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1950 Senior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: Race report from the Isle of Man Weekly Times 16 September 1950 p.7, below which is a full list of competitors:


First - P. ROMAINE (Norton) Speed: 84.123 m.p.h.

Second - M. FEATHERSTONE (Norton) Speed: 82.798 m.p.h.

Third - H. CLARK (Norton) Speed: 81.098 m.p.h.




PETER ROMAINE, runner up in the Junior Race, was never seriously challenged after the first lap when he won Thursday’s Senior Manx Grand Prix, and it was fitting that this brilliant young rider, in his 21st year, should win the 21st Senior Race of the September series. The race was run in bright but windy weather, and there were no records broken.
Romaine took the lead in the first lap, when he had 3 secs. in hand from Featherstone, but the Derby youth increased the gap to over half-a-minute in the second lap, and with half the race over he looked to have a winning lead, exactly a minute ahead of his nearest rival, who was still Featherstone, making an auspicious Manx Grand Prix debut.
Don Crossley, winner of the Junior Race, retired on the second lap with mechanical trouble, and his youthful rival of Tuesday, now well in the lead, carried on in great style, but on the fourth lap he got into a wobble at Ballacraine, righted it, and carried on. It seemed that the race was now all over, bar shouting.
Dennis Parkinson, who had been lying third since the start, went out on the fifth lap with engine trouble, and Romaine increased his lead and went on to win comfortably.

The Start, Thursday
Big crowds gathered round the Course this morning and on the Grandstand, despite the fresh south-westerly wind, to watch the duel of speed about to be unfolded before them in the Senior M.G.P. There is something about a Senior race which transcends the interest felt in other races. And there was an especial interest in this race because it was the 21st of its kind run on the T.T. Course.
Similar to the Junior competitors, the Senior men claimed their machines at 10 a.m. from Fargher’s and Ashton’s Garage Ltd., in Westmoreland Road, where they had lain since weighing-out yesterday, and again spectators were able to get a thrill out of the procession through the town and over the Promenade, up Burnt Mill Hill, to the Start. Once there, the leather-clad riders got into position on the starting squares and made final adjustments to the machines, from the engines of which they were going to ask a great deal during the next few hours.
R. M. Lucas, on a Velocette, was on the starting grid after a real wrestle with mechanical bad luck. He discovered before weighing out that the frame of his Velocette was broken and something had happened to the rear wheel. He was able to borrow a frame from H. L. Mills, the Manx rider, and a wheel from another competitor. After working all day and taking advantage of the extension time for examination, he got his bike ready, and those on the stand wished him good luck in to-day’s race.
Competitors were told they would find a strong wind going up the mountain with some wet patches at Sarah’s Cottage, but visibility was good and there was little likelihood of rain. As usual the Lieutenant-Governor, accompanied by the Rev. E. H. Stenning (president of the M.M.C.C.), spoke to some of the riders, and afterwards Geoff. Duke, Senior T.T. record breaker and winner of this race last year, was given the honour of starting the first man, who was none other than Peter Romaine, runner-up in the Junior race.
First Lap
The men got away at 10 second intervals in great style, the only laggards being W. J. Jenness (Norton) and J. C. Duncan (A.J.S.). Shortly after 11 o’clock one of the travelling marshals, Harry Craine, started on his way to follow the competitors round his section of the course. The petrol tank of his own machine had sprung a leak, but within half a minute he had been offered the loan of three machines, one of which he chose. Principal attention was focussed on the position clocks of P. Romaine (Norton), D. Parkinson (Norton), and M. Featherstone (Norton), together with the redoubtable Don Crossley (Norton), winner of Tuesday’s Junior and R. H. Sherry (Norton), who had such bad luck in the Junior Race when lying third. Any one of these five men might easily prove to be the winner.
Unfortunately the machine which Harry Craine, the travelling marshal had borrowed, broke down at Quarter Bridge with clutch trouble, and an appeal was made for another sportsman to go down by the back road to that point and lend his machine and that was done.
In our mind’s eye we watched the struggle for supremacy going on round the course. No 1, Romaine, was undoubtedly leading the way in position, but had other good men to reckon with including Don Crossley and Featherstone. David Lay, the commentator at Hillberry, reported that Romaine was first man through that point riding extremely well and followed by others. Certainly Romaine looked very comfortable as he concluded this circuit.
There was a conspicuous lack of incidents. A. Smith (Norton) was one of the first men to pull in, but that was only to change his goggles. H. L. Mills (Norton) and Dennis Christian (Norton), two Manx riders, went past almost together. Of the two Christian had much the better time in 28 minutes 34 seconds. Mill’s time was 30 minutes 5 seconds. D. Parkinson followed Romaine, then Crossley and later Featherstone. He did not seem to be going as fast as Romaine, but when the times were painted up it was seen that only 3 seconds divided them on time.

