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1951 Junior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: Race report from the Isle Of Man Weekly Times 15 September 1951 (pp. 3-4) below which is a full list of competitors:



Robin Sherry Smashes Race and Lap Records


Three Other Riders Come to Grief

With race and lap records under conditions which seemed to make that sort of thing out of the question, 23-years-old Robin Sherry, director of a clothing firm, rode his A.J.S. to victory in Tuesday’s Junior Manx Grand Prix, after an exciting duel with last year’s winner, Don Crossley, of Ramsey

Sherry finished the six lap, 226 miles race in 2 hrs. 44 mins. 25.8 secs., 4.2 secs. faster than the previous record set up by Crossley last year. Sherry’s average speed was 82.61 m.p.h. Fourth time round he completed a circuit at 83.91 m.p.h. to create a lap record of 26 mins. 59 secs., 8.4 secs. faster than the previous record returned by W. A. C. McCandless in 1949. Spectators at Laurel Bank saw the winner skid on his first lap. He wobbled, missed the kerb by inches, and continued on his way.

Right from the start the race was a continuous thrill. These two tied for first place at the end of the first lap, and after a terrific duel Sherry forged ahead on the second lap by the bare margin of three seconds. With half the race over Sherry had a lead of twelve seconds. Could Crossley catch him? The “Don” set out to do just that. Trying all he could, using every artifice and an unrivalled knowledge of the course, he attempted to cut down Sherry’s lead. But the task was too much. By the end of four laps Sherry had a minute’s lead, and it was all over bar the shouting. The local man had an enforced stop of over half a minute.

Keith Campbell, first Australian ever to ride in these races, had the hardest of hard luck. He was fourth on the first lap and going well for a place among the leaders when he had two spills in the third lap, the second at the Stonebreaker’s hut, in which he received facial injuries. J. G. Brooks, H. J. Cox, and L. Broughton were also casualties. Dave Bennett, a fancied man, broke a primary chain whilst lying second and had to retire.

At 10-15 we learnt that the start was to be postponed for an hour because of patches of fog on the mountain.

With non-starters numbering seven, there were 99 competitors left in the race, who formed 12 club teams. One of these was from the Peveril Motor Cycle Club, and consisted of D. G. Crossley (Ramsey) riding a Norton, and D. Christian also on a Norton, and J. W. Moore (B.S.A.), both of Douglas. M. R. McGeagh (Ramsey), riding a Velocette was a member of the B.M.C.R.C. third team, another member of which was Keith Campbell, the first Australian competitor in the race.

First Lap
Twenty minute before the start His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor (Sir Geoffrey Bromet) arrived, accompanied by Canon Stenning and the Rev. R. H. Reid, officials of the Manx Grand Prix Committee, and he chatted to riders on the grids. The Clerk of the Course warned competitors of a danger stretch between the Stonebreaker’s Hut and Kate’s Cottage, where they were likely to encounter swirling mists, some of the patches 100 yards in extent, and between the Start and Ballacraine wet leaves might prove troublesome.

At 11-45 a.m. Albert Latham’s little triangular Manx flag dropped, and the first man, Robin Sherry (A.J.S.) gave his engine life. Signifying its new freedom, the engine gave a shattering roar, and man and mount hurtled towards Bray Hill. The 1951 Manx Grand Prix had started. Sherry, we learnt later, had a near thing at Laurel Bank, where he dislodged a piece of sod hedge. Astride his Norton, D. E. Bennett looked as though he meant business. No sooner had he launched himself than he lay along the tank in true racing style. Immediately behind came H. Clark (A.J.S.), who had broken the lap record in practice. There was a promise of an interesting duel here, Norton v. A.J.S.

Although the veteran M. Sunderland started 80 seconds before his son, C. M. V. Sunderland, their clocks pinpointed them at Ballacraine simultaneously. Was this a coincidence or was it part of a careful plan? Milton had been “shepherding” the boy in practice.
Only man to have trouble at the Start was H. A. Pearce (Velocette), who lost 3 mins. when his engine would not start. As the riders went on their way it was seen by their clocks that Don. Crossley had passed two men before he reached Ramsey, and that Bennett had passed six.

Sherry came through the Start first, followed closely by Crossley. Although No. 11, Bennett, was fourth to finish the first lap. Coincidence was that Sherry and Crossley covered the first lap in the same time, 27 mins. 53 secs. Sherry seemed to be going faster on the lower stretches, but Crossley made it up on the mountain section. An interesting announcement was that Bennett, Clark, Sherry and B. A. Jackson (A.J.S.) were attempting to cover the six laps without a pit stop.

