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1954 Junior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: 1954 Junior MGP
Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 11 Sept 1954 (pp 4-5), below which is a full list of competitors:
Ennett wins great AJS duel
Terrific battle with King
Scot breaks lap record
Jackie Wood retires on fifth lap
Fatal accident to newcomer

Riding the race of his life, Derek Ennett, brilliant 23-year-old Castletown motor engineer, on Tuesday won the Junior Manx Grand Prix, and became the first Island- born rider to win the Island’s own race at record speed, beating the two-year-old record by 1 min, 5.6 secs and finishing over two minutes ahead of the runner up D. V. Chadwick (Norton). Derek had a great tussle with A. King, the well-known Scots rider, and the two put up a wonderful show. Manx hopes rose when Derek regained his early lead on the third lap, and Manx hearts beat faster as he tore round the course he knows so well to register a most popular victory for the Island, which was cheered to the echo all round the course. Derek Ennett got off to a good start with an 86 mph lap, 18 seconds outside Harold Clark’s two-year-old record, and Derek was six seconds in front of his great AJS rival, A. King, and 23 seconds in front of the other AJS ‘hope’, John Hartle, followed by the Norton riders Chadwick and Powell, with Jackie Wood’s BSA in sixth place. A record lap of 25 mins, 48 secs put King in front of Ennett by twelve seconds at the end of the second lap. King had knocked seven secs off the record. Chadwick was in third place to break up the AJS trio, but Hartle was only five secs behind him. Jackie Wood was still sixth when he retired on the fifth lap. But with half the race over Ennett had taken the lead again and was nine secs in front of King. These two were out on their own- a great race between two great riders- but unluckily, King retired on his last lap at Kirk Michael with engine trouble.

A newcomer to the TT course, a 36-year-old motor fitter, R. Butler, from Blacon, Chester, was killed when he crashed on his AJS at Rhencullen on his fourth lap.

The Start, Tuesday

Although conditions at the start of the race were good- bright sunshine with a gentle breeze- it was announced that there was a possibility that they might deteriorate. Ominous black clouds were rolling up rapidly over Greeba, and mist was gathering on the Mountain. From the Verandah the Marshal said the road was clear of mist, although the tops of the nearby hills were hidden. Roads all round the course were dry with the exception of the braking point at Creg-ny-Baa. On the Cronk-y-Voddy straight there was a following wind, and on the Mountain the wind would be against the riders.

Of the original field of 86 riders, 75 faced the starter, Mr Albert Latham. Of these, 12 were local competitors. No fewer than 14 teams had entered, including two from the Peveril MCC, and one from the Southern Club. The Peveril ‘A’ team, consisting of E. B. Crooks, D. Christian and J. J. Wood, would be all out to repeat their 1953 victory. Strongest opposition was likely to come from the Ringwood team: D. T. Powell, G. B. Tanner and P. H. Tait, and the Menstrie team J. W. Davie, E. McG Haldane and A. S. Bowie. A blocked oil pipe on E. McG Haldane’s Velocette caused feverish activity in his pit. He was allowed to start after the rest of the field had sped away.

In the Peveril ‘B’ Team was C. Broughton, R. Dowty and R. A. D. Mawson, while W. S. Mizen, G. R. Costain and D. Ennett represented the Southern club.

First lap

Local rider Alan Raynor did not get very far. An oiled plug stopped him at the end of the leader board and he lost three minutes changing it. As the last man, Haldane, roared off past the stand, D. A. Wright, the first man away, was well on the way over the mountain. First man through at the end of the lap was D. A. Wright, and in third place past the stand was George Costain, of Castletown, followed closely by the Union Mills rider, Syd Mizen. Sulby Bridge reported that on unofficial timing David Chadwick (Norton) had picked up a few seconds on John Hartle (AJS). A. King (AJS) was also reported to be making up considerably on Jackie Wood. At the end of the lap A. King had passed the local rider and lay in second place. Leading the race after the first lap was Derek Ennett on his AJS at 86.38 mph. This was considerably faster than the fastest lap last year, and from a standing start. It looked as if records would fall later in the race. Derek lapped in 26 mins, 13 secs, just six seconds faster than Alistair King, who took second place on the leader board at 86.06 mph. Lying in third place was 20-year-old John Hartle, youngest competitor, who lapped in 26 mins, 36 secs.

Two retirements

First report of trouble came from Cronk-y-Voddy, where G. A. Catlin (Norton) retired with a seized engine. He was unhurt. G. R. Jealous came off his BSA at Signpost Corner and retired. He was unhurt, and asked for this to be announced over the public address system as his parents were watching from the stands. B. McGuinness (BSA) pulled into the pits at the end of Lap 1 to change a plug. The rear of his machine was covered in oil. He told his pit attendant that ‘it was running like a plough’. He said he was so slow coming up the Mountain that he thought he had a touch of sunstroke. In spite of this he proceeded. The first Manx rider to retire was R. Dowty, on a Norton, who had engine trouble at the Gooseneck. He was OK.

