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1951 Senior TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 264.25 miles (7 laps)

Description: Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 9 June 1951 p.7, below which is a full list of competitors:


GEOFFREY DUKE, the " unapproachable " Norton star, put up another amazing performance in the Senior T.T. when he broke the records for lap and race in winning hands down at a speed of 93.826 m.p.h.

Duke started off with a "quiet" lap of 24 mins. 19 secs. (93.14 m.p.h.) three seconds outside his last year's record, but this was sufficient to give him the comfortable lead of 41 secs. from team mate Johnny Lockett, and Bill Doran, the A.J.S. ace, who tied for second place.

In the second lap Jack Brett, of the Norton team, who had been lying fourth, one second behind Doran, had a spill and was out of the race, but Les Graham's Agusta also packed up, and Cromie McCandless took his Norton into fourth position.

On the next circuit Duke really got down to it and lapped in 23 mins. 47 secs, a speed of over 95 m.p.h. Once again Geoff was making T.T. history.

Gradually he drew away from the field. No one else could live with him at this speed, and with Lockett still in front of Doran, Norton hopes ran high. After three laps Duke led by nearly two minutes from Lockett and Doran was 16 secs. behind the Norton second string. So hot was the pace that Duke's average speed for the three laps was over 1 m.p.h. faster than his record lap last year, and over 2 m.p.h. faster than his average speed for the whole race last year.

The race was marred by a fatal accident to C. Horn, a former Manx Grand Prix rider, who crashed at Laurel Bank, the third fatality in the week's racing, followed by two in the practices

The Start, Friday

A brightly shining blue sky; a cooling wind (which would prevent some of the tar on the road melting): crowds round the course; an immense concourse of people gathered round the official stands - these were the conditions which faced the 80 racing motor cyclists, whose job it was to fight out the honours attached to the International Senior T.T —blue riband of the motor cycling racing calendar—and Geoff Duke, Norton ace and world's motor cycling star, was to start No. 1 in honour of his meteoric drive to victory in 1950.

Duke would be out to smash the record speed he put up for the lap and race last year, when he lapped the course in 24 mins. 16 secs., a speed of 93.33 m.p.h. Already in practice this year he had clipped off three seconds from that time. He started favourite to-day, but there were many other good men to follow him, and if the Duke "walked away" with the race in his pocket, then the thousands round the course would find other thrills in watching the performance of men who would fight for positions on the leader board.

The international challenge was slight. Les Graham, former A.J.S. ace and world 500 c.c. champion two years ago. who has been robbed of victory in the Senior T.T. on two occasions within a few miles of the finish, was astride an M.V. Agusta - a stranger to the T.T. course, but in which the Italians have much faith—and the Australian rider W. A. McAlpine was to drive a Gilera - another stranger. Both or one of these might - just might - offer a serious challenge to British supremacy, but in the main people were content to acknowledge that it was to be another Norton day.

Before the start of the race, the Lieut.-Governor. Sir G. Bromet, with Professor A. M. Low. A.C.U. chairman, had a word with many of the riders as they lined up on the starting square.

First Lap
Then promptly at 10:30 the starting flag fell. Geoff. Duke. winner of Monday’s Junior, and the chief Norton hope, was away. The engine of his machine came to life with a mighty roar, and his turquoise helmet gleamed in the sunshine as he shot away from the Start towards Bray Hill. Not so fortunate was C. F. Brett, No. 2 in the race, who was held up for about 20 seconds before he could get his motor going, and C. A. Stevens had to change two plugs before he could get away. A. Mulee was held up between Quarter Bridge and Braddan Bridge after having trouble at the start.

At 10-second intervals the competitors were despatched, and with some fast men back-markers all eyes were on the clocks of the first men on the road. Then came the news that Duke had reached Ballacraine on his first lap within five minutes of his leaving the start. Thus he was well away on what is to him the fastest stretch of the course, between the top of Creg Willeys Hill and Barregarrow, as No. 45 was leaving the Start.

