Search records

1954 Junior TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 188.75 miles (5 laps)

Description: Race Report from The T.T. Special – Monday, June 14, 1954 (pp. 1, 25-26) below is a full list of competitors:

Rod Coleman wins Junior

A.J.S. 1, 2, 4, 6
Amm’s new record before last lap retirement

Here we are at the start of the 1954 Junior Tourist Trophy Race – the eighth in the series to be held since the war, and the 32nd in all.
The very first ‘Junior’ race, in 1911, was also the very first race to be run on the T.T. mountain course. It was over four laps of 371/2 miles in length -the Governor’s Bridge section was not included in those days – making a total of 150 miles, and was won by P. J. Evans on a 23/4 h.p. Humber twin at 41.46 m.p.h.

In 1912 the ‘Junior’ was of the same length but in 1913 it was extended to six laps and was run as a two-day affair, two laps being covered on the first day and four on the second. In 1914, however, one-day races were resumed and the length of the ‘Junior’ was five laps - 1871/2 miles.

This distance was retained until 1923 when the ‘lappage’ was raised to six, where it remained until 1926 when it went up once more, this time to seven. All ‘Juniors’ have been held over seven laps since that date – until today; this year’s reduction is due to the reinstatement of the Sidecar Race which has necessitated the Lightweight 250 c.c. event being held on the same day as the ‘Junior’.

The weather for today’s race is just about as perfect as it could be, with a bright blue sky and a few brilliantly white clouds – looking as if they have been washed in the new detergents – drifting across it. The forecast spoke of long sunny periods, with showers possible later in the day, whilst the shipping forecast for the Irish Sea prophesied “moderate North-Westerly winds later backing to South Westerly fine, good visibility”. Once more we are to have perfect conditions for the Junior, and this year, cast out from its usual Wednesday, the Lightweight should share them as well.

Last year there were a107 Junior entries, including seven reserves, but non-starters reduced the number to 99. This year, the lists closed at 98, but there are rather more non-starters – 17, to be exact – so there will be only 81 facing Mr. Lumby in a few minutes time.

The original 98 entries comprise eight different makes – A.J.S. (36), Norton (33), Velocette (10), B.S.A. (8), M.V. (5), D.K.W (3), Guzzi (2) and Phoenix-Jap (1). All the D.K.W.’s have scratched, and three of the M.V.’s are non-starters, including Cecil Sandford.
* * * *
Last year’s race – as most riders will remember – was won by Ray Amm (Norton) at 90.52 m.p.h., and Ray also made record lap in 24 mins. 40 secs., at 91,82. In this years practising no one has reached Amm’s record – in spite of the very marked improvements to the course – but Fergus Anderson (Guzzi) clocked 24.43, only three seconds outside the record.
Here are the leaders in the Junior practising:

Curious to see Ray in only sixth position on the Leader board – but actually he did not get cracking on his Junior machine until late in the practice period, his lap of 25.22 being put up last Saturday.
What is probably more outstanding is the lap in 25.27 which he did on Friday morning when the conditions were none too good – the “T.T. Special” practices head-line was “Mist on the Mountain.” That day Ray was 59 seconds faster than any other Junior, so the fact that he is “only sixth” really means nothing.

There was quite a sensation at the Junior weigh-in – the “works” Nortons, usually spot on time, were late. They got the necessary time extension and weighed in yesterday morning – and what a lovely sight, a real Earl’s Court Show. As Graham Walker, who was one of the many interested spectators, said “Well, that’s been worth coming up for!”

Incidentally, Amm’s machine has the “full” streamlining. The nose-piece is blended to the side shields which make arm and knee rests, but leave the rider normally seated. Jack Brett’s model does not employ front streamlining, but has side shields with “scoops” for arms and knees. Bob Keeler’s mount has no streamlining, except for the front number cowl, and incidentally has a last year’s type engine with inside flywheels the two others being the new “outsiders.” Amm’s machine, by the way, has no rear mudguard, and looks very “naked.”

Well, there are 13 possible winners, to my mind. The “lucky 13” – one of them should be lucky, anyway – are the following: Nortons’ “works” team, Jack Brett (No. 23), Ray Amm (No. 32) and Bob Keeler (No 85); three dealer entrant Norton riders, Jack Surtees (No. 51), Peter Davey (No. 79) and Frank Fox (No. 91); the A.J.S. “works” team, Bob McIntyre (No. 5), Rod Coleman (No. 33) and Derek Farrant (No. 73); and then four “furreners” – Ken Kavanagh (No. 6) and Fergus Anderson (No. 57) on Guzzis, and Dickie Dale (No. 16) and Bill Lomas (No, 38), on M.V.’s.

