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1952 Lightweight TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 150.92 miles (4 laps)

Description: Race report from the Isle of Man Times 14 Jun 1952 (p. 9) below which is a full list of competitors:

Lightweight T.T. An Italian Picnic
Anderson’s Sensational Win.

Which Guzzi? That was the only question in the Lightweight T.T., and Bruno Ruffo, the 1951 world champion in this class, nearly supplied the answer with record laps in the second and third circuits, which gave him a lead which he never lost until the last lap.

Then came the sensational report that he had been given a wrong signal and was slowing down, but from the Goosneck he was reported to be “touring”. This let in Fergus Anderson to win from team-mate Lorenzetti.

Anderson, 43-year-old wartime Admiralty ferry pilot, won in 1hr. 48mins, 8.6 secs., an average speed of 83.82 m.p.h. Only 32 seconds behind came Lorenzetti in 1hr. 48mins. 40.8 secs., at 83.36 m.p.h., with Sid Lawton (Southampton) third in 1hr. 49mins. 43.2secs., 82.54m.p.h. Fourth, fifth and sixth were Les Graham (Velocette), Maurice Cann (Moto Guzzi), and Bruno Ruffo (Moto Guzzi) respectively. So Moto Guzzis occupied five of the first six places.

(The Start)
How different was this day from that of the Junior Race. The sun hid behind grey clouds and a cold wind played round the Grandstand. But it was an ideal day for racing.

First Lap.
At 9-45am the starter’s flag dropped to unleash the first machine, a Pike-Rudge ridden by C.F. Salt who shot away into the first lap of this four-lap, 151 miles race, over one of the toughest courses in the world. Sixth away was Maurice Cann, the 1948 winner, and the man with the most knowledge of the course, and only 10 seconds behind him Enrico Lorenzetti, one of the Italian aces, sped away towards Bray Hill. There were prospect of a duel here, although Moto-Guzzi against Moto-Guzzi was not so thrilling as an Italian machine versus a British. One race within a race could be that between F. Anderson, a prospective winner, and R.L. Graham, the one British rider on a British machine expected to be amongst the leaders. All the competitors in the 250 c.c. race had been despatched in less than 10 minutes.

First through the Start was Lorenzetti, who had overtaken six riders on the first lap. Hugging his back mudguard was Wheeler, and hot on his tail, only a few seconds behind, came Cann. Anderson was also going great guns. Starting 19th, he was fourth through the Start, crouching over his little red machine, and another rider, Bruno Ruffo (Italy), the little man with the big chance, was also setting up a fast pace. In the first lap he had passed many riders.

From the start Moto Guzzis almost monopolised the leader board, with Fergus Anderson, lap record holder, in the first place. Would records be broken? That question could almost be answered in the first lap. From a standing start Anderson recorded a lap of 27 mins, 19 secs., only 16 secs. outside the record. His speed was 82.9 m.p.h. only 18 secs. behind in second place Lorenzetti covered the first 37 ½ miles in 27mins. 37 secs. (82.01m.p.h.) Ruffo, world champion, showed his prowess by occupying third place in 27 mins. 38s ecs. (81.96m.p.h.) The only British machine in the first six was a Velocette ridden by Les Graham who lapped in 27 mins. 57 secs. (81.01m.p.h.) to take fourth place.

Second Lap.
A red streak shot through the Start, followed by another and another. Enrico Lorenzetti, a bundle of leathers sandwiched between a red helmet and a red machine, had completed his second lap. He was first on the road after having started seventh. Close behind came Maurice Cann, who was throwing his machine around the corners in pursuit of the elusive Italian who had passed him. Wheeler followed soon after, with Anderson, who had passed 15 other competitors, fourth. R.E. Geeson (R.E.G.) retired at the end of his first lap. The rider was O.K.

Despite the strong headwind on the mountain Anderson had lapped in 27 mins. 6 secs, only 3 seconds slower than the record.

Surely the lap record would be broken next time round. But no, wait a moment. An excited announcer informed us that Ruffo, his team-mate, had smashed it on his second lap by no less than 17 seconds - no half measures for Ruffo! His time, 26 mins 46 secs., an average speed of 84.6 m.p.h. caused speculation as to whether a rider would complete the lap at an average speed of 85 miles an hour. Ruffo’s record lap had promoted him from third to first place with a one second lead over Anderson on growing time. On the previous lap Anderson had been 19 secs. ahead of Ruffo. Twenty one seconds behind Anderson, Lorenzetti, the third member of the No. 1 Guzzi team had lapped in 27 mins. 9 secs. (83.4 m.p.h.). Still keeping the British flag flying was Les Graham (Velo.), who had retained fourth place with a lap of 27 mins. 28 secs.

