1960: The revision of the Statutes
* The spring congress began in April in Geneva with the finance commission’s session. The 1959 accounts gave rise to several discussions, as the budget calculated in 1958 could not take into account all the expenses related to the move (in particular the effects of the difference in the cost of living between London and Geneva).
* This session was immediately followed by the first meeting of the central board. The first discussions were about the revision of the statutes. Among the new items was the notion of “associate member” which aimed to reinforce the FIM by accepting existing motorcycling organisations outside the FMNs.
* A discussion began on the question of advertising on the machines and the riders’ clothing. Most of the members were against. Baron Von Essen expressed serious doubts and cited the example of ice hockey where players were already wearing advertising during international matches. Sooner or later, the FIM would have to adapt. The question was discussed for a long time during the general council session where 28 countries were represented and finally postponed until the autumn congress.
* Dr Von Frankenberg (East Germany) explained that at the Olympic Games medals were given to the top three (gold, silver and bronze). However at the FIM only the winner received a medal. He believed it would encourage riders if prizes were also awarded for second and third in the championship.
* During a visit to the USA, Count Lurani had met Messrs Harley and Davidson and had felt at the beginning a certain hostility towards the FIM because they believed the federation had excluded large capacity machines. Count Lurani assured them that membership of the FIM would in no way affect national racing and relations improved on the spot. Count Lurani hoped that Messrs Harley and Davidson would use their broad influence to try and bring the AMA and the FIM closer together.
* The proposal to create an ice racing FIM Cup was accepted in principle and the Russian delegate was entrusted with presenting the details to the track racing sub-committee. It was set to begin in 1961, but the results of the ongoing season would be examined first and foremost.
* After a very long discussion, it was decided that races for 50cc machines would be organised because production for this kind of vehicle was enormous...
* The oil company BP had made contact with the federation. It wanted to organise an event, but not a race, to promote tourism and road safety for two stroke machines in 1960. This specific event named “Zoomkhana” would take place in the following countries: the Netherlands, Switzerland, England and West Germany. A final gymkhana would be held in Rome in August.
* The autumn congress returned to the Automobile-Club de France in Paris. The revision of the statutes was in its final phase. The general principle concerning associate members was accepted. The statutes were approved by the general council together with the final draft of the internal regulations.
* Concerning the United States, it was not the AMA, nor the AFM who appeared but the USMC, a club founded by two people with a view to organising races in the USA. The board decided to support this initiative with the prospect of possible membership in a year or two.
* The international sporting commission met under the presidency of Count Lurani. Since the Sachsenring could not be inspected (visa problems), the race was postponed until the following year. However, the track at Buenos Aires was deemed excellent and the event was scheduled for 1961.
* The first season of the FIM endurance cups created a problem in the ranking, because competitors often qualified in just one race and the distances to be covered were of varying lengths. Count Lurani protested against increasing the points for longer races and for a long time just one quota of points was applied. The following regulations were proposed: in order to be ranked a rider must have taken part in at least two events.
* The length of world championship races was also discussed: in some cases they were too long. Agreement was reached on the following text: “The organisers have the latitude to reduce the length if they wish so long as the races in any of the classes mentioned, are not less than one hour and have obtained prior approval from their FMNR”.
* In speedway the organisation of the final at Wembley and the large crowd did not pose any problem. But it was time to think about holding it in other countries. Sweden, with Ove Fundin, seemed the best placed to welcome this final in 1961 (Malmö).
* Then in order to close the issue of Triumph, who had published a record not homologated by the FIM, the ISC decided to suspend the constructor for two years (no FIM licence, but riders were not affected by this measure).