As Johnny Lockett was reported at Ballacraine, came the news that Duke was at Michael, having taken 8.5 minutes to get there, and at 10-45 he was reported at Ramsey. Then Bill Doran, the principal A.J.S. hope, was away with an almighty roar from his engine as he streaked away towards the top of Bray Hill. Last of the cracks to start was Graham, on the mystery Agusta, whose engine whined into life , and with a high-pitched scream streaked away towards the steep descent of Bray Hill.


Commentator David Lay, at Cronk-ny-Mona, described Duke as lying flat over his tank and going beautifully. He did not show a semblance of cutting his engine out on the corner and his bike was holding the road like glue. Certainly, as he flashed along the Glencrutchery straight he was going like greased lightning. He looked as though he had not a care in the world. From a standing start he had put up a lap of 24 mins. 19 secs. - three seconds outside last year’s record.

R. St. J. Lockett (Norton) was going great guns and completed the lap in 25 mins dead. Les Graham on the Agusta made up four places and was at Ramsey, but J. Brett (Norton) had made up six places.

In the meantime, Bill Doran (A.J.S.) came through with a tremendous burst of speed and it was expected that he would be on the leader board.

Les Graham with his Agusta still retaining that high pitched note which heralded his approach from Governor's Bridge, was chased past the Start by another competitor, and it looked as if they would fight it out on Bray Hill

Second Lap

It was on this circuit that Geoffrey Duke opened the taps, and for the first time in motorcycling history in the Isle of Man lapped the course in under 24 minutes.
His actual time was 23 mins. 43 secs, an average speed of 95.22 m.p.h. and his average for the two circuits was 94.14 m.p.h.

He was away ahead of the field but there were many other interesting performances to watch.

The lone Gilrea entry, driven by McAlpine (Australia), did not last long on the T.T. course. He retired on this circuit somewhere between the Start and Ballacraine with valve trouble. He must have had a hectic drive, because the soles of his shoes were worn and scraped through contact with the roadway - hard luck, McAlpine.
There was a fight going on for second place between Doran and Lockett, and only two seconds divided the last two men on the leader board.

Several retirements had come in with the welcome additional announcement that the riders were O.K. These remarks went for K. H. Mudford (A.J.S.) the New Zealander, who had to pack up the race at Hillberry.

Lockett had put up the individual lap time of 24 mins. 24 secs., and Doran 24 mins. 28 secs., so it was obvious that Doran had been relegated to third place.
First unexpected sensation of the race came with the announcement that J. Brett had come off at the Gooseneck, but the rider was o.k. His retirement dashed the Norton team hopes to the ground.

Then the Augusta, driven by Les Graham appeared, but on this occasion there was no high pitched screaming note from his engine. Instead, Graham, his face set, toured silently past and turned into the paddock.

A.J.S. team hopes were also dashed when the news came through that M. Featherstone had parted company with his mount at Signpost Corner, sustaining leg injuries which were not thought to be serious.

Third Lap

Geoff. Duke fled round the course in 23 mins. 52 secs., a speed of 94.88 miles per hour, and it must be remembered that this included slowing down along the Glencrutchery straight to pull in for replenishments, a job for which he took 25 secs. His stable companion, Lockett, also took 25 secs. Norton organisation was perfect there, too.

The retirements of Brett and Graham meant changes on the leader board. The individual times of Duke's followers were as follows: —Lockett. 24 mins. 22 secs.; Doran. 24 mins. 34 sees.; McCandless. 24 mins. 33 secs.; Coleman. 25 mins. 14 secs: and M. Barrington (Norton), 25 mins. 57 secs.


The fatal accident to C. Horn cast a gloom over those who knew of the tragic incident.
There was nothing to catch Duke on the course, and we have to pay tribute to his magnificent driving. Even including his replenishment stop, he had put in a lap of 24 mins. 37 secs, on this circuit , and if you take off the 25 secs, for the stop it came down to 24 mins. 12 secs.

