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The German Golden Helmet
By Christian Weber

Hermann Gunzenhauser; Erich Bertram; Walter Buttler

The "Golden Helmet of Germany" ("Goldener Helm von Deutschland") was invented in Munich (M�nchen) in 1933. It was afaik THE major event of the motorcycle track racing seasons of the 1930s in Germany.

This meeting was (in the pre war years) held each year on the 1,000m Daglfing sand track in Munich.

The original trophy in its inaugural year (1933) was donated by non other than the newly elected "F�hrer" of the German Reich, Adolf Hitler! In the following years a new trophy was donated each year by some other personalities.

I don't have a race report of that first German Golden Helmet meeting, and therefore don't know any names of participating riders, other than that of the winner. It had been decided that this biggest prize in track racing should be open to all categories of racing - that's solos AND sidecars - and therefore the Golden Helmet final had solos and sidecars race against each other in one race.

The fastest riders and drivers in the various race classes on the day (Solos of up to 250cc, 350cc and 500cc limits and Sidecars of up to 500cc and 750cc limits) met in the very last event of the race day, the Golden Helmet final. To even out the chances of all competitors, this race was held as a handicap event. The handicaps were based on the respective class winners' race times on that day. The slowest getting some seconds start on the fastest in the GH final.

It happened in that first year, that a sidecar driver won the Golden Helmet of Germany. This was the only occasion that a sidecar won it, though the formula to include solos and sidecars was kept alive for all the pre-war finals. The race was over ten laps, a distance of 10km.

In the 1938 event, the Austrian Martin Schneeweiss broke the existing track record in one of the qualifying races of the 500cc solo class. His winning time of 5 minutes 31.6 seconds gives an average speed of 108.433 kph! Schneeweiss was unlucky for stopping with an ignition problem at the start of the Golden Helmet final, which was then won by Munich's Ludwig Buchberger, a 250cc JAP rider.

I can give You the following list of winners of the "Goldhelm von Deutschland" from 1933 to 1938:

1933 M�nchen-Daglfing (Winner: Josef M�ritz, M�nchen)*
1934 M�nchen-Daglfing (Winner: Erich Bertram, Berlin)
1935 M�nchen-Daglfing (Winner: Walter Buttler, Erkelenz)
1936 M�nchen-Daglfing (Winner: Hermann Gunzenhauser, Neidlingen)
1937 M�nchen-Daglfing (Winner: Hermann Gunzenhauser, Neidlingen)
1938 M�nchen-Daglfing (Winner: Ludwig Buchberger, M�nchen)
1939 ???

Note: *indicates sidecar driver

I have no information about the year 1939, but the Golden Helmet meeting was usually held early in the year (May/June), therefore a seventh staging of the Golden Helmet before the outbreak of WW2 looks likely to have taken place.

 

This article was first published on 6th August 2011

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