* The last CSI session had a visit from John Surtees (at that time the works MV Agusta rider) who had just won his last two world titles in 350 and 500cc. Concerning stability in the sport, Surtees explained that the three-year rule was good because for a constructor any change would require a period of adjustment of two years. He believed that the doubts over the future of 500 cc had led MV Agusta to shelve the project for a new machine in the category. Details about race regulations should be published as quickly as possible. He felt 1 January was too late. Concerning the sporting stewards, some problems had arisen and it was absolutely vital in the eyes of the riders to know exactly where a particular steward stood and that he should be independent, which was a safeguard for the sport at a time when commercial interests were becoming more prevalent (remember this is 1960). The British rider explained that white lines in the middle of a road were dangerous and that often organisers repainted them before the race thinking they were doing a good thing, but they would be better advised to do this afterwards if it was a road open to traffic. However lines could be painted on the sides to show the width of the track. Concerning side-cars, it would be better for them to race after the individual races since they left patches of rubber on the tarmac. Car racing on the same day on the same circuit should be completely abandoned and it would be important to have a rider representative in the sport’s organising body to improve the exchange of information. On the question of length, John Surtees pronounced that no race should be shorter than one hour. It would be preferable to have shorter qualifying sessions because slow riders represented a danger. Count Lurani, Major Watling and all the CSI members present thanked the champion for his visit and Count Lurani gave instructions for the minutes of the session to be distributed to all the FMNs.
1961: The Ernst Degner Affair
* In 1961, the Federazione Motociclistica Italiana was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. It therefore invited the delegates to hold the spring congress in Santa Margherita Ligure from 10 to 15 April. Twenty-seven federations were present or represented at the general council.
* In terms of international relations, Guatemala was once again admitted. The situation in South Africa which had left the Commonwealth on 31 May 1961 would be reviewed at the end of the year. Contacts had been received from Nicaragua and Paraguay. Don Rodil referred to correspondence exchanged with countries in South America, to which Major Goode responded that a part of the FIM archives was still located in Hawkhurst. It had been deliberately (sic) left there but the president confirmed that it should now be moved to Geneva.
* The question of associate members was raised: the representatives from BP Trading Ltd were welcomed during the council session. President Nortier declared that it was a very important moment for the FIM since it was the first time that organisations were accepted as members. The company Shell International Petroleum was also admitted as an associate member.
* A huge majority of delegates were against advertising on the machines and riders during international events. The FMNs were given free rein to authorise advertising or not in their national events. The FMB (Belgium) which had already legislated in the matter, could serve as an example for FMNs wanting to authorise advertising.
* For the 500 motocross world championship, ten races were planned and twelve for the 250 European championship. A new name for the 250 Cross of Nations was agreed: the “Trophée des Nations”. The first event would be held in Avigliana, Italy, on 23 July 1961.
* A proposal was made to hold hill climb races, since the FMI thought there would be fewer objections from the authorities now. Count Lurani thought it was a good idea but it would be better not to increase the number of championships. Don Rodil said that he was sure regulations already existed for this type of championship. The secretary general replied that he had never seen such regulations but it was possible they were still in England. The CSI accepted the proposal of an “International Hillclimb Trophy” for 1962 for sports machines and side-cars.
* Ice racing events had not taken place at the beginning of 1961, but the Russian delegate, Mr Kedrov, protested at any mention of the failure of this series. Correspondence between the secretariat and other FMNs show that the conditions proposed by the USSR federation were inacceptable and they had refused to take part. But there were plans for races at the end of 1961.
* The 77th congress took place in Paris from 24 to 28 October. 32 countries were represented directly and two by proxy, 58 delegates signed the register. Japan was represented for the first time by the new MFJ secretary general, Tsugeno-San, who had travelled to Europe specially. The MFJ was reformed following the recent visit by president Nortier and Major Goode (they also visited the track at Suzuka). On the other hand, East Germany was not present…The meetings were held as usual on the premises of the Automobile Club de France. A certain Mr Galan, who had met several FIM members the previous year in Paris, was present as an observer from the USMC (United States). He explained that the club had been formed with the sole intention of bringing racing in the United States into the framework of the FIM regulations. Then the council examined and accepted the associate membership requests from Castrol, Lambretta and Vespa, with the latter a subject for lengthy discussions concerning the situation in Great Britain. New FMN applications were then considered: Nicaragua, Paraguay and South Africa were accepted and the position of Congo remained on hold.