They are going off at 10 second intervals as usual, of course, and the “possible” are well spread out in the field. With the exception of Fergus Anderson (57), however, the “most possible” of the “possible” are all fairly early numbers – ranging from No. 5 (Bob McIntyre) to No. 33 (Rod Coleman).

And what lovely little bits of dicing we shall see between McIntyre and Kavanagh, 10 seconds apart, and Amm and Coleman, also 10 seconds.

There are three Manufacturers’ Teams – A,J.S. (McIntyre, Coleman and Farrant), Norton No. 1 (Brett, Amm and Keeler) and Norton No. 2 – an overseas team, composed of Gordon Laing, Maurice Quincey and Rudy Allison; there are also five Club Teams, the A.C.C. of Australia, B.M.C.R.C., the New Zealand A.C.U., the Southampton M.C.C., and the Sunbeam M.C.C.

9.55 – the “Five Minute Maroon”. All the riders have warmed up their engines and the 81 are lined up on the grids.

10 a.m.- Bang! Gordon Laing is away to start the 1954 Junior T.T. C. Ellerby (A.J.S.) is next, and then there is a lull – Nos. 3 and 4 being non-starters – till No. 5, Bob McIntyre, first on the roads amongst the “possible”. Ken Kavanagh starts off 10 seconds after Bob.

Gordon Laing is shown at Ballacraine as Ray Amm (No. 32) pushes off. Next there is No. 6, Ken Kavanagh, who arrives two seconds before No. 5, McIntyre, and has therefore picked up 12 seconds on the first stretch. I. I. Lloyd (No. 11) follows according to schedule, as does No. 12, Tony Norris, Maurice Quincey has passed Malcolm Templeton, who started 10 seconds ahead of him, and Jack Brett has slipped past both the two men immediately in front of him.

Ray Amm has overtaken four, and reaches Ballacraine 17 seconds ahead of Rod Coleman – i.e., a seven-second advantage. Bill Lomas, on that frightfully noisy M.V., has picked up a couple of places, as has John Surtees, whilst Fergus Anderson (No. 57) gets there close on the tail of Peter Murphy (No. 53).

The leaders are on the road as the last man gets away; all are quick starters except Dennis Lashmar and Ernie Barrett.

First retirement – Brian Purslow (B.S.A.), at Quarter Bridge with reported brake trouble.

News from Ramsey – someone has stopped in the distance and is examining his machine. The commentator thinks that it is Jack Brett – wait for news.

…Yes, it is Jack all right – bad luck, indeed, and bad luck for Norton’s No, 1 team.

Here’s Ken Kavanagh (No. 6) now leading on the roads by nearly half a minute. Gordon Laing (No. 1) comes along next, and then Bob McIntyre (No. 5) a few seconds after Ken. Dickie Dale (No. 16) flies past so close alongside No. 7, R. Fay, that it is difficult to get his number. We know him, though, by his “noise”!

It is 10.30 a.m. by the scoreboard clock as Ray Amm (32) arrives, with a substantial lead on Rod Coleman (33).

Kavanagh’s first lap time is announced – 24mins. 43secs. – only three seconds outside the existing record, and from a standing start! Amm’s first lap time is 24.49, six seconds down. What of Fergus Anderson? He flashes past as we write these words – wait for his time.

Here it is – 24 mins. 33 secs, seven seconds inside the existing record; speed 92.26 m.p.h.

Two Guzzis in the first two places, then Norton, A.J.S., Norton, A.J.S. Well there’s still plenty of hopes for a British win – and Ray Amm is obviously the most likely of the four.

Another retirement – Keith Bryen (Norton) at Ballacraine with engine trouble; Jack Brett is not yet shown as retired, but he is still at Ramsey and is obviously out of the running. T. S. Shepherd (A.J.S.) has also retired - at Barregarrow – with engine trouble, and Maurice Quincey (Norton) is pushing in from Governor’s Bridge. Here’s another – Bob McIntyre at Sulby with engine trouble; and finally, officially, Jack Brett at Ramsey, with “petrol trouble.” Both A.J.S. and Norton “works” teams out of it in the first 45 minutes.

Maurice Quincey arrives panting for breath, and soon after it is is announced that he has retired with engine trouble. Frank Cope (Norton) has packed up at the Mountain Box with a broken primary chain, W. C. Hancock (Velocette) near Lezayre Chapel with engine trouble, W. Cleugh (Norton) at the pits. All riders O.K.

