RECORDS GO HIGHER IN MANX GRAND PRIX RACES
FRITH (NORTON) WINS THE JUNIOR EVENT. THRILLING STRUGGLE BETWEEN FRITH AND SWANSTON IN THE SENIOR ENDS IN VICTORY FOR THE LATTER
THE JUNIOR RACE
In spite of the fact that one third of the riders in this year’s ” Puzza T.T.” were recruited from last year’s Grand Prix races and were no longer eligible to compete in the “amateur,” no less than fifty-four machines lined up on the starting grid for the Junior Grand Prix race. Actually twenty-four of them were competing in the light-weight section, which now has a trophy of its own, but the events are run simultaneously :n each case over six laps of the 37i mile course.
Nortons and Velocettes formed the bulk of the Junior entry, with a Rudge and a brace of A.J.S.’s, and the firstnamed make were confidently tipped as winners. The light-weights were the first to be sent off, and reports of showers from parts of the course made it necessary to keep a keen look-out for treacherous patches.
There is rarely much of interest on the first circuit, but retirements start early, the first one to drop out being Parkinson (Excelsior) with broken valve springs. The star performers, Frith, Swanston. Darbishire, and the Manx rider Rowell, of whom much was expected, were well on their way, but Munks, winner of the race in 1933, was less fortunate; he crashed at Greeba Bridge only 6 miles from the start and damaged his machine so severely that he was unable to continue. F. L. Frith, a Norton rider who has had less than his share of luck in the past, recorded a first lap of 30 minutes 11 seconds (75.02 m.p.h.) which sufficed to put him into first place, while Swanston and I3lyth were half a minute slower. Darbishire, another Norton expert, was
fourth, and then came Rowell (31.8) who was keeping the Velocette flag flying. R. Harris (New Imperial), winner of last year’s light-weight event, headed the lists of the small machines with a speed of 66.87 m.p.h., and was followed by H. M. Rowell (Rudge), brother of the Velocette enthusiast in the Junior. Dry roads were reported by the time the second lap had begun, and the riders were really getting dowa to it. Harris, who was No. 14, continued to show winning form, and flashed through the start flat on the tank to record 32 minutes 46 seconds (69.11 m.p.h.), which was a record. Good cornering was reported from all points, especially
from Creg-na-baa, where six riders arrived simultaneously on the right-angle but all got round without baulking. Frith, whose bike was said to have figured in the T.T. not so long before, continued to lead the Juniors, but Swanston had been overhauled by both Darbishire, the only member of the Cambridge U.A.C. competing this year, and Blyth. McEwan, another Norton rider, had forced Rowell down to sixth, but there was still only i minutes between
the first six.
Second Lap Times. JUNIOR RACE.
1. Frith (Norton) 1h. Orn. Os., 75.29 m.p.h.
2. Darbisidre (Norton) hi. irn. 38, 74,18 m.p.h.
3. Biyth (Norton) lb. 1m. 6s. 74.13 m.p.h.
4. Swanston (Norton) lh. ha. ha. 74.02 m.p.h.
5. McEwan (Norton) lh. 1m. 37s. 73.49 m.p.h. C. W. A. Howell (Velo.) lh. 1m. 43s. 73.37 m.p.h.
1. Harris (New Imperial) Ill. 6m. 8s. 68.48 m.p.h.
2. H. M. Rowell (nudge) iii. 8m. 25s. 66.2 m.p.h.
3. C. A. W. Darno (Cotton) lh. 8m. 37s. 65.99 m.p.h. The average speed of the leading riders was steadily mounting and Harris again raised the light-weight record, this time to 32 minutes 33 seconds or 69.57 m.p.h. Under the circumstances it was not sur
prising that a few spills should occur, Boardman (Norton) coming off at Sulby Bridge without damage to himself, while Chamberlain (Norton) had an awkward skid at Creg-na-baa and Taylor (Velocette) a near thing at the tricky Bungalow corner, but most of the indicator clocks still steadily moved from point to point.
On the third lap Frith maintained his lead, building up his speed to 75.59 m.p.h., the order of the other five on the leader board also remaining unchanged. Darbishire made a short stop at his pit, but it was only to adjust a brake.
