THE SENIOR RACE
1:”( n by Gledhill (Norton) over rain flooded roads.
THE Senior Grand Prix of 1932 will probably go down to history as the wettest race ever held on the Manx course. The downpour began on the Wednesday night, and continued with unabated force throughout the race. The only crumb of comfort for the drivers was that every particle of oil must have been washed off the course. The riders protected their faces as best they could, with scarves and handkerchiefs, and we noticed that some of the more cunning ones had fitted small windscreens, while plasticine and oiled silk
protected the vulnerable parts of ignition systems.
Hartley, Levings, and Gledhill, all on Nortons, were the first three to be sent off, and got away without much trouble. Starting a high-compression machine on a wet road is not too easy, however, and No: 31, S. C. Vince (Norton) had a narrow escape from serious injury. He was pushing his machine, which fired at once, but jumping sideways into the saddle made his cycle slide sideways into the score board, where it fell over, still running, and trapped his legs underneath.
Marshals rushed to his assistance, and freed him, and after rubbing his legs ruefully he was able to go off. No. 38, F. Williams (Sunbeam) had a similar experience, his machine turning round twice and falling on top of him. Last to start was ” Q. Ack,” a ” mystery rider,” who had competed under his own name in former races, and who had put up some excellent times in practise. The leading numbers were now well on their way, and Levings had passea Hartley, with Gledhill close behind. Mavrogordato, mounted as usual on a Scott,
took Ballig fast and had difficulty in holding his machine, Darbishire and Frith were going well, as also Lafone and Muir further down the field. Daniell and “Q. Ack ” were also lapping under the 3,5 minute mark. Riders on the whole were battling very successfully with the elements, helped no doubt by their experience of bad weather during the practises.
FIRST LAP LEtAbass.
No. 2. H. Levings (Norton), 33m.. 31s., 67.56 m.p.h No. 3. N. Gledhill (Norton), 33m. 35s., 67.43 m.p.h.
No. 12. S. B. Darbishire (Norton), 35m. 19s., 64.12 m.p.h.
No. 17. J. Fletcher (Sunbeam), 35m. 22s,, 64.02 m.p.h.
No. 42. H. L. Daniell (Norton), 35m. 24s., 63.96 m.p.h.
No. 48. “Q. Ack ” (Velocette), 35m. 40s., 63.78 m.p.h.
On the second lap Levings was still leading the field, he and Gledhill being already about three minutes ahead of Hartley and Swabey (Rudge) who had started before and after them, but Levings’ pointer stuck fast at Ballacraine, and it was learnt later that he had retired between there and Kirkmichael with gearbox trouble. ” Mavro ” was off at Quarter Bridge, and No. 11, M. B. Crosland (Norton), retired at Ballacraine with a swamped magneto. Pixie, winner of last year’s Junior race, who had been riding very gamely with an injured wrist, had had. the same trouble, and retired soon afterwards. Daniell, much fancied before the race, was running consistently, though several miles an hour slower than Gledhill, while second place was taken by Fletcher (Sunbeam), a rider who had bad luck last year.
SECOND LAP LEADERS.
No. 3. H. Gledhill (Norton), Ih. 6m. 32s., 67.73 m.p.h.
No. 17. J. Fletcher (Sunbeam), 1h. 9m. 53s., 64.8 m.p.h.
No. 42. H. L. Daniell (Norton), lb. 9m. 55s., 64.77 m.p.h.
No. 48. “Q. Ack.” 1h. lOra. 9s., 64.55 m.p.h. No. 12. S. B. Darbishire (Norton), 111. 10m. 20s., 64.39 m.p.h.
No. 4. B. W. Swabey (Rudge), lh. 10m. 25s., 64.31 m.p.h. Gledhill materially increased his lap speed, in spite of the appalling weather conditions, and judging by the way his indicator was shooting round the dial, the third lap would show a further improvement. Fletcher, going hard in an attempt to make up the three minutes which separated him from the leader, crashed at Quarter Bridge, fortunately without in
jury to himself, but the delay upset his chances of catching Gledhill, and Daniell therefore came into second place. “Q. Ack ” who, unlike a number of pseudonym users, is a first class rider, was holding third place on a 350 c.c. machine, the greater handiness of the lighter cycle helping him considerably on the wet roads.
Winners’ luck was out on Thursday, for Muir was served as badly as Pine, and was forced to retire, in this case at Sulby through the breakage of a primary chain. Lafone (Norton) who had been travelling well in the early stages, stopped at Governor’s, and retired at the pits with magneto trouble. The flooded roads were finding out the unprotected ones !
TIIIRD LAP LEADERS.
No. 3. N. Gledhill (Norton), lb. 39m. 34s., 68.24 m.p.h.
