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1955 Junior TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 264.25 miles (7 laps)

Description: Race report from Isle of Man Weekly Times, 10 June 1955, (p 4), below which there is a full list of competitors:

Guzzi Victory in Junior TT

Lomas wins after thrilling late duel with McIntyre

Private cat among the works pigeons

Bill Lomas, of Milford, Derbyshire, won his first TT race when he snatched the lead from Bob McIntyre (Norton) in the fifth lap and rode his Guzzi to victory after a final two-laps thrill which will live in TT history.

The first four men beat Ray Amm’s 1953 (seven lap) race record.

The position of the leaders at the end of the first lap was a real turn up for the book. Young John Surtees, who had ridden so impressively in the practices, shared the lead with another Norton, a privately entered streamlined job ridden by Bob McIntyre. Cecil Sandford, on the ex-works Guzzi, was 10 seconds behind.

Then came the real sensation! Bob McIntyre had beaten the works’ men and had a clear lead of 18 seconds from Surtees. Great Scot! But sandwiched in between was Guzzi man Cecil Sandford, two seconds in front of Surtees. McIntyre was riding like a man possessed, Kavanagh lay fourth and the leader board now read: Norton, Guzzi, Norton, Guzzi, Norton, Guzzi. Those who like excitement neat certainly had it on Monday.

Some Guzzis had enough petrol for a non-stop run and when Kavanagh closed the gap between him and the leader to 18 seconds at the end of the third lap, with Sandford still second, a mere two seconds in front of the Australian, things looked good for the Italians. But Kavanagh packed up at Ballaugh on the fourth lap and Nortons were again favourites, with McIntyre going very well.

The Nortons’ pit stop at the end of the fourth lap put Surtees back to fourth place, behind Lomas. But Sandford had to stop for a refill.

On the next lap Lomas snatched a four seconds lead- then came those last thrilling two laps.

The Start, Monday

Conditions all-round the course were perfect for fast times. Of the 89 entrants, 78 came to the starting line, including works teams from the AJS, Guzzi and Norton factories.

Six club trios have also entered. Most fancied is the BMCRC team of John Surtees, Bob McIntyre and Cecil Sandford. Another strong team is entered by the Winsford and DMC (Derek Ennett, John Hartle and Phil Carter). Also represented are the ACC of Australia (Quincy, Brown and Ahearn), and the New Zealand ACU (Hempleman, Collett and Cook).

First lap

Before two-thirds of the field was away first report of trouble came from the Quarter Bridge where New Zealand rider Maurice Low stopped to change a plug before proceeding.

As the last man, S Andersson of Sweden, pushed his machine off the starting grid, Agostini was already through Kirk Michael.

Another Kiwi in trouble at Quarter Bridge was Les Aislabie who stopped there for several minutes.

By the time he reached the mountain John Surtees had caught and passed Agostini. Surtees was ‘colossal’ at Kepple Gate and was leading Agostini by 13 seconds.

From Ramsey came the report that Jack Brett had parted company from his Norton. He proceeded, but retired at the Hairpin.

Jack need not have tried so hard for his team mate, John Surtees, was leading Ken Kavanagh by 43 seconds after one lap, while Australian M Quincy was 11 secs ahead of Kavanagh. Just one second behind Kavanagh was yet another Norton ridden by John Hartle.

What a turn up for the book. Sharing the lead with Surtees was Bob McIntyre, riding a streamlined private Norton. Their opening lap was covered in 24 mins, 47 secs, a speed of 91.38 mph.

Ten seconds behind was Cecil Sandford on the ex-works Guzzi, with Quincy 13 seconds away in fourth place followed by Lomas (Guzzi), Kavanagh (Guzzi) and Hartle (Norton).

Manx competitors’ times were: AR Capner (BSA), 27 mins, 24 secs; George Costain (Norton), 27 mins, 11 secs; Derek Ennett (AJS), 25 mins, 27 secs.

Second lap

Reports from round the course stated that Surtees was riding as fast and as stylishly as in his opening lap.

But he slowed slightly- by six seconds- allowing Kavanagh to close the gap to 11 seconds. But if Surtees was slowing, hopes of a British victory were kept bright by the brilliance of Scotsman Bob McIntyre.

He roared into an 18-second lead over the Norton works rider- increasing his race average to 91.73 mph.

Cecil Sandford took up the Guzzi challenge by taking his machine into second place behind McIntyre, just two seconds ahead of Surtees.

