Lightweight triumph… For Triumph

Motor Cycling’s headline for the 1959 SSDT read ‘Golden Jubilee Scottish’. Anniversaries apart, it was a significant year, with a lightweight recording afirst win for an under 340cc machine and the entry of three scooters.

Words: Richard Rosenthal Photographs: Mortons Archive

SSDT landmarks
From the first Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) – well, actually, five days – in 1909, the event’s rich history comprises a succession of landmarks.

Initially the competition, then organised by the Edinburgh Motor Cycle Club, was a reliability trial schemed by Campbell McGregor and his team. Starting from the Murrayfield Tram Terminus, Edinburgh, on Monday, July 19, 1909, 26 entrants set off across the Highlands, reaching the most northerly point, John O’Groats, on Tuesday.

L-plated Bill Wilkinson (Greeves) is watched by Hugh Palin (third from right) and The Motor Cycle editor Harry Louis (second from right), among others.

No special tests were included and with daily mileages of up to 186 miles, the organisers considered road surfaces encountered in the Highlands would be penalty enough.

Only two riders, S J K Thompson andH H Salveson (both Triumph), secured gold medals, despite Thompson breaking his handlebars near Thurso and one of this pair (no names mentioned) was observed with fishing tackle strapped to his carrier!

A year later, the event recorded its first landmark by gaining an extra day to become the SSDT. In spring 1911 an amalgamation of Edinburgh clubs was completed to form the Edinburgh & District Motor Club, which became the organising club, and in 1912 they renamed the event the Scottish Six Days Reliability Trial.

Read more and view more images in the May 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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