Second lap

From all points of the course came reports that Ennett was riding beautifully. ‘An absolute masterpiece’ was how a commentator described his cornering. The race for places in the first 12 was going to be a desperate and exciting one. Only 18 secs separated the 7th and 16th men. Ennett, King and Hartle were answering Norton’s 1,2,3 finishing order of 1953 with a vengeance, as Chadwick was riding only 10 seconds behind Hartle at the end of Lap 1, but was 33 seconds behind the leader.
Chadwick took only 20.2 seconds to refuel at the end of the second lap. He complained that his machine had ‘lost a lot of revs’. Derek Powell also refuelled smartly and was pulling away from the pit as Dennis Christian flashed through. But the record for slick refuelling went to Derek Ennett. He was despatched in 16.4 seconds by his pit attendant. Alistair King took 17 seconds. First man to beat the two-year-old record set up by Harold Clark was Alistair King. He took his AJS round in 25 mins, 48 secs, a speed of 87.77 mph to beat the record by seven seconds. Mechanical trouble forced T. Duerden (TD Norton Special) out of the race at Union Mills. Also stopped there was the Australian rider C. Pratt, who hoped to restart his machine. Loss of compression put D. P. L. Antill (AJS) out of the running at the top of Bray Hill just as he was starting his second lap. Another retirement was J. G. Trustham (AJS) who ‘called it a day’ at Sulby.

King’s record lap had snatched first place from Derek Ennett, who lapped in 26 mins, 6 secs on his second circuit. King led Derek by 12 seconds at the start of Lap 3. The fight was now on in earnest as both riders had refuelled. David Chadwick (Norton) forced himself into the leading trio to take third place from Hartle. Only five seconds separated these two riders.

Third lap

Third man, Chadwick, was well on his way to Ballacraine on lap 4 while King and Ennett tore over the Mountain, each striving to save the odd second. As Ennett heeled his machine through Creg-ny-Baa, King’s leader board light flashed to signal his approach to Governor’s. Minutes later Ennett roared past his pit with a cheery wave. He had every reason to give a cheery wave. On his third lap Derek once more snatched the lead from King. With a lap of 26 mins, 38 secs, he grabbed a nine seconds advantage over the Scot. All this after only three laps. An amusing impression of the tempo of the race was given by Bertie Rowell, commentator at Sulby: ‘We haven’t had a scare yet’, he stated, ‘although we have had quite a lot of breath taken away from us’. Chadwick maintained his third position ahead of Hartle, while Jackie Wood, riding Geoff Duke’s BSA, hung on grimly to his sixth position. New man on the leader-board was London rider Geoff Tanner. He took his Norton from seventh to fifth place with a lap of 26 mins, 46 secs, but he did not refuel on Lap 3. At the halfway mark another Manx rider retired at the pits. He was J. W. Moore (BSA). His growing time was 1 hr, 31 mins, after three laps accomplished.

Fourth lap

The earlier threat of deteriorating weather had not yet materialised and the absence of sun and the light wind made conditions almost ideal. Ennett appeared to be just hanging on to his lead. From Sulby came the report that he was five seconds ahead of King on corrected time. At the end of the lap he led King by six seconds after a circuit in 26 mins, 5 secs, a speed of 86.81 mph. King, however, was increasing his speed and lapped at 86.97 mph, three seconds faster than Ennett. It was a magnificent tribute to tuner Sam Cooper that his two machines should be fighting out the lead at record speed and over a minute ahead of the third place man. Hopes of a hat-trick of Junior team wins by the Peveril MCC were dashed with the report that Jackie Wood, who had been lying a consistent sixth had retired on his fifth lap at Ballahutchin with engine trouble. He was uninjured. Rival clubs Ringwood and Menstrie still had intact teams who were going strongly. N. H. Storer crashed on his AJS at Sarah’s Cottage and retired. He hit the hedge, but was unhurt. Only American in the race, Dick Laporte, stopped in Parliament Square with engine trouble. He tried to restart his BSA but was unsuccessful, and was forced to retire. Spectators at the Grandstand jumped to their feet when the engine note of J. F. Jackson (AJS) changed abruptly from a deep roar to a shrill scream as he passed the stands to start his fifth lap. Jackson had ‘done an Armstrong act’. His primary chain broke just as he flashed past the stands.

Fifth lap

Castletown rider George Costain, leading on the road, was signalled at Kirk Michael on his last lap as King finished his fifth circuit. Ennett was past the Creg and was signalled at Governor’s Bridge well up to schedule. As he roared past the pits to start the last lap, Derek gave a confident ‘thumbs up’ signal. King was slowing considerably. He took 26 mins, 37 secs on his fifth lap, compared with his record second lap of 25 mins, 48 secs. Derek was round in 26 mins, 9 secs on lap five at 86.60 mph and he now led King by 34 secs, a winning margin too great for even King to pull back.