Second Lap
With Romaine almost finished this circuit, J. F. Jackson (Velo) pulled into the pits to retire with clutch trouble, whilst V. J. Holcroft (A.J.S.) gave up the struggle at Creg-ny-Baa. It was also reported that E. Goodwin (Norton) had retired at Glen Vine with carburettor trouble, and G. P. Clark was carrying on after changing a jet. Only one minute had divided the first six men at the start of this lap and the race so far was an extremely close one. It was also an extremely fast one.
Hillberry reported that Romaine was very speedy at that point. He must have been speedy in fact, all the way round, as he returned a time of 26 minutes 29 seconds, an average speed of 83.5 m.p.h., still over half a minute slower than Geoff Duke’s Manx Grand Prix record of 25 mins. 53 secs., a speed of 87.4 m.p.h., and unless the wind blowing up the Mountain dropped it was unlikely that Duke’s record would be even dinged today. Impatiently we waited for Featherstone. What would he have to say about Romaine’s speed? He could not catch him, but it was early days yet. Featherstone was doing extremely well, as a matter of fact, because this was his debut in the Manx Grand Prix, though he has ridden in two of the Clubmen’s events.
Don Crossley’s luck did not hold. His indicator stuck ominously at Ramsey. Marshals were contacted at that point and the Mountain Box, and it was ultimately reported that Don Crossley had walked to the 24th Milestone and reported that he had retired with engine trouble. He said: “The mice have been at the engine.”
Crossley’s retirement let D. E. Bennett (Norton), riding his first big road race, into sixth place. Here are the individual lap time of the men following Romaine:- Featherstone 26 mins. 59 secs.; Parkinson, 27 mins. 32 secs.; Clark, 27 mins. 50 secs.; Crow, 27 mins. 47 secs.; and Bennett 28 mins.
Third Lap
When the men set out on this lap, only half-a-minute divided Romaine and Featherstone. Romaine completed the circuit in 26 mins. 30 secs., and Featherstone took 27 secs. longer. Parkinson was getting every ounce of power out of his engine, but he was not going fast enough to improve his position. He took 27 mins. 34 secs. for this circuit.

Hillberry reported Romaine as travelling very fast there again, but in pulling in to finish he overshot his pit, braked hard and nearly parted company with his model. However, the mishap ended well enough and the Norton rider got away in fine style. He was chased earnestly and arduously by the other fast men, while A. S. Herbert (Norton) was struggling on, having experienced extremely bad luck in running out of petrol at Hillberry. As many other sportsmen had done before, he coasted and pushed his machine to the Start, where he refuelled and continued the race. The fourth position in this circuit was taken by Crow in 27 mins. 53 secs. Clark was fifth with 28 mins. 25 secs, and Bennett took 27 mins. 46 secs.

At the end of the third lap the position of the Manx riders was as follows: D. G. Crossley (Norton) had retired on the second lap, R. V. Hunt (Velocette) had returned a time of 1 hr. 33 mins. 28 secs. for the three laps, T. R. Sheard (Norton) had returned a time of 1 hr. 34 mins. 46 secs., H. L. Mills (Norton) had taken 1 hr. 29 mins. 47 secs., D. Christian (Norton) had completed three laps in 1 hr. 24 mins. 39 secs., and R. Harrison had retired during the third lap.

Fourth Lap
Peter Romaine gave spectators a nasty jolt at Ballacraine at this point of the race. He developed a terrific speed wobble going towards the corner, fought his bike out of it and got round. The incident did not seem to unsteady his nerves. He clocked round, going well, out, if he possibly could, to better his already good lead. Word came through whilst we were waiting for Featherstone that local rider R. Harrison (Triumph) had cruised up to Ballaugh Bridge with two flat tyres. Somewhere between Michael and that point he had been off, but the rider was O.K. and quite happy. The incident occurred in the preceding lap. Romaine’s time for this circuit was 27 mins. 37 secs., whilst Parkinson took 28 mins. 27 secs. Featherstone dropped back further on time, but was still holding on to second place. His time was 28 mins. 8 secs. H. Clark was back in fourth place with a lap of 28 minutes 4 secs., and Crow was again relegated to fifth place in 28 mins. 51 secs., and Bennett took 28 mins. 44 secs.