* The secretary general then explained the idea of introducing an FIM gold medal which would be awarded to anyone or any organisation outside the federation who deserved it for services rendered to motorcycling or for having performed a defining task in our sport.
* At the international sporting commission, they began by examining the events of the previous season. The Argentinian GP had taken place a few days before the congress and the FIM delegate, RFME president, Mr Cuguero, was not present at the last session to make his report.
* The main problem concerned the 125cc class and the defection of the East German rider Ernst Degner after the penultimate GP in Sweden. He had not been able to race in Argentina because he did not have a bike (he therefore lost the title to the Honda Australian rider, Tom Phillis). The East German federation had announced his disqualification but the FIM had not ratified this and had permitted him to race in Argentina. A special aeroplane had been chartered from London to Buenos Aires with places for bikes. According to Mr Cuguero, Degner’s place was reserved but the rider and his mechanic had not taken the flight on 8 October. If Degner had caught this flight as intended, he and his machine would have arrived in time in Argentina before any mention of disqualification. Degner had lodged a protest – but he had done this to Mr Cuguero instead of the organisers. In addition, MZ were accusing Degner of deliberately damaging the machine during the Swedish GP (Degner was leading, virtually world champion, when the engine broke) but the make’s engineer, Walter Kaaden, refused to send any proof, since it was strictly confidential. Mr Cuguero contradicted the rumours mentioned by Mr Vorster that the event had been badly organised and only attracted 2,500 spectators. The Spanish delegate confirmed that the crowd had been estimated at no less than 30,000 and there had been no problem with the organisation.
* A 50cc class was incorporated into the GP championship for 1962 (minimum distance for a race: 60 km) and each event had to have at least four of the six classes (50, 125, 250, 350, 500 and side-car). Two practice sessions per class had to be scheduled. The circuit had to be suitable for a championship race and accepted as such by the CSI.
* Upon the proposal of the British delegate, Mr Taylor, the 250 motocross championship would become a world championship in 1962.
* The CSI met on 26 November in Geneva to discuss and close the Degner affair. West and East German representatives were present as well as the rider himself. The sanction adopted was a reprimand and a fine of £250 but disqualification was rejected. Claims concerning breaking a contract and divulging professional secrets did not fall in the remit of the FIM. Accusations of sabotage during the Swedish GP could not be substantiated by proof. It was perfectly possible that it was quite simply a mechanical breakdown (quite common at this time). In fact the sanction only covered the behaviour of Ernst Degner, who had among other things “not resigned from the club of which he was a member”!
1962: The Development of Activities
* The spring congress was held in Munich from 1st to 7 April. Interpretation was provided by Mr Karl Gärtner from Geneva. Thirty one countries were represented including 28 directly and three by proxy. Three associate members were represented (BP, Vespa and Lambretta).
* After a financial committee session, the central board examined the question of membership fees for the new members. It was not a question of refusing a qualified application for membership but of making the new members pay for a service that already existed. The secretary general had been to London with the approval of the president, to visit the FIM associate members from the oil industry (Shell, BP and Castrol). Shell had already reached an agreement with the federation, but BP wanted to embark upon specific projects and was waiting for a proposal on this.
* In general it was agreed that the FIM initiative on associate members had borne fruit since at the beginning of the 1960s, the oil companies Esso and Mobil had withdrawn from the sport and it was highly probable that without this initiative the others would have followed suit. Plans for the development of motorcycling activities now had to be drawn up.
* During the general council, the president once again deplored the absence of delegates from Czechoslovakia, still for visa reasons (but the East Germans were present this time). Elections for the post of president and treasurer posed no problem: Messrs Nortier and Colombo were re-elected with acclaim. This was also the case for the new member of the finance committee, Mr Graveraux. There were nine candidates for seven vice presidential posts, but Don Rodil del Valle did not stand. The USSR proposed that the statutes should be modified and that no member of the executive could be a vice president at the same time. The president explained that this proposal was approved in principle, but that the revision of the statutes would be presented for ratification to the autumn congress. The problem of visas and delegate attendance was discussed. The secretary general was entrusted with contacting other sporting federations facing the same problem to protest to the governments refusing visas. The Olympic Committee had apparently already vigorously expressed its opinion.
