THE MOTOR CYCLISTS’ V.C.
How the Nisbet Award has been Won. THE late Mr. J. R. Nisbet, known popularly to
thousands of old motor cyclists as “Jimmy,” and founder of the famous house of Bowden Wire, Ltd., was for many years Chairman of the Auto-Cycle Union. He always took an enthusiastic interest in the T.T. races, with which he was associated in the capacity of Clerk of the Course from their inception.
When Mr. Nisbet died suddenly, during the war, the A.C.U., anxious to perpetuate his memory, decided to institute an additional award in connection with the T.T. races in his name. This trophy it was decided to call the Nisbet Award, and it was intended to rank as the motor cyclists’ V.C., being awarded solely at the discretion of the T.T. Stewards to a competitor who should show such pluck, endurance, or capacity to triumph over difficulties as to warrant some special prize. It was wisely ruled that the continuance in the race of a competitor suffering from a serious injury should not constitute qualification for the Award.
The first T.T. competitor to be presented with this coveted trophy was the ever-popular Levis exponent, ” Pa ” Appleby, who was thus honoured after the races in 1920 as a mark of his courage and good sportsmanship in competing in a particularly plucky manner against a field of each of whom he was old enough to be the father.
In 1921 the trophy was awarded to G. W. Jones, who took a toss at Sulby Bridge, both he and his machine going clean over the parapet into the water below. Notwithstanding this unrehearsed immersion, Jones retrieved his motor cycle, kicked the forks straight, made a few deft adjustments, and then remounted and rode off to finish the required number of laps in altogether creditable time.
Neither in. 1922 nor in 1923 was the prize awarded, although many thought it was well earned by Woods, the intrepid Cotton rider, whose machine caught fire and afterwards crashed, in the latter year.
In this year’s T.T., Achille Varzi, the Italian rider of a D.O.T., won the award.
Rounding a bend in the course at a colossal speed, Varzi suddenly found himself confronted with a fallen competitor, who lay right across the road. Without hesitation, Varzi threw himself off his machine into the ditch in order to avoid further injury to the fallen man. Afterwards he patched up his machine and proceeded to ride on, but was stopped at the pits on his next appearance there, and was forbidden to continue, since his machine was considered unsafe.
It will be seen that this year marks the first occasion on which the award has been made to a foreign competitor. This is certainly completely justified by the action which inspired it.