Fifth Lap
This was a runaway win for Romaine if his luck held. With two laps to go he had a lead of 91 seconds over Featherstone, whilst 3 mins. 6 secs. divided the first six men. All the first six men were riding Nortons, and so was E. Andrew, who was travelling in seventh place, if our calculations were correct. As a matter of fact it was more probable that E. Andrew would be found on the leader board this time, because just before one o’clock it was announced that Parkinson had packed up at Sulby with engine trouble, but the rider was O.K. This was indeed hard luck for the intrepid Wakefield rider, who had occupied third place up to his retirement. Even if Andrews came on the leader board it would still remain a procession of Nortons.
Individual lap times were as follows : Romaine, 26 mins. 52 secs. ; Featherstone, 27 mins. 12 secs. Clark, 27 mins. 37 secs. ; Bennett, 27 mins. 39 secs. ; Crow, 27 mins. 57 secs.; and Andrew also 27 mins. 57 secs. Andrew thus came on to the leader board after a very consistent performance. His previous lap times were 23 mins. 40 secs.; 26 mins. 3 secs. ; 27 mins. 53 secs. and 28 mins. 45 secs.

Sixth Lap
Yes, it was Peter Romaine’s day. Before 1 o’clock he was away on this last circuit of the race, riding superbly and confidently. It seemed as though nothing would hold him from victory. In our mind’s eye we watched his progress round the 373/4-mile course, going all out and ultimately followed not only by the fast men, but also by those whose ambition it was merely to finish the distance.
The whole race was a magnificent exhibition of sportsmanship and brilliant riding of motorcycles. Romaine was leading by 1 min. 51 secs.- he could ease off and still win comfortably, but according to reports from round the course, he was driving as hard as ever. Featherstone in due course also went through to start this lap, and was given the signal by his pit attendant, “Give her all you’ve got.”
Ramsey reported Peter as having started the mountain climb and greeted by the cheers of the spectators as he rode over the remainder of the lap, Romaine came in a very comfortable winner at 1.25 p.m. His time for the last lap was 26 mins. 49 secs., and his time for the entire race was 2 hrs. 41 mins. 30 secs., an average speed of 84.123 m.p.h.
Just as Romaine finished the race, it was reported that D. Bogie (Velocette), who did so well in the Junior on Tuesday, had retired at Cruickshank’s Corner after a spill, but the rider was O.K.
Peter Romaine said it was the most magnificent ride he had ever had. He was a little bit worried on his first lap as his engine missed a bit, but decided to behave itself. He had done the most stupid thing he had ever done in his life when he pulled in at the end of the third lap for replenishments, overshot his bin, and dropped the bike. He thought that had finished it, but things went all right, and he had been very lucky.
The Runner-up
M. S. Featherstone is a 21-year-old farmer from Skegmess, and was making his debut in the Manx Grand Prix after gaining experience of the course in the Clubman’s T.T. for the past two years. He rode consistently well in practice, and to-day earned the reward of assiduous practice, and rode a well-judged race, even if he was not fast enough to overhaul the winner.
63 Finishers; 17 Replicas
The remarkable dependability of the British motor cycle was amply demonstrated in the fact that 63 of the 84 starters finished the distance, and of these 28 were Junior machines. Outstanding performance of a Junior rider was that of C. Julian, who rode his Velocette, on which he was third in the Junior Race, into 17th place, the last man to qualify for a replica. The first 15 places were taken by Nortons.
Four Manx riders finished, Dennis Christian in 7th place being the only one to win a replica. Herbert Mills was 26th; Roger Hunt, on a Velocette he rode in the Junior Race (his Senior Triumph was damaged in practice), was 38th; and Tim Sheard 39th. In 40th place was the man who always finishes (Milton Sunderland). Bill Jenness (oldest man in the race) finished again.


