Search records

1950 Senior TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 264.25 miles (7 laps)

Description: Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 10 Jun 1950 (p. 7) below which is a full list of competitors:


2 hrs. 51 mins. 45.6 secs. Speed 92.27 m.p.h.


In a thrilling finish, Geoff Duke, 26-years-old engineer from St. Helens, set the seal on his brilliant meteoric racing career, to-day, by winning the Senior T.T. – Blue Riband of the Motor-cycle Racing Calendar – at an average speed of 92.27 m.p.h. He smashed the 12-years-old record in every lap and rode a magnificent race.

The lap record went quickly in this, the greatest race in the history of the Senior T.T. Duke, the Norton ace, riding the race of his life, broke the 12-years-old record of 91 m.p.h. set up by Harold Daniell, by 38 secs. in his first lap, but it was unofficial as it was from a standing start. He broke it conclusively in the second lap at a speed of 93.01 m.p.h., and his average speed over the two laps was 1.2 m.p.h. faster than the record.

More was to come. In the fifth lap he broke his own record, lapping at 93.33 m.p.h., and by that time it was evident that the Norton No. 1 team – Duke, Bell and Lockett – were running away with the race, and that Norton’s would repeat their success in the Junior in which Bell, Duke and Daniell were first, second and third.

Les Graham never looked like repeating the A.J.S. victory of 20 years ago during the first few laps of the race, and Foster on the Guzzi – the only foreign challenge – faded out of the picture and retired in the sixth lap. Graham started to put on speed later in the race, lapped in 24 minutes 50 seconds in the sixth circuit and crept into fourth place at the end.

The Start, Friday.
The grandstand was packed with people and thousands were crowded round the 373/4 miles course to watch the blue riband of the motor-cycling racing calendar being fought out, and awaited the 73 starters of the Senior as they wheeled their machines down to the starting squares, preceded and flanked by Boy Scouts carrying flags.

The Bungalow reported record crowds of spectators and this could be well understood as about 13,000 had come by the six steamers from the mainland. Altogether 8,500 had come from Liverpool, where 1,000 had been left behind owing to lack of accommodation, and 4,500 had arrived from Fleetwood. In addition there were 800 arrivals by air, some brought in planes from the Channel Isles, for the first time in the history of the races. Weather reports stated the visibility was excellent all round the course with only a little cloud about the summit of Snaefell. Roads were perfectly dry, but the wind would be head on for the riders coming up the mountain although in their favour along the Sulby straight.

First Lap
At 10-30 a.m. No. 1, H. L. Daniell (Norton), third in the Junior and winner last year when Foster and Les Graham packed up, was away, followed at ten second intervals by the rest of the field. Artie Bell was No. 41, and Les Graham No. 73. A gigantic battle of speed had been forecast between the single cylinder Norton, and the twin cylinder A.J.S. Unfortunately, Bill Doran, A.J.S. star, had crashed in practice, and so the main hope of the twin cylinder team lay in Les Graham, with E. J. Frend as second string. Les Graham had been granted an extension to 9-30 a.m. for weighing out. Harold Daniell clocked in at Ballacraine five minutes after leaving the start – good going, but only a taste of what lay in store, for it was a foregone conclusion that the 12-years-old lap record set up by Harold Daniell in 1938 of 91 m.p.h. would go to-day.

It had been noticed that Duke’s time of 24 mins. 47 secs., a speed of 91.38 m.p.h., had broken the 1938 record, although as Duke went away from a standing start no official notice would be taken of the tremendous performance.

Les Graham had made up six places on the road by Michael, and seven by Ramsey, and was going well, as was his team mate Frend. Bell, the Junior winner, had passed Foster before Ramsey, and Duke was going well. Just as news came through that Klein (Norton), who had difficulty in starting, had reached Ramsey, spectators at the Start saw Daniell (Norton) flash through, his first lap completed. His time was 25 mins. 16 secs. giving him an average speed
of 89.63 m.p.h. from a standing start. But that was not all. Bell, who had been having a duel with Foster all round the course, came through with Foster close behind him. Bell took a line well in the centre of the road, while Foster, whose Guzzi was going well, made his line nearer the pits. Duke, the other Norton star, flashed through, and like Les Graham, who followed him, gave the O.K. signal.

First retirement was J. H. Dale (Norton), the New Zealand rider, who called it a day at the pits at the end of the lap.

