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1953 Junior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: Race report from the Isle of Man Times 12 Sep 1953 (p.4) below which is a full list of competitors:
Fox Leads on Norton Nearly All the Way
Bob Keeler Snatches Brief Lead Then Retires
F.M. Fox (Norton), a 28-year-old motor-cycle engineer from Wortley, near Sheffield won the Junior Manx Grand Prix on Tuesday after leading for five of the six laps. Only once was he headed – by Bob Keeler on the third lap but he retired. No records were broken, although the weather was perfect.
In second place was Manxman Dennis Christian (Norton) who put up his best performance in a wonderfully consistent M.G.P. record, and rode well from start to finish of the race.
Five Nortons headed the field on the first lap, with F.M. Fox leading by five seconds from the Manx rider, Dennis Christian. Fox’s opening lap was just over a minute slower than Harold Clark’s record set up last year, but the speeds of the leaders – the first three were averaging over 83m.p.h., with Fox 84.01 m.p.h. – promised well. R.D.Keeler, winner of the Senior Clubman’s T.T. this year, was third, nine seconds behind Dennis Christian, then came D.T.Powell, this year’s Junior Clubman’s winner. The sole A.J.S. on the leader board was ridden by R.G. Ritchie, but he was 46 seconds behind the leader. Already the race looked a “good thing” for Nortons.
Fox stepped up his speed on his second lap, although stopping for petrol. Dennis Christian also stopped, but Keeler and Powell went right through , and Keeler headed Dennis by 18 seconds, but he was still 19 seconds behind Fox. At the half distance Keeler, who then made his first pit stop, took the lead over Fox by 18 seconds, but his success was short-lived, and he retired on the fourth lap at Union Mills with engine trouble. Powell had pipped Dennis Christian for third place at the end of lap three, and was now second to Fox, who seemed a likely winner. Dennis regained his second place later.
Fastest lap of the day – 26 mins. 31 secs. (85.41 m.p.h) – was achieved by both Keeler, when he went into the lead on his third lap, and the winner in his fourth lap.
The Start, Tuesday
Conditions all round the course were perfect. The Clerk of the Course (Mr W.C. Halsall) announced that “Visibility on the mountain was wonderful”.
Sixty-seven riders faced the starter, and there were nine club teams, including three from Manx clubs. They were:- Southern, Isle of Man: G.R. Costain, D. Ennett and W.A. Holmes; ; Peveril “A” team: D. Christian, J.J. Wood and E.B. Crooks; Peveril “B” team: R. Dowty, A.R. Capner and H.L. Mills.
First Lap
At exactly 10-45 a.m. starter A. Latham dropped the red and gold Manx flag to set rider No. 1, Manxman George Costain, on his way. After a few steps George bumped his Norton into life, and he was away on the first of his six laps. Particularly quick dropping into racing crouches were Derek Ennett, of Castletown, on his A.J.S., and Dennis Christian (Norton) another Manxman who started only 15 seconds behind. Several other riders including Eddie Crooks (A.J.S.), Bob Keeler (Norton) and F.M. Fox (Norton) impressed spectators by their quick getaways. Last man off, Alan Holmes, of Castletown had to push his Norton some 20 yards before it coughed into life. By that time George Costain, also of Castletown, had passed through Ramsey and was on his way up the mountain.
Only D. Antill, riding an Earles Velocette, was delayed at the pits. Between the pit and the Start a bolt on his machine broke. The stewards gave him permission to start provided he got away within five minutes of the last man. This he did, and it was announced that his time would be based on when he started.
Already news of a mishap had been received. Derek Ennett (A.J.S.) , who had been greatly fancied as a possible winner, was reported as having stopped at the Quarter Bridge. Derek was stopped for some minutes and D.T. Powell (Norton) passed him before he succeeded in restarting. Meanwhile news from round the course showed that Dennis Christian (Norton) was rapidly passing those who had started before him. At the Mountain Box he had made up eight places, and by the start of the second lap only G.R. Costain headed him on the road.
Further news from round the course told that Derek Ennett seemed to be experiencing engine trouble, and it was announced from Hillberry that he was touring in.
Red-faced and perspiring freely, Derek sat on his machine as he free-wheeled slowly to his pit. He had pushed in from Hillberry after using all his spare sparking plugs. It had been announced earlier that he would re-start, but he decided to retire.
