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1957 Senior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: 1957 Senior Manx Grand Prix

Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 6 September 1957 (pp. 1, 13), below which is a full list of competitors:

Alan Holmes does Record 'Double '

ALAN HOLMES, the brilliant Castletown rider, on Thursday, brought off the first ever Manx Grand Prix "double" by a Manxman, and in so doing he broke the Senior Race record, as he had smashed the Junior figures on Tuesday. A wonderful show, and a fitting reward for one of the most popular riders in these events.

The crowd did not have to wait long for sensations. The two Alans, Holmes and Shepherd, had a ding-dong battle from the very start, and after one lap Shepherd had a lead of 10 seconds over the Junior winner. Then came misfortune at the end of the second lap. Shepherd was delayed with a broken inlet valve and Holmes was in the lead with a lap only a fraction below his own record made last year (93.59 m.p.h.).

His lead was short-lived. Ellis Boyce, second to Holmes on Tuesday, put in a record third lap at 94.06 m.p.h. and got in front, 2.8 seconds ahead of Holmes, with Haldane third, but Bob Dowty was in that place at the end of the fourth lap, when Boyce had a 19 seconds lead over Holmes.


The Start, Thursday.
Out of an anticipated 100 Starters, there was one man missing, to the intense disappointment of Manx people.
Colin Broughton, of Ramsey, was a non-starter, suffering from influenza.
There was perfect visibility, roads were dry, but a high wind was reported on the mountain sector, which the riders were warned about. The velocity was said to be between 20 and 25 knots.

With one or two exceptions, the riders got away promptly, and none was long delayed. At Ballacraine, Alan Shepherd (Norton) was closely followed by Ellis Boyce (Norton), who started 20 seconds behind him, and he, in turn, was being chased by Alan Holmes (Norton), who started 30 seconds after Shepherd.
But Shepherd had widened the distance between himself, Boyce and Holmes, at Kirk Michael. The battle was on!

The head wind on the mountain could make a difference, keeping down the engine revolutions. At Ginger Hall, according to commentator David Lay, Eddie Crooks was rather unsteady and was not as impressive as other riders passing that point, but he added, "Of course that is criticising the master.”

While the fast men were going great guns, some riders were in difficulty, and K. H. Patrick (Norton), a fast man in practices, stopped at Creg Willy 's Hill to effect repairs and hoped to proceed. W. D. Fellows (B.S.A.) retired at Sulby Bridge with engine trouble, but the rider was reported O.K. B. McGuinness (Norton) stopped down Bray Hill and was there for eight minutes, then only to stop at Glen Helen to effect further repairs. Patrick was officially reported as retired and M. A. McStay (Norton) retired at Greeba Bridge with engine trouble. L. P. Young (J. V. Special) retired at Ballaugh Bridge, but the rider was O.K., and F. Redman (A.J.S.) was said to have retired at Union Mills, the rider being all right.

In the meantime, the battle was developing, and it looked as if Alan Shepherd had the edge on Holmes and Boyce, while F. A. Rutherford (Norton) was creeping up slowly. On our reckoning, Shepherd had a 15 seconds lead over Holmes and Boyce.
A.H. Frost (Norton) toured past Creg-ny-Baa. He later retired with mechanical trouble.
Travelling marshal Albert Moule reported from Michael that Patrick, who had retired at Glen Helen, came off when his engine seized. But the rider was o.k.

R. C. Ritchie (Matchless), a 28- year-old senior technician in the R.A.F., crashed at Sulby Bridge and sustained hip injuries. He was taken to Ramsey Cottage Hospital.
Bob Dowty (Norton), 25 mins. 23.6 secs., and Eddie Crooks (Norton), 25 mins. 27.6 secs., held 10th and 12th places respectively at the end of the lap.
Syd Mizen lapped in 26 mins, 18.4 secs., and Ken Taubman took 29 mins. 6 secs.

