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1909 - The Very Beginning

1909 1910 ssdt routes smal1909 & 1910 routes for The Scottish.
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The first event normally recognised as the forerunner of the SSDT was the 1909 Scottish Five Days’ Open Reliability Trial.  At the time it was universally felt to be the most severe trial of motorcycle reliability ever held.  It comprised of a tour of five days duration on roads of varying surfaces and stringent gradients.  The competitors vehicles would be examined for roadworthiness on two occasions each day, once during the morning run and the other in the afternoon, as well as further checks at meal breaks. The event was run in July.

Thirty-one entries were received, of which six did not manage to reach the Start at Murrayfield car terminus in Edinburgh.

The routes for the very first Scottish were:

First Day - 186.5 miles

Stirling, Crieff, Sma’ Glen, Amulree Hill, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry, Newtonmore and Carrbridge to Inverness.

Second Day - 177 miles

Inverness, Dingwall, Tain, Bonar Bridge, Evelix, Mound, Brora, Berriedale, Wick, John o Groats and Thurso.

Third Day - 141 miles

Thurso,  Bettyhill, Lairg, Bonar Bridge, Alness, Dingwall and Inverness.

Fourth Day - 105 miles

Inverness,  Nairn,  Forres,  Elgin, Huntly and Aberdeen.

Fifth Day - 149 miles

Aberdeen,  Laurencekirk,  Brechin,  Perth,  Stirling,  Murrayfield car terminus.

The finishers were:

GOLD MEDALS

H H Salvesen, (3.5hp Triumph)

S J K Thomson, (3.5hp 1907 Triumph)

Both these competitors secured full marks.

SILVER MEDALS

G L Fletcher (2.75 Douglas)

C McGregor (5 hp 1909 TT Matchless)

R S Morrison (4 hp twin Werner)

J M Dobson (5 hp 1908 Vindec)

M Pratt (3.5 hp 1908 Brown)

G Wilson (3.5 hp 1908 Triumph)

D H Gainsford (3 hp Advance)

A Downie (3.5 hp 1909 Ariel)

BRONZE MEDALS

W Niven (5-6 hp 1909 four cylinder FN)

W W Douglas (2.75 hp Douglas)

A Pearson (3.5 hp 1908 Triumph)

A H Hay (3.5 hp 1909 Rex)

A G Bostock (1909 TT Triumph)

G Muirhead (4 hp Matchless/JAP)

Also finishing the trial but outside the scheduled time were:

G Alexander (3 hp Midget Bicar)

B P McRae (3.5 hp 1908 Triumph)

J P Donaldson (3.5 hp Matchless/JAP)

The remaining six competitors retired at various points around the week.

NB:  The Official Car (Gordon Gibson’s 8 hp Humber) also completed the whole week

Note also that in those days there was not a universally agreed method of attributing the size of an engine.  As a very rough guide it is usual to allow 100cc of swept volume to equate to 1 hp, thus a 3.5 hp Matchless would today more likely be noted as a 350cc Matchless.

Information compiled and kindly provided by Deryk Wylde. For much more on the history of the sport of Trials including many images never seen before, please see Deryk's OFF ROAD REVUe digital magazines here

Lochaber Community Fund

The Edinburgh & District Motor Club Community Fund was set up to provide a little extra assistance to local good causes as a thank you to the Lochaber community for the help and support they provide to our events. Find out more...

Our Thanks To...

There are many organisations, companies, bodies and individuals without whose valuable assistance and co-operation the Scottish Six Days Trial could not take place. Our sincere gratitude goes to all of them. Read more...

What Is The SSDT?

The Scottish Six Days Trial is a motorcycle trial with a difference!  It has the added test of reliability over long distances with riders completing up to 100 miles daily over a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads. Find out more...