1920 Anglo-Dutch Trial

The Anglo-Dutch Trial grew out of a social visit to the TT by a jolly bunch of Dutchmen. It was as much a social event as a trial but was keenly contested and set a trend for bi-national motor cycle competition.


“LAST SATURDAY THE FATES DECIDED that the thrice run trial for the ‘NMV Beker’ should be a win |or the sporting Dutchmen. Thus the cup becomes the property of the country of its origin. The Dutch team won by 45 marks, losing a total of 234 against the 281 lost by the English team. Debited to Holland’s team there were four stops, while all the British, team, except one, made non-stop runs. The unfortunate Englishman was H Colver (Matchless), who rode in, the place of CR Collier, and who lost 135 marks. Only two competitors had entirely clean sheets, England and Holland sharing in this honour: JA Newman (Sunbeam) being the English rider, and JHP Jansen (7-9hp Harley-Davidson), the fortunate Dutchman. It was a happy baud of motor cyclists that crossed from Harwich to Antwerp…Their ultimate destination was Maastricht, the starting point of the third International Trial, England vs Holland. Additional interest was vested in the event by reason of the fact that both Holland and England held one share in the cup presented by Messrs Ferwerda and Citroen in 1912, and success in the event rejuvenated since the war settled the final destination of the trophy. So many trials having been arranged in England during

“Some of the competing riders and machines at Harwich just previous to embarking for Belgium en route to Holland. Observe the additional identification plates necessary to conform to international touring regulations. GB signifies that the machines are from Great Britain (Right) some members of the English team at Harwich.”

1920, and the FICM Grenoble Six Days Trial [ISDT] having failed to attract a representative British industry, this International event provided a welcome change from the ordinary run of contests. On the way to the mouth of the Scheldt, a Marconigram was despatched from the SS Antwerp, conveying greetings to the Dutch Club from the British riders aboard…Arriving at Antwerp after a good crossing, the machines were disembarked by rope slings what time the riders stood by with anxious eyes. Customs formalities took- some considerable time, no assistance being rendered by the ACU either here or at Harwich, which was the subject of much bitter comment. So much time was lost that the idea of continuing that afternoon over the Belgian border was abandoned, and the night was, therefore, spent in Antwerp. Next day proved wet, yet not sufficiently to deter the sporting Dutch motor cyclist JH Neninhys from riding his NUT machine to Antwerp in order to pilot the Britishers across Belgium. This good sportsman’s action was greatly appreciated, and at 11am, rain still falling fast, he led the way via Malines and Louvain. Quite naturally, the many traces of war proved a source of interest to the riders. Active work is in progress in restoration—in fact, a genuine impression of activity was left upon the minds of the riders. The roads, however, were so bad that comparatively little attention could be paid to the scenery; it was bump, bump all the time over stone setts, only one short stretch of macadam road being encountered. Through St Trond and Tongres the riders journeyed to Vise and, extraordinarily enough, passed, without knowing it, the Belgian frontier station. The officials are usually most wary, and how everybody passed through to the Dutch douane is beyond comprehension. Here no delay was experienced, but the sidecar drivers had to return to the Belgian frontier to get their papers’ signed, so that a reclaim could correctly be lodged for the £20 deposit paid. Arrived at Maastricht, the members of the Nederlands Club were met in force, and, clad in their dust begrimed clothes, the riders were forthwith led to the ancient Town Hall for the official reception accorded by the burgomaster, Mr Chas von Oppen. His private room was packed to overflowing as he welcomed first in Dutch and then in English the sixty or seventy

“Solo riders in the British team: JW Todd (Reading Standard), C Crossthwaite (James), H Gibson (Clyno), P Moffat (Douglas), GP Glen Kidstone (Sunbeam), WB Gibb (Douglas), G Smith (Sunbeam), Kaye Don (Zenith), L Newey (Ariel), HP Lucas (Zenith), FA Hardy (Zenith), EA Edwards (NUT), JA Newman (Sunbeam).”

riders and officials congregated. This honour was greatly appreciated, and the thanks of the British riders were conveyed by Mr Geoffrey Smith, Editor of The Motor Cycle, who had been previously elected the captain of the British team. Then followed the second demonstration of the wonderful organisation notable throughout the trial by the Royal Dutch Motor Cyclists’ Union. A book of tickets was handed to each rider, showing hotel arranged, price, all meals, garage, etc, with tear-out slips which themselves acted as an itinerary of the arrangements. Moreover, every bill had been paid in advance, the total amount shown on the front—averaging about forty gulden—being shown on the cover, which amount was refunded via the Auto Cycle Union to the Royal Dutch MCU. Then followed the first of a series of dinners in real Dutch style. The Grabal Garage was full to overflowing on Friday, the Dutch riders for the most part having American machines, the British riders being mounted on all British mounts of a variety of makes, with the exception of one reserve. After a preliminary look round the machines after their short yet shaky trip from Antwerp, a move was made to Valkenburg, in the Province of Limburg, where lunch was taken. M Nic Jannink (the sporting president), EJ Maas

“Drivers of passenger machines: FJ Ellis (Matchless), EB Ware (Matchless), IHV Colver (Matchless), H Boyston (James), W Pratt (Matchless).”