The leader board now read Norton, Guzzi, Norton, Guzzi, Norton, Guzzi.

Kavanagh was pulling out all the stops in an effort to cut McIntyre’s lead. He lapped in 24 mins, 30 secs (91.41 mph), five seconds faster than the leader. But the little Australian had 29 seconds to make up in five laps.

Third lap

Rason for the Guzzi’s apparently slow opening lap was the fact that they had taken on an extra heavy load of fuel, enough- it was hoped- to last for the race distance.

Kavanagh was finding extra speed and sliced 11 seconds off McIntyre’s lead on lap three, taking his streamlined machine around in 24 mins, 22 secs (92.95 mph), against the 24 mins, 33 secs taken by the leader.

No one had yet approached the late Ray Amm’s 1954 lap record of 94.61 mph.

At three minutes past 12 came the news that Australian Ken Kavanagh had once more run out of luck. He was reported to be walking in at Ballaugh.

The little Aussie had been forced to retire by engine trouble.

Fourth lap

With the news that Kavanagh was out attention switched to McIntyre’s leader board clock, which had stopped and stayed at Ballacraine. Earlier riders were signalled at Kirk Michael.

McIntyre was not in trouble: he moved on to Ramsey ‘as per schedule’.

Kavanagh’s retirement left McIntyre with a great chance of victory, as his machine and the Guzzi of Sandford seemed evenly matched, and the leader had 12 seconds in hand.

Travelling marshal Jackie Wood reported that John Clark (AJS) had retired at the Hairpin with engine trouble. This meant that all three works teams were out of the running.

Both Surtees and McIntyre stopped to take on petrol at the end of lap four, as did Sandford, but Lomas and Agostini roared past the Start non-stop. Surtees’ pit stop put him back to fourth place behind Lomas.

McIntyre increased his lead by one second- to 17 seconds- with a lap of 24 mins, 27 secs (92.64 mph). Sandford was secure in second place, leading third man Lomas by 30 seconds.

The leader’s average speed- 92.07 mph- was a record for the race, despite the fact that there seemed no likelihood of a record lap.

Fastest lap to date was Ken Kavanagh’s third, in 24 mins, 22 secs, a speed of 92.95 mph.

Manx competitors

With four laps completed, all three Manxmen were still in the race. Fastest was Derek Ennett (AJS) with a growing time of 1 hr, 41 mins, 39 secs. Then came George Costain (Norton) with a growing time of 1 hr, 48 mins, 26 secs, while Capner (BSA) was 1 hr, 49 mins, 45 secs. It will be seen that Ennett was only 32 seconds behind the sixth man.

Fifth lap

The 26-year-old Scotstoun, Glasgow, man was riding a magnificent race in face of the strong opposition from works teams, and seemed all set to win his second race over the TT course. In 1952 McIntyre took first place in the Junior Manx Grand Prix.

By the end of Lap 5, 21 riders had retired from the gruelling, record breaking race. Young David Chadwick retired after crashing at Glen Helen.

Jubilation in the Guzzi pit! Their non-stop policy appeared to be paying dividends when Bill Lomas edged into a four second lead. Lomas had put in the fastest lap to date, 24 mins, 18 secs- a speed of 93.20 mph.

From around the course came reports that he was very fast, and in several places his machine snaked a little.

Sixth lap

Crouched low over his Norton, McIntyre started on his last lap, knowing that he would have to pull out every ounce of speed if he was to regain the lead.

His rival, Lomas, tore through the start minutes later, after increasing his lead to 28 seconds, with another lap at over 93 mph -24 mins, 8 secs, 93.83 mph.

Sandford easily retained his third place, 16 seconds behind McIntyre, and almost 1.5 minutes ahead of Surtees.

Lomas was averaging 92.04 mph, .03 slower than McIntyre’s pre-fill up average- a fill-up which probably cost the Scot first place.

Ennett was seventh, 1 min, 13 secs behind the sixth man.

Derek Ennett was still seventh man in 2 hrs, 32 mins, 51 secs, speed 88.87 mph.

Last lap

John Surtees finished the race as McIntyre was signalled at the Mountain Box.

As McIntyre crossed the line Lomas was slapping along the mountain section, going as commentator David Lay said ‘like a bomb’. And the 24-year-old motor engineer from Milford, Derbyshire, crossed the line in the same fashion to record his first TT victory. Bill’s last minute change of machine had indeed been fortunate.

