The report below is copied verbatim from a small publication by Ken Macleod entitled Through the Dust Barrier, Part One, 1903-1923 – The history of S.A. Motorcycle Sport. (Part Two, the final issue, covered the years 1924-1927)

For the 1921 Deejay the solo start was also moved to Toll Gate in Durban where the Natal Motorcycle and Car Club were responsible for the arrangements and finished at City Deep to give the R.M.C.C. the benefit of their hard work.

A. B. Smith (500cc Indian sidecar) led the field away at 6.30 a.m. on May 30 with J. W. King (250cc Levis) leading the solos away 30 minutes after the last sidecar had left.

L. van Bergen left 6 minutes late due to machine trouble and Baker injured a knee when he fell trying to avoid a donkey cart, but continued. Purdue retired after a crash at Hillcrest.

Hobbs, who led the solos at Pietermaritzburg in 12th place overall, had broken a frame.

But scratch man Blackburn had shot up to the city in 1 hour 3 minutes and Spargo had been 14 minutes slower. Harper retired with broken front forks soon after refuelling, while in second place.

Spargo led until Estcourt when he stopped with a puncture which cost him 20 minutes and he was passed by Long, who averaged over 34 m/h to Ladysmith and led at Newcastle from Spargo and C. C. Smith. Hildebrand led the solos in sixth overall but Young had retired.

Smith crashed heavily in Newcastle the following day but continued after repairs with a tyre lever and a piece of wire.

The solos soon passed the chairs and Blackburn took Len Cohen for second place at Balfour. He had closed to four minutes behind Hildebrand at Heidelberg and caught him ten miles from the finish. He rode with him for some distance and then turned and said: “Well, I’ve got to win this race, so I’ll have to leave you.” He won by 11 minutes clipping one hour 10 minutes off the race record and 1 hour 4 minutes off his own distance record.

Long broke his own sidecar record by more than 2 hours.


1. R. Blackburn (Natal, 1000cc Harley Davidson) 10 hours 12 minutes average speed 41,17 m/h;
2. A. Hildebrand (Rand, 300cc Hilda);
3. L. R. Cohen (Natal, 500cc Triumph);
4. A. Long (Rand, 1000cc Excelsior sidecar) 11 hours 26 minutes average speed 36,73 m/h;
5. T. H. Spargo (Natal, 1000cc Harley Davidson sidecar);
6. C. C. Smith (Natal, 1000cc Harley Davidson sidecar).

Hilda Motorcycle
Photograph: Andre Hildebrandt

JAP 292cc engines powered the Hilda Motorcycles.
JAP – John Alfred Prestwich
Photograph: Andre Hildebrandt

Cecil Henry Kelly on a Hilda Motorcycle in 1921
Photograph: Susanne Dougherty

Three Hilda motorcycles outside the Hildebrandt Bros. (Brothers) Motor Engineers building.
Left to right: C Marshall finished 16th, Cecil Henry Kelly finished 9th and Arthur Hildebrandt finished 2nd
Photograph: Susanne Dougherty

Out of the four Hilda motorcycles entered in the 1921 race three finished.
Arthur Hildebrandt, founder of Hilda, finished 2nd, Cecil Henry Kelly finished 9th and C Marshall finished 16th.
Unfortunately E.C. Jacobie did not finish.

Note the poster in the background – text reads:

S.A. Motor Cycle Derby
Rand Motor Cycle Club
5th Durban Race
May 30th and 31st 1921
For the Schlesinger and Hendee Vases
Durban to Johannesburg
The greatest motor cycle event of the year
£600 in prizes

JAP 292cc engines powered the Hilda Motorcycles.
JAP – John Alfred Prestwich
Photograph: Susanne Dougherty

Second place in the 1913 race was C. Fenwick who rode a Rudge Multi 500cc.

The Rand Motor Cycling Club, Johannesburg, South Africa, Certificate of Merit presented to Cecil Henry Kelly on achieving 9th position in the Solo event riding a Hilda Motorcycle in the 1921 DJ Race. Source: Susanne Dougherty