(the treasurer), and Mr LG Zegers Veeckens (the secretary) being present. Mr. Zegers Veeckens proved a very cheery soul and an indefatigable worker, and earned the warmest praise from the competitors. From one o’clock till after four the lunch was in progress, and a jovial affair it proved. Very tired, the riders then visited caves for which Valkenburg is famous. Walking for nearly half a mile underground amidst rocks the Britishers enjoyed a weird and novel experience in the pitch black grotto. The long line was headed by a brass band and men carrying lanterns, and the procession—not by any means a silent one!—will long be recalled by those of the party. Supper timed for 6.30 was abandoned by the Britishers, who were incapable of another repast. Consequently, they wended their way back to the garage at Maastricht, replenished the tanks, and affixed the number plates, each set of which were handed over in a neat cardboard box, together with route and control cards. Extraordinary keenness was shown by both Dutch and British riders, nothing was left to chance. Hunse had the valves of his Wanderer out for cleaning, and nearly all cleaned out the carburetters and examined the plugs. Crosswaithe (James sc) found a damaged washer in his gear box, and had another made at the official garage Grabal.

“In the first control near Epen, C Witteveen jnr (5-6hp James sc) and W Pratt (8hp Matchless sc). (Right) FJ Ellis and EB Ware (8hp Matchless sidecars) passing coal mines near Heerlen. Mr TW Loughborough, secretary of the ACU, occupies the second sidecar.”

At the last moment the British team elected HP Lucas (8hp Zenith), a reserve man, to fill the vacant position in Class B. By 9pm all machines were in garage complete with number-plates ready for the start on the morrow, sundry details on the extraordinarily complete route card having been explained. The total course measured 292.9 kilometres, divided into three sections, and the speeds varied from thirty to thirty-five kilometres per hour (18¾ and 22mph) for the various sizes of engines. It was a non-stop event throughout, though provision was, of course, made for possible delays at railway crossings. At the very outset on Saturday an opportunity of losing marks was provided, for sixty seconds were allowed each rider in which to get his engine running. At the start at 6.30am some confusion was caused by the absence of watch cases; they arrived but five minutes prior to the start. All got away well in favourable weather, and commenced with a curious course to the south-west of Maastricht. Very tricky the bends proved, and arrows were not too plentiful. It was too early for the villagers, who assisted later to point the way. Ellis (Matchless sc) went off the the route, and was nearly up to the German frontier

“H Fels (7-9hp Harley-Davidson), one of the Dutch amateur riders, in Grondveldt. H Gibson (2½hp Clyno) near Zeist. JA Newman (Sunbeam) in the vicinity of Amsterdam.”

before he discovered his mistake. Lt Kidstone (Sunbeam) found that his watch gained time, and soon he overhauled the leaders, G Smith (Sunbeam), England, and Hunse (Wanderer), Holland. Another Matchless rider was unfortunate, for Colver, who took CR Collier’s place in the team, broke a chain. But the Dutch team’s ranks were also being thinned, one suffering a puncture and another plug trouble. Through remarkably picturesque scenery the route twisted first this way and then that, but always over passably good macadam roads, much to the competitors’ glee. In one town rejoicing in the name of Sittard, some very bad pavé was crossed, but, macadam roads were again the order. As the procession proceeded, official cars, which seemed to be legion, would speed past with open exhausts ready for the secret checks. There were no fewer than seven of these, besides three stated controls, and herein, we think, the Dutch club made a mistake, for secret checks place far too great a factor on the reliability of the watch instead of the reliability of the machine. After such a long distance the run positively became a bore due to a constant eye on the watch, and the difficulty in deciding where one actually was. Railway crossings caused temporary halts, perhaps naturally, as they are so numerous in the Netherlands. The first stage ended at Veuls (111 kilometres), and most reported non-stops to this point. The remarkably regular running of Gibb (Douglas), Newman (Sunbeam), Hugh Gibson (Clyno), and Don (Zenith) was interesting to observe. No more careful quartette could be imagined. The second stage was to St Anna (fifty-nine kilom), a pretty stretch of country which, however, could not be enjoyed to the full. At St Anna the ferry was used to cross the water, and due to this and another ferry over a tributary of the Rhine, coupled with railway crossings, it had been arranged that the run to Arnhem should not be timed. The third, last, and prettiest section of this enjoyable and sporting trial was from Arnhem to Amsterdam (111.9 kiloms). The Dutch riders rode magnificently. It was noticeable how dextrously they handled their British and American mounts. A Beardmore-Precision, a Metro-Tyler, a Cedos, and a James formed a quartette of most reliable British machines in the Dutch team, checking at each control most regularly. Two or three Douglas riders also kept splendidly to time, and generally it can be stated that reliability was the outstanding feature, marks lost being due to being early or late at controls. Dutchmen consider it a double sin to be a minute too early, so penalised riders two marks for every minute early, and only one for every minute late. In Utrecht crowds, as usual on these occasions, lined the streets. Todd (Reading-Standard), a reserve British rider, took a toss on one of the many acute bends. Delightfully picturesque Dutch scenery was enjoyed about Nieuwerhuis—where the road crossed and recrossed when it did not run actually beside the Merwede Canal. There were occasional hold ups while sailing barges and steamers passed through the swing bridges. A goodly concourse of

