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1956 Junior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 7 September 1956 p.44, below which is a full list of competitors:

Jimmy Buchan’s ‘Fine Spell’

Alistair King’s Bad Luck Continues – Forced to Retire After Breaking Lap Records
Eddie Crooks Takes Second Place

After a sizzling, rip-roaring six laps of the T.T. Course, Jimmy Buchan, 21-year-old Perth journalist, was the winner of the Junior Manx Grand Prix on Tuesday.
Driving his Norton consistently, he was never off the leader-board. He left others to break lap records, but pulled off the race itself, almost with nonchalance.
His time for the 226 miles was 2 hours 33 minutes 25 seconds, a speed of 88.54 m.p.h., which beat the existing record by 8.8 seconds.

It was a race of sensations. Alistair King, doughty Scot, led the field for four laps, and in the process beat the 1955 lap record twice. Once, from a standing start, when he averaged 90.15 m.p.h., and then 91.07 m.p.h. with a time of 24 minutes 51.8 seconds. His luck was not destined to hold, but he can tale credit for being the first Junior M.G.P. competitor to “top the 90.”

Anderson, another “likely” man, also had to retire when he was actually leading the race, and Manx hopes were dashed after Alan Holmes, when lying second, had to push in from Governor’s. He had driven a pulsating and magnificent race.
But Manx hopes were not likely to be thus lightly frustrated. Eddie Crooks, Douglas lad, rode on, coaxing every “horse” out of his machine, and finished in second place – time 2 hours 35 minutes 59 seconds; speed 87.09 m.p.h.
And third man home was Bob Dowty (Norton); time 2 hours 37 minutes 14.6 seconds; speed 86.39 m.p.h. On behalf of Manxland, thank you very much, Eddie and Bob.

Excellent weather conditions were reported from the course, although there seemed to be a haze on the mountains. Nevertheless, the day was warm and the dry roads presaged high speeds.
Shortly before 10-30, the riders rode from the depot at Fargher’s and Ashton’s garage and came into the pits, where great interest was shown in last minute preparations by the people on the crowded grandstand.
Particular interest was focussed on Manxmen Alan Holmes and his two compatriots, Eddie Crooks and Bob Dowty.


As the riders lined up, the official weather forecast and final instructions were given. “A perfect day for racing” said the clerk of the course, Mr W. C. Halsall.
No. 106, J. E. Coates (Norton), had engine trouble and was allowed to test his machine between the start and Governor’s Bridge. He got off on time.

Geoff Tanner, last year’s double winner, started the riders off and all got away with one or two exceptions. From the word “go” it was obvious that there would be a terrific battle between four “Nortonites,” A. H. Jenkins, Bernard Codd, A. King, J. Ellis Boyce with J. Drysdale (A.J.S.).

As M. J. Candy got away Jenkins was signalled at Ballacraine, followed swiftly by Anderson, Codd. King, and Drysdale.

Eddie Crooks, who had been working up to a late hour last night on his machine, got away, but his engine was misfiring. Manxman Alan Holmes followed ten places later as Anderson was signalled through Michael, followed by Codd, King and Drysdale.

Shortly afterwards Anderson went through Ramsey, followed by King, who had overtaken Codd. Drysdale was obviously slower because some time elapsed before he went through Parliament Square. Leading man on the board at the end of the first lap was Anderson, who was going extremely fast, but he was tailed closely on the course by Alistair King, whose time for the first lap was 25 mins. 7 secs., against Anderson’s 25 mins. 16 secs.


Both these lap times broke the existing record. King’s speed was 90.15 m.p.h. and Anderson’s speed was 89.58 m.p.h. This was the first time that 90 m.p.h. had been exceeded in a Junior Manx Grand Prix.
As this announcement was made, Alan Holmes was signalled at Signpost and went roaring through giving the “thumbs up” signal. Jimmy Buchan (Norton) went through the pits, and on rough timing appeared to be 12 seconds slower on the lap.

Coates got as far as the Guthrie Memorial, where his engine failed and he toured in. Engine trouble caused W. N. Fitzsimmons (Norton) to retire.


H. Hudson (Norton) came off at Glentrammon, but the rider was o.k. By this time reports from round the course indicated that riders on the leader board were driving “like men possessed.”
Alan Holmes (Norton) was lying third and in sixth place was Eddie Crooks (Norton) despite the fact that his engine had been misfiring at the start of the race.

At the end of the lap J. G. Trustham, who had been given an extension of time before “weighing in” to repair a broken frame pulled in at the pits, released his clutch, which had become very hot, then poured vinegar and water on it to cool it down, and carried on.

B. L. Turner (Norton) retired at Creg-ny-baa. He had taken a tumble but was unhurt.


The race was on in no uncertain manner. Flying Scotsman King not only chased Anderson, but passed him on the Mountain. The Scot was riding in superb manner and yet his progress through the pits as leading man on the road gave little indication of the high speeds he was attaining.

Following the amazing news that he had broken the lap record on the first lap, came the news that he had even broken his own lap record. He covered the second lap in 24 mins. 51.8 secs., a speed of 91.07 m.p.h.
D. A. Hogg (B.S.A.) lost an exhaust pipe by Barregarrow, while J. E. Coates (Norton) pulled in with a loose exhaust pipe, effected repairs, and proceeded. This man was certainly fighting not only the difficulties of the course, but mechanical trouble as well.
B. D. Codd (Norton) pulled into the pits and refuelled in 29 seconds, during which time a plug was changed. Fast pit work!

Even faster pit work was put in by E. J. Washer (A.J.S.) who refuelled in 20 seconds. T. Duerden (Norton) retired at the pits, the rider was O.K. P. L. Dakin (A.J.S.) pulled in, refuelled, repaired his carburettor, and went on his way but eventually retired at Quarter Bridge. M. C. Challis (A.J.S.) stopped at the pits to repair his exhaust pipe, but hoped to proceed. The sunshine was breaking through but there was still haze on the mountains. This did not deter the riders and at Kate’s Cottage, King was “riding beautifully,” in the opinion of announcer David Lay.

From Glen Auldyn came the news that King had gone through there steadily and very fast. By this time he was well over a minute in front of Anderson.

Third man Alan Holmes was lying half-a-minute behind Anderson but he had a lead of 23 seconds over Perth journalist, Jimmy Buchan.

E. McG. Haldane (B.S.A.) retired at Glentramman with engine trouble, thus one of the Scottish hopes was out of the race. He had been riding extremely well.

R. Dowty (Norton) pulled in for a pit stop and learned that he was eighth man. Two other Manxmen, Eddie Crooks and Holmes, also pulled in and refuelled very quickly.

David Lay said Holmes, whose number was 72, was on the tail of Crooks, No. 62, on the road, who was riding incredibly fast. H. Bent (A.J.S.) retired at the 15th milestone. His engine seized and he came off but picked himself up and was o.k.


Faster and faster was the keynote of Alistair King’s progress. He was leading Anderson by 1 min. 35 secs.- a more than comfortable gap at these high speeds.


Despite the high speeds it was surprising so few incidents had been reported. The six leading men had all the appearance of settling down to the speed battle which was raging and which would rage to the final flag.
Yet as these words were written Manxman Alan Holmes astounded the watching crowds and those at the Grandstand by jumping into second place 20 seconds ahead of Anderson.
This rider from Hayne, Bedfordshire, pulled in at the end of the second lap for his pit stop, whereas Holmes came in at the end of the third lap. This would account for the difference in time but it was obvious that the Manxman was challenging strongly.

G. Howarth (A.J.S.) caused a mild sensation at the pits. When he came in to refuel he skidded and came off, damaging his machine in the process. He retired while marshals cleared up a patch of petrol and oil which had spilled from his machine.

On this lap Holmes was only 13 seconds slower than the leader, Alistair King and had been steadily increasing his speed. His first lap was 25 mins. 34 secs., his second, 25 mins. 27 secs., and his third, 25 mins. 23 secs.

Sarah’s Cottage proved to be the undoing of W. Fulton (B.S.A.). On the uphill climb to the top of Creg Willys he came off, but was uninjured. The spill, however, spelled his retirement from the race. Hard luck!


The fourth lap was the testing time for the leading riders. All those concerned with the racing game realise the amount of trouble which can come in the second half of a race such as the M.G.P.
Yet Alistair King appeared to be going “great guns,” and his runner up, Holmes, seemed unperturbed and was driving in immaculate style.
Was it going to be a “procession” to the end?

No! Holmes was the first number of these two to show the unfortunate “R” denoting retirement painted up under his number. He had been signalled at Signpost. All was well? No, it was not! The minutes passed.
No Holmes – and then it was announced he was pushing in his machine from Governor’s Bridge.

Hard luck, Alan, but thanks for putting up such a splendid show for your native Isle.

Holmes received a cheer when he pushed his machine to the pits. He was undaunted by his bad luck – but it was to hold. Despite adjustments and despite an urgent and desperate attempt to make the engine fire again, the “model” stuck. Holmes was out of the race.
He walked to his pit and looked extremely disconsolate. He stated that his engine was missing on his third lap and he pushed in to change a plug. But it was of no avail.
J. C. Holloway (A.J.S.) came off at Sulby Bridge and got a split lip but was not badly injured and he retired.


And before tis another sensation had “rocked” the crowds round the course, and on the stands. Alistair King, who had maintained his lead in the fourth lap, was out in the fifth.
The grim announcement was made that he had to “pack up” at Michael with engine trouble.

The “flying Scotsman” had been unable to break his bad M.G.P. luck. His unfortunate failures in last year’s Senior and Junior are remembered, and all had hoped this doughty rider would carry off the honours to-day.
To add further to sensation – Anderson then left in leading position – had perforce to retire with a broken chain. This happened near Glen Auldyn, and as he walked along the pavement towards Ramsey the crowd gave him a cheer for a very fine performance.

With King, Holmes and Anderson out, Jimmy Buchan, the Perth journalist, was driving towards victory, followed by two Manxmen, Eddie Crooks and Bob Dowty, both on Nortons.
So the race of speed and thrills and unexpected sensations went on.


The dashing Bernard Codd went through the Start on his last lap. He was going extremely well and doing his utmost to come up with Buchan and Crooks who were now first and second respectively.
As Crooks came through – he was lying two minutes behind Buchan – his pit attendant, none other than Reg Dearden, himself a former rider, gave him a pit signal. It indicated to Eddie to “give her the gun,” a Dearden expression of which motor cyclists are well aware Codd was going through Glen Auldyn in polished style, though he was 21 seconds behind Crooks.

This margin was small enough to allow Bernard to beat Crooks, and this last lap was bound to produce some outstanding riding by the leading men.
K. H. Patrick (B.S.A.), who had been doing well in practices, stopped at Brandywell with engine trouble, but the rider was all right.


The lead which Buchan had over Crooks was 2 mins. 10 secs. at the start of the last lap. It was doubtful if the Manx rider could pull very much off this handicap. At the same time the local boy was putting all he had into his final circuit. Behind him came Codd, who, according to course reports, was pulling “everything out of the bag” to get ahead of Crooks. There was a very small margin between these riders at the end of the fourth lap, but when the next lap was completed it was seen that Buchan was 1 min. 25 secs. ahead of the “Boston bomber” – an appreciable lead. The signs indicated that Manxmen would fill second and third positions, with Bon Dowty lying a minute behind the second man.

Shortly after 1-20 Bernard Codd came through, the first man to finish the race. As he finished Buchan and Crooks were on the mountain section.

Buchan passed Keppel Gate “in fine style,” together with Crooks, two very fine riders putting up a very fine race.

There was a great burst of applause when Dowty finished. He had been a steady rider in past Grand Prix and has earned four replicas up to to-day. In practices he showed potentialities which have now proved to be definite capabilities.

T. H. Phillipson (A.J.S.) retired with engine trouble on the Mountain, and G. Pennington (A.J.S.) had engine failure at Glentramman. The Latvian, W. Kalinins (A.J.S.) crashed at the Stone Bridge above Sarah’s Cottage, but suffered no injury, and at the cottage, I. Stuart (Norton) retired with engine trouble.

The crowd at the grandstand stood to cheer Jimmy Buchan as he passed the chequered flag, the winner of the race. And behind him came the other man for whom there was resounding applause, Douglas lad, Eddie Crooks.


Buchan said he had a very fine ride and won without incident.

Crooks also said his ride was enjoyable, and was pleased that “the machine was not too fast for me.”

67 Finish, 28 Get Replicas
Winsford Take Team Prize

Sixty-seven of the 99 starters finished and of these 28 got replicas by completing the race within eleven-tenths of the winner’s time.

Seven of the 17 teams entered finished intact and the winners were Winsford (E. F. H. Boyce, G. D. Alcock and J. R. Hurlstone).

Although J. Askey (Norton), who was No. 91, was still on the last lap when the race was stopped soon after 2-30 p.m., the Clerk of the Course decided that he should be reckoned as a finisher as he was lapping faster than the man in front of him, No. 39, A. McIvor (Velocette), but was nearly nine minutes behind him on the road.

G Pennington (A.J.S.) came off at Kerrowmoar and Dr. Hardy went to his assistance on the back of travelling marshal Peter Crebbin’s machine. The doctor admitted he had never been so scared in his life. Pennington was not badly hurt.


1Buchan, Jimmy2:33:25.0088.54Norton
2Crooks, Eddie2:35:59.0087.09Norton
3Dowty, Robert2:37:14.0086.39Norton
4Codd, Bernard2:37:37.0086.18Norton
5Rutherford, Frank2:38:08.0085.89BSA
6Boyce, Ellis2:38:53.0085.49Norton
7Jervis, R.2:39:25.0085.2Norton
8Drysdale, Jimmy2:40:58.0084.38AJS
9Washer, Ernie2:42:18.0083.69AJS
10Graham, Tom2:43:06.0083.29Norton
11Hurlstone, John2:43:14.0083.21Norton
12Mizen, Syd2:43:19.0083.17AJS
13Eckhart, John2:44:04.0082.79BSA
14Broughton, Colin2:44:15.0082.7BSA
15Hegbourne, A.V.2:44:33.0082.54Norton
16Murphy, George C.A.2:44:46.0082.44AJS
17Kershaw, B.2:45:11.0082.23AJS
18Thompson, B.2:45:23.0082.13AJS
19Thorp, Tom2:45:42.0081.97AJS
20Newstead, Alan2:45:49.0081.91AJS
21Rutherford, Len2:45:59.0081.83AJS
22Lund, Bernie2:46:31.0081.58BSA
23Greenwood, Owen2:46:49.0081.42BSA
24Howe, David2:47:25.0081.13Norton
25Price, Norman2:47:38.0081.03Velocette
26Godfrey, Tony2:48:25.0080.66Velocette
27Morton, Jimmy2:48:29.0080.62AJS
28Craven, Alan2:48:38.0080.55BSA
29Jealous, G.R.2:49:16.0080.24BSA
30Burgess, F.2:50:04.0079.87Norton
31Stretch, Ron2:50:48.0079.53AJS
32Alcock, Geoff2:50:51.0079.5BSA
33Unwin, Eric2:51:25.0079.24BSA
34Candy, Maurice2:51:35.0079.16Velocette
35Walsh, Pat2:51:48.0079.07BSA
36Lilley, Ron2:52:09.0078.91BSA
37Sawford, Bill2:52:14.0078.86AJS
38Downes, Graham2:52:19.0078.82AJS
39Fellows, Desmond2:53:28.0078.3BSA
40Fawkes, John2:53:41.0078.2AJS
41Arnold, M.D.2:53:48.0078.15BSA
42Sutherland, A.R.2:54:16.0077.94BSA
43Carr, J.E.2:55:14.0077.51Norton
44Hill, S.R.2:56:34.0076.93BSA
45Povey, Lawrence2:56:55.0076.78BSA
46Morris, T.2:57:31.0076.52BSA
47Castle, R.2:59:07.0075.83BSA
48Hunter, B.W.2:59:14.0075.78Velocette
49Gaunt, A.J.2:59:25.0075.71Norton
50Cortvriend, Barry2:59:25.0075.7BSA
51Sheene, Frank2:59:47.0075.56AJS
52Southam, Les3:00:22.0075.31Norton
53Swetman, R.J.3:00:37.0075.2AJS
54Flury, Lawrence3:01:22.0074.9AJS
55Young, Lewis3:01:50.0074.7AJS
56Thurston, John3:03:47.0073.91BSA
57Maw, R.J.G.3:05:11.0073.35BSA
58Palmer, S.3:05:26.0073.25Norton
59Woodman, Derek3:07:28.0072.45BSA
60Virco, Alan3:09:13.0071.78BN Special
61Evans, Lawrence Edward3:11:06.0071.09BSA
62Dixon, Bill3:11:46.0070.84Norton
63Goodwin, E.3:16:02.0069.29AJS
64Frost, Arthur3:16:44.0069.04AJS
65Crann, R.G.3:25:10.0066.2AJS
66McIvor, A.3:41:36.0061.3Velocette
67Askey, J.0Norton
RAnderson, Bob0Norton
RBent, Herbert0AJS
RChallis, M.C.0AJS
RDakin, D.L.0AJS
RDuerden, T.0Norton
RHogg, D.A.0BSA
RHolmes, Alan0Norton
RHoran, J.0AJS
RHowarth, G.0AJS
RJackson, J.F.0Norton
RJarman, Den0AJS
RJenkins, Tony0Norton
RKalinins, Walter0AJS
RLegge, D.P.0BSA
RMcLoughlin, P.S.0AJS
RMorris, A.R.0Norton
RPatrick, Ken0BSA
RPennington, Grenville0AJS
RPhillipson, T.H.0AJS
RRatcliffe, Ken0Norton
RStuart, Ian0Norton
RTaubman, Ken0BSA
RTrustham, Jack0AJS
RTurner, B.L.0Norton
RWroe, Ramon0Velocette
RCoates, JamesNorton
RHaldane, EwenBSA
RFulton, BillBSA
RHolloway, JohnAJS
RHudson, H.Norton
RKing, AlastairNorton


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