* A discussion took place on the tyres for the Six Days. The regulations had changed but that posed some problems. With the agreement of the CSI, the council reversed the decision taken and tyres were left free for 1962.
* Referring to the statutes, the president proposed to nominate an assistant president capable of replacing the president in his absence. Mr Emil Vorster was elected by acclaim to the post of “first FIM vice president”.
* The sporting commission reviewed the wind speed in world record attempts, not in terms of the wind pushing the vehicle in the right direction, since the second attempt took place in the opposition direction, but particularly in terms of the side wind. Mr Nortier recalled an accident which had taken place at 300km/h on a salt flat.
* The “Mountain Trophy” (sic) was planned to be in place for the autumn congress. Six countries were interested: West Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland. And Don Rodil announced he had found a copy of the regulations.
* A Finnish road racing GP was planned at Tampere – contested by various riders. The regulations for ice racing were approved as were the motocross calendars. A decision was taken that the FMN organising the Motocross des Nations would not have a 500 GP; the same would apply for the Trophée des Nations and the 250 GP.
* Mr Taylor (ACU) recognised that this difficulty had arisen from the ACU’s intention to admit women for the Tourist Trophy! Count Lurani stated that he did not like the idea of having women at international events. Negative publicity had arisen when female side-car passengers had been involved in accidents. The general opinion was against women taking part in road races and perhaps other speed events. But it was decided to raise the issue again at the autumn congress.
* Problems were emerging with riders’ payment behind the iron curtain. The speedway team world championship for example, was to take place in Slany (CZ) in July, but the UAMK declared that it was unable to obtain the necessary currency to pay the travel expenses, starting bonuses and prizes for riders coming from Western Europe on the same basis as had been paid by the SVEMO in Gothenburg. The CSI remained intransigent. If the UAMK did not respect the agreement, the event would be transferred to Austria.
* The autumn congress took place in Brussels. Thirty-one national federations were represented. The general council met under the presidency of Mr Nortier who gave a detailed presentation of the state of the FIM. At the international sporting commission, Mr Gullberg (SVEMO) proposed that medals for second and third place in the championships should also be given to speedway riders like road racing and motocross. Then the main items of the agenda were considered: trial and the status of the Six Days. The FMB proposed a European series of short (or British) trials as opposed to longer events. This type of event already existed in Great Britain and Belgium and it was just a question of standardising the regulations. But for the Six Days opposition to change was so strong that the proposal was withdrawn.
* Concerning the participation of women in road races, it would go no further than side-car passengers. The fear was too great that if there were a fatal accident the publicity for the sport would be too bad.
* At the technical commission, president Boensch reported that he had been to the tests of the “Spirit of America” a contraption with three buffer wheels. The vehicle had taken three years to be prepared and it was still not finished. For example, none of the wheels could be steered, with the steering controlled up to 240 km/h by the disc brakes on the rear wheels! When going faster, a spoiler placed at the front took over, but the system was not yet refined. Moreover, tests were carried out on the track, and one had been carried out with starting wind speed of 0 m/s, but at the end of the kilometre, the driver had a sidewind of 1.2 m/s which was enough to cause him to deviate from the racing line and he had not been able to bring the vehicle back onto the line again in order to pass between the two posts where the photo and electric apparatus was located at the end of the mile. These observations confirmed previous impressions that a windspeed of 3 m/s could not be accepted for world record attempts over a short distance and that these regulations should be revised.