“English and Dutch riders by the Canal, Maarsen: EA Edwards (3½hp NUT)and LJ van Haren (2¾hp Douglas), incidentally both reserve riders. Near Utrecht: G Smith (3½hp Sunbeam), who, with L Hunse (4hp Wanderer), led their fellow competitors. Near Ginkel: Two British machines in opposing teams—a 3½hp NUT and a Douglas.”

interested people gathered at the Stadium to witness the finish, most of the riders receiving an ovation as they clocked in as regularly as clockwork. At the conclusion of the run no one could forecast the result, for the complicated series of checks entailed much work for the willing Dutch officials. The British team which competed was composed of the following riders: Amateurs—G Smith (3½hp Sunbeam), Lt GP Glen Kidston, RN (3½hp Sunbeam), EA Edwards (3½hp NUT), FA Hardy (5hp Zenith), F Dover (4hp Triumph), HP Lucas (8hp Zenith), H Boynton (5-6hp James sc), C Crossthwaite (5-6hp James sc), FJ Ellis (8hp Matchless sc), and S Barron (7-9hp Harley Davidson sc). Trade Riders—WB Gibb (2¾hp Douglas), JA Newman (3½hp Sunbeam), Hugh Gibson (2½hp Clyno), Kaye Don (6hp Zenith), L Newey (6hp Ariel), PW Moffatt (4hp Douglas), W Pratt (6hp Matchless sc), HV Colver (8hp Matchless sc), EB Ware (8hp Matchless sc), and JWG Todd (8hp Reading Standard). The machines used by the Dutch team and its reserves included four Douglas, two James, nine Harley-Davidson, three Indian, two Simplex, and one each Wanderer, Bianchi, Sarolea, Henderson, Royal Enfield, Metro-Tyler, Blackburne, Cedos, Excelsior, and Martinsyde.”

“A typical Belgian village scene. A bullock, cart in St Trond.”

“EACH RIDER COMPLETING THE TRIP without the loss of marks will be awarded a gold medal. Each rider completing the trip with a loss of one to ten points receives a large gold-plated medal, eleven to twenty points a large silver medal, and with twenty-one to thirty points lost a bronze medal. J Newman (Sunbeam) gained the silver cup presented by Nic Jannink, also the BSA gold medal. A special prize presented by ‘Cedos House’ for the best performance on a two-stroke was won by Hugh Gibson (2½hp Clyno). L Newey (Ariel) and WB Gibb (Douglas) tied for the gold-plated silver medal presented by Herman Smit. H Fels (Harley-Davidson sc) won the gold-plated silver medal presented by EJE Maas. The silver cup presented by JA Boom was won by F Janssen (7-9hp Harley-Davidson).”

“HISTORY REPEATED ITSELF IN THE third of the series of International Trials England vs Holland…whereas England was credited with seventeen out of eighteen non-stop runs, and Holland fourteen out of eighteen possibles, one member of the British team unluckily lost such a big total of marks that Holland scored a second notable success…the British contestants were themselves the first to give three stentorian cheers for the sporting Dutchmen when the result was announced at the memorable dinner at the Trianon Restaurant in Amsterdam…Colver’s trouble was a lost washer on his silent chain. He fitted another of brass, but that gave out also, and ho had to repeat the repair with one made of steel, but he lost many marks during

“Constant traces oF war were evident during the trip across Belgium to Holland. A railway crossing near Louvain.”