Here’s news - Fergus Anderson, leader of the race, has retired beyond Kirk Michael with engine trouble.
Kavanagh’s second lap is a new record in 24 mins. 22 secs., but Ray Amm’s is yet another – 24 mins. 16 secs., at 93.33 m.p.h. And Ray and Ken are tieing for the lead!

At 11 a.m., 21 riders are away on their third lap, the latest number amongst them beig No. 42, Jack Bottomley (B.S.A.), and Ken Kavanagh is on the Kirk Michael – Ramsey stretch. By 11.5 there are about a dozen more, and the latest is No. 73, Derek Farrant.

Well, more hope of a British win now – in fact if Ken Kavanagh has any trouble it is almost a certainty!
More retirements:- Ernie Barrett with gear-box trouble; Roy Godwin with a split petrol tank, and R. Fay – no reason given – all at the pits; Phil Heath is pushing along at Brandywell, and J. Ahearn has retired at Ramsey with engine trouble.

At 11.15 a.m. (approximately) Ken Kavanagh draws into his pit – at the end of his third lap – with much misfiring. A few seconds later it is officially announced that he has retired. Ray Amm is in the lead!
11.18 a.m. – Ray Amm crosses the line only 3 mins. 20 secs. after Ken Kavanagh, so he is leading then by a minute on the third lap – quite apart from the fact that the latter has now retired.
Ray, incidentally, will not have to stop for fuel and, all being well, will make a non-stop race of it.
After retiring, Ken Kavanagh, referring to his engine, said: “There are bugs in it which we did not know existed.”

Ray’s third lap was a new record – 23mins. 56secs., at 94.61 m.p.h.!

So now the first and second men are consecutive numbers – Amm (32) and Coleman (33); very convenient of them from the reporter’s point of view. Ray is apparently drawing away from Rod, for he is shown at Kirk-michael (on his fourth lap) well over a minute ahead of Rod, who started only 10 seconds behind him.
News from Hillberry – I. J. Wagar (Norton) hit the bank there, but recovered and carried on.

Ray Amm (No. 32) is not only leading the race, but is now leading on the roads at Ramsey. Coleman reaches the same place 1min. 36secs. after Amm, so is 1min. 26secs. behind on time.
First news of a crash – S. Cooper (A.J.S.) has come off at Signpost Corner; he is O.K., but has retired. Frank Cope, who retired some time ago, is coming back on the pillion of a Travelling Marshal!
And here’s news from Sulby – Ray Amm had a bad skid there, but got away safely. Phew!

So Ray has a lead of 69 seconds on the third lap, but he has since increased it substantially.
Frank Fox (Norton) has retired at the pits with engine trouble; incidentally with Maurice Quincey’s recent retiral the last of the Manufacturers’ Teams – Norton’s No. 2 – was out of the race.
Ray Amm is obviously ‘easing off’ (!) for his fourth lap was done in 24 mins. 17 secs. His time for four laps is 1 hr. 37 mins. 18 secs., whilst Rod Coleman’s is 1 hr. 38 mins. 54 secs.
More news from Sulby – E. R. Havens (A.J.S.) grazed the wall, but recovered control and carried on.

Frantic excitement – “clocks” show Rod Coleman at Kirk Michael BEFORE Ray Amm. Have they missed Ray – or has he broken down on the last lap?

Yes – he’s pushing at Baaregarrow – and Rod Coleman (A.J.S.) is leading the race with team-mate Derek Farrant second and Bob Keeler third!
At 12 noon Rod Coleman is at Ramsey on his last lap, whilst Bob Keeler (No. 73) is at Ballacraine Rudy Allison (Norton) – on his fourth lap – is coasting past Hillberry and Gordon Laing (Norton) has stopped at the Mountain Box with a broken frame – rider O.K.

12.6 p.m. – Rod Coleman is at Creg-ny-Baa, and now he’s at Governor’s. Yes, he can walk it now, but he doesn’t need to. A few seconds later he comes past, certain winner of the 1954 Junior T.T.
Congratulations to the A.J.S. Company, who have “kept on trying” for many years, and have done much to keep interest in the T.T. races alive. And hard luck, Nortons and Ray Amm. There’s the record lap to compensate, anyway!