As the clouds built up and the wind strengthened, Alan Shepherd flashed through on his second lap.
He was ten seconds ahead of Alan Holmes, who had a slight lead of eight seconds over Boyce. Eddie Crooks gave the "thumbs down" sign as he sped through.
This seemed to be an unfortunate week for the young Douglas rider.
Holmes was chasing Shepherd through the tricky Glen Helen section, and on to the north of the Island. And it was possible that he could make up time on the windswept Mountain section.
The leading man on the road, E. J. Washer (Norton) pulled in at the end of this lap to refuel and he was two seconds ahead of sixth man, Jimmy Drysdale (Norton).

First sensation in the race came with the news that Drysdale had to retire at Laurel Bank with magneto trouble, after a very fine first lap. Another retirement was J. C. Holloway (A.J.S.) who gave up with carburettor trouble. Both riders were uninjured.
At the end of this lap, Washer pulled into the pits and refuelled in 25 secs. Langlands retired at Glen Helen with engine trouble, while I. Clarke retired at Appledene with the same trouble. Both were O.K., as was Fitzsimons who retired at the pits with a broken inlet valve.

The second sensation of the race brought news of Alan Shepherd. Commentator Eric Teare at Kate's Cottage said that he had been in trouble when trying to pass a slower man on the bend, but he corrected himself and rode down to Creg-ny-Baa. Shortly afterwards the red light above his number signalled him at Signpost Corner.
To the amazement of the crowd Holmes came streaking through the start ahead of Shepherd, who had to push his machine in after the engine had failed below Signpost Corner. There was a round of applause as Shepherd came into his pit. He effected repairs and made two unsuccessful attempts to get away.
Holmes, now in the lead, was about 20 secs, ahead of Ellis Boyce. Were we to have the first "double” by a Manxman?
The Castletown rider’s second lap was completed in 24 mins. 13.8 secs., a speed of 93.43 m.p.h.
This was two seconds outside his lap record of last year and this in a very high wind.
Manx people were delighted to notice that Bob Dowty had put himself on the leader board.
Crooks lay ninth, with a growing time of 50 mins. 47 secs. Mizen's time was 54 mins. 55 4 secs., and Taubman 's 57 mins. 45 secs

The narrow margin between Manxman Holmes and Boyce was bringing rising excitement amongst the crowd. Boyce, with No. 82 place, had started off ten seconds ahead of Alan who had managed to beat him in two laps by 19 seconds.
Boyce came into the pits to refuel and on rough calculation he was a few seconds ahead of Holmes. The Castletown boy also came in for fuel as well as Manxman Bob Dowty.
Boyce had some difficulty in getting his engine to bang, but it roared into life, and he sped off down Bray Hill as Holmes and Dowty got away.

Here was a new lap record. On his third lap, Boyce completed the circuit in 24 mins. 4 secs., a speed of 94.06 m.p.h. The previous record was 93.59 m.p.h.
He was now in the lead by a little over two seconds.
Eddie Crooks took 27 seconds to refuel. He said that his clutch was not "bedded in," but it was getting much better.
Would Holmes catch up with Boyce in this terrific battle where seconds divided the leader board men?
Ned Minihan, Monday 's Senior newcomer winner, had forced his way to fifth place on the leader board.
Crooks was increasing his speed and crept into eighth place in 1 hr. 15 mins. 57.2 secs. Taubman's growing time was 1 hr. 26 mins. 29 secs., and Mizen's, 1 hr. 22 mins. 31.6 secs.

Excitement was building up as Boyce, now in the lead, and Holmes fought out their titanic struggle. Boyce had but a two seconds lead of the Manx boy, and many were wondering if Holmes was playing a waiting game. Could it be that he was sitting on Boyce's tail until the final stages of the race? After all, it was on Holmes' last lap in the 1956 Senior race that he set up his record. Much could happen in the remaining second half of the race.

