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Les Graham

Record type: Motorsport Biographies

Biography: Mounts: Junior – A.J.S.
Senior – A.J.S.

World Champion “500”, Les Graham is still reticent about his age, but we recorded him in the 1948 “T.T. Special” as 36, so we make it that he is now 38. Les first rode in the T.T. in 1938, when he finished 12th on an O.K. Supreme. In 1947, with Jock West, he rode the then new A.J.S. Twin, but crashed early in practice and was fit only just in time to ride for the Senior, in which he finished ninth after a push-in from Governor’s Bridge.

In 1948, he finished seventh in the Junior, and in the Senior was for a time the main British challenge to Omobono Tenni, being only 39 seconds behind him after two laps, to retire at Ballig next lap.

Last year, he started off well on the Continent by winning both 350 and 500 c.c. classes of the Circuit de Floreffe and establishing lap records in each. He was much-fancied for both the Junior and Senior T.T. races, and in the former started off with a lap in 27 mins. 1 sec. and led the field by no fewer than 19 seconds. This lap, from a standing start, was only eight seconds outside the fastest of the day – but then Les retired.

His bad luck in the Senior race will long be remembered. He was second on the first lap, bracketed first on the second, third on the third, and second on the fourth and fifth. On Bob Foster’s retirement on the sixth lap, Les came to the front with a lead of over a minute and a half on the ultimate winner, Harold Daniell, and then, less than three miles from home, when the race seemed in his pocket, he broke down and pushed in to finish tenth.

Despite his misfortune on the Island, however, his record elsewhere was such that he won the 500 c.c. class World Championship.

Apart from his successes in the Circuit de Floreffe, he won the Swiss Grand Prix and was second in the Dutch Grand Prix. He then collected the 500 c.c. class of the French Grand Prix at Comminges and, coming over to Ulster, led the race on every lap and won at 96.49 m.p.h., putting in the fastest lap at 98.08 m.p.h., both race and lap speeds being records for the post-war course.

He finished off the season in convincing style by winning the “Brooklands” 100 miles race at Silverstone, with his team mates, Ted Frend and Bill Doran, second and third.

This year he has already shown that he is still very much “on form,” having won no fewer than five important races, including the Junior and Senior events at Eppynt, both on a 350 A.J.S., the 350 c.c. class at Mettet and the 500 c.c. class at Floreffe.
(TT Special, 5 June 1950, p.20.)

Mount: Senior – A.J.S.

Age 35, comes from Chislehurst, Kent., an ex-R.A.F. Pilot (Fl. Lieut.). He rode in the Lightweight T.T. in 1938, on an O.K. Supreme, finishing 12th. Was back again in the Island for the Lightweight of ’39 and put up a very good performance until bad luck over took him. Riding a C.T.S. was lying fifth on the lap-leader board from the second to the fourth place on the fifth lap, and then developed gear-box trouble at Union Mills on the sixth lap and retired.

He is entered by Associated Motor Cycles Ltd.
(TT Special, 9 June 1947, p.14.)

(Actually Robert Leslie Graham)

Competed in

1953 Ultra Lightweight TT11:27:19.0077.79MV
1953 Senior TTRMV
1953 Junior TTRMV
1952 Senior TT22:50:55.0092.72MV
1952 Lightweight TT41:50:22.0082.06Velocette
1952 Junior TTRVelocette
1951 Ultra Lightweight TTRMV
1951 Senior TTRMV
1951 Junior TT103:06:21.0085.05Velocette
1950 Senior TT42:55:52.0090.11AJS
1950 Junior TT43:08:03.8084.27AJS
1949 Senior TT103:14:07.4081.64AJS
1949 Junior TTRAJS
1948 Senior TTRAJS
1948 Junior TT73:25:54.2076.96AJS
1947 Senior TT93:24:34.0077.47AJS
1939 Lightweight TTRCTS
1938 Lightweight TT123:55:17.0067.36OK


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