G.K. Lambert (A.J.S.) came off his machine at the Nook and retired. He received medical attention, but was reported to be all right.
On his first lap A. King (A.J.S.), 26-year-old agricultural engineer from Glasgow, skidded off the road at Quarter Bridge and his machine caught fire. He was removed to Noble’s Hospital for treatment to minor injuries.
R.Dowty (A.J.S.), E.B. Crooks (A.J.S.) and R.D. Keeler (Norton) had an exciting speed duel going down to Creg-ny-Baa. Keeler, who started after both Dowty and Crooks, rounded the corner first.
He sped through the start on his second lap after completing his first in 27 minutes 11 seconds – 9 seconds slower than Dennis Christian, who was lying second to F.M. Fox (Norton), who covered his first lap in 26 minutes 57 seconds.
Second lap
H.B.Winter (Norton) hardly reached Ballacraine on his second lap before falling off. He was reported to be uninjured, but he retired.
After covering his first lap in 28 minutes 21 secs., the magneto of F.A. Rutherford’s A.J.S. broke down and he was forced to retire. In the meantime the leaders were speeding round on their second lap.
Costain still led on the road, but he pulled in for fuel at the end of Lap 2 just ahead of Christian, whose pit work was slicker and he re-started first, becoming the first man on the road, but his pit stop cost him his second place.
Fox, who was leading the race on his Norton, also pulled in for replenishments, and he was off again after a stop of only 22 seconds. So did Powell (Norton), who was in fourth place. After covering two laps in 55 mins. 31 secs., Ron Russell (Norton) retired at the pits with engine trouble.
Despite slowing down for this pit stop, Fox returned the fastest lap of the race at this stage in 26 minutes 36 secs., a speed of 85.14 m.p.h. but still a long way outside the 87.37 m.p.h. record lap set by Harold Clark last year.
A split petrol tank put Alan Holmes, of Castletown, out of the race at the end of this lap. He retired at the pits.
Among interested spectators at the rear of the pits was Geoff Duke, who had flown to the island after winning the 500c.c. world championship by his victory at Monza on Saturday.
Fox still led and his average speed over the two laps was over 84 m.p.h. A new name on the leader board was B Freestone, who took his Norton into fifth place at an average speed of 82.16 m.p.h.
Third Lap
From all points on the course came reports that Keeler and Fox were travelling very fast. Keeler stopped for a quick refill and was away again before Fox was signalled at Governor’s Bridge. So quick were his pit men in dispatching him that he snatched in eighteen seconds lead.
Christian seemed to be slowing slightly and covered his third lap in 27 mins. 13 secs., whereas Powell (Norton) was accelerating and took only 26 mins. 49 secs. for this lap, to pip Dennis for third place.
Prospects of a Manx victory receded when Christian, second on lap one, dropped to fourth place on this lap.
Fourth Lap
There was a sensational start to Lap 4 when it was announced that Bob Keeler, now leading the race, had retired at Union Mills with engine trouble. Keeler, who had returned the fastest lap to date at 85.41 m.p.h. for his third circuit, had seemed all set for a win. Christian was evidently receiving the “faster” signals and lapped in 26 mins. 41 secs., a speed of 84.87 m.p.h. , to regain second place behind Fox.
Dennis had a stiff task ahead however, for Fox had a comfortable lead of 51 seconds at the start of lap 5.
Lower down the leader board a battle royal for sixth place was in progress. At the end of lap 3 Shepherd and Freestone tied for sixth place. But one lap later Shepherd had pulled out a little extra and took fifth place, six seconds ahead of his rival.
Fifth Lap
A quick check at the start of the fifth lap revealed that five of the original nine teams entered had now retired. Peveril “A” team probably stood the best chance of those remaining, although Crooks was traveling rather slowly. Peveril “B” team was also still in the running, but the retirement of Holmes and Ennett had dashed the hopes of the Southern Club. Fox continued on his winning way, and his fifth lap equalled Keeler’s fastest lap of the day. Fox could well afford to slow down slightly, as he had a margin if 1 min. 11 secs. in hand over Dennis Christian. Dennis in turn has 31 secs. in hand over Powell, who was Norton mounted, and they were followed by R.G. Ritchie (A.J.S.) who was lying fourth.
Ritchie had an extra large petrol tank fitted on his machine, and was making a non-stop run.
R.Dowty (A.J.S.) of Douglas, retired at Ramsey on Lap 5. The rider was all right.