Except for a pair of minor tumbles, Bills (Velocette), who came off at Ramsey but proceeded, and Collison (A.J.S.), who wobbled off at the Bottom of Bray and decided not to go on, the loud-speakers had little to say. Harris, however, continued his record-breaking and knocked ten seconds off his previous time, reminding one that there were still machines other than Nortons competing in the race. Frith who was now a minute and a half ahead of Darbishire in the lead eased down a little, while Durno had moved up to second place in the light-weight category. On the fifth circuit Frith again opened the taps, and was actually first man past the stand, though he had started thirty-fourth. As one expected, this lap was a record one, completed in 29 minutes 11 seconds, at an average speed of 77.59 m.p.h. Hard riding began to tell its tale with some of the slower machines however, and Durno, who had been lying second in the light-weight, retired with a seized engine, and Ogden (Norton) dropped out for the same reason. All
was now set for Frith’s finish, and the telephones followed him round the course till he reached the last post at Governor’s Bridge, and flashed ‘over the line to win. His time was a record for the course, one minute one second better than White’s performance last year. Darbishire, Swanston and Blyth retained their positions, but Rowell discovered some last-minute horses and finished in a well-earned fifth place. There was a final sensation when H. M. Rowell, who had regained second position in the lightweight, was reported as having run out of petrol at Governor’s
Bridge. Undaunted by this, he started to push his machine, and though he was completely exhausted by the time he arrived at the start had the satisfaction of retaining his second place.
1. F. L. Frith (Norton) 2h. 68m. 43s. 76.02 m.p.h.
2. 8. B. Darbishire (Norton) 3h. 1m. 14s. 74.96 m.p.h.
3. J. K. Swanston (Norton) 3h. lm. 36s. 74.81 m.p.h.
4. J. H. Blyth (Norton) 3h. 2in. 6.5. 74.61 m.p.h.
5. W. A. Rowell (Velocette) 3h. 5m. 28s. 73.3 m.p.h.
6. T. McEwan (Norton) 311. 5m. 40s. 73.25 m.p.h. LIGHTWEIGHT RESULTS.
1. R. Harris (New Imperial) 3h. 18m. 65. 68.58 m.p.h. 2. H. M. Rowell (Rudge) 3h. 29m. 30s. 67.5 m.p.h THE SENIOR RACE Forty machines had been entered for the Senior event, but accidents and other reasons had reduced the number by nine when the riders came to face the. starter
on the Thursday. Fine weather was reported from ail round the course, and there seemed a good prospect that the two records, ” Crasher ” White’s lap in 27 minutes 42 seconds, and the course record set up last year by poor Pirie, who was killed in this year’s June races as a result of crashing in the fog, would change hands. There was a more varied entry in the Senior than in the other races, but the winner would undoubtedly come again from the Norton camp. As often happens in the Manx races, in which machines are dispatched at half-minute intervals, the fastest riders were near the bottom of the list, Harris, Blyth, McEwan, Swanston and Darbishire setting off in close company, with Frith last but one. Amongst the earlier riders Rowell, who was for the second time riding his Junior Velocette, seemed to be making good progress, while Swanston had picked up several fast riders by the time he reached Hillberry. Slowing down to take Governor’s Bridge hair-pin Ile had the misfortune to oil a plug, and lost two minutes in changing it, but in spite of this lay sixth after the
first lap. Frith, Tuesday’s winner, and Darbishire, who was second, again occupied those positions, and Munks, Harris, and Blyth, the latter riding a Junior machine, were living up to their form, and were next in order. On the second lap Darbishire was reported as being fast on all parts of the course, but nearly came to grief when
Ile overshot Ballacraine corner. Dr. Swanston meanwhile was intent in wiping off his first-lap delay and lapped in 27 minutes 47 seconds, only thirteen seconds under record time, a feat which brought him from sixth place to second. Frith contented himself with 28 mins. 17 secs, and remained comfortably in the lead.
Second Lap Leaders.
