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1952 Junior TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 264.25 miles (7 laps)

Description: Race report from the Isle of Man Times, 14 June 1952 (pp.3, 5) below which is a full list of competitors:

Duke Wins Junior T.T. at Record Speed. But lap record survives, A.J.S. challenge peters out, Winner rode greater part of the race with cramp, Amm has spill at Braddan Bridge

Riding magnificently, 29-year-old Geoff Duke, leader of the Norton team, added the 1952 Junior T.T. to an impressive “bag” of successes.

Duke was out on his own, a winner all the way from the word “Go”, and he received a wonderful ovation as he streaked round the course on his final lap, and finally rode over the finishing line a comfortable winner at record speed, and this despite the fact that he suffered from cramp in his right leg for 200 miles of the 264-mile race.

Geoff Duke jumped into the lead from the start, followed by New Zealander Rod Coleman, of the A.J.S. team, and the World Champion held his lead on the second lap, but Coleman dropped back into fourth place, with Jack Brett taking up the A.J.S. challenge to his former team mate- Jack rode for Nortons last year- Reg Armstrong third, and Amm and Kavanagh in fifth and sixth positions. The two great rivals, Nortons and A.J.S., were monopolising the leader board once more. On the next lap Duke increased his lead, and Amm, riding superbly, took fourth place, in front of the only other A.J.S. man on the leader board, Rod Coleman.

The fourth lap was sensational. With the news that Jack Brett had retired at the Stonebreaker’s Hut, A.J.S. hopes were dashed. Then Nortons had a setback when W.R. Amm came off at Braddan Bridge and retired.

(The Start)
Eighty three engines crashed into action at 9.15 a.m. It was the warming-up period before the Junior International T.T., the period which heralds the Start itself. Sights and sounds at the Grandstand were those which only the T.T. produces. From a blue sky the kindly sun smiled benevolently on the colourful scene. Boy scouts stood at the ready, bearing the flags of the several nations represented, which included Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Ceylon, Southern Rhodesia, Australia and New Zealand. Spain’s lone entrant, A. Fiores, was among the 13 non-starters, and other non-starters included No. 28 (W. Doran), No. 62 (G. Laing, of Australia), No. 67 (M. Featherstone), No. 79 (F.W. Fry), No. 89 (M. Barrington), and No. 90 (I.J. Wagar, of Canada).

A meteorological message from Ronaldsway assured us that weather conditions would remain good throughout the day, with very good visibility and a light northerly wind: there would be no rain. Some patches of low cloud or mist were dispersed before the race commenced. A warning that tar might be troublesome at six places was given.

From the programme it looked as though races within the race would be many. No. 1 on the road was Geoff Duke, World Champion and last year’s double T.T. winner. Other fast men started off within seconds of each other. The result? A series of small battles between couples or trios.

Works’ teams totalled three, consisting of two from Nortons and one A.J.S. team. The No.1 Norton team comprised Duke, Armstrong and Kavanagh, and the second team was made up of McCandless, Amm and Parry. The A.J.S. team was Brett, Lomas and Coleman. The ten club teams included one from the New Zealand A.C.U. and another from the A.C.C. of Australia.

Message to the Queen
A reply from the Queen to a telegram sent her by the Stewards of the meeting was read before the start of the race. The two telegrams read as follows: -

“The Stewards of the T.T. Races in the Isle of Man respectfully tender to Her Majesty the Queen loyal greetings on behalf of all drivers, entrants, officials and many hundreds of members of the A.C.U. and motor-cyclists generally”.

The reply stated: -
“Please convey the Queen’s sincere thanks to all those associated with you in your kind message on the occasion of Her Majesty’s birthday”. The telegram was signed by Her Majesty’s Private Secretary.

A telegram was also received from ex-Scoreboard Controller Harry Burnett, now in South Africa. It stated: -
“Best wishes for a successful and accident-free meeting”.

First lap
At 9.45 the starter’s flag dropped and Duke shot away for the first lap of the seven lap, 204 miles race, with its 1,400 corners, long climbs, down hill stretches and exhilarating flats. A course on which riders’ speeds vary from five miles an hour to 135.

Duke had started the first half of the second half of his bid to capture the double double- that is winning in both Junior and Senior races for two consecutive years.

The feat has been accomplished only once before. That was in 1932 and 1933 by Stanley Woods.

All the starters were despatched by 10.02.

“The Duke” sets the pace.
As Duke careered round the course his indicator clock showed that he was on his usual top form and barring incidents no other rider would see anything of him for the rest of the race except his back mudguard. Hardly had he left us, it seemed, than he came rocketing through the start having completed his first lap from a standing start in 25 mins, 5 secs, an average speed of 90.27 mph. This was surely a pointer to greater feats to come. Rod Coleman, New Zealand ace and member of the A.J.S. team, proved his ability by lapping in 25 mins, 42 secs, to occupy second place on the leader board, an average speed of 88.12 mph.
Rod, you remember, recorded the fastest Junior lap of the two practices. Incidentally, these two men flew away on Saturday night, put on an excellent television show, and returned yesterday.

