descent of Amulree required great caution, as the surface was appalling; but soon after the main Crieff road was reached, and on a magnificent surface we rode home through Crieff and Stirling to the Peebles motor garage, where the machines were placed for their examination by the officials. Fifty-nine actually finished, and most of the machines were in really wonderful condition after the tremendous gruelling they had undergone. Everyone was burnt brown by the six days of blazing sunshine, and, despite the hard work, all voted the trial a most sporting event.

Gold medals were awarded to the riders of 32 solos, seven outfits and two cycle cars. Lightweight: JF Morrison (2¾hp Douglas); Passenger, JT Wood (GWK cycle car); Club, the Motor Cycling Club (DH Noble, CT Newsome and G Featherstonhaugh, all on 3½hp Rovers); Manufacturers’ team, FC North, L Newey and V Busby, all on 3½hp Ariels; Agent’s nominee, tied between FC North (3½hp Ariel) and ST Tessier (6hp Bat); Private owner, WC Brandauer (9hp Indian).

“L Sealey (two-speed BSA) negotiating tHe S bend on Mam Ratachan Hill.”

OUR DAILY REPORTS OF THE TRIALS, written at considerable pressure nightly after a long arduous day with the competitors, were necessarily bound to be somewhat sketchy, and looking back at the last week it is now possible to view events and performances in their proper perspective. I was enormously impressed with a number of facts re motor cycling in the North generally, and was greatly struck by the tremendous keenness of the Scottish riders all over the country. A southerner cannot understand the remoteness from anywhere of some of the places we visited, and I was told that at Applecross the policeman’s beat extended for forty miles! To show the isolation of this spot I may mention that the post goes out once a week! Indeed, many of us wondered what the inhabitants would do with the considerable sum they collected for lunch in this wild spot, for there seemed ho possible means of spending it there. All the amateurs and some of the trade riders described the course as most sporting, ‘Rover’ Newsome expressing himself as thoroughly pleased with it. I do not think that the various breakages which happened to some of the sidecar frames need be taken too seriously, and the sufferers in the trade will have gained a lot of valuable data for the construction of their colonial models. The English Six Days’ Trials pale beside this test, and I think that a gold medal won in the Scottish Trials is worth a great deal more than one gained in England. Gibson stands in a class by himself at this sort of work, and I doubt if there is another man in England who could duplicate his performance. His machine was in perfect condition at the finish, and he drove with the greatest skill throughout. I was impressed very forcibly with George Brough’s handling of his big single-geared twin. Brough is a perfect rider, but, nevertheless, it was a remarkably fine performance to go through without the aid of a gear box, and not only did he climb all the hills, but he did so with consummate ease…After the Trials I accompanied him a further twenty miles, and thus observed him for a full thousand miles over the severest test roads that can be found in the British Isles. His John Bull tyres never punctured, and his machine had no other attention than filling up with petrol and oil [rather than using a standard Brough young George built this twin himself; it might be seen as the ancestor of the Brough Superior, nearly a decade before the marque came into being]…The little 2½hp two-stroke Connaught, the smallest engine in the Trials, ran wonderfully well, and carried a heavy rider through without a hitch. Although using petrol in Scotland, this machine normally runs on paraffin, and the spirit and oil are poured into the same tank…The ladies did well. Mrs Baxter’s handling of her big Rex, one of the heaviest machines running, was most masterly, and she was the only lady to gain a gold medal, though Mrs Hardee had lost no marks on her P&M up to Friday afternoon, when she was the victim of a bad fall through her back tyre bursting when travelling at speed. Miss Hammett seems destined to find trouble in big six-day events, and although she finished she lost marks and failed to annex a gold medal. Personally, I think these sort of events are too strenuous for ladies, and there is always the chance of a male competitor finding one of them stranded and losing his own gold medal in stopping to render assistance, which chivalry naturally demands in their case, though I daresay the ladies are quite skilful enough to effect their own repairs.

Competitors at John-o’-Groats House on Wednesday.

Scottish trial echoes
☞ W Pratt’s aluminium embossed number plates were greatly admired. He also had his tank enamelled a delicate mauve tint, and the general finish of his P&M was superb.

☞ The P&M riders’ habits of cleaning up before entering controls was contagious, nearly everybody following their example. “Not that we want to,” one rider said to us, “but we look jolly shabby in comparison if we don’t!”

☞ WC Brandauer, who won the special prize for private owners, is an Austrian. He described the course as very like that which he is accustomed to around Vienna. He is a real enthusiast, and has owned several Indians. Although able to speak five languages fluently, he could not master Gaelic in the short time at his disposal.

☞ One excellent feature of the Trials was the way the officials themselves used motor cycles to go round. The secretary covered the whole route on his Bat, and the official cars were reduced to an absolute minimum. This is as it should be, for the dust was bad enough without cars to make it worse. Besides, motor cycles were far better able to get over the course than cars were, in many of the sections.

☞ The law concerning cut-outs is evidently not much observed in Scotland. No attempt to seal them was made, and nearly everyone made the fullest use of them. But in some of the remoter parts of the journey the crackle was positive company. Ours was not fitted with a cut-out and we often wished it was, so strange was the Highland silence at times.

☞ As there is no hotel at Applecross competitors were treated to an an al fresco meal by the seashore, but as the weather was tropical it was pleasant to be out of doors. One rather wonders how sufficient food for over one hundred hungry travellers was conveyed to this desolate spot, but there it was all right-another feather in the cap of the managing committee.

1913 SSDT AW2