At this stage, the retirement of Alan Shepherd was officially announced. He had worked extremely hard to get his machine to go, and it was bad luck on this Grange-over-Sands lad, who had put up a magnificent first lap.
A. Craven (B.S.A.), another fast man, lost the fly screen off the top of his front number plate, which was swinging about. He pulled into the pits and the number plate was removed.
V. M. Naintre (B.S.A.) retired at Ballaugh Bridge with engine trouble. The rider was O.K.

Commentator Eric Teare reported that Ewan Haldane had met "model" trouble after having ridden a magnificent race for half the distance.
This would bring Bob Dowty into third place, with a very fast lap in 24 mins. 17.4 secs., one-fifth of a second faster than Holmes's lap.
Haldane was officially retired at Keppel Gate, with faulty bevels, and yet another casualty amongst the leaders was the retirement of Minihan, the Senior Newcomers' winner, who had engine trouble, and both riders were all right. Two more retirements were B. Kershaw (Norton) with that collective expression "engine trouble," and Denehy at the pits with the same trouble.

Weather conditions were deteriorating as the leading men went through to their fifth lap. One rider reported that the wind on the mountain was so strong that they could not use top gear.
Boyce and Holmes passed on each side of a rider going through Union Mills and their progress was described by the rider as " -------- fast."

How about this for sensation? Boyce came off at Glen Helen, when 19 seconds in the lead.
He suffered a cut hand and was slightly shaken, and this put him out of the race.
A brilliant ride and such hard luck for this very capable rider. So Manxman Holmes was back in the lead, being hotly pursued by Bob Dowty. What an amazing turn of events. A Manxman first and second.
Another Manxman, Eddie Crooks, had jumped on to the leader board in the last lap. His clutch trouble had righted itself. There were only 6.6 seconds between the 7th and 10th men

Uproar was created at the pits when a small brown dog streaked on to the road. Officials frantically tried to catch it but it raced away towards Bray Hill.
Eric Washer had to throttle down as he sped through, but managed to clear the "difficult" section.
The dog was last reported going down Broadway—still running frantically.

M. Redford retired at Glen Duff, while Normanton retired at the Halfway House with a burnt-out clutch. The Bungalow reported that W. H. Dixon retired there with a seized engine, but all were O.K.
D. J. Jarman came off at Ballacraine, but remounted.
Eddie Crookes dropped off the leader board at the end of lap 5, but he lay in seventh place, only three seconds behind the sixth man. Sid Mizen completed five laps in 2 hrs. 14 mins. 38.8 secs.
Taubman completed five laps in 2 hrs. 27 min. 45.6 secs.
Holmes completed a record-breaking ride in 2 hrs. 28 mins. 33.6 secs., a speed of 91.43 m.p.h. This beat the old record by 5.4 secs.

Alan Holmes came through to start his last lap, rock-like and extremely fast. He had a comfortable lead over his team-mate, Bob Dowty, and all the spectators were wondering if Eddie Crooks could speed up and join the Manx pair at the top of the leader board.
Keppel Gate reported low clouds were making things difficult on the mountain section and even at the Grandstand the crowds, wrapped in greatcoats, were still shivering, but stuck gallantly to watch the unfolding of the last act in the great drama being presented on the Snaefell circuit.
Once again everyone was watching the Castletown boy's clock and soon he was checked in at Ballacraine, and later at Glen Helen. It was noted that Eric Washer had jumped ahead of Bob Dowty at the end of the fifth lap, to take second place to Holmes.
His lead over Dowty was said to be 20 seconds. But Washer was over two minutes behind Holmes, who was signalled through Kirk Michael going extremely well. It was not long before he was at Ballaugh.
Commentator David Lay, at Ginger Hall, "took Holmes through" and said that while he was travelling fast, he was very steady indeed.
The back-markers, however, were having their troubles, and a fancied man, G. C. A. Murphy (Matchless), retired at Sarah's Cottage with engine trouble.
R. J. Harrison retired at Laurel Bank and J. R. Thurston left the course at Bray Hill and retired.