Overseas rider, Ray Amm, (Norton), whose pretty wife was standing in the pits, came in third in 25 mins, 44 secs. A speed of 88.01 mph.

Jack Brett (A.J.S.), took fourth place in 25 mins, 43 secs, a speed of 87.95 mph, but the Nortons, ridden by Reg Armstrong and Ken Kavanagh, both of whom are in the No. 1 Norton team, occupied 5th and 6th places. Their respective times and speeds were 25 mins, 46 secs (87.89 mph) and 26 mins, 22 secs (85.89 mph).

First retirement was that of I. D. Gilbert (A.J.S.), who dropped out with engine trouble at the Gooseneck on the first lap.

M. V. Lockwood (A.J.S.), crashed at Kirk Michael and slightly injured a knee and shoulder. His machine was damaged slightly and he retired.
At the end of the first lap W.A.C. McCandless (Norton), took in a gallon of petrol and re started within 8 seconds. This would enable him to complete the race without again refuelling.

The Winner
The Junior winner is almost as well-known in the Isle of Man as in his native St Helen's and is one of the most popular and unassuming riders who ever sat astride a motorcycle. He started his winning career in the Isle of Man in 1949 when he won the Senior Clubman’s, annexed the Senior Manx Grand Prix in the same year, entered the professional ranks with Nortons the following year, in which he won the Senior T.T., did the ‘double’ last year.

As all the world knows, he is married to a Manx girl, formerly Miss Pat Reid, who was at the start on Monday to greet him after yet another success among the many he has registered at home and abroad in a meteoric career that has had no parallel in motor-cycling history.

Second lap
Duke, riding in his own imperturbable style, increased his lead on the second lap and Jack Brett (A.J.S.) ousted Rod Coleman from second place. Duke covered the lap in 24 mins, 53 secs, an average speed of 91 mph and so increased his first lap lead of 37 seconds to 52 seconds. Brett, fourth in the first lap, had overtaken Coleman and Amm on time and crept into second place. His time for the lap was 25 mins, 5 secs, a speed of 90.27 mph. Reg Armstrong (Norton) had come up from fifth to third place with a lap time of 25 mins, 12 secs, a speed of 89.36 mph. Fourth was Rod Coleman in 25 mins, 23 secs, a speed of 89.22 mph. Fifth was Ray Amm (Norton) with a lap of 25 mins, 24 secs,(89.17 mph), and Kavanagh (Norton) was sixth with 25mins, 48 secs (87.77 mph).

Dean Hollier, who had come all the way from New Zealand to compete, retired at Glen Vine on the second lap with a seized engine.
Reason for Coleman’s comparatively slow lap, revealed at the finish, was that he went into a dangerous skid just past Ballig while travelling at over 100 mph. His left foot struck the road with such force that the heel of his boot was torn away.

Les Graham retires
R. L. Graham (Velo), who was expected to do well, retired at the Pits at the end of the second lap, with a slack main drive chain which had been jumping during the lap.

Third lap
Increasing the gap between him and the second rider, Duke finished the third lap 62 seconds ahead of Brett, who was in second place. Duke completed the lap in 24 mins, 55 secs, two seconds slower than his previous lap, a speed of 90.07 mph. Brett covered his third lap in exactly the same time as he did on his second lap, 25 mins, 5 secs (90.27 mph). Armstrong still occupied third place, only 10 seconds behind Brett. He lapped in 25 mins, 7 secs, (90.15 mph). Ray Amm, returning his fastest lap so far, came up from fifth to fourth place, with a lap in 25 mins, 4 secs (90.33 mph).

Meanwhile, Coleman had dropped from fourth to fifth place with a lap of 25 mins, 24 secs, a speed of 89.17 mph. Sixth for the third consecutive lap was Kavanagh, who returned a lap of 25 mins . 43 secs, a speed of 88 mph.

An hour and a half after the start of the race retirements became quite common. In this lap Tommy McEwan on a Norton, the only local rider, retired at the pits with engine trouble. R. Godwin (Canada) on a Norton, the second overseas rider to retire, came off in the dip at Governor’s. He remounted and proceeded but retired at the pits. Latest retirement was V. H. Willoughby (Velo) who dropped out of the third lap at Milntown with a broken chain. The rider was all right.