Second Lap
Now the fight of the giants was really and truly being staged before our eyes. The first three men at the start of this circuit were the only ones to lap in under 26 minutes. Les Graham was running fourth, with Foster (Guzzi) fifth, and Brett (Norton) sixth. The struggle between Bell and Lockett for third place was being watched with interest, but Bell had the better of it by putting up a lap time of 24 mins. 47 secs., whilst Lockett’s time was 25 mins. 1 sec., with Graham 24 mins. 57 secs., and Foster 25 mins. 25 secs. Then came the news for which everyone had been waiting, that Geoffrey Duke had “had a go.” He lapped the T.T. course in 24 mins. 21 secs., an average speed of 93.01 m.p.h. His average speed over the two laps was 1.2 m.p.h. faster than the 1938 record.

Third Lap
The Norton No. 1 team, Duke, Bell and Lockett, were now running first, second and third men. It looked as though the A.J.S. men would never catch them as with breath-taking speed they flashed round the course. Quarter Bridge reported that F. P. Heath (Norton) had almost had a spot of bother there. His throttle stuck as he was almost on the corner, but he got round more by “good luck than good management.”

Daniell’s individual lap time was 25 minutes 13 seconds on this circuit. He pulled in to replenish and took 24 seconds for the stop. He remarked on the complete absence of flies round the course. “There certainly do not seem to be any on him,” stated the announcer.
Daniell also said the clutch of his bike was not working properly.
S. H. Jensen (Triumph) from New Zealand, retired at the Stonebreaker’s Hut with a broken frame, and R. E. D. Harrison (Triumph) had a spill there and came back to the start in a car.
Duke, the record breaker, was tenth man to finish his lap, his individual time being 24 mins. 23 secs. Bell’s time was 24 mins. 21 secs., but when he pulled in for replenishment he complained that he had difficulty in steering. John Lockett took 25 mins. 4 secs., and Foster, who had skidded badly at Governor’s Bridge, had managed to hold on, took 25 min. 35 secs.. When he pulled into the pit to replenish, he complained that his machine would not take full throttle. Les Graham, still running fourth, took 42 secs. to take in replenishments and adjust his front brake. His lap time was 24 mins. 39 secs.

Fourth Lap
It was a run away win for Nortons. Their No. 1 team now occupied 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, they had the record lap in their pocket; what more could any manufacturer wish for? Individual lap times showed that Daniell had taken 26 mins. 48 secs., his slowest lap to date, Bell 25 mins. 11 secs., Duke 24 mins. 36 secs., Lockett 25 mins. 45 secs., Graham 26 mins. 3 secs., and Foster 26 mins. 10 secs. The only Manx competitor, T. McEwan, was doing extremely well. He covered four laps at an average speed of over 83 m.p.h. The percentage of finishers in this race looked as though it was going to be very high. By 12.30 p.m. only nine of the 75 starters had packed up. W. Maddrick (Velocette) came off at Governor’s Bridge, but was going to try and proceed.

Fifth Lap
It was in the fifth lap that Duke lowered the record he had set up in the second circuit. He lapped in 24 mins. 16 secs., an average speed of 93.33 m.p.h. And so the Norton lead was more firmly established than ever. It will be recalled that Nortons had taken 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places in the Junior on Monday, and in this race their men occupied 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. The twin-cylinder A.J.S., from which so much had been anticipated, was not coming up to expectations at all. Les Graham was still doing very nicely, but he had not nearly enough speed to catch the Norton. Daniell took 25 mins. 4 secs. for this circuit, but his performance was bettered by Graham with 24 mins. 45 secs., and this enabled him to run fourth man. Bell’s time was 24 mins. 42 secs., Lockett’s 24 mins. 46 secs., and Foster’s 26 mins. 6 secs.

Sixth Lap
Geoff Duke had a lead of 1 min. 52 secs. over Bell at the start of this lap, a runaway win. Brett who had been just off the leader board, might well be sixth man, because Foster had stopped at Sulby for a minute making adjustments. Then came the news that his engine was misfiring badly at Ramsey, and later he was reported to be touring at the Gooseneck, and Guzzis had finished. Individual lap times were: - Duke, 24 mins.29 secs.; Bell, 24 mins. 50 secs.; and Lockett, 24 mins. 44 secs.

Graham took 24 minutes 50 seconds, and was still fourth with Daniell fifth. R. J. Armstrong (Velocette) from Ireland lapped in 25 mins. 40 secs., thus taking sixth place, which it was expected would have been taken by J. Brett (Norton).

The Finish
Geoff Duke, who started 2 mins. 40 secs. behind Bell, was 2 mins. 13 secs. in front of him on time when they started this last lap, and Sulby reported that the two were racing almost neck and neck when they passed that point of the course. Was another lap record to be created in this last circuit? Certainly 26-year-old Geoffrey Duke was riding the race of his life.

