SA Union: Johannesburg-Durban Races / Rand Motor Cycling Club
|By:||Vaughtons Ltd. of Birmingham, England|
Reeded Border round the rim. Championship cup showing motor cycles on a cartouch and the monogram: "RMCC" at the top. On a raised roughened band: "JOHANNESBURG-DURBAN . RACES". Scalloped frame at the foot for engraving. First medal blank, second medal: "1920".
Reeded Border round the rim. Rider crouched over motor cycle, left, sprigs of laurel each side. Cartouch below for engraving. First medal: "F.A.R. ZURCHER / 23rd. & 24th, AUG / 1919", second medal: "F.A.R. ZURCHER / 1st / and Fastest". Signed: "VAUGHTONS BIRM" in an arc at the bottom. Legend on a raised roughened band: "THE RAND MOTOR CYCLING CLUB" with ornament at the foot.
Comes in a fitted black presentation case lined with white silk and green velvet. In gold lettering on the outside of the lid: “THE RAND / MOTOR CYCLING CLUB / COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL” and on the inside: “VAUGHToNS LTD. / Goldsmiths & Medallists / BIRMINGHAM.”
The Johannesburg-Durban Race was a competition for motor cycles held under the auspices of the Rand Motor Cycling Club. It was held annually between the years 1913-1936 except during the First World War. The course over which the race took place was the road (then un-tarred and in places no more than a track) between Johannesburg and Durban, a distance of 421 miles. It was a two day event held in the winter months, in the early years from Johannesburg to Durban and later in the other direction. The race was re-established in 1970 as a rally event for veteran and vintage motor cycles called the “DJ Run”.
The winner’s trophy depicted on the obverse is known as the ‘Schlesinger Vase’. It is believed that the medals here were awarded to all those riders who completed the race in commemoration of the event.
Fritz A.R. Zurcher was a South African pioneer of motor cycle racing. He competed in every race between 1919 and 1932 except 1921. He was placed: 6th in 1919 (this first medal), 1st in 1920 (this second medal), 9th in 1922, 18th in 1924, 15th in 1925, 14th in 1926, 9th in 1930 and 10th in 1932.
The 1920 medal here was presented for his winning ride from Johannesburg to Durban in that year. The weather conditions for the 1920 race were appalling with stretches of the road made virtually impassable by snow and mud. It earned the name the “Snowstorm Derby”. Zurcher’s winning time on his 494 Douglas was recorded as 23 hrs. 18 mins. 20 secs., double the duration of the race under normal conditions.
The medals awarded to Zurcher for the 1922 and 1924 races can be seen at Laidlaw 1130. These medals were on a more modest scale. Presumably the medals here had been sponsored and, when the supply became exhausted, were replaced by less costly ones.
Further information at: http://www.djrun.co.za.