The finish

First man to finish was Castletown rider George Costain, who crossed the line at 33 minutes past 1 o’clock, closely followed by John Hartle. There was much speculation by the spectators in the stands when it was seen that Ennett had been clocked in at Ramsey before King, who had started ten places before him. To yells of ‘Here he is,’ Derek finished the distance, winner of a most magnificent race. He came over the line in a very business-like fashion. With Chadwick already in came the news that Alistair King had retired at Michael with engine trouble, the rider was OK. So ended the race for a doughty Scot who had put up a magnificent show and had had the honour to establish a new lap record.

Winner’s story

From the third lap onwards, Derek told reporters, he had trouble with cramp. ‘At times I had to stand up on my bike to try and relieve it. I have got it in both legs now’, he laughed. Toughest moment came on lap four when he tried to pass fellow Manxman Jackie Wood. ‘We passed and re passed six times on the mountain’, said Derek.
There to greet him after his great victory was his fiancée, Myrtle Quayle, who shyly posed for the photographers and obliged when they shouted, ‘Go on, give him a big kiss’. Said Derek, ‘All I want now is a cup of tea’.

54 finish the race
32 replicas awarded
Team prize went to Ringwood


1Ennett, Derek2:37:21.0086.33AJS
2Chadwick, Dave2:39:27.0085.19Norton
3Hartle, John2:40:03.0084.87Norton
4Tanner, Geoff2:42:07.0083.78Norton
5Powell, Derek2:42:52.0083.4Norton
6Phillips, A.M.2:43:17.0083.19Norton
7Williams, Victor2:43:22.0083.14Norton
8Crooks, Eddie2:43:24.0083.13AJS
9Tait, Percy2:43:26.0083.11Norton
10Costain, George2:44:01.0082.82Norton
11Thompson, B.2:45:05.0082.28AJS
12Davie, James2:45:28.0082.1BSA
13Christian, Dennis2:45:32.0082.05Norton
14Rensen, Ralph2:46:03.0081.81AJS
15Dunlop, Gavin2:46:05.0081.79
16Oldfield, Russell2:46:16.0081.7AJS
17Wright, D.A.2:46:21.0081.5BSA
18Denton, Ben2:47:34.0081.07BSA
19Boyce, Ellis2:47:36.0081.04Norton
20Palmer, Phil2:48:30.0080.62BSA
21Bowie, A.S.2:48:33.0080.59BSA
22Hall, P.M.2:48:42.0080.52AJS
23Haldane, Ewen2:49:04.0080.35Velocette
24Greenwood, Owen2:49:39.0080.07BSA
25Cheers, Eric2:49:52.0079.97BSA
26Rutherford, Frank2:49:54.0079.95AJS
27Voice, Harry2:50:13.0079.8BSA
28Broughton, Colin2:51:25.0079.25BSA
29Price, Norman2:51:51.0079.04Velocette
30Roberton, Bill2:51:57.0079BSA
31Mizen, Syd2:52:01.0078.97Norton
32Carr, Peter2:52:37.0078.7AJS
33Carman, Richard2:53:39.0078.22AJS
34Newstead, Alan2:53:55.0078.11AJS
35Arnold, M.D.2:54:24.0077.88AJS
36Standivan, R.J.2:54:40.0077.77AJS
37Whillier, P.E.2:55:41.0077.3BSA
38Smith, John2:56:01.0077.17Norton
39Anderson, William R.2:56:33.0076.94Norton
40Butcher, A.J.2:59:45.0075.57AJS
41Longman, George3:01:30.0074.88Velocette
42Mawson, Bob3:01:52.0074.69BSA
43Wroe, Ramon3:04:00.0073.83Velocette
44Morris, T.3:04:11.0073.75BSA
45Ratcliffe, Ken3:07:00.0072.64Norton
46Wilde, L.J.3:08:51.0071.93AJS
47Povey, Lawrence3:10:56.0071.15BSA
48Pratt, C.3:11:04.0071.1BSA
49Raynor, Alan3:11:16.0071.02AJS
50Goodwin, E.3:14:39.0069.79AJS
51Cortvriend, Barry3:23:37.0066.71AJS
52Winter, H.B.3:24:55.0066.29Norton
53Goldsmith, John3:31:06.0064.35BSA
54Barnwell, A.T.3:31:52.0064.12Norton
RAntill, David0Velocette
RButler, Ronald0AJS
RCatlin, George0Norton
RDowty, Robert0Norton
RDuerden, T.0TD Norton
RJackson, J.F.0AJS
RJealous, G.R.0BSA
RKershaw, B.0AJS
RLaporte, R.H.0BSA
RMcGuinness, B.0BSA
RPerry, D.L.E.0AJS
RSoutham, Les0Norton
RStorer, Norman0AJS
RThurston, John0BSA
RTrustham, Jack0AJS
RTuck, Fred0AJS
RUnwin, Eric0Norton
RArnold, GeorgeBSA
RMoore, J.W.BSA
RWood, JackBSA
RKing, AlastairAJS


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