Only 14 miles from the Start the first man retired. He was K. Willis (B.S.A.), whose engine failed him at Kirk Michael. Going past quickly was Keith Campbell. His 1949 Velocette passed several men this lap. Second man to retire was N. W. White (Velocette), who lost his primary chain on the mountain. Both Sunderlands passed through the Start almost together. Papa was leading by 40 yards; it looked like an example of “with father with son.” G. W. Robinson (Norton) retired at the end of the lap with valve trouble. A faulty engine forced R. Rogers (Norton) to drop out at the Bungalow.

Reports from round the course indicated that bad conditions were not hindering riders too much. Speeds were fast, but if records were to be smashed it would be surprising because of the weather. Visibility at the Guthrie Memorial 45 minutes after the start varied between 50 and 100 yards.
Sherry and Crossley tied for fastest place in the first lap at a speed of 82.12 m.p.h. Bennett followed closely in 28 mins. 19 secs., a speed of 79.97 m.p.h. Others who had promised well were fulfilling that promise. Fourth, fifth and sixth were Campbell, Clark and Jackson, in that order.

Only spill to be recorded on this lap was L. Westwood (Excelsior), who parted company with his mount at Ramsey, but quickly remounted and proceeded.

Second Lap
Because they started together Bennett and Clark had promised to be the centre of attention, but the duel between Sherry and Crossley stole the limelight. Crossley was trying desperately to capture that Junior crown for the second successive year, but Sherry drew ahead on this lap.

So slight was the lead, however, that it was almost negligible. He finished the lap only three seconds ahead in 27 mins. 32 secs.; his growing time was 55 mins. 25 secs., compared with Crossley’s 55 mins. 28 secs. Together they were drawing away from the field. Bennett took 27 mins. 56 secs. for this lap, but returned a growing time of 56 mins. 15 secs. Sherry was still leading the race, with Crossley second, Bennett third, Campbell fourth, and Clark fifth. A. G. Briggs retired in this lap at Ballacraine with engine trouble.

First casualty of the day was J. E. Brooks (Norton) who crashed at Michael, received head injuries and shock, and was removed to hospital. T. Kiely (A.J.S.) lost his goggles going down Bray Hill and completed the lap without them.

Third Lap
“Dame Misfortune” who had so often ridden with Australian Keith Campbell during practice, stole another ride with him on his third lap. He came to grief at Quarter Bridge, but undaunted re-mounted and carried on.

“Hard Luck. Keith.” Those are the words which jumped to the lips of everyone when they heard that Campbell had crashed a second time, this time at the Stonebreaker’s Hut. He suffered facial injuries, and was taken to Noble’s Hospital after the race. He sold his car and travelled 14,000 miles at considerable personal expense to compete in the Junior.

The end of this lap showed some changes lower down on the leader board. Don Crossley completed the lap 12 seconds behind Sherry, whose time for the lap was 27 mins. 26 secs., while Crossley took 27 mins. 35 secs. Third man to complete the first half of the distance was Bennett, with a lap of 27 mins. 31 secs., 43 seconds behind Crossley. Fourth place on the leader board is occupied by Clark (A.J.S.) Campbell’s mishap left only one overseas rider in the race, Rally Dean, aged 20, of Colombo, who was riding a “Featherbed” Norton.

Fourth Lap
The lap record went in this circuit, and the man responsible was Robin Sherry. Equalling Clark’s lap in practice, he returned 26 mins. 59 secs., a speed of 83.91. This beat the lap record set up by W. A. C. McCandless in 1949 by 8.4 seconds. Before the start of this lap Crossley, together with his pit team, carried out some quick work. His tank was replenished and the foot brake on his machine adjusted in 35 seconds. That stop cost him second place, for Bennett finished the fourth lap 6 seconds ahead of him. Crossley’s time for the lap was 28 mins. 15 secs., while Bennett, who had no stop, took 27 mins. 26 secs. During this lap it was reported that J. M. Crow (Velocette) was “observed retired” in the refreshment tent. Everyone thought he was still riding.

Fifth Lap
With his record fourth lap, Sherry started on his fifth with a lead of 1 min. 52 secs. over his nearest rival, Bennett. B. A. Jackson (A.J.S.) had to retire at Ballaugh when he ran out of petrol. The rider was all right. Jackson was one of the no-refuelling brigade, but his A.J.S. was evidently more thirsty than he had thought.