1963: Storm clouds brew between the MICUS and the FIM
* The next meeting was held in Luxembourg barely two months later. It was the 80th FIM congress. Twenty-nine national federations were represented. The general council was happy to welcome Mr William Spear, the MICUS delegate from the USA, admitted as the 42nd nation into the FIM. After 40 years, the FIM had again received an official membership application from an organisation in the United States. After a brief résumé of the relations with the States, the president indicated that the Motorcycling International Committee of the United States (MICUS) had been formed as a neutral body whose role was to control the sport on an international level. It is easy to imagine that the matter caused a certain amount of consternation in the room. It was announced that the FIM had just received a telegram stating that the AMA had no intention of joining the MICUS which was “very regrettable taking into account that the AMA was by far the largest organisation in the United States; but the proposal cannot be withdrawn just for this”. According to president Nortier, the FIM had invested a lot of effort – and money – in the problem of the United States and the MICUS seemed to him to offer the best solution. But not everyone agreed. There was a level of scepticism in the room. Mr Taylor (ACU), as the official representative for Canada, took the floor and said he had received a letter from the CMA giving its view. “The AMA is the only true national federation in the United States. So why was the FIM negotiating with dissident and irregular organisations? In their opinion, the AMA should be admitted and not the MICUS”. The discussion went on for some time and to finish on a fairly humorous note, Mr Skvortsov (USSR delegate) suggested that perhaps Mr Spear (representing the MICUS) might wish to add something. Mr Spear politely refused saying that he did not wish to influence the vote in any way which widely accepted the membership of the MICUS (25 votes for, 4 against – Great Britain, Canada, South Africa and Ireland). So a two-thirds majority was easily reached. Mr Spear thanked the general council for its trust and assured it that he would do everything to support the FIM in the United States and expand international motorcycling.
* There was then more talk about sport and politics in particular in East Germany. Once again, President Nortier explained that the FIM could not take the place of governments. After learning for certain that the ADMRV could not attend the congress, the secretary general had travelled to East Germany to talk about it.
* The international sporting commission met at the “Casino syndical”. Advertising during world record attempts was accepted with certain restrictions. After much discussion, the GP of the United States was entered on the calendar. Motocross was making a trip to the east (in USSR). The problem of bonuses in roubles was largely contested – and rightly so – and Mr Kedrov promised to find a solution with the authorities.
* The sub-commission for track racing validated the first result of the “SSCTR Grand Cup for Ice Races 62-63” won by the Russian rider Boris Samodorov.
* Everybody met again in London from 14 to 19 October. The general council met in the presence of delegates from 32 countries. The FIM “gold medal” was officially recognised and the first recipients were Major Thomas Wynn Loughborough, secretary general emeritus and Mr Craig Breedlove, holder of the absolute speed world record (848.651 km/h) with the “Spirit of America”, the three wheeled, jet-powered vehicle. For its 60th anniversary, the ACU received an FIM flag and a gold buttonhole badge for Captain Norman Dixon, the chairman of the ACU. Medals, decorations and diplomas began to play a part in the congress ceremony.
* The great success of the FIM rally (in Opatija in Yugoslavia) and the high praise of the secretary general, who took part in this event for the first time, attested to the work completed by the Tourism Commission. The council expressed its sympathy following the terrible earthquake which had shaken southern Yugoslavia.
* The international sporting commission meeting followed and tension was still rife. Dr Von Frankenberg (no visa) and Colonel Tavernier (ill) were missing. The 1963 season was reviewed. Things had not gone well in Finland. Mr Taylor gave an immediate unfavourable report on the track in spite of the organisers’ efforts (trees cut down, wider track) and he was not sure that the track at Tampere was suitable for a classic event. There had also been difficulties with British riders who at a certain moment, had threatened not to start - “by chance, Mr Hailwood used his influence to counter this threat”. Although Tampere had not seen any serious accidents in thirty years, the Finnish GP moved to Imatra the following year, near the Soviet border.
1964: Motocross at the Olympic Games?
* The spring congress took place in Scheveningen in the Netherlands – the KNMV was celebrating its 60th anniversary – from Monday 27 April until Saturday 2 May. Thirty two federations were present or represented. The congress also welcomed Mr Frame Thompson, from Shell in New York who had come to show the first film of Craig Breedlove’s record attempt as well as another on the previous year’s TT.
