THE 1928 TOURIST TROPHY RACES.
AMAZING PERFORMANCE BY VELOCETTE IN THE JUNIOR RACE.
THE hors d’oeuvre of T.T. week, or more correctly, the Junior Tourist Trophy, was remarkable for the spectacular failure of several well-known I.O.M. racingmarques, with reputations and lists of successes second to none. The unfortunate firms concerned were Nortons, who made their debut in this race with an untried 350 c.c. engine ; Sunbeams, who seemed to have found extra speed at the expense of reliability, and A.J.S., who made a disastrous change of valve springs on the eve of the race. Not one machine of these three makes finished the course.
The race itself was not packed with excitement, though the speeds were incredibly high, and the conditions perfect. Handley disappointed everyone by not starting, owing to the alleged slowness of his RexAcrne-M.A.G. At the end of lap one a mild thrill was caused by the realisation that Dodson, Arcangeli, and Franconi, all on Sunbeams, were respectively first, second and fourth on time, while Alec Bennett (Velocette), with customary restraint, was lying sixth and allowing the ” hares ” to run themselves out. Sure enough, on the second lap, Dodson mysteriously ran out of oil at the Bungalow—an unexplained trouble which later assailed the other Sunbeams. Bennett opened his throttle ever so slightly and crept into the lead on this lap, having averaged 67.85 m.p.h. so far, and being closely followed by Simpson (A. J.S.). Arcangeli and Franconi (Sunbeams), Willis (Velocette) and Guthrie (Norton). The
latter was the next important casualty, his machine being badly burnt in an exciting flare up at the pits, while Franconi also faded out from the picture on this lap.
Up went Beimett’s average to 68.49 m.p.h. on the third lap, and to show that there was no deception Willis brought his machine into third place by overhauling the dashing Arcangeli. Shaw (Norton) and Parker, the spectacular Douglas rider, completed the leading sextet.
During the next lap Simpson dropped back to fourth (only to retire on lap five), thus letting Willis into second place behind his impressive leader, Bennett. Kenneth Twemlow now appeared in the picture with the first proprietary engine to feature—a Dot-J.A.P., replacing Parker, who fell ,off at Quarter Bridge.
The fifth lap caused a great re-shuffle, for besides the retirement of Simpson with engine trouble, Shaw an Arcangeli were both eliminated by comparatively harmless crashes, thus Twonlow found himself in third place while Reynard (Enfield), Crabtree (Excelsior) and Jackson (Montgomery) occupied the next three places— all J.A.P. engines waiting for something to happen to the Velocettes! However, the Birmingham machines continued to perform perfectly and, indeed, their position was strengthened when, at the end of lap six„ it was seen that F. G. Hicks, the famous Brooklands rider, had displaced Jackson, the only other alteration in the leaders’ order
being that Crabtree was 29 seconds ahead of Reynard instead of ro seconds behind.
Bennett’s fifth lap was at the astonishing speed of 70.28 m.p.h., comfortably beating 1928, and previous Junior records ; his average speed for six laps was no less than 68.65 m.p.h., Willis being but i m.p.h. slower, while Twemlow had averaged a beggarly 63.84 m.p.h.!
Incident was somewhat lacking during the last lap, but Hicks managed to pull up one more place as a fitting conclusion to a fine ride in which he steadily increased his speed from start to finish. Looking back at the race, the performance of the three Velocettes is apt to overshadow everything else, though J.A.P. engines scored a h’gh percentage of finishers. The high speed of the Sunbeams early in the race was rather a surprise to many, while several promising debuts were made (both mechanical and
personal), namely, the Raleigh, which finished seventh, and F. G. Hicks and B. L. Hieatt (Cotton), who had not ridden in the I.O.M. before.
Special sympathy is due to Freddie Dixon (Douglas), who had exasperating delays on the first two laps, subsequently showing that he could have averaged a high enough speed to finish third, though actually arriving ibth! Twenty-one riders finished, the first nine gaining replicas, as follows :