1Romaine, Peter2:41:30.0084.12Norton
2Featherstone, Mick2:44:05.0082.8Norton
3Clark, Harold2:47:31.0081.1Norton
4Bennett, David2:48:15.0080.75Norton
5Crow, Jim2:48:55.0080.43Norton
6Andrews, Edwin2:49:19.0080.24Norton
7Christian, Dennis2:50:06.0079.87Norton
8Williams, Don2:50:14.0079.81Norton
9Kemp, H.J.2:52:21.0078.83Norton
10Morgan, Dennis2:52:47.0078.55Norton
11Grindley, Howard2:53:32.0078.28Norton
12Templeton, Malcolm2:54:30.0077.85Norton
13Sherry, Robin2:54:53.0077.68Norton
14Carter, Phil2:55:21.0077.48Norton
15Smith, A.M.S.2:55:22.0077.47Norton
16Boynton, John2:55:38.0077.35BSA
17Julian, Cyril2:56:03.0077.17Velocette
18Moss, P.2:59:23.0075.73AJS
19King, Robert2:59:04.0075.61Norton
20Passmore, Fred3:00:04.0075.49Norton
21Penton, H.R.3:00:29.0075.27AJS
22Prudence, Mark3:00:37.0075.21Norton
23Swarbrick, Thomas3:00:54.0075AJS
23=Robinson, G.W.3:00:54.0075Triumph
25Griffiths, Cyril3:01:56.0074.68Norton
26Mills, Herbie3:01:57.0074.68Norton
27Taylor, Alan C.3:03:11.0074.16AJS
28Carter, Bernard3:03:44.0073.94Triumph
29Hunt, Edward3:04:15.0073.74Norton
30Rudge, Ron3:04:22.0073.7Norton
31Simister, Philip3:04:57.0073.45AJS
32Mundy, Bill3:05:45.0073.14Norton
33Smith, John3:05:57.0073.05Triumph
34Wall, Harold3:06:06.0073Triumph
35Jervis, R.3:06:20.0072.91Norton
36White, N.W.3:06:31.0072.84Velocette
37Whelan, Don3:07:12.0072.58AJS
38Hunt, Roger V.3:07:24.0072.5Triumph
39Sheard, Tim3:08:34.0072.04Norton
40Sunderland, Milton3:09:17.0071.77Norton
41Cooper, Stan3:09:54.0071.54AJS
42Henderson, George3:11:00.0071.12Norton
43Zealand, A.W.3:12:14.0070.67Norton
44Howard, W.3:12:18.0070.65BSA
45Thomson, J.A.3:12:03.0070.57Norton
46Wilkins, David3:13:10.0070.33AJS
47Langton, D.3:13:46.0070.12Norton
48Barham, A.J.3:14:36.0069.81Norton
49Alcock, Geoff3:15:19.0069.56Norton
50Waddington, Ken3:16:03.0069.29AJS
51Heinze, G.3:16:14.0069.23Norton
52Duerden, T.3:19:16.0068.18Norton
53Fearnhead, J.K.3:20:41.0067.7Norton
54Tuck, Fred3:24:34.0066.41AJS
55Davis, Dion3:27:09.0065.58AJS
56Pinckard, A.D.3:28:26.0065.18AJS
57Austin, Roland3:30:58.0064.4BSA
58Curzon, Harry3:31:15.0064.31Norton
59Darbishire, J.G.3:33:00.0063.79Norton
60Gibson, G.E.3:33:41.0063.58BSA
61Jenness, Bill3:33:56.0063.51Norton
62Davenport, A.F.3:36:36.0062.27AJS
63Walsh, Peter3:38:03.0062.17Norton
RBogie, DavidVelocette
RClark, G.P.Norton
RCrossley, DonNorton
RNorris, FrankNorton
R=Dearden, RegNorton
RDuncan, JohnAJS
RFisher, CharlesAJS
RHerbert, AngusNorton
RHolcroft, V.J.AJS
RJackson, J.F.Norton
RLucas, R.M.Velocette
RPratt, BobVelocette
RPratt, P.L.Velocette
RProcter, ErnieNorton
RWastell, RexScott
RYoung, N.V.Triumph
RBrookes, JohnBSA
RParkinson, DenisNorton
RHarrison, R.J.Triumph
RSmith, A.Norton
RGoodwin, E.Norton
RMuir, I.R.


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