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1954 Lightweight TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 113.19 miles (3 laps)

Description: 1954 Lightweight TT
Race report from the TT Special 14 June 1954 pp. 14-15, below which is a full list of competitors:

Haas (NSU) wins the Lightweight
Record Race and Lap Speed
Hollaus second, Armstrong third

1 pm- the Junior race is over; a quick bottle of beer- “by courtesy of ‘The Motor Cycle’”- and back to the Press Box for the Lightweight.

There are 29 entries for this, the 26th Lightweight Tourist Trophy race, but non-starters have reduced the total to 23. Last year there were 37 entries and 30 starters- the same number, incidentally, as in 1952. Targets for today are Fergus Anderson’s 1953 average of 84.73 mph and his record lap in 26 mins, 29 secs at 35.52 m.p.h. The latter has been dealt several blows in practice, best of the period being Werner Haas’s 24 mins, 59 secs at 90.69 m.p.h.

With the first six men all beating the 1953 fastest, it is obvious - particularly in view of the perfect riding conditions - that all records will go by the board, and it is equally obvious that it will be a German or an Italian win - with odds strongly on the former.

The non-starters are Geoff Duke, whose GDS was not ready in time, Jack Bailey (AJS) who is ill, Bill Lomas (JEL), G Henderson (“Moto-Triumph”) and two (un-nominated) NSU riders who did not put in an appearance.

Today’s 23 are starting ‘en masse’, positions on the grids being decided by fastest laps in practice. They have only three laps to do, and assuming that the leader gets around at about the 25 minute mark, the result will be known in an hour and a quarter. What a farcical little race!- why, the Lightweights had to cover five laps in the first Lightweight TT 32 years ago, and it took the winner over three and three quarter hours to do it (I know!).

The riders are revving up along the road to Governor’s Bridge. The 1.15 pm maroon - silence as they come back to the grids. Sharpen the pencil, and get down to the report….

There are two Manufacturers’ Teams- Guzzi (Fergus Anderson, Ken Kavanagh, and Arthur Wheeler) and NSU (Werner Haas, Rupert Hollaus, and Hans Muller). There are also two club teams- “Bemsee” (I.I. Lloyd, E Houseley and Frank Cope) and the Nantwich MCC (W.M. Webster, W. J. Maddrick and B. G. Purslow).

1.25 pm - the Five Minute maroon, and – 1.30 pm- they’re off!

The starting line is 75 yards up the road above the Press Box, and they are in ‘full flight’ as they pass us. Reg Armstrong (NSU) is leading Werner Haas (also NSU) by inches, and behind them is another close pair, H. Baltisberger and H. P. Muller (NSU). Almost the last away is Ken Kavanagh (Guzzi) - and last of all is Frank Cope (Norton).

At Braddan Bridge, the order is Haas and then Armstrong. Haas is still in the lead at Ballacraine, followed by Muller. Here are the first six at Glen Helen- according to the announcer- frankly, we don’t believe it: (1) Haas, (2) A.W. Jones (Rudge)- very doubtful!, (3) R. .J Petty (Norton)- we don’t believe that either, (4) R. Armstrong, (5) Muller, (6) Hollaus.

The order at Kirk Michael is Haas, Armstrong, Hollaus, Muller, Anderson and Kavanagh- that’s a bit more reasonable.

1.42- Haas and Armstrong have passed Ballaugh and the order there, after Armstrong, is Hollaus, Anderson, Kavanagh and Muller. Harold Hartley (Rudge) has retired at Union Mills with a broken rear wheel spindle - rider OK.

By Sulby, Fergus has picked up a place and is now running third, to Haas and Armstrong; and at Ramsey it’s Haas, Armstrong, Anderson, Hollaus and Muller - all within about a hundred yards of each other.

1.50 pm - Haas and Armstrong have passed the Mountain Box, with Fergus there a few seconds later, followed by Muller and Hollaus.

Haas is leading Armstrong by six seconds at the Creg, with Fergus some 20 seconds behind. Signpost reports Haas in the lead by seven seconds, with Fergus still third, Hollaus fourth and Muller fifth.

The second retirement- E. B. Jones (Velocette) at the 11th milestone, with engine trouble.

Now the first five are past the pits - Haas, Armstrong, Anderson, Hollaus and Muller. It is some time before Baltisberger comes along, and there is then another pause before the seventh man, Arthur Wheeler (Guzzi).

Haas’ first lap, from a standing start, constitutes a new Lightweight record - 25 mins, 5 secs at 90.27 m.p.h.

