The TT Races - 100 hundred years of Road Racing on the Isle of Man

Discussion in 'Australian Motorcycles' started by Biggus, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. Biggus

    Biggus Guest

    taken from an email I got

    by the introduction in 1903 of a 20mph speed limit. The Secretary of
    the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland, Sir Julian Orde, set
    off in February 1904 for the Isle of Man because he had a fairly
    shrewd idea that the Manx authorities would adopt a more conciliatory
    attitude automobile racing on public roads.

    He was right. The Highways (Light Locomotive) Act 1904 gave permission
    in the Isle of Man for the 52.15 mile "Highlands" course for the 1904
    Gordon Bennett Car Trial, the British trial for the fledging European
    car racing championships.

    It was not until the following year that a trial race for the
    motorbikes was to be introduced the day after the Gordon Bennett Car
    Trial. The inability of the bikes to complete the steep climbs of the
    mountain section led to the race being redirected and it didn't return
    to the Mountains until 1911.

    The new route ran from Douglas south to Castletown and then north to
    Ballacraine along the A3 primary road, returning to the start at
    Douglas via Colby and Glen Vine along the current TT Course in the
    reverse direction. The event was won by J.S. Campbell in a respectable
    4 hours, 9 minutes and 36 seconds.

    The new race was proposed by the Editor of "The Motor-Cycle" Magazine
    at the annual dinner of the Auto-Cycle Club held in London on the 17th
    January 1907. The races were run in two classes with single-cylinder
    machines to average 90 mpg and twin-cylinder machines to average 75
    mpg. This was done to emphasise the road touring nature of the
    motor-cycles. The organisers also insisted there were regulations for
    saddles, pedals, mudguards and exhaust silencers.

    The 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races took place for the first
    time over the "Snaefell Mountain Course". The Auto Cycle Union (ACU),
    organisers of the race, announced an extension to the course with the
    reintroduction of the Mountain Course setting a four lap (150mile)
    Junior course and a five lap (189 mile) race for the Senior race. By
    now crowds were accommodated in Grandstands to watch the American bike
    manufacturer Indian take the first three places.

    The following year British pride was restored by the Yorkshire based
    two-stroke bike, Scott and in the Junior 350cc race by the Douglas'
    taking first and second. The race meeting was close to being cancelled
    due to several manufactures threatening to boycott the race having
    struggled the year before on the Mountain course with the single gear

    It was during the early years that the Mountain Circuit was little
    more than a cart and horse track which included the odd gate between
    fields. It was the duty of the first rider round in the morning to
    open all the gates along the way, with the last rider responsible in
    shutting them.
    The 1914 TT was the last race before the outbreak of World War I; the
    meeting was not to be held again till after the War in 1920. Cyril
    Williams competing in the Junior race on an AJS valiantly pushed his
    AJS over the finish line in first place having broken down five miles

    It was in 1921 that a young Stanley Woods first made the ferry trip
    over from Ireland to the Isle of Man as a one of the thousands of
    spectators now attending. The following year a seventeen year old
    Stanley Woods would enter his first ever TT.

    During the 1920s the road conditions began to improve and with this so
    did lap speeds. In 1920 the lap record was 55.62 mph and by the
    outbreak of World War 2 this rose to over 90 mph.

    The 1922 TT will be remembered for two things, Tom Sheard winning the
    350cc race on the dominant AJS, the first ever Manxman to win at the
    TT and the seventeen year old Stanley Woods attaining fifth position
    on a Cotton with a time of 3hrs 50min 33secs despite having to contend
    with a broken exhaust pipe and a pit fire that set both man and
    machine ablaze.

    The 1923 competition saw the introduction of the first Sidecar race
    won by Freddie Dixon and passenger Walter Perry. In the Junior 350cc
    Stanley Woods was to record his first of ten TT victories, the last
    one being in 1939. By 1938 the lap speed record had reached 91mph, a
    record held by Harold Daniell for a further 12 years.

    Following a break of eight years the Isle of Man TT returned after the
    War in 1947, with Harold Daniell winning at a much slower speed than
    his previous record due to the poorer quality of petrol, setting
    speeds of 82mph.

    It was in 1949 that the TT first became a venue for the Motorcycle
    World Championships. It was also the last time the two great pre-war
    riders, Harold Daniell on a Norton and Freddie Frith on a Velocette
    were to be seen ridding at the TT, both winning the Senior and Junior
    races respectively.

