Thursday, January 26, 2017

More on Hitler

We have written about how Royal Enfield frustrated Hitler's dreams of dominating the ISDT of 1939. As usual with Enfield, there actually is more to the story. I had not realized the closeness of the race to the beginning of hostilities in World War II. The ISDT took place in Austria (which Germany had by then annexed) on the 21st to 26th of August of 1939. World War II started September 1st. In the middle of the race a telegram from the Foreign Office arrived suggesting that people should leave. The German team was state funded, but the British riders were amateurs and actually rode their bikes from the UK to Austria for the race. The British and German riders liked each other, they had known each other for years of ISDT's shared together and a lot of camaraderie developed in those races through remote roads. Half a dozen riders and two Army teams did not heed the Foreign Office suggestion and stayed and completed the race. The German riders helped them through the Swiss border and somehow they were able to ride through the chaos of preparations for World War II and get on some of the last ships out of Calais. The full story is told in the book by John Bradshaw "The Six Day Affair", JRB Publishing. You can also read the Motor Cycling report about the ISDT.

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