Among the 20-odd retirements were the overseas riders Maurice Low (New Zealand), Gerry Robarts (Canada) and Ray Travers (South Africa).

Manxman Derek Ennett (7th) finished in 2 hrs, 58 mins, 38.4 secs. Both the other Manx riders, George Costain and Roy Capner, also completed the course.

The fastest lap of the race was put up by Lomas on his final circuit with a time of 24 mins, 3.2 secs, giving him a speed of 94.13 mins.

No serious accidents were reported.


1Lomas, Bill2:51:38.2092.33Guzzi
2McIntyre, Bob2:25:38.2091.79Norton
3Sandford, Cecil2:53:02.2091.59Guzzi
4Surtees, John2:54:52.2090.63Norton
5Quincey, Maurice2:55:42.0090.2Norton
6Hartle, John2:56:55.0089.58Norton
7Ennett, Derek2:58:38.4088.71AJS
8Agostini, Duilio3:00:24.8087.84Guzzi
9Murphy, George A.3:00:38.0087.74AJS
10Ahearn, Jack3:02:01.2087.07Norton
11Carter, Phil3:03:04.6086.56AJS
12Wheeler, Arthur3:03:54.2086.17AJS
13Fox, Frank M.3:04:23.0085.95Norton
14Collett, Bill3:05:28.4085.45AJS
15Tait, Percy3:05:36.6085.38AJS
16Pearce, Harry3:06:27.0085AJS
17Salt, Charlie3:06:36.0084.93BSA
18Powell, Derek3:06:50.0084.83AJS
19Ovens, Tony3:07:19.4084.6AJS
20Woods, J.3:07:38.0084.46Norton
21Hempleman, John3:08:53.8083.9Norton
22Chapman, Don3:09:34.0083.6AJS
23Aislabie, Bill3:09:35.0083.59AJS
24Stormont, Barry3:09:35.2083.59BSA
25Lloyd, Ivor3:09:42.0083.54Norton
26Costain, George3:09:51.8083.47Norton
27Cook, Fred3:09:55.2083.45AJS
28Plews, Harry3:10:50.8083.45AJS
29Catlin, George3:11:59.0082.55Norton
30Carr, Cliff Brian3:12:13.0082.45AJS
30=Martin, Angus3:12:13.0082.45AJS
32Templeton, Malcolm3:12:28.8082.34AJS
33Beevers, Bill3:12:37.0082.28Norton
34Capner, Roy3:13:25.8081.93BSA
35Cheers, Eric3:13:37.6081.85BSA
36Collier, Henry3:14:18.0081.57AJS
37Tostevin, Ken3:14:34.0081.45Velocette
38Ferguson, Bob3:14:39.0081.42AJS
39Palmer, Phil3:15:09.0081.21BSA
40Pantlin, Eric3:16:34.0080.62AJS
41Fay, Ray3:16:39.8080.58BSA
42Moule, Albert E.3:16:48.0080.53BSA
43Ellerby, Cliff3:21:08.0078.79AJS
44Swallow, Ken3:22:36.0078.22AJS
45Thomson, Dick3:22:45.0078.17AJS
46Brown, Bob3:22:52.0078.12AJS
47Northwood, George3:23:15.0077.97BSA
48Setchell, Brian3:24:43.0077.42AJS
49Andersson, Sven3:27:00.0076.56Norton
50Jones, Albert3:27:41.0076.31AJS
51Leigh, George3:39:06.0072.33BSA
52Cox, F.W.3:42:37.0071.19Velocette
RBailey, JackAJS
R=Norris, FrankAJS
RGate, UlfAJS
RGlazebrook, JoeAJS
RO'Rourke, MikeAJS
RRobarts, GeraldAJS
RRowbottom, BobAJS
RSparrow, JackAJS
RTully, KevanAJS
RDenton, BenBSA
RHancock, WalterBSA
RLowe, MorrieBSA
RRoberton, BillBSA
RSalt, GeorgeBSA
RWijesinghe, RalphBSA
RWright, DesBSA
RKavanagh, KenGuzzi
RBrett, JackNorton
RChadwick, DaveNorton
RDavey, PeterNorton
RJones, EricNorton
RRensen, RalphNorton
RTravers, RayNorton
RTutty, DaveNorton
RClark, JohnAJS
RKing, LenNorton


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