It was announced that Featherstone had been taken to hospital at his own request, but his injuries were not serious. R. McDonald (Velocette) gave spectators at Quarter Bridge an unpleasant shock when he came off there in the middle of the bridge. He remounted, however, and carried on, but later packed up the race at Braddan Bridge with throttle control trouble.

Lockett' s time for the lap was 25 mins. dead, similar to his first lap, and Doran lapped in 25 mins. 13 secs. McCandless had returned a time of 26 mins. 2 secs., and was closely followed by the New Zealander, Colman, whose time was 26 mins. 4 secs.

It was with pleasure that we noted that local man T. McEwan (Norton) had “crept” on to the leader board and was in sixth place, his lap time being 26 mins. 30 secs. Retirements came in thick and fast as men and machines found that the course and the hot pace of the race was too much for them.


This trip Duke did a lap of 23 mins. 54 secs., Lockett 24 mins. 32 secs., and Doran 24 mins. 36 secs. At the start of the circuit there was a time lag between the first and sixth men of over eight minutes, and this gave us the opportunity to view the overseas riders' performances.

L. V. Perry, the New Zealander. who last rode here before the war. was finding his way round the course quite easily. His time for the first four laps was 1 hr. 47 mins. 46 secs., only five minutes slower than his compatriot, Coleman, who had earlier got a place on the leader board.

For some reason W. R. Amm, the only Rhodesian, and a very competent rider, recorded a slow third lap time of about 44 minutes, and at the end of the fourth lap his growing time was 2hrs. 3 mins. 20 secs.

The lone Canadian. F. E. Stidolph. was putting up a better performance in his first Senior T.T., having completed the fourth lap in 1 hr. 57mins. 39secs. The only Australian left in the race, K. Kavanagh, was not so very far behind the leaders, and his time at the end of the fourth lap was 1 hr. 35mins. 6 secs., and he started his sixth lap just as Duke had started his last.

The two foreigners had not challenged the supremacy of the British riders: in fact, we had not heard of them since the start. The Italian, F. Benasedo, on a Guzzi, had taken 1 hr 56mins. 30secs. to complete his first four laps, nearly 20 minutes slower than Duke, while S. A. Sorensen (Denmark), on a Norton, had taken 1hr. 52mins. 40 secs. The Spanish rider, J. de Ortueta, astride a Norton, retired on the fifth lap with engine trouble.

Sixth Lap

By 1 p.m. the ominous "R" denoting retirements had been painted up under the numbers of 23 men, and there were several laggards on the course, of whom news was awaited. The first men were completing the circuit ere this: in fact, Duke had gone on to complete his last 37.74 miles of the race. He was riding imperturbably as ever. Lockett. too, had nothing to grumble about. If only Brett had not parted company with his machine at the Gooseneck, Nortons would have had the team prize today, as in the Junior on Monday. Unfortunately, the leader-board would change again this trip.

Coleman, who had been on the board since the second lap, had had to pack up with a broken chain between Ballacraine and Michael.

The Finish

Very few expected that the race would be over bar the shouting before 1-20, but by that time Duke had finished the distance. Yells of "Here he is!" greeted the signalling of his arrival at Governor' s bridge, and the crowd on the Grandstand rose en masse to greet the winner as he came along the Glencrutchery Straight.
The wonder man had done it again, and had achieved a double win for only the fifth time in T.T. history. His time for the race was 2 hrs. 48 mins. 56.8 secs., and he had completed the last lap in 24 mins. 16.8 secs., at an average speed of 93.26 m.p.h.

Something had happened to Lockett! Then came news of his bad luck. The intrepid Nortonite had been compelled to give up the race at Ramsey with a broken chain.
At this time Doran, who would take second place, was coming along the mountain for the last time, and Geoffrey Duke , the winner, was receiving the congratulations of those in the royal box.