While he was lying second on the 5th lap, Bennett joined the “bad luck boys.” His primary chain broke at Keppel Gate and he retired. He was reported to be coasting down the mountain, and then he appeared at the Start pushing his machine. The spectators at the Start showed their appreciation by clapping. Bennett’s retirement allowed Crossley to recapture second position, which he had held earlier in the race. Meanwhile Sherry, who was first on the road, was also first in the race. He finished his fifth lap 1 min. 48 secs. ahead of Crossley.

Announcements were made that two other riders had come to grief. They were H. J. Cox, who came off at Handley’s Corner and sustained a fractured skull and fractured leg, and L. Broughton, who crashed at the Keppel and dislocated a collarbone.

The Finish
Sherry finished the race to the cheers of the spectators at the Grandstand while Crossley was still at Cronk-ny-Mona. His time for the six laps was 2 hrs. 44 mins. 25.8 secs., his average speed being 82.61 m.p.h. Sherry had a lead over Crossley, who had tied with him at the end of the first lap of 1 min. 59.2 secs.

A meritorious performance was put up by a newcomer to the course, Mickie Taft, who on his sixth lap ran out of gear oil at the Bungalow. He coasted and pushed and got his mount over the finishing line, much to the appreciation of those still on the stands.

Only 11 Competitors Qualify for Replicas
Of the 99 competitors, 70 finished the distance – a tribute to the men and machines.
Only 11 men qualified on time for replicas, zero time being 3 hrs. 0 mins. 52.4 secs. This was particularly hard luck on A. C. T. Turk (A.J.S.), who finished twelfth man just about one-and-a-half seconds outside the limit.

The Manx Riders
Of the six Manx competitors in the Junior race, five finished the distance. Don Crossley rode into second place and next came Dennis Christian, who drove his Norton into tenth place, thus winning a replica. His aggregate time was 3 hrs. 0 mins. 29.4 secs., an average of 75.26 m.p.h. H. L. Mills, astride a Velocette, was 40th man home, his aggregate time being 3 hrs. 16 mins. 16 secs., an average speed of 69.21 m.p.h., and next to him came J. W. Moore (B.S.A.) as 41st man, with an aggregate time of 3 hrs. 17 mins. 57 secs. (speed 68.62 m.p.h.). Moore had the misfortune to stop in the second lap at Braddan Bridge to make some adjustments. Forty-seventh man was R. Dowty, astride a Douglas with a growing time of 3 hrs. 21 mins. 8 secs. (speed 67.54 m.p.h.).

M. R. McGeagh (Velocette) was extremely unlucky, and ultimately retired on his second lap. First of all, he had a stiff push away from the Start, and did not succeed in getting his engine to fire for some time; then he had to change a plug at the Quarter Bridge on the first lap, and later the ominous “R” was painted under his number, but no reason for the retirement was given.

Odd Man Out
Not all the 99 riders in the race used racing mixture for the practices as allowed by the rules for the first time since the war. Odd man out was H. Lord (Norton), 30-year-old newcomer from Norden, Rochdale. When he arrived for the weighing-in it was found he had been using “Pool” petrol, and he had to get an extension until the morning to enable him to have his carburettor settings altered so that he could use the 80 octane fuel which the rules permitted.

The Winner
Robin Sherry, 23-year-old winner of the race, is a director of a clothing manufacturing firm at Chigwell, Essex, who probably thinks now that No. 13 can be lucky. That was his finishing position in last year’s Senior Manx Grand Prix, when he won a replica and was in the winning team. He was 14th in this race two years ago, winning a replica, and eighth in the Senior Clubman’s T.T. in 1949. He is a member of the Mont Christie Club, and is evidently a man of parts. He rode an A.J.S. to-day, is on a Matchless on Thursday, and lives at “Sunbeam House.”


