AMATEUR ROAD RACE.
THOUGH this race is by now ancient history, no volume of MOTOR SPORT would be complete without some reference to the most interesting sporting event of the year.
This year the Manx Motor Cycle Club took the bold step of staging two separate races (for the 350 c.c. and 500 c.c. machines), and were rewarded by receiving thirty entries for the former and fifty for the latter.
The practice period and both races passed off without serious accident to anyone and very few entrants failed to face the starter for either race.
The weather for the Junior Race threatened to be as bad as that experienced in 1926 and 1927, heavy rain falling in the morning and the sky looking very gloomy during the first lap. However, no rain fell during the race and conditions improved enormously. Sun shone everywhere except on the mountain section from the Gooseneck to Craig-ny-Baa, which was shrouded in mist as badly as in previous years throughout the day.
A mechanical, though not a personal, surprise was provided by the 350 c.c. Levis, ridden by Percy Hunt, last year’s winner, which led throughout the race, only to break down three miles from the finish. The runnerup to Hunt all this time was W. H. T. Meageen, mi a Rex-Acme, a rider who was profiting by experience gained in the A.C.U. races in June. Meageen therefore won the race when Hunt blew up, and was closely followed honie by J. Hanson (Velocette) and D. M. Chr-ystal (Velocette). The winner’s speed was over 61 m.p.h. and fourth place was filled (very adequately!) by W. L. Birch on a Sunbeam. The Senior Race was held on the following Thursday under absolutely perfect weather conditions. Sensations began early when it was seen that Birch (again on a
Sunbeam) and G. L. Emery, on a similar machine, had tied for first place at the end of lap one.
Hunt, riding his camshaft Norton, with Bennett like restraint, was lying third, the leaders having averaged approximately 66 m.p.h.
On the second lap, Birch managed to draw a few seconds ahead of Emery, but Hunt was closing up on the pair of them, making the race thrilling to watch by reason of the different tactics the leaders were adopting.
Incidentally, it was interesting to note that the first three men comprised the team for the Southport Motor Club. Fourth place was filled, during the early part of the race, by a Londoner, H. J. Bacon, on a Norton, who was unfortunately eliminated later by a broken push rod. During the third lap Hunt increased his speed still further, overtook Emery and came within seconds of Birch’s time. The latter reported a slight loss of speed when he stopped at his pit, whereas Hunt was evidently enjoying a no-trouble run. The natural result of this was that for the last three laps Hunt drew ahead of Birch, and astonished even his most loyal admirers by breaking the amateur lap record on laps 4 and 5, finishing up in a blaze of glory by smashing even the professional lap record (held by Stanley Woods) at over 71 m.p.h. on his very last circuit.
When Hunt won in 1927 people were inclined to suppose that his victory was aided by the wet conditions suiting his fancy as a Lancashire man. However, he has now established himself as one of the genuine topnotch road racing riders. His average speed for the whole race was over 67 m.p.h. Birch and Emery were 2nd and 3rd, thus securing the Team Prize for Southport.