Duke did not ascend the steps to the box in any dignified manner. He ran up them two at a time, and this after a record-breaking race of 264 miles.
Duke reported that the rear of his machine was covered in oil, and from the 33rd milestone he had hardly been able to keep his feet on the rests, otherwise he had had a good ride.

Doran finished the race over 15 minutes after Duke and although driving No. 68. was the third man to complete the distance - a creditable performance - Cromie McCandless driving No. 42, having preceded him.


1Duke, Geoff2:48:56.8093.83Norton
2Doran, Bill2:53:19.2091.44AJS
3McCandless, Cromie2:55:27.0090.33Norton
4McEwan, Tommy3:02:26.6086.86Norton
5Barrington, Manliff3:04:03.4086.11Norton
6Parry, Len3:04:30.2085.9Norton
7Briggs, Eric3:05:04.6085.63Norton
8Moule, Albert E.3:07:20.0084.6Norton
9Perry, Len3:07:26.0084.55Norton
10Dear, Les3:08:22.4084.13Norton
11Newman, Guy3:08:41.2083.99Norton
12Evans, Roy3:10:05.0083.37Norton
13Lashmar, Dennis3:10:28.0083.21Norton
14Wood, Tommy3:14:14.8081.59Norton
15Walker, Bob3:14:25.2081.52Velocette
16Franklen, Sid3:14:37.8081.42AJS
17Anderton, Sylvanus3:15:17.2081.15Norton
18Gray, Charlie3:15:23.2081.11AJS
19Paterson, George3:16:02.4080.84AJS
20Sorensen, Sven3:16:21.0080.71Norton
21Pike, Roland3:16:30.4080.65BSA
22Petty, Ray3:17:07.0080.4Norton
23Jones, Albert3:17:07.2080.4Norton
24Fenn, Archie3:17:37.2080.2Norton
25Kentish, Jim3:20:16.2079.13AJS
26Ranson, Humphrey3:20:31.2079.04AJS
27Starr, Leo3:20:44.4078.95AJS
28Amm, Ray3:22:05.0078.42Norton
29Stidolph, Eddie3:23:02.4078.06Norton
30Klein, Max3:23:29.0077.88AJS
31Benasedo, Felice3:23:42.6077.8Guzzi
32Harris, Leslie3:23:57.6077.7Norton
33Braine, Ernie3:28:33.0075.99Norton
34Fisher, John3:31:03.4075.09Velocette
35Chapman, John3:31:34.2074.92Rudge
36Maddrick, Bill3:31:44.0074.85Velocette
37Gunn, John3:32:10.0074.7Norton
38MacDonald, Bob3:34:08.0074.01AJS
RArmstrong, RegAJS
RBarrett, ErnieAJS
RBrugiere, CharlieAJS
RFeatherstone, MickAJS
RLawton, SydAJS
RLockwood, MontyAJS
RMudford, KenAJS
RVarlow, JackAJS
RSalt, CharlieBSA
RWheeler, ArthurBSA
RMcAlpine, TonyGilera
RGraham, LesMV
RBailey, JackNorton
RBrett, CharlieNorton
RBrett, JackNorton
RColeman, RodNorton
RFenning, L.F.M.Norton
RFry, FrankNorton
RGrindley, HowardNorton
RHorn, ChrisNorton
RKavanagh, KenNorton
RLeigh, GeorgeNorton
RLindsay, HarryNorton
RLockett, JohnnyNorton
RMiller, StanNorton
RMullee, AlanNorton
Rde Ortueta, JavierNorton
RPollitt, ArthurNorton
RScott, ScottieNorton
RCarter, BernardTriumph
RStevens, CyrilTriumph
RHall, BillVelocette
RMcDonald, RegVelocette
RSeymour, RalphVelocette
RWilliams, LenVelocette
RHodgkin, JohnnyVincent
RCarter, PhilNorton
RMorgan, GeorgeVelocette
RMundy, BillNorton
RWalker, ErnieNorton
RBeevers, BillNorton
RHardy, EricNorton


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