* The matter of the FIM’s 60th anniversary was then raised. Mr Haken (UAMK) said he was very proud that it was in his country in Pacov in 1904 that what would go onto become the FICM was created. The production of a commemorative plaque was planned together with reproductions for each delegate (nobody thought of consulting the pre-war documents). A rally of old machines would be on the programme. The minutes from the meeting in Pacov should be found and Mr Cuguero proposed to publish the history of the FIM on this occasion. The secretary general stated that he had suggested to Mr Loughborough to do this, but he wanted an additional payment. Mr Anstice was charged with contacting him and proposing £50 (sic) to do the job. It was suggested to include a page devoted to the activities of each FMN. The president responded that he would prefer the work to concentrate on the FIM with photos and illustrations, etc. The secretary general stated that he was still troubled in terms of archives, as many were still in the possession of Mr Loughborough. He explained that “it had been difficult to obtain them all”. He had recently contacted Mr Loughborough to obtain the remainder but the documents had been placed in storage. He thought they were now no longer in storage and that he could now obtain them. The secretary general received instructions to go and retrieve these archives and to bring them back to Geneva.
* Discussions now turned to the calendar and the numerous changes made each year which produced a large amount of work for the secretariat. The board thought that those who wanted changes should agree to pay more. It was decided that from 31 December (starting in 1964) any change in the calendar would only be made after payment of an additional fee. The board recommended that the FIM should join the International Council for Physical Education and Sport which was a member of UNESCO and had a certain influence in the Olympic Games. The president also believed that the FIM should consider the introduction of a kind of motorcycle sport in the Olympic Games as soon as possible. Mr Cuguero stated that he had a lot of experience with the Olympic committee and that he thought it would be possible to introduce motocross into the modern pentathlon (sic).
* The following congress took place from 19 to 24 October in Prague where the FIM’s 60th anniversary was commemorated but also its foundation which, in the light of documents available today, is totally wrong. Nevertheless, following a speech by Mr Haken (Czech vice president), the mayor of Pacov and other dignitaries, the FIM president unveiled the plaque commemorating the founding of the FICM in 1904.
* The general council met in a first session on 23 October. Thirty-three nations were represented. The new statutes were ratified. Romania’s proposal to have one congress a year with the general council was rejected. The president announced that the FIM was now a member of the International Council for Sport and Physical Education affiliated to UNESCO (ICSSPE). New candidates were Greece, Algeria and Columbia. For El Salvador, documents were missing and the decision was postponed.
* Mr Anstice reported that he was in contact with Mrs Loughborough. Her husband had spent the last three months in hospital.
* On the subject of the project to write the FIM history, Mr Nortier announced that a book would be published in 1965. But for a series of reasons, this work was not carried out until the 21st century on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the FIM…
* The international sporting commission examined the reasons for cancelling the GP of Argentina, which it had learned about virtually from the press. Financial problems and changes within the federation itself were at the origins of the problems. The results of the championship were not definitive because the Japanese GP would take place in November. The results of the FIM endurance cup were not available either, since information was lacking! Finally, the “Mountain Trophy” had not taken place and was therefore cancelled for 1965. The first individual trial competition had been organised in 1964 with Italian, Polish and Czech riders. The CSI declared itself satisfied and decided to retain an individual ranking and a ranking by make (but no team ranking so as not to compete with the Six Days). The “International Reliability trials” would not be official in 1965 but it obtained so much success that it became official in 1966. During the last CSI meeting, the reigning 500 motocross world champion, Jeff Smith, was present. He was asked to give his opinion to the commission on several points. Jeff Smith said he thought there were too many GPs, that it was essential that the start be organised in the same way at every race, that the place on the grid should be determined by practice times and not by a lucky draw (sic), and that at some venues the track was sometimes bordered by rows of barbed wire. For other champions invited by the commission, Max Deubel and Emil Horner, side-car winners, “the main problem apart from the lack of control of the minimum weight of the machine, is the presence of slower riders on the track,” they said.
Photos FIM Archives - Caption from top to bottom:
-1 Motocross of Nations - France, 1960
-2 Rob Phillis, 1961
-3 Anderson - Suzuki 50, 1962
-4 Mick Andrews, 1963
-5 Torsten Hallman, 250, 1963
-6 Joel Robert, 1964