By Kenneth Olausson

The International Six Days is well known to most bike enthusiasts. Back in 1950 the Swedes wanted their own enduro, so the first “Motoring Six-Days” event was introduced. This gruelling race lasted throughout 50s and was cherished by riders who wanted success despite the sacrifices. It was also the official racing comeback for the Huskvarna Factory after the war.

Carl Heimdahl was one of the leading technicians at Husqvarna’s R&D department, having been contracted by the factory from the beginning of the 30s. Among his other achievements Carl was also responsible as the chief engineer for the coming ‘Silver Arrow’ – Husqvarna’s biggest street success throughout history. He was also a keen competitor and had collected a lot of trophies on his bookshelf. In the beginning of 1950, the newly developed 125cc engine was ready for testing at the factory. Since the ‘Motoring Six-Days’ was coming up in mid-May, everyone was looking to finish the new machine in time for this decisive race.

90 participants throughout five classes – including sidecars – took off from the start at 5.30 in the morning of May 13th 1950. The day’s stage went from Linköping to Västerås, and was 463km long. As the final part consisted of a swamp section, quite a few of the delegates had to unfortunately abandon the race there. Only five riders were without penalties after day one. The second stage was easier to accomplish, while the third consisted of a tough night-stage, 324 km long. It was a cold night and very testing for the competitors – just 30 men made it through the darkness. After only four hours of the sleep, the next stage was held over 244km. The final stretch then went to Stockholm with the riders completing a total distance of 1,900km. In the 125cc class, Husqvarna dominated the results sheet by taking the four first places, including Carl Heimdahl who placed fourth at the finish.

The popular event was repeated in 1951, but the race ran from Falun to the Stadium in Stockholm over seven stages – the night section included. This time, the start was held on June eighth, which made the enduro conditions a little less extreme than the previous year. In the landscape of Dalarna, many difficulties were encountered by optimistic riders. Stages in touristic towns like Leksand, Rättvik, Orsa and Mora had to be covered. The knockout sections were saved until the last days, in order to separate the men from the boys.

After his 1950 success, Carl Heimdahl was awarded to start as the number two rider a few minutes after six o’clock in the morning. However, he was out of luck and did not finish the competition. Instead, two other Husqvarna-mounted riders were successful and finished second and third in the 125-175cc class.

1955 was the last true Six-Days event of the ‘Motorsexdagars’ as it was shortened after this year. A record number of 105 riders turned up to participate, but only 65 percent of them managed to take the chequered flag on May 22nd when the competition came to an end. Before that, the race was not only a nightmare to conquer, but the authorities had turned against motorcycling in general – bike racing such as enduros in particular. The police were watching everywhere and gave out penalties to surprised riders who in some instances had broken the law with the lowest margins. Despite all the rattling, Husqvarna managed to dominate the 175cc class with their reliable machines. Out of 11 gold medals in this class, the Husqvarna riders captured no less than eight golden plaques – a phenomenal record in the books. The rider Bengt Fasth came home without penalties, having ridden the ultra-new Silver Arrow with modified front forks and a rebuilt rear-frame. One year later, the event had transformed into a four-day competition due to the high costs of the venue. 97 men started this enduro in Strängnäs and 66 made it to the finish line. The Husqvarna riders Sune Olsson and Lars Hansson were first and second in the 175cc senior class, where the competition was very strong. In 1957 the race was reduced further to three days, which would remain for the lifetime of the event. Rolf Stagman was a good enduro rider for Husqvarna and won a gold medal there. He was then approached by the factory and assigned as a test rider for the ‘Silver Arrow’ project.

In 1958 the Motoring Six-days had the status of a national enduro championship race. Again, the 175cc class was won by Husqvarna with Göte Berglund in the saddle. Finally, 1959. It was again a super-tough race with only a couple of riders without penalties at the finish. Consequently, the organisers prolonged the riding time by 10 minutes in order to be able to distribute all the 41 medals that had been prepared for 55 riders in this event. There were of course massive protests from the most successful participants, but the organisers insisted, so the result sheet wasn’t a complete waste of paper.

In the circle of life, the “Motorsexdagars” came to an end after costs sky-rocketed and interest diminished. It was a stellar ’50s venue where only the strongest were victorious. Husqvarna made a strong contribution to this success!

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