    The 1950's and the World Championship status brought along the world's
    top riders to the TT. The decade was notable for the emergence of
    Italian manufacturers Mondial, MV Augusta and Gilera and their riders
    Carlo Ubbiali and Tarquinio Provini, Geoff Duke and Bob McIntyre.
    Bill Lomas and Ken Kavanagh on the Moto Guzzi's were also prominent.

    Three years after Harold Daniell's lap record was set, Geoff Duke set
    his own on the way to winning his first International TT on a Norton,
    reaching 93.33mph in the Senior class. In the same year, the 125cc
    category was introduced.

    In 1957, the Scotsman Bob McIntyre became the first rider ever to lap
    the Mountain circuit at 100mph, much to the annoyance of Geoff Duke
    who came agonisingly close the previous year, achieving 99.97mph.

    The late fifties and early sixties are known as the golden era of the
    TT, with riders like John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini,
    Phil Read and Jim Redman competing in entertaining battles with
    machine and each other. This era is also notable for the first
    appearance of the Japanese bike company, Honda.

    In 1961, Mike Hailwood won his first of 14 TT's whilst becoming the
    first rider to finish with three wins in a week - 125, 250 on a Honda
    and the Senior race on a Norton. Hailwood would later go on to win
    five consecutive Senior titles, the first three on a Norton the latter
    two on Hondas.

    The battle between Giacomo Agostini on the MV and Hailwood on a Honda
    in the 1967 Senior TT is considered by many as the greatest ever race
    on the Island. Between 1965 and 1972 Agostini managed 11 race wins of
    his own, while in 1967 Hailwood set another lap record at 108.77mph,
    which would stand for a further 11 years.

    The record was to stand until 1975 when Hailwood's absolute lap record
    was broken by Mike Grant on a two-stroke triple Kawasaki, raising it
    to 109.80mph. The following year saw the end of the Isle of Man's
    association with the British Grand Prix but the TT's introduction to
    the skills and talents of the now legendary Joey Dunlop.

    It was not long before Joey's talents came to the fore. In 1977 he won
    the Jubilee Classic race, the first of an astounding 26. This same
    year saw the first Sidecar duo to exceed the 100mph mark, George
    O'Dell and Kenny Arthur taking their Yamaha round at 102.80mph. Also
    the American GP star, Pat Hennen, managed the first sub-twenty minute
    lap on board a 500 Suzuki in the Senior TT.

    Mike Hailwood after an 11 year absence returned to the TT in winning
    form in 1978 which he matched in his final race in 1979, with his 14th
    and final TT.

    The eighties were dominated by one man - Joey Dunlop. He recorded the
    first 115mph plus lap in 1980, and in 1983 won the first of six
    consecutive Formula One TT's on the dominant Honda machines. Injuries
    sustained in a race at Brands Hatch prevented Dunlop from defending
    his title for the seventh consecutive time in 1989, a race won by
    Steve Hislop who broke Joey's lap speed record, pushing it to

    The arrival of World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty to the 1992 TT
    saw the beginning of many epic races between Carl and Steve Hislop.
    1992 was also the year Joey Dunlop equalled Mike Hailwood's record of
    14 TT wins by winning on his 125 Honda. A Norton, ridden by Hislop,
    was their first TT win since Hailwood's 1961 victory.

    At the tender age of 48 Joey Dunlop recorded his 26th and final TT win
    at the start of the new millennium. For only the third time the TT
    races was cancelled in 2001, due to concerns over Foot and Mouth
    epidemic that was destroying the UK's mainland.

    2004 was marked by the a hat trick of wins for a John McGuinness, who
    last year reached average speeds of 129.4mph on the way to his 11th TT
    victory and new lap record and race records.

    The Centenary year looks set for more drama and exhilarating speeds
    from the likes of McGuiness being challenged hard by a host of up and
    coming riders, including newcomers from BSB. With a Centenary of
    racing on the Mountain Course itself fast approaching in 2011, it will
    not be long before we are celebrating a double century of the world's
    most exciting road race.

    - Ends -
    Biggus, Dec 17, 2006
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  2. On Sun, 17 Dec 2006 11:13:08 +1100, Biggus

    snip the TT history
    And I'll be there with over 180 Aussies & Kiwi to enjoy the 100 year
    anniversary races. :)))

    and since this weeks AMCN came out the phone hasn't stopped ringing.

    Kind regards
    Dave Milligan
    Dave Milligan, Dec 17, 2006
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  3. Biggus

    Biggus Guest

    4 from our club going.
    Biggus, Dec 17, 2006
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