the process. Ellis went off the route near the German frontier, and was only aware of the fact when advised that he should be getting his ‘papers’ ready…Bad luck also befell the Dutch team, for one man, Eijkse, lost 118 marks on account of tyre trouble, the new cover being so stiff that the rider found it almost impossible to replace on the rim after the puncture which stopped him…When the Dutch team visits England next year (a new trophy has already been offered by Mr A Citroen), the ACU can at least take some points from the Dutchmen’s methods. The Dutch amateur captain, H Fels, of The Hague, who rode a Harley-Davidson sidecar, told us he will compete in the Scottish Trials next year, as well as in the Dutch Trial in England…The beauty of the low lands, the succession of canals, sometimes really beautiful with yachts in full sail dotted here and there, the curious swing bridges by which traffic crosses and re-crosses these canals, the quaint costumes, and customs of the people, all form a delightful change for the long-distance tourist…Not a man of the English team returned without the greatest respect and appreciation of the sporting Dutchmen. The Amsterdam Stadium was the finishing point, and here competitors’ machines were garaged and dinner provided. Meanwhile the Britishers’ luggage, conveyed by the Dutch club from Maastricht, was being delivered to the different hotels; this thoughtful service proving a very great convenience to all…Monday witnessed the departure of the British party from Amsterdam. First they were taken through delightful lanes in the Blomendal neighbourhood, and thence to the coast at Zandvoort for lunch. Each party was piloted by Dutch riders acquainted with the roads. At the seaside, lunch was taken at the Kursaal, and many would have preferred to have tarried awhile, but it was not to be, for, keen that the British party should see the dykes and windmills, the procession of a hundred odd riders, headed by Mr Zegers Veeckens on his 1920 model AJS and sidecar, proceeded to The Hague via Noordwijkerhont and Haagsche Schouw (pardon!). The dust cloud raised was almost impenetrable, but it was no use losing the party, for with names like the two mentioned to enquire for, a solitary Englishman would experience an anxious time! Among the party were a number of Dutch solo riders with ladies on pillion seats. Pillion riding, despite the rough road surfaces, is very popular in Holland, but it is done properly. The seats are sprung, of course, and the lady sits astride with rests for her dainty feet on each side. Immediately in front of the seat is a stout plated rail, by which she may mount gracefully. To see a young couple wearing skull caps aboard a sporting twin bellowing through its stovepipe apology for a silencer, the riders rising and falling in unison by the action of the springs, is a most animating spectacle. A ‘Tally Ho!’ bugle would add quite the final touch to a sporting turnout. A cup of tea near The Hague, provided by the Editors of Der Auto and Auto Leven, the party continued to the Hook of Holland, where adieu was paid to the hospitable Dutchmen till another year. Aboard the SS St George that night a telegram reached the captain of the British team from Mr Jannink, conveying good wishes to the departing visitors. Thus ended the third and most memorable Anglo-Dutch Trial.”

“En route To Helland: Pavé at Malines, Belgium.”

“OBSERVATIONS IN HOLLAND: Ask WB Gibb if he has yet solved the mystery as to how he lost that solitary mark in the Netherlands!…The four British riders who have competed in all three Dutch trials, viz, F Doyer, W Pratt, FA Hardy, and G Smith, again succeeded in accomplishing non-stop runs…The Worcester and Surbiton clubs have already offered cups for next year’s event, as well as The Motor Cycle…On one occasion Kaye Don gave a waiter a number of Dutch coins as a tip, thinking he had done him proudly. His amusement was complete on discovering that the value of the tip was about 1¼d. They have coins of one-tenth of a penny in Holland…Travelling passes and passports seem to be becoming a farce. Abroad no notice was taken of half the papers the British riders carried…Another time the ACU would be well advised to look after a British party of motor cyclists properly at the ports. The sequel to the much-vaunted claim of special touring facilities abroad was not appreciated by the party…What is happening to Britain in the world of sport? The yacht race lost, the motor boat race lost, the tennis championships wrested from us, and now an all-British team of motor cyclists beaten. 1921 must see a change!…There were six British-made motor cycles in the Dutch team—a smaller proportion than usual…Ixion recently asked how to carry a spare chain. Fred Dover has solved the difficulty on his Triumph by lashing with insulation tape a spare chain to each of the legs of the stand…The Dutch motor cyclists were very interested in the Easting, windscreen on H Boynton’s James sidecar. Hitherto, most of the sidecars imported into Holland have been of the American variety—small in dimensions and bare of such refinements as hood and screen.”

“On the pontoon bridge which spans the Rhine near Arnhem. In the foreground may be seen Mr Nic Jannink, president of the Royal Dutch Motor Cycle Union, driving the official car: beside him, Mr EJ Maas, secretary: and, standing by the car, Mr LJ Zegers Veeckens, secretary of the trial. Competitors are held up behind the official car while the bridge is opened. (Right) JA Newman (Sunbeam) in Ede. To this rider belongs the credit of completing the long course without the loss of a single point.”