1. Frith (Norton) 56m. 43s. 79.85 m.p.h.
2. Swanston (Norton) 58m. 10s. 77.86 m.p.h.
3. Darbishire (Norton) 58m. 15s. 77.74 m.p.h.
4. Munks (Norton) 58m. 58s. 76.80 m.p.h.
5. Harris (Norton) 59m. 55. 76.65 m.p.h. 6. Blyth (350 c.c. Norton) 111. Om. 1 Is. 75.25 m.p.h. Reports of a few retirements came trickling in, such as Cooper (Sunbeam) with magneto trouble, Bills (Velocette) engine trouble and Doswell (Rudge) who retired at the pits with broken front forks. There was plenty of bustle in front of the stand as the pit attendants prepared for the riders to come in after the first three laps. Swanston had got clear away from the other fast riders around him, following a pretty piece of overtaking at Creg-na-baa, and completed his third lap in 27 minutes 55 seconds. This brought him within 66 seconds of the leader and a snappy pit-stop in 40 seconds further improved his prospects. Frith did not seem to have the speed to hold his lead,
being 25 seconds slower than the flying doctor.
The fourth lap opened with the report that Havercraft who had just previously failed to pull up until well past his pit, had crashed at Quarter Bridge, fortunately without personal injury. Our own observations suggested that many of the men were finding the Senior mounts rather difficult to hold, though Havercraft’s accident was probably due to weakening brakes. One of the steadiest machines on Bray Hill was the H.R.D. ridden by Whitworth, which swooped down every time without a falter, but the modern Nortons driven by masters such as Swanston or Frith were none the less impressive.
The order was unchanged on the fourth lap, but Swanston had cut down Frith’s lead to 31 seconds. Frith, we were told, had been told to go steadily, but his challenger showed no tendency to let up, and when he passed the stands the first man to start his final lap it seemed as though the lead had changed hands. When the lap times were announced, however, it was found that Swanston was still 3 seconds behind. The team prize in the Junior Race had been won very handsomely by the Kirkcaldy team, Swanston, Blyth and Mc
Ewan, but their hopes of a second success were badly shaken when it was announced that the last-mentioned rider was only touring round, as his machine had hardly any compression. As a result it was considered that the local Peveril team, Craine, Rowell, and Cannell, who all figured in the first dozen, stood an excellent chance of gaining the trophy.
Starting five minutes apart it was by no means easy to follow Frith and Swanston On the last exciting lap, especially when one had to allow for the “time lag ” from the different telephone stations along the course, but Frith was at Kirkmichael when Swanston was at Ballacraine. Swanston knew that he was still lying second, and could be relied upon to drive all he knew. 28 was at Ramsey, 38 at Ballaugh, it might be a dead-heat yet. The announcer and the B.B.C. commentators found no
difficulty in being lyrical, then Swanston’s indicator flicked to ” Mountain.” (Loud cheers from the Scottish contingent.) In turn the pointers flicked round the dial, then when Swanston’s showed ” Hillberry ” it seemed he must have bested Frith. At last the orange light glowed showing that the Scot had reached Governor’s Bridge, and then after a false alarm when McEwan limped through at touring speed, the chequered flag was hung out and Swanston finished the course to the accompaniment of terrific cheering. His last lap had been a record 27 minutes 40 seconds (81.84 m.p.h.), beating ‘White’s time by two seconds, while his time for the course showed an improvement of 56 Seconds. Frith finished a few minutes afterwards,
a gallant second. His clutch lever had broken at the end of the third lap, a terrific handicap on a course which calls for continual gear-changing.
1. J. K. Swanston (Norton) 211. 50m. 38s. 79.62 m.p.h.
2. F. L. Frith (Norton) 2h. 51m. 218. 79.29 m.p.h.
3. S. B. Darbishire (Norton) 2h. 53m. 29s. 78.31 m.p.h.
4. A. Munks (Norton) 2h. 57m. 18s. 76.03 m.p.h.
5. R. Harris (Norton) 2h. 58m, 33s. 76.09 m.p.h.
6. .T. H. Blyth (350 c.c. Notton) 3h. 1m. 32s. 74.84 m.p.h. 7. .T. Cannell (360 e.e. Velocette).3h. 5m. 48s. 8, W. H. Cratne (11.11.D.) 3b. 10in. 45s