Fourth lap
First sensation of the race came with the news that Jack Brett, the A.J.S. star – whom many had fancied to pip the Nortons- had retired at the Stonebreaker’s hut. The rider was reported to be all right. The camshaft drive chain of the machine had broken.

Hopes of the No.2 Norton team finishing were dashed when R. Amm (Southern Rhodesia) came off his Norton at the Braddan Bridge. He returned to the start in a private car. He had slight injuries to his face.

At the end of this lap there was only one manufacturer’s team left in the race. It was the Norton No. 1 team, consisting of Duke, Armstrong and Kavanagh. Brett’s retirement at the Stonebreaker’s hut killed the hopes of the A.J.S. camp.

Reports from the commentators round the course showed that Duke was riding as skilfully as ever and using his uncanny knowledge of the course to leave his strong challengers behind. At the end of the third lap he had made a quick call at the pits to replenish his tank and this stop was reflected in his fourth lap time of 25 mins, 32 secs, a speed of 88.07, his slowest yet.

For the first time in the race a Norton occupied second place. Its rider was Reg Armstrong, Duke’s team mate who lapped in 25 mins, 38 secs (89.35 mph). Rod Coleman shot up another place to occupy third position on the leader board, so that in four laps his name had appeared in four different positions. He returned a fourth lap of 25 mins, 57 secs (87.25 mph). Ken Kavanagh had come up from sixth to fourth place, having completed his fourth lap in 26 mins, 27 secs (85.63 mph).

A new name came on the leader board. It was that of W.A. Lomas, a member of the depleted A.J.S. team, who took fifth place, having recorded a lap of 26 mins, 27 secs (85.63 mph). In sixth place was S. Lawton (A.J.S.), who completed his fourth lap in 26 mins, 30 secs, (84.56 mph), so the interesting position had arisen where three Nortons and three A.J.S.s were fighting it out among the first six, but the Norton No. 1 works team was in a favourable position with Duke occupying first place, Armstrong second and Kavanagh fourth.

Fifth lap
Leaders at the end of the fifth lap showed no change, but Duke had increased his fourth lap lead of 1 min, 18 secs to 1 min, 21 secs.

Duke’s time for the fifth lap was 25 mins, 1 sec (90.5 mph). The champion thrilled the crowds round the course with his spectacular -but oh, so safe!- cornering. Man and machine, as represented by Duke on his Norton, looked as one unit. While Duke was racing round so quickly the other riders were not slow. Armstrong, his team mate, who was in the second position returned a fifth lap time of 25 mins, 4 secs, only three seconds slower than Duke (90.33 mph) for the lap. Coleman was third with a lap of 25 mins, 14 secs (89.75 mph). Kavanagh was fourth with a lap of 25 mins, 42 secs (88.12 mph). Fifth was Lomas, with a lap of 26 mins, 1 sec (87.02 mph), and sixth was Lawton, with a lap of 27 mins, 5 secs (83.6 mph). So with the fifth lap completed, there were still four countries represented in the first four places- England, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. S. Cooper (A.J.S.) retired at Ballaugh with a seized engine on the fifth lap. The rider was O.K.

Sixth lap
Duke completed this lap 1 min, 23 secs ahead of Armstrong, having increased his lead during the lap by two seconds.

Duke was instructed not to bother about smashing the lap record but just to win.

The sixth lap leaders were unchanged, with Duke first, with a lap time of 25 mins, 5 secs (90.27 mph). Reg Armstrong was second in 25 mins, 7 secs (90.15mph). Rod Coleman third in 25 mins, 11 secs (89.92 mph), Kavanagh fourth, in 25 mins, 47 secs (87.83 mph), Lomas fifth in 26 mins, 6 secs (86.75 mph) and S. Lawton (A.J.S.) in 26 mins, 41 secs (84.87 mph).

Seventh lap
Duke completed the seven laps in 2 hrs, 55 mins, 30.6 secs, an average speed of 90.29 mph, beating last year’s average of 89.9 mph. With Duke the winner, Armstrong coming down from the Creg and Coleman speeding along the winding roads between Michael and Ramsey, came the news that Kavanagh, who had been riding fourth, had retired at Kirk Michael with engine trouble, and so any hopes of a Work’s team finishing went by the board.

Reg Armstrong, the other Norton ace, finished the race in 2 hrs, 56 mins, 57 4-5ths secs (89.55 mph).

After the race, Duke said that he had pain at the top of his thigh but the rest of his leg was numb. Otherwise he had an uneventful ride.

Duke completed the seventh lap in 24 mins, 59.6 secs (90.65 mph), while the second man, Armstrong, completed the lap in 25 mins, 3.8 secs (90.36 mph).

Last laps of the other leaders were: - Coleman, 25 mins, 21.4 secs (89.32 mph), Lomas, 26 mins, 4 secs (86.86 mph), Lawton, 26 mins, 48 secs (84.5 mph) and G. Brown, 26 mins, 51.4 secs (84.32 mph).