1Sherry, Robin2:44:25.0082.61AJS
2Crossley, Don2:46:25.0081.63Norton
3Clark, Harold2:50:51.0079.5Norton
4Julian, Cyril2:54:54.0077.66Velocette
5Morgan, Dennis2:57:08.0076.69AJS
6Netherwood, John2:57:24.0076.57Norton
7Taylor, Alan C.2:58:04.0076.29Norton
8Swarbrick, Thomas2:58:39.0076.03AJS
9Pearce, Harry3:00:13.0075.38Velocette
10Christian, Dennis3:00:29.0075.26Norton
11Alexander, John3:00:40.0075.19AJS
12Turk, Allen3:00:54.0075.09AJS
13Barham, A.J.3:01:19.0074.92Norton
14Farrant, Derek3:01:28.0074.85Velocette
15Storr, John3:01:53.0074.69Velocette
16Hall, P.M.3:01:58.0074.65AJS
17Andrews, Edwin3:02:12.0074.55AJS
18Duncan, John3:02:33.0074.41AJS
19Jackson, J.F.3:02:40.0074.37Velocette
20Griffiths, Cyril3:03:36.0073.98AJS
21Plews, Harry3:05:19.0073.3Norton
22Smith, John3:05:33.0073.2AJS
23Moss, P.3:08:05.0072.22AJS
24Thompson, B.3:08:29.0072.07AJS
25McKimm, J.3:08:31.0072.06AJS
26Dolby, Jesse3:08:31.0072.06Velocette
27Fox, Frank M.3:09:13.0071.79Norton
28Thomson, J.A.3:10:09.0071.44Norton
29Bassett, A.D.3:10:16.0071.39AJS
30Bogie, David3:10:28.0071.32Velocette
31Brown, Arthur D. (Buster)3:10:30.0071.31AJS
32Brassington, Arthur3:10:56.0071.15AJS
33Ewer, George3:11:55.0070.78AJS
34Edwards, G.3:12:04.0070.73Velocette
35Staley, C.E.3:13:55.0070.05Norton
36Davis, P.B.3:14:23.0069.88Norton
37Wilcox, M.3:14:29.0069.85AJS
38Pantlin, Eric3:14:41.0069.78AJS
39Cooper, Stan3:15:05.0069.63Norton
40Mills, Herbie3:16:16.0069.21Velocette
41Moore, J.W.3:17:57.0068.62BSA
42Difazio, Jack3:19:41.0068.03BSA
43Woods, A.W.B.3:19:55.0067.95Velocette
44Tynan, Donald3:20:01.0067.91AJS
44=Hargreaves, Bernard3:20:01.0067.91Douglas
46Jones, G.H.3:20:45.0067.67AJS
47Dowty, Robert3:21:08.0067.54Douglas
48Meier, R.R.3:21:09.0067.53AJS
49Graham, E.3:21:46.0067.33AJS
50Cruse, Peter3:22:36.0067.05BSA
51Buxton, N.E.3:23:32.0066.74AJS
52Goodwin, E.3:26:28.0065.79Norton
53Swallow, Ken3:26:51.0065.57Norton
54Ratcliffe, Ken3:27:19.0065.52Norton
55Rudge, Ron3:30:45.0064.46Norton
56Dixon, Bill3:31:25.0064.25Norton
57Sunderland, C.M.V.3:31:53.0064.11Norton
58Dean, Rally3:32:17.0063.99Norton
59Warwick, D.3:33:22.0063.66Velocette
60Zealand, A.W.3:34:07.0063.44Norton
61Sunderland, Milton3:34:38.0063.29Norton
62Taft, M.E.J.3:34:46.0063.25BSA
63Storr, D.A.3:36:06.0062.81AJS
64Cunliffe, J.O.3:36:45.0062.67AJS
65Blum, Jack3:37:18.0062.51Norton
66Povey, Lawrence3:38:17.0062.23Norton
67Kiely, T.3:41:27.0061.34AJS
68Wastell, F.3:44:36.0060.48AJS
69Cronan, H.J.3:49:52.0059.1Velocette
70Henthorn, Arnold3:56:56.0057.35BSA
RAntill, David0Norton
RBennett, David0Norton
RBriggs, A.G.0Norton
RBroughton, F.P.L.0BSA
RClark, G.P.0Norton
RCox, Hedley0Velocette
RNorris, FrankVelocette
RDuerden, T.0Norton
RHoward, W.0AJS
RJowett, N.0Velocette
RKirby, P.A.0Velocette
RMcGeagh, Michael0Velocette
RMuir, I.R.0Norton
RCrow, JimVelocette
RPinckard, A.D.0AJS
RRobinson, G.W.0Norton
RRobinson, T.N.0Norton
RSkerritt, W.0AJS
RSoutham, Les0Douglas
RWestwood, L.0Excelsior
RWhite, N.W.0Velocette
RWilde, L.J.0BSA
RWillis, Ken0Norton
RWilson, J.S.0BSA
RBrookes, JohnNorton
RCampbell, KeithVelocette
RRogers, H.Norton
RJackson, BrianAJS


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