The International Auto-Cycle Tourist Trophy Races 1927 A WEEK OF THRILLS IN THE ISLE OF MAN.
THE JUNIOR T.T. RACE.
THE first race of T.T. week has an air of feverish excitement all its own ; practise very often fails to reveal the true form of man and Machine so that the Junior Race is regarded as a sort of pointer, indicating what may be expected later in the week. That it really does give us an idea of what we may hope to see in the other races is due to the fact that a large percentage of the entries (riders and mounts) usually perform in at least two, and possibly three of the races. This year, practising left us as doubtful as ever, and from the moment when the gun started G. L. Reynard (Enfield) on his way it seemed anybody’s race. Most riders got away well without difficulty, but Tommy Spann (Sunbeam) wasted several valuable minutes changing oily plugs ; this early trouble seemed to upset him, as he was very wild at Ramsey, Craig-nyBaa and Signpost during the race. At 10.34.38 Reynard flashed past the grandstand, his engine humming beautifully—evidently a fast newcomer, since neither rider nor machine have hitherto distinguished themselves. The next excitement was the complete breakdown of the electric clocks reporting riders’ progress round the course —spectators at the grandstands were now slightly worse off than those at the various corners, who at least could see some interesting riding. When all the lap times had been painted up it was seen that the leaders were :—
Jimmy Simpson was lying 10th, evidently not hurrying, while among the first twelve the other Velocettes and New Hudsons were shaping well.
Dodson and Reynard combined to surprise the crowd by their remarkable riding which at once placed them among the select few of potential winners. During the second lap Handley went faster and set up a new record at 69.18 m.p.h., thus increasing his lead slightly over Freddie who had also increased his speed. C. W. Hough, a formidable A. LS. rider, retired with engine trouble after a slow first lap due to a broken petrol pipe, while Jock Porter fell off his New Gerrard at Governor’s Bridge and landed on his face—luckily without serious damage. Lap 2 leaders :—
Bennett had evidently decided that a little more speed was indicated and moved up a place but otherwise little alteration took place in the first twelve.
The single Douglas entry, in the hands of Len Parker was doing well, having averaged 63.9 m.p.h. for two laps. Parker’s cornering at Craig-ny-Baa was as lurid as usual and very fast, though other riders, particularly A. Bennett and G. Reynard were as fast but less spectacular.
Tommy Spann and S. Hughes (Montgomery) provided the only thrills at this point on the first lap, both skidding wildly but recovering. Dodson faded right out of the picture on the third lap, though it was not until the fifth that he finally gave up with a ruined back tyre, the valve had leaked slowly throughout the race. We saw him rounding Brandish remarkably fast and steadily on lap 5 in spite of the flat tyre. At the conclusion of three laps the order was
Simpson (A.J.S.) and. Parkinson (A.J.S.) were now climbing up the ladder while Johnston was showing that the o.h.c. Blackbume could move. Langton and Bullus were both averaging nearly 64 m.p.h. on their New Hudsons, and Guthrie, another unknown quantity, was keeping well in the limelight. Simpson must have been given the “flat out” signal during lap 4 and his average went up with such effect that he gained three places. After his brilliant beginning Guthrie disappeared with what was announced as a broken petrol pipe, so that the 4th lap order provided the first real change :
Tommy Bullus had stepped into Guthrie’s shoes and was keeping the N.H. flag flying, while Willis and Longman (Velocettes) lying 7th and 8th were closing up on the leaders, so that the Velocette team looked very formidable. Paddy Johnston must have suffered a temporary set back for his average dropped by 2 m.p.h. and he lost five places. The fifth lap resulted in the retirement of several likely men (to say the least of it) ; Langton (New Hudson) with a broken chain (?), Longman (Velocette) engine trouble, and Alec Bennett whose motor passed out just below Craig-ny-Baa, the valve spring cotters of the exhaust valve having pulled through. Eddie Twemlow (Excelsior) and C. S. Barrow (Enfield) were now appearing in the picture, they had been travelling
well and thoroughly deserved a ” look in,” as the ultra rapid folk dropped out. Fifth lap order was :
Handley had lost a little to Dixon on this lap owing to a fall at Quarter Bridge but his sixth circuit placed him nearly three minutes ahead of the Middlesborough crack. Bullus, the last surviving New Hudson rider failed to complete his 6th lap, thus allowing the comparative tortoises, the crawling 63 m.p.h. brigade, to edge a little nearer the front. No other retirements occurred on this lap, but several more comparatively unknown men were attaining more prominent positions, notably L. R. Cohen, the South African A. J.S. rider, T. Stewart (Royal Enfield) and W. S. Pearce (Dot), all of whom were now in the first ten. Lap 6 leaders :
Willis was now looking exceedingly dangerous as his speed was steadily increasing, while Johnston had doggedly worked back to the position he occupied on lap three, so that although there was not much doubt about the winner, there was every prospect of a dog fight among the first six. Dog fight, it certainly was, for during this last hectic lap Simpson actually accounted for a dog at Kirkmichael and subsequently suffered chain trouble ; the incomparable Handley retired with unspecified
engine trouble, with a comfortable victory almost in his grasp.
Reynard, still No. 1 by a large margin in road position was the first man home. Willis came next; as a result of the above incidents he annexed second place while the ever popular Freddie Dixon achieved a long overdue, thoroughly deserved, but at the same time extremely lucky win. Simpson beat Reynard for 3rd place by 2 seconds only. The complete finishing order and times were as follows, the first eleven riders gaining replicas :
The team prize was won by the Royal Enfield Company.