Round the course the leaders went, at speeds which could not be imagined. Daniell, first man to start, was first to finish. Duke and Bell were both reported at the Creg; David Lay, at Cronk-ny-Mona, announced that when they reached there, there was only 100 yards between them, with Duke steadily overhauling his man. Governor’s Bridge reported they were both together, and when they passed the finishing line hardly 20 yards separated them, but Duke preceded Bell.

The Winner of the Senior T.T.
Geoffrey Duke, the winner, is 26 years old, and comes from St. Helens. His rise to fame in the racing world has been meteoric. He won the Senior Clubman’s T.T. in 1949; he won the Senior M.G.P. last year, and was second in the Junior on Monday. He looked extremely pleased with himself when he strode along the paddock after the race, surrounded by his fans and supporters.

Only Casualty
The only casualty reported when we went to press was R. E. D. Harrison, who parted company with his Triumph at Signpost and damaged a toe.


1Duke, Geoff2:51:45.6092.27Norton
2Bell, Artie2:54:25.6090.86Norton
3Lockett, Johnny2:55:22.4090.37Norton
4Graham, Les2:55:52.0090.11AJS
5Daniell, Harold2:56:31.0089.78Norton
6Armstrong, Reg3:02:31.4086.83Velocette
7Dale, Dickie3:03:15.6086.48Norton
8McCandless, Cromie3:03:19.6086.45Norton
9Brett, Jack3:03:53.2086.18Norton
10Hinton, Harry3:04:25.4085.94Norton
11Morrison, George3:07:05.8084.7Norton
12Bills, Ken3:09:09.6083.79HRD
13McEwan, Tommy3:10:03.2083.39Triumph
14McPherson, Eric3:10:22.8083.24AJS
15Frend, Ted3:10:43.4083.09AJS
16Evans, Roy3:11:24.4082.8Norton
17Moule, Albert E.3:12:08.0082.48Norton
18Swarbrick, Jim3:12:22.4082.38Norton
19Whitworth, David3:12:56.2082.14Triumph
20Lawton, Syd3:14:17.8081.56AJS
21Parry, Len3:14:38.0081.42Norton
22Miller, Stan3:14:58.8081.28Norton
23Beevers, Bill3:15:08.0081.22Norton
24Simister, John3:16:07.8080.8Triumph
25Willoughby, Vic3:16:34.2080.62Norton
26Wheeler, Arthur3:17:27.8080.26Norton
27Archer, Les R.3:18:01.6080.03Norton
28Brett, Charlie3:18:15.0079.94Velocette
29Newman, Guy3:18:30.2079.84Norton
30Gray, Charlie3:18:40.0079.77AJS
31Paterson, George3:19:19.0079.51AJS
32Walker, Bob3:19:49.0079.31Norton
33Varlow, Jack3:20:01.0079.23Norton
34Heath, Phil3:20:52.0078.9Norton
35Harding, Jack3:21:32.0078.64Norton
36Barnett, Syd3:21:42.0078.57AJS
37Hardy, Eric3:21:55.4078.48Norton
38Ranson, Humphrey3:22:02.2078.44AJS
39Fisher, John3:23:13.2077.99Norton
40Walker, Ernie3:23:22.0077.93Norton
41Lee, Reg3:23:37.0077.83AJS
42Bailey, Jack3:23:48.2077.76Triumph
43Salt, Charlie3:23:48.2077.7Velocette
44Harris, Leslie3:23:57.0076.73Velocette
45Glazebrook, Joe3:26:33.0076.4Triumph
46Braine, Ernie3:28:52.0075.88Norton
47Anderton, Sylvanus3:29:14.0075.74Triumph
48Ranson, Llewellyn3:31:31.0074.93AJS
49Dale, John3:33:35.0074.2Norton
50McDonald, Reg3:37:20.0072.92Velocette
51Fairbairn, Freddie3:38:36.0072.5HRD
52MacDonald, Bob3:44:45.0070.51AJS
RBarrington, ManliffHRD
RHodgkin, JohnnyHRD
RStevens, CyrilHRD
RBarrett, ErnieNorton
RBriggs, EricNorton
RDear, LesNorton
RHorn, ChrisNorton
RKentish, JimNorton
RMyers, BertNorton
RPetch, BillNorton
RScott, ScottieNorton
RHall, BillTriumph
RJensen, SydTriumph
RMaddrick, BillVelocette
RMatthews, BobVelocette
RSandford, CecilVelocette
RFoster, BobGuzzi
RHarrison, RobTriumph
RWeston, RobNorton
RTurner, T. HarryNorton
RFletcher, JackBSA
RIffland, EddieNorton
RKlein, MaxNorton


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