At 2 pm (approx.), Eric Houseley (Velocette) draws in to his pit after a relatively ‘slow’ first lap. B. G. Purslow (Norton) glides in silently. The first six have all broken the existing record - and from a standing start!

2.3 pm- Haas and Armstrong are at Barregarrow, followed, as usual, by Anderson, Hollaus and Muller.

2.8 pm – Ken Kavanagh is reported as stopped at Ramsey with engine trouble, but has not officially retired. Ernie Barrett (Phoenix JAP) has stopped at Quarter Bridge and is making adjustments – and now Ken Kavanagh really has retired. Bad luck, Ken!

2.13 pm – Haas at the Guthrie Memorial, with Armstrong a few seconds after him; a pause, and then the next three - Anderson, Hollaus and Muller - in their usual order. But at the Mountain Box, according to the Announcer, Hollaus has overtaken Anderson. So NSUs are running 1-2-3.

2.16 pm- Ernie Barrett has at last re-started after his stop for adjustments at Quarter Bridge. Haas is at the Creg, with Armstrong about half a minute behind.

Report from Signpost that the tar has been melting on the road. It has been sanded, and as the riders pass over it there are ‘clouds of dust’- quite like the old days!

2.20 pm – Haas tears past alone, with a lead of seconds over Reg Armstrong. Hollaus is third and Baltisberger fourth. NSU’s 1-2-3-4. Then comes Fergus, and stops at his pit, where mechanics wrench the tail off his Guzzi. ‘He’s been converted to a Manxman’, says the announcer, waggishly!

Werner’s second lap was done in 24 mins, 50 secs - nine seconds better than his own best in practice, and a new Lightweight lap record at 91.19 mph.

2.30 pm- Bill Webster and R. D. McCutcheon (both Velocettes) complete their second lap, whilst the NSU leaders are on the Kirk Michael - Ramsey stretch. At Ballaugh, according to the Announcer, Hollaus has drawn into second place, and Armstrong is running third.

What about Lightweight reliability? Only three have retired and nearly all the others are on their last laps!

At Ramsey, Werner Haas has over 40 seconds lead over Hollaus, who is a matter of yards only in front of Armstrong. Anderson is leading Baltisberger by about 10 seconds.

2.37 pm - Frank Cope draws in to his pit, and a mechanic wheels his machine away - the fourth retirement.

2.40 pm- Haas has passed the Mountain Box and now he’s at the Bungalow.

Then news that I. I. Lloyd (M and F Excelsior) has retired at Glen Helen with engine trouble. I wrote of Lightweight reliability a bit too early!

2.43 - Haas, Hollaus and Armstrong, in that order, at Creg ny Baa. Up goes Haas’s Governor’s Bridge light, and a few seconds later he flashes past, to win the 1954 Lightweight TT race. Hollaus is along seconds after him, and then Armstrong, a close third. Muller is fourth, making a 1-2-3-4 for NSUs- together with record lap and team prize.

How about fifth place? Anderson and Baltisberger are shown at Governor’s Bridge simultaneously, but as they come past Fergus has a lead of some 30-40 yards.

Werner Haas’s time is announced as 1 hr, 14 mins, 44.4 secs, so he has beaten the hour and a quarter which I forecast for the winner at the beginning of this report by just over a quarter of a minute!

On his last lap Werner Haas put up a new record in 24 mins, 49.4 secs at 91.22 mph – just three-fifths of a second faster than his second lap record.


1Haas, Werner1:14:44.4090.88NSU
2Hollaus, Rupert1:15:28.6089.99NSU
3Armstrong, Reg1:15:31.8089.92NSU
4Muller, Hermann Paul1:16:25.6088.87NSU
5Anderson, Fergus1:18:32.2086.48Guzzi
6Baltisberger, Hans1:18:33.6086.46NSU
7Wheeler, Arthur1:21:24.0083.44Guzzi
8Houseley, Eric1:28:00.4077.17Velocette
9Petty, Ray1:28:57.0076.36Norton
10Horne, John1:29:48.0075.64Rudge
11McCutcheon, Ronnie1:29:54.0075.55Velocette
12Maddrick, Bill1:29:55.0075.54Guzzi
13Edlin, Dudley1:33:02.0073.01Melem spl
14Webster, Bill1:33:04.0072.98Velocette
15Purslow, Brian1:33:29.0072.66Norton
16Sparrow, Jack1:41:38.0066.83Excelsior
17Barrett, Ernie1:45:46.0064.22JAP
RLloyd, IvorExcelsior
RKavanagh, KenGuzzi
RCope, FrankNorton
RJones, AlbertRudge
RJones, EricVelocette
RHartley, HaroldRudge


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