Rod Coleman’s time and speed are then announced – time, 2 hrs. 3 mins. 41.8 secs, speed 91.51 m.p.h.
12.15 p.m. – Farrant (No. 73) running second in the race is at Creg-ny-Baa.
Here’s Farrant over the finishing line, with Keeler (No. 85) shown at Creg-ny-Baa. Now Keeler’s at Governor’s. He started two minutes after Farrant, and is 2 mins. 9 secs. (according to our stop-watch) after Farrant at the finish. So Derek is second, and Bob third; and Ajays, after 32 years of “just not doing it” are both first and second.


1Coleman, Rod2:03:41.8091.51AJS
2Farrant, Derek2:05:34.0090.15AJS
3Keeler, Bob2:05:43.6090.03Norton
4Simpson, Leo2:06:56.8089.17AJS
5Davey, Peter2:08:26.4088.13Norton
6Clark, John2:10:28.0086.77AJS
7Lomas, Bill2:11:39.2085.98MV
8Murphy, George A.2:12:06.6085.69AJS
9Houseley, Eric2:12:12.6085.62AJS
10Wheeler, Arthur2:12:25.0085.49AJS
11Surtees, John2:12:31.6085.41Norton
12Clark, Harold2:12:34.4085.38Norton
13Pearce, Harry2:13:22.0084.88Velocette
14Carter, Phil2:13:24.0084.86Norton
15Havens, Edward2:13:30.0084.8AJS
16Bottomley, Jack2:13:48.4084.59BSA
17Frend, Ted2:13:49.0084.58Norton
18Jones, Eric2:13:49.4084.58Norton
19Tutty, Dave2:14:25.2084.21Norton
20Grace, John2:14:25.6084.21Norton
21Barnett, Syd2:14:47.0083.99AJS
22Evans, Roy2:14:55.4083.89AJS
23Salt, Charlie2:15:41.0083.43BSA
24Lloyd, Ivor2:15:44.0083.4AJS
25Dale, Dickie2:15:54.6083.3MV
26Salt, George2:16:01.0083.23AJS
27O'Rourke, Mike2:16:47.8082.75AJS
28Rowbottom, Bob2:17:06.0082.57AJS
29Julian, Cyril2:17:16.0082.47AJS
30Jones, Albert2:17:17.0082.46AJS
31Carr, Cliff Brian2:17:41.0082.22AJS
32Lashmar, Dennis2:17:43.0082.2BSA
33Smith, Roy2:18:04.0081.99Velocette
34Burton, Adrian2:19:06.0081.38AJS
35Hunt, Edward2:19:20.0081.24Velocette
36Moule, Albert E.2:19:29.0081.16Norton
36=Beevers, Bill2:19:29.0081.16Norton
38Ellerby, Cliff2:19:34.8081.11AJS
39Walker, Bob2:19:53.8080.92Velocette
40Gilbert, Louis2:20:07.0080.79AJS
41Glazebrook, Joe2:20:09.0080.77AJS
42Capner, Roy2:21:20.0080.1BSA
43Norris, Frank2:21:52.4079.78AJS
44Dear, Les2:22:15.0079.58AJS
45Leigh, George2:23:10.0079.07BSA
46Tully, Kevan2:23:29.0078.9BSA
47Templeton, Malcolm2:23:46.0078.74AJS
48Swallow, Ken2:24:15.0078.48Norton
49Fisher, John2:24:30.0078.34AJS
50McGeagh, Michael2:25:00.0078.07AJS
51Pantlin, Eric2:26:25.0077.31Velocette
52Porter, Ross2:26:42.0077.16Velocette
53Wagar, Ivan2:26:47.0077.12Norton
54Tostevin, Ken2:26:52.0077.08Velocette
55Jones, Neville2:27:33.0076.72Norton
56Blacker, Cyril2:27:55.0076.53AJS
57Lavington, Arthur2:28:11.0076.39Velocette
58Collier, Henry2:32:06.0074.42AJS
RShepherd, TerryAJS
RPurslow, BrianBSA
RAnderson, FergusGuzzi
RKavanagh, KenGuzzi
RBarrett, ErnieJAP
RAhearn, JackNorton
RAllison, RudyNorton
RBrett, JackNorton
RBryen, KeithNorton
RCleugh, BillNorton
RCope, FrankNorton
RFay, RayNorton
RGodwin, RoyNorton
RLaing, GordonNorton
RQuincey, MauriceNorton
RHancock, WalterVelocette
RSandys-Winsch, SimonVelocette
RAmm, RayNorton
RCooper, StanAJS
RHeath, PhilAJS
RMcIntyre, BobAJS
RFox, Frank M.Norton


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy