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1955 Lightweight TT

Course name: Clypse

Course length: 97 miles (9 laps)

Description: Lightweight (250) Race
Race report from the T.T. Special 8 June 1955 (pp. 14-15), below which is a full list of competitors:

Bill Lomas does the Junior – Lightweight “Double” – Cecil Sandford Second

Bill Lomas created T.T. history by winning the Lightweight “250” race to-day, following his Junior victory on Monday. Never before have both Junior and Lightweight races been won by the same rider in one week.

Cecil Sandford led the race for more than half the distance, but Lomas gradually picked up on him. Then Sandford came off at Creg-ny-Baa; he remounted, continued, but after that it was a walk-over for Monday’s winner.

H. P. Muller, the veteran N.S.U. rider was third.

The Start, Wednesday a.m.
“Oh, it’s nice to get up in the morning…” sang Harry Lauder – but, of course, a lot depends on what sort of morning it is! For us it’s the morning of another Race Day (and incidentally this isn’t the first time that a race has been due to start at 9.30 a.m. – remember those past years when the Junior started at 9.30, with the Clubman’s in the afternoon?)

First on the programme in this full-day’s speed-feast is the 250 c.c. event, and I suppose that technically it is the 27th Lightweight Tourist Trophy Race. The previous 26 have all been run over the Mountain Course, but this time the Clypse Circuit has been brought into use for the quarter-litre class, so we ought to turn over to a clean sheet and start again.

Such being the case, there are no lap or race records to break today, but just as a matter of interest, the fastest lap ever recorded on the “Clypse” was that of Jimmy Drysdale in last Saturday’s Senior Clubman’s – 8 mins. 56 secs., or 72.53 m.p.h.

There were initially 26 entries for the race (and considering M.V.s, N.S.U.s, J.E.L., A.M.C., D.K.W., D.O.T. and the rest, “initially” seems oddly apt), but non-starters have brought the total down to 18, those missing from the line-up being E. Lorenzetti (withdrawn for business reasons), R. Colombo (injured on the Continent), G. Braun and J. Forrest (crashed in practice), and A. W. Jones, C. Julian, A. L. Parry and F. Purslow, who have not appeared in practising.

So where does that leave us? Well, the 18 runners remaining comprise a trio of “works” M. V. Agustas, three “cut-down” Nortons, three private-owner N.S.U.s, three Guzzis of varying degrees of potency, and single Triumph, E.M.C.-Puch, Velocette, A.J.S., M. & F. Excelsior and R.D. Special entries. Last year we had 29 entries, of which 23 actually started and 17 finished.

The “T.T. Special” described the 1954 Lightweight as a “farcical little race” – the three laps of the Mountain Course totalling 1131/4 miles; this time the 250 c.c. machines will tackle nine laps of 10.79 miles each – a total distance of 97.11 miles. Hardly a fair test of man or machinery, is it?

At least we have something to be thankful for, in that the race is “massed-start.” The bewildering futility of an interval-start race on the “Clypse,” without benefit of indicator clocks or any means of telling which lap the riders were on, was amply demonstrated during the Clubman’s races. Positions on the grid are, of course, determined by the best practice time of each rider, as in all classic races of this nature.

9. a.m. It’s an unpleasant sort of morning – not really raining out just “spitting-in-the-wind,” – and the roads will be pretty wet all the way round. Only 16 starters now, for J. McGregor (Triumph) and W. Ferguson (Norton) have decided not to turn out, although they have practised.

9.25 a.m. The riders are lining up on the grid, and in the front rank are Taveri (M.V.), Muller (N.S.U.), Wright (N.S.U.), Lomas (M.V.), and Sandford (Guzzi). Only one manufacturer’s team (M.V.) is entered, and there are two club teams – “Bemsee” (Wheeler, Lloyd and Wright) and Nantwich (Lomas, Webster and Sandford).

There goes the five-minute hooter, and there is a stir of activity. “Visibility quite good.” Reports the Travelling Marshal – and the rain has now stopped.

9.30 “They’re off!” The maroon fires and all sixteen begin to push like mad. Sixteen! What a tiny field – just like a paddock, in fact.

First to get into motion is Muller (N.S.U.), and he shoots away with Lloyd (Excelsior) and Spence (N.S.U.) following side by side.

Lomas and Masetti (M.V.) have a poor start, while Maddrick (Guzzi) is last away.

At the Creg, Sandford (Guzzi) is away out on his own, with Muller and Spence (N.S.U.’s) next in order of arrival. Then come Lomas (M.V.), who has apparently made up lost ground, and Wright (N.S.U.). Over now to the “Five-and-a-Half,” where the same order is maintained.

Almost before we have time to breathe Sandford comes tearing past, leading by almost the length of Glencrutchery Road – 13 seconds, we make it by the stop-watch – from Bill Lomas, who had an equally good lead from Muller’s N.S.U. Fourth is Chadwick (R.D. Special)! Surprises will never cease! Fifth is Masetti (M.V.) and sixth is Arthur Wheeler (Guzzi). Sandford’s standing-start lap time is 9.25 (68.94 m.p.h.).