No. 42. H. L. Daniell (Norton), 111. 43m. 35s•., 65.57 m.p.h.
No. 48. “Q. Ack ” (Velocette), Ih. 44m. 3s., 65.3 m.p.h.
No. 4. B. W. Swabey (Rudge), 111. 44m,. 20s., 65.1 m.p.h.
No. 17. J. Fletcher (Sunbeam), 111. 44m. 26s., 65.04 m.p.h.
No. 16. F. L. Frith (Norton), lb. 44m. 55s., 64.15 m.p.h.
To everyone’s disappointment ” Q. Ack,” who had been competing successfully on his Junior machine against the fastest of the Seniors, was forced to retire at Crosby with engine trouble. Nothing could apparently touch the leader, though, and he was able to slow down slightly. There was roughly three minutes between first and second and two minutes between the next two. They were all lapping at a regular speed and seemed likely to retain their positions.
Governor’s Bridge continued to take toll of the unwary, and Swanston (Norton) had a terrific skid at this point.
FOURTH LAP LEADERS.
No. 3. N. Gledhill (Norton), 2h. 13m. 41s., 67.76 m.p.h.
No. 42. H. L. Daniell (Norton), 2h. 17m. 4s., 66.08 m.p.h.
No. 4. B. W. Swabey (Rudge), 2h. 19m. 5s., 65.13 m.p.h.
No. 12. S. B. Darbishire (Norton), 2h. 19m. 37$., 64.88 m.p.h.
No. 17. J. Fletcher (Sunbeam), 2h. 20m. 10s., 64.63 m.p.h.
No. 16. F. L. Frith (Norton), 2h. 20m. 57s., 64.27 m.p.h.
The race by now was becoming uneventful, the remaining riders having apparently got used to riding on the streaming roads. The only notable event was Swabey’s lap of 32 min. 50 sec., or 68.95 m.p.h. ; the placing remained unaltered.
FIFTH LAP LEADERS.
No. 3. N. Gledhill (Norton), 2h. 46m. 34s., 67.83 m.p.h.
No. 42. H. L. Daniell (Norton), 2h. 49m. 58s., 66.6 m.p.h.
No. 4. B. W. Swabey (Rudge), 2h. 51m. 55s, 65.8 m.p.h.
No. 12. S. B. Darbishire (Norton), 2h. 53m.. 56s., 65.1 m.p.h.
No. 17. J. Fletcher (Sunbeam), 2h. 54m. 33s., 64.85 m.p.h. No. 16. F. L. Frith (Norton), 2h. 54m. 48s., 64.76
Gledhill continued his steady progress, and unless the demon of bad luck which pursued Newman and White on Tuesday were to seize him, nothing could prevent him from winning the Senior Race. The retirement of Darbishire at Union Mills, for which no reason was given, made a slight alteration in the leader hoard, but the needles of the others clicked round steadily. The weather surpassed itself, and most of the hardy spectators who had stuck it out so far were forced to take shelter under the Stand.
At 1.22 Gledhill was reported from Hillberry, and almost as soon as the message came through he roared over the line, winner of the wettest and most unpleasant race ever run on the Mountain Circuit. He had a. no-trouble run, and said that though conditions were appalling all through, after a bit he got used to them and did not mind!
Swabey (Rudge) who was No. 4, finished soon afterwards, with Daniell, No. 42, some 15 minutes later. In spite of the weather conditions, ten riders qualified for replicas, and the Team Prize was won by Grantham ” D ” Team, the only one to finish the course intact.
No. 3. N. Gledhill (Norton), 3h. 21m. 49s., 67.32 m.p.h.
No. 42. K. L. Daniell (Norton), 3h. 22m. 51s. 66.97 m.p.h.
No. 4. B. W. Swabey (Rudge), 3h. 25m. 59e., 65.96 m.p.h.
No. 17. J. Fletcher (Sunbeam), 3h. 29m. 18s.’ 64.91 m.p.h.
No. 16. F. L. Frith (Norton), 3h. 29M. 59s., 64.7 m.p.h.
No. 10. R. Harris (Norton), 3h. 34m. 18s., 63.4 m.p.h.
No. 22. N. Croft (Rudge), 3h. 37m. Ms., 62.34 m.p.h.
No. 38. F. Willinsms (Sunbeam), 3h. 37m. 58s. 62.33 m.p.h.
No. 8. J. H. Carr (Norton), 3h. 41=. 18s., 61.39 m.p.h.
No. 35. 5. K. Swanston (Norton), 3h. 41m. 34S., 61.32 m.p.h.
No. 31. S. C. Vince (Norton), 3h. 41m. 44s., 61.27 m.p.h.
The above received replicas.