THE SENIOR RACE RUN IN APPALLING WEATHER.
SLOWEST RACE SINCE 1924 RESULTS IN A WIN FOR C. J. P. DODSON (493 c.c. SUNBEAM).
SENSATiONAL race, full of surprises, fourteen riders out after one lap, and the ” stars ” elimina
ted before three—that is the Senior T.T. of 1928; sensational on account of the lack of great names in the first places, and surprising in the debacle of famous marques, and in the early retirement of those who were expected to lead the race. The fastest lap of the race was put up from a standing start by Jimmy Simpson’s A. J.S., as might have been expected. His retirement after two laps was one of the shocks in a sensational race, a retirement all the more
dramatic on account of Dixon’s crash in his first lap, and Bennett’s retirement equally early. The race was not to the swift.
All the wiseacres and amateur prophets were confounded on the day of the race by the appalling weather conditions, for rain streamed down from a leaden sky, and thick fog obscured the mountain roads. It was certain no records would go by the board that day, and no laps would be accomplished in the neighbourhood of 74 m.p.h., as had been whispered here and there before the race. Moreover, the conditions were such that no one rider would have a great advantage over another— all would be on par in the race over the slimy roads and greasy bends. The rain eased up and actually ceased when the riders assembled at the start, but during most of the day it
was raining, off and on, in some part of the island. Promptly at ten o’clock No. I got away—Brockbank on the Cotton, followed by 0. Langton (Scott) on what proved to be his first and last lap. No. 13, Amott (Rudge), failed to get away until recourse was had to the tool case, and there is no doubt that, had he made a better start, his name would have been much higher in the final order.
Early Retirements. The race was hardly in progress before news arrived that Langton had crashed at the Gooseneck—the first
of many who fell by the wayside at this point. Bennett made no ground, and was next announced as retired, his trouble being a broken rocker arm, and Dixon, who never crashes, measured his length at the Cooseneck and retired. The race hardly begun, and two stars out!
This sensational first lap found the leader in Simpson (A.J.S.), who had put up a lap from the standing start at 67.94 m.p.h., the fastest lap of the race, while Craig (Norton) lay second, with four Sunbeams roaring in his wake, running third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
The victims of that first lap, when the riders were unaccustomed to the terrible conditions of the course! Dixon and Langton were out with crashes, Evans (Triumph), after a collision with Lamb (Norton), and the list of Norton stoppages—Bennett, Guthrie, Shaw and Mathews!
Changes in Lap Two. The second lap saw a re-shuffling in positions. Simp
son still led the way, with Craig, the Norton hope, some way behind him. Handley now toured in, having retired with magneto trouble, and others who only managed to complete one lap were Johnston (Cotton) and Braidwood (P. & M.), who fell off just above the Gooseneck.
Now Dodson’s Sunbeam came into fourth place, while Simister (Triumph) and G. W. Walker (Rudge) crept into fifth and sixth positions ; Franconi’s Sunbeam fell back to seventh, and Arcangeli’s to tenth place, but Stanley Woods (Norton) could do no better than twelfth., although he shot past the stands on his third lap at terrific speed.
Simpson Falls Out.
The third lap saw the exit of the meteoric Simpson, with mechanical trouble at Kirkmichael, followed immediately by Craig’s Norton at Sulby, also with engine trouble, leaving Dodson to take the lead by a matter of seconds from Simcock. The leaders were so closely bunched together at this period that it was impossible even to guess at any results.
During the next lap the weather conditions grew somewhat better. The rain stopped, and visibility improved, although the sun refused to appear. T. Spann (A.J.S.) was one of those who made hay while he could, and moved up from eighth place to fourth, and Graham Walker came into second, but TyrellSmith attempted to go a little too fast, and crashed, not, however, badly enough to force his retirement.
In this lap Stanley Woods came up to fifth place, with Franconi on his heels. The Scott hopes were shattered when Mainwaring retired with his engine hors de combat. Hobbs (Triumph) came off on the Mountain and F. K. Langton withdrew his Scott at Ballaugh. Tyrell-Smith reached the pits and began to bend his mod21 qtraight again, but lost a great deal of time in 0.! process.
Improvement in the Weather.
The roads were now slowly drying, and the mist was dispersing over the mountain, with the result that higher speeds were beginning to be possible. The issue lay between Dodson and Graham Walker, and both men were doing all they knew. In this lap Rowley passed Hatch (Scott) and took ninth place, and Amott (Rudge), after his bad start, was running dead level with Tyrell-Smith., now going again after his crash, in twelfth position. Wdods brought his Norton up to fourth, with Simcock 32 secs. behind him, while the two foreigners, Arcangeli and Franconi, held their Sunbeams in seventh and eighth places, respectively.
Lap six provided the next sensation ; Dodson crashed and bent his machine, and Graham Walker took the lead, with the damaged Sunbeam desperately striving to regain lost time. Woods fell back behind Simister, and Simcock failed to re-appear, while Rowley (A.J.S.) now came into seventh place.
Walker’s Bad Luck. ‘Then began the last and fateful lap, with mtch alteration in the aspect of the race. First, Simister fell (Alt at 13allacraine with engine trouble, then Spann
broke a chain which put him out of the running, although he got going again latex. ‘Then what was perhaps the worst stroke of bad luck in the whole race befell Graham Walker, whose engine blew up at the Cooseneck within twenty miles of the finish, and thus allowed the crippled Dodson again to take the lead, with Rowley running second, and Hatch in third place. And so they finished Dodson winning after a wonderfully plucky ride, while the sympathy of everyone went out to Graham Walker in his wretched luck.