Can Lomas overcome that start? He might well do so, and by Creg-ny-Baa the gap has lessened. Dave Chadwick has dropped back, and at that point he is lying sixth and just about to be passed by Phil Carter (Norton).

Here is Sandford at Nursey Bends, but the commentator there reports that the gap between Cecil and Bill is now 15 seconds. Muller is a long way back in third place.

Sandford at the Grandstand to begin his third lap – and there is Lomas. Now where is the third man? Muller comes by at last, and by amateur timing he is 59 seconds behind the M.V.

Phil Carter draws into the pits – and here comes news of retirements. D.A. Wright and W.H. Spence (N.S.U.s) have both come off at Cronk-y-Garroo, but there are, as yet, no further details. Ah! Thank goodness for that! “Both riders OK.”

No change in the leaders on the third lap, but another of the “racial epithet” has dropped out; this time it is C. Ellerby (A.J.S.) at the Manx Arms corner, Onchan.

As they end their respective third laps, Sandford and Lomas have a highly respectable lead on the road, and we can hear them accelerating through Willaston, away in front of us, long before Muller’s N.S.U. can be heard. Muller himself is well in front of Masetti’s M.V., but the gap between the fifth and sixth men, Wheeler (Guzzi) and Taveri (M.V.) is not so pronounced.

The seventh man is Chadwick (R.D. Special), then comes W. M. Webster (Velocette) and F. H. Burman (E.M.C.-Puch).

So far, that practice lap time of Sandford’s (9 mins. dead) has not been cracked, but Cecil’s third lap time of 9 mins. 1 sec. shows that speeds are rising and that we may well see it broken before the end of the race.

Lying tenth is Phil Carter, and as he ends his third lap, Sandford is close behind him, ending his fourth; the remaining runners have already been lapped. The Creg-ny-Baa announcer confirms that Cecil has passed Phil by the time the pair reach that point.

Now here is Muller – which gives a fair indication of the length of lead the leaders have over the third place man.

Fourth lap time for Sandford – 8.59 That is a little better! And Lomas is just one second faster at 8.58. He is still nine seconds behind Cecil, however, and there are but five laps left; a second a lap gain would make for a good finish, but it is scarcely a strong enough “swing” to win him a “majority.”

So Dave Chadwick is back on the Leader Board – and Masetti is missing somewhere on the course. There has been no announcements so far –Time passes slowly, and now the fifth lap leaders are being posted; no change – and still no news of Masetti.

The Nursery reports that the race is ‘hotting up,” for now Lomas is only three seconds behind Sandford. This might yet be Bill’s second win of the week!

They’re passing the Stands – and there is only a couple of machine lengths in it! An excited commentator at the Creg nearly chokes as he reports that Lomas has passed Sandford right on the corner.

Here comes Burman, and “touring slowly” was right! He draws into the pits with a motor which seems to be an “eight-and-a-half” stroke – and retires with a broken frame.

More excitement! Sandford has been off at Creg-ny-Baa, but has remounted and continued.
Taveri is in trouble, and his engine is misfiring badly as he passes the pits. News of Masetti at last – he has retired between Hillberry and Brandish with engine trouble. The spark of interest so recently kindled looks like being extinguished, for as they go past the Stands to begin their eighth laps, Sandford is too much in arrears to regain his former position. Third – and a good three minutes to the bad – is Muller.

Lomas at Governor’s Bridge – and now he is away on his last lap. Sandford gets a signal from his pits – but there is little he can do about it. The third man has not yet appeared – but already the man with the chequered flag is getting ready. A bit premature, for Bill Lomas has only just reached Creg-ny-Baa.

Back to the Nursery, where Carter and Burman are reported to be “touring slowly” – but Carter goes past the Stands happily enough, with his machine sounding as tuneful as ever.

Rather belatedly, the seventh lap leaders are posted; Taveri has disappeared – that was only to be expected from the note of his machine as he went by – and Bill Webster is on the board in sixth place, though he has been lapped by the leader. Lloyd has retired at Signpost with machine trouble, so few runners now remain on the road.

And here is Lomas to achieve the “double,” having lapped all but the second, third, fourth and fifth men.

Now Sandford is home safely, but we have some time to wait until Muller is due. At last he comes in, followed at discreet intervals by the other finishers.

A glance at Sandford’s machine in the finishing paddock shows that his left handlebar was damaged in his brush with the banking, while the clutch could scarcely be operated.


1Lomas, Bill1:21:38.2071.37MV
2Sandford, Cecil1:22:29.4070.63Guzzi
3Muller, Hermann Paul1:26:21.6067.47NSU
4Wheeler, Arthur1:29:44.4064.92Guzzi
5Chadwick, Dave1:30:45.6064.2RD spl
6Webster, Bill1:35:05.4061.27Velocette
7Carter, Phil1:37:05.8060.01Norton
8Maddrick, Bill1:37:55.0059.51Guzzi
REllerby, CliffAJS
RLloyd, IvorExcelsior
RMasetti, UmbertoMV
RTaveri, LuigiMV
RCope, FrankNorton
RSpence, W.H.NSU
RWright, DesNSU
RBurman, FrankPuch


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