63% finished
Rider crashes at Michael
From a field of 81 starters only 51 riders, or 63% completed the race. The first 10 gained first class replicas, and 34 earned second class replicas.

Geoff Duke said after the race that he had ridden the greater part of the race with cramp.

All three manufacturers' teams failed to complete the course intact. Ten club teams competed, and the Dublin and D.M.C.C. Ltd took first team place. The riders were H.R. Armstrong, who finished second; W. A. C. McCandless, seventh; and C. Gray, 32nd.

There were no serious accidents but M. V. Lockwood, A.J.S., crashed at Kirk Michael village. He was taken to Ramsey Cottage Hospital with injuries to the shoulder and knee.

Most of the retirements resulted from mechanical trouble.


1Duke, Geoff2:55:30.6090.29Norton
2Armstrong, Reg2:56:57.8089.55Norton
3Coleman, Rod2:58:12.4088.93AJS
4Lomas, Bill3:00:41.0086.26AJS
5Lawton, Syd3:07:05.0084.71AJS
6Brown, George3:07:33.4084.5AJS
7McCandless, Cromie3:08:30.4084.07Norton
8Ring, Ernie3:08:42.8083.99AJS
9Sandford, Cecil3:10:20.2083.27Velocette
10Carter, Phil3:12:16.6082.42Norton
11Moule, Albert E.3:13:45.0081.79Norton
12Stewart, Norman3:14:04.0081.66Norton
13Williams, Don3:15:38.0081.01Norton
14Dear, Les3:16:52.2080.5AJS
15Grace, John3:17:21.0080.3Norton
16Sherry, Robin3:17:25.0080.28Norton
17Heath, Phil3:17:45.0080.14AJS
18Beevers, Bill3:17:55.4080.07Norton
19Ranson, Humphrey3:18:15.0079.94AJS
20Evans, Roy3:18:18.6079.91AJS
21Tutty, Dave3:18:25.6079.87Velocette
22Mead, Ronnie3:18:37.6079.79Norton
23McAlpine, Tony3:18:47.0079.73Norton
24Fenn, Archie3:18:58.0079.65Norton
25Harrison, Rob3:19:16.0079.53AJS
26Harris, Leslie3:20:21.0079.1Velocette
27Sorensen, Sven3:20:45.0078.94Norton
28Starr, Leo2:20:54.8078.88AJS
29Hall, Bill3:21:04.0078.82Velocette
30Anderton, Sylvanus3:21:11.0078.77AJS
31Carr, Cliff Brian3:21:26.0078.68Velocette
32Gray, Charlie3:21:47.0078.54AJS
33Swallow, Ken3:22:25.0078.29AJS
34Varlow, Jack3:22:44.0078.17AJS
35Slater, Jack3:22:49.0078.14AJS
36Ward, Dick3:23:47.0077.77Velocette
37Cope, Frank3:24:00.0077.68AJS
38Seymour, Ralph3:25:24.0077.16Velocette
39Fisher, John3:26:11.0076.86AJS
40King, Robert3:27:15.0076.47Norton
41Grant, Harry3:27:16.0076.46Velocette
42Harding, Jack3:27:23.0076.42AJS
43MacDonald, Bob3:27:25.0076.41AJS
44Stevenson, David3:27:56.0076.22AJS
45Hardy, Eric3:28:08.0076.14AJS
46Gate, Ulf3:30:47.0075.19Velocette
47Fernando, Peter3:32:58.0074.42Norton
48Tully, Kevan3:34:04.0074.03AJS
49Williams, Len3:34:50.0073.77Velocette
50Thompson, Dick3:36:39.0073.15Norton
51Duffy, Brian3:36:42.0073.13Velocette
RBarnett, SydAJS
RBrett, JackAJS
RFranklen, SidAJS
RGilbert, LouisAJS
RGlazebrook, JoeAJS
RHarwood, KenAJS
RLockwood, MontyAJS
RMiller, StanAJS
RMudford, KenAJS
RRowbottom, BobAJS
RTedder, LesAJS
RWalker, BobBSA
RBailey, JackNorton
RDean, RallyNorton
RGodwin, RoyNorton
RHollier, DeneNorton
RJones, AlbertNorton
RKavanagh, KenNorton
RMcEwan, TommyNorton
RParry, LenNorton
RGraham, LesVelocette
RHancock, WalterVelocette
RSalt, CharlieVelocette
RWheeler, ArthurVelocette
RAmm, RayNorton
RCooper, StanAJS
RPike, RolandBSA
RWilloughby, VicVelocette
RJones, GeorgeNorton
RCann, MauriceAJS


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