Third Lap
With three-quarters of the race over, Ruffo must have been in a hurry to get back to the cocoa, for he broke the record set up less than half-an-hour previously. The lap of 26 mins. 42 secs. Clipped four seconds off the record, and increased his second lap lead of one second over Anderson to twenty seconds. Ruffo’s new record speed was 84.82 m.p.h.

Although Ruffo was increasing the gap between himself and Anderson the latter was speeding up. His lap of 27mins. 1 sec. bettered last year’s record by two seconds, and his lap speed was 83.8 m.p.h. Still in third position was Lorenzetti who returned a lap speed of 27 mins, 12 secs., a speed of 82.86 m.p.h.

The lone British machine ridden by Les Graham was holding fourth position, although falling behind all the time. He completed his third lap in 27 mins. 33 secs. a speed of 82.2 m.p.h., one minute behind Lorenzetti. Fifth man was S. Lawton who had changed places with Cann.

Fourth Lap
Drama entered the race already made thrilling by record laps. Roffo, the man who had thrilled the crowds with his speed and skill, had slowed down while other riders were going all out to win. He was reported to be touring at The Gooseneck.

Anderson, greeted by applause, finished long before any other rider, soon after Ruffo’s misfortune had been announced. Ruffo eventually came through the Start and received a great ovation from the crowd. Why had he slowed down when victory was in sight?

He misinterpreted a signal at Sulby, and had carburettor trouble. The official report was that he had received a wrong signal at his time station. He did not have engine trouble.

That misunderstanding had lost Ruffo the race. Instead of finishing a comfortable winner, he came in sixth.

Wheeler, who had occupied sixth place on the first lap, pushed in soon after with a silent engine, and the crowds applauded him heartily.

Anderson narrowly missed beating the new lap record, he completed the lap in 26 mins. 42.6 secs., a speed of 84.78 m.p.h. so although Ruffo had failed to take the first place, he still had the lap record to is credit. Lorenzetti was riding a very fast race and lapped in 26 mins. 42.8 secs., a speed of 84.78 m.p.h. S. Lawton had pipped Graham on the last lap for third place by returning the very fast lap of 26 mins. 42.2 secs., only one-fifth of a second slower than Ruffo’s new record. His speed was 84.81 m.p.h.

Graham finished fourth, the position he had occupied throughout the race.

The last lap was covered by Graham in 27 mins. 24 secs. By Cann in 27mins 32.6secs. and by Ruffo in the surprisingly slow time of 30 mins. 20 secs.

Seven Get First-Class Replicas
A high percentage of the starters completed the four-lap 151-mile Lightweight T.T. Race on Wednesday. Of the 30 starters 22, or 73 per cent., finished, and the first seven received first-class replicas. The next 12 finishers gained second-class replicas. Replica times were 1 hr. 58 mins. 57.4 secs. for first-class, and 2 hrs. 9 mins. 46.2 secs. for second class.


1Anderson, Fergus1:48:08.6083.82Guzzi
2Lorenzetti, Enrico1:48:40.8083.36Guzzi
3Lawton, Syd1:49:43.2082.54Guzzi
4Graham, Les1:50:22.0082.06Velocette
5Cann, Maurice1:50:51.6081.69Guzzi
6Ruffo, Bruno1:51:26.0081.27Guzzi
7Mead, Ronnie1:57:48.4076.89Velocette
8Petty, Ray1:59:01.0076.09Norton
9Wheeler, Arthur2:00:00.4075.47Guzzi
10Salt, Charlie2:00:38.6075.06Rudge
11Barrett, Ernie2:02:12.8074.11Guzzi
12Bruce, Charlie2:02:18.4074.05Velocette
13Pike, Roland2:02:28.0073.95Rudge
14Sorensen, Sven2:06:23.0071.67Excelsior
15Cope, Frank2:06:52.8071.37AJS
16Fisher, John2:07:35.0070.98Excelsior
17Hartley, Harold2:07:43.0070.91Rudge
18Stephen, Harry2:07:54.0070.81Triumph
19McCredie, Jock2:07:57.0070.78Excelsior
20Luck, Charlie2:11:29.0068.88CLS
21Sparrow, Jack2:20:55.0064.27Excelsior
22Harrison, Henry2:21:00.0064.23OK
RSimpson, BobAuto spl
RBillington, WilfGuzzi
RMaddrick, BillGuzzi
RPurslow, FronNorton
RWebster, BillRudge
RBeasley, DougVelocette
RGeeson, BobREG
RLomas, BillVelocette


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