Sixth Lap
Fox won the race but he nearly didn’t! Round the course he went like a streak of lightning, despite the fact that he had such a terrific margin of time in hand. His progress was followed with eagerness by those at the Start. Commentator Bertie Rowell reported from Kate’s Cottage that he came round from the 33rd milestone like a bomb, but got a terrific speed wobble. The commentator said “Oh, I thought he was off”.
But Fox carried on and completed the course in 2hrs. 40 mins. 18.8 secs., to win at an average speed of 84.73 m.p.h.
Drama entered the race on the final lap. Dennis Christian, who had appeared to have second place safely in his pocket, stopped at the 33rd milestone with a seized engine, and it seemed as if Powell, who was following closely, must catch him. Dennis jumped off his machine for a few moments while it cooled. Then he restarted and raced on to finish second by a margin of only 26 seconds. His last lap was covered in 27 minutes 10 seconds as against 27 minutes 5 seconds for Powell. Peveril “A” won the team prize. Fastest lap of the day was accomplished by Keeler (when he took the momentary lead) and Fox in 26 minutes 31 seconds.


1Fox, Frank M.2:40:18.0084.73Norton
2Christian, Dennis2:42:05.0083.81Norton
3Powell, Derek2:42:31.0083.59Norton
4Ritchie, Bob2:44:47.0082.44AJS
5Freestone, Brian2:45:24.0082.13Norton
6Shepherd, Terry2:45:29.0082.09Norton
7Voice, Harry2:46:34.0081.55BSA
8Bowen, J.M.2:47:01.0081.33BSA
9Wood, Jack2:47:46.0080.97Norton
10Thompson, B.2:47:50.0080.94AJS
11Duncan, John2:48:11.0080.77AJS
12Costain, George2:48:24.0080.66Norton
13Crooks, Eddie2:49:00.0080.38AJS
14Salt, George2:49:10.0080.29AJS
15Boyce, Ellis2:49:23.0080.2Norton
16Sutton, Tony2:49:52.0079.96BSA
17Williams, Victor2:50:10.0079.83Norton
18Plews, Harry2:51:35.0079.17BSA
19Smith, Roy2:52:05.0078.93Velocette
20Wooderson, Neville2:52:34.0078.72BSA
21Hartle, John2:53:07.0078.47AJS
22Greenwood, Owen2:54:02.0078.05BSA
23Moore, J.W.2:54:36.0077.8BSA
24Dunlop, Gavin2:54:46.0077.73AJS
25Capner, Roy2:56:06.0077.14BSA
26Alexander, John2:56:22.0077.02AJS
27Smith, John2:56:58.0076.76Norton
28Antill, David2:57:35.0076.49Earles Velocette
29Jackson, J.F.2:57:36.0076.48Velocette
30Langton, D.2:58:06.0076.27Norton
31Harding, Billy2:58:22.0076.16AJS
32Goodwin, E.3:02:56.0074.26AJS
33Butcher, A.J.3:03:44.0073.93AJS
34Thurston, John3:04:09.0073.76BSA
35Standivan, R.J.3:04:27.0073.65AJS
36Morgan, Dennis3:07:16.0072.54AJS
37James, A.H.B.3:10:07.0071.45BSA
38Raynor, Alan3:11:34.0070.91Velocette
39Trustham, Jack3:15:46.0069.38AJS
40Broadey, A.3:17:26.0068.8AJS
41Southam, Les3:17:42.0068.71Norton
42Arnold, M.D.3:19:09.0068.21BSA
43Radford, B.S.3:22:54.0066.95Velocette
44Currie, L.3:24:39.0066.38Velocette
RBrooks, A.P.Velocette
RChadwick, Dave0Velocette
RCollett, G.E.AJS
RDowty, Robert0AJS
REnnett, Derek0AJS
RFay, Ray0Norton
RGerman, Howard0Norton
RHerdman, Drew0Norton
RHolmes, Alan0Norton
RLambert, G.K.0AJS
RPerry, D.L.E.0AJS
RRatcliffe, Ken0BSA
RRensen, Ralph0Velocette
RRussell, R.A.0Norton
RRutherford, Frank0AJS
RWalters, R.J.0AJS
RWilde, L.J.0AJS
RWilkins, David0Norton
RWinter, H.B.0Norton
RHaldane, EwenVelocette
RKeeler, BobNorton
RKing, AlastairAJS


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