Rain was falling over some parts of the course and was making things difficult for the riders. Travelling marshal Peter Crebbin reported that J. Bullock (Matchless) had come off on the Michael section and been seen by a doctor. His shoulder was hurt, but he was O.K.
All eyes were now on Holmes' clock and the tension mounted as he was signalled at Ramsey, at the Gooseneck and on to the Mountain Box. At Keppel Gate he was reported to be going "like a flash" sweeping across the road to take the "left hander" and living up to his name of the "Manx meteor," as the people on the Grandstand waited for the red light to shine, which would signal Holmes at Signpost Corner.
And as team-mate Eddie Crooks crossed the line, Alan was at Signpost and there was an expectant hush.
But there was Alan coming down the road to take the chequered flag and he received a tremendous burst of applause in a tribute to the wonderful riding of this Castletown man who had pulled off a Manx "double" and was 2½ minutes ahead of the runner-up.

The Southern Motor-Cycle Club "A" team of Holmes, Dowty and Crooks easily won the Club team award.

R. D. Wroe (Velo) crashed in Michael Village on his last lap, when the engine of his machine seized.
A doctor was in attendance and Wroe was reported to be drinking tea "so cannot be hurt much."

Out of 90 starters there were 60 finishers and 15 of them received replicas. Fastest newcomer, and replica winner, was P. C. Middleton (Norton) who finished ninth. Of the 19 newcomers who made up the list 14 completed the race. Manxmen Eddie Crooks and Sid Mizen also gained replicas.


1Holmes, Alan2:28:33.0091.43Norton
2Washer, Ernie2:30:48.0090.08Norton
3Dowty, Robert2:31:18.0089.77Norton
4Rutherford, Frank2:31:55.0089.42Norton
5Hurlstone, John2:33:12.0088.67Norton
6Lewis, John2:33:16.0088.63Norton
7Crooks, Eddie2:33:38.0088.41Norton
8Graham, Tom2:34:34.0087.89Norton
9Middleton, Peter2:36:03.0087.04Norton
10Price, Norman2:36:56.0086.56Norton
11Craven, Alan2:38:55.0085.48BSA
12Stephenson, S.R.2:40:17.0084.74Matchless
13Mizen, Syd2:41:10.0084.29Norton
14Godfrey, Tony2:41:14.0084.25Norton
15Arnold, M.D.2:43:20.0083.17Norton
16Thompson, Roy2:43:55.0083.13Norton
17Davies, Eugene2:44:15.0082.7Norton
18Hancock, M.R.2:44:21.0082.65Norton
19Butler, G.R.2:44:24.0082.63Norton
20Whitehouse, Ralph2:44:24.0082.63Norton
21Dakin, D.L.2:45:01.0082.32AJS
22Lund, Bernie2:45:38.0082BSA
23Turner, G.H.2:45:41.0081.98BSA
24Anderson, William R.2:45:58.0081.84Norton
25Castle, R.2:47:38.0081.03BSA
26Snell, R.S.2:47:42.0081Matchless
27Carman, Richard2:48:01.0080.84AJS
28Munday, Michael2:48:11.0080.77Norton
29Boughey, Roy2:48:26.0080.64Norton
30Cortvriend, Barry2:48:32.0080.59Matchless
31Trustham, Jack2:48:41.0080.53AJS
32Wilson, G.2:48:52.0080.43Norton
33Gittins, Maurice2:49:00.0080.38Norton
34Hill, W.J.2:49:19.0080.22Matchless
35Povey, Lawrence2:50:31.0079.66BSA
36Fiddament, E.G.2:51:09.0079.36Norton
37Lewis, S.C.2:51:19.0078.29
38Douglass, Kenneth William James2:52:52.0078.59BSA
39Gibson, Harry2:52:57.0078.54BSA
40Wassell, Maurice2:53:14.0078.41AJS
41Alcock, Geoff2:53:22.0078.35AJS
42Phillipson, T.H.2:55:21.0077.47AJS
43Sutherland, A.R.2:55:51.0077.25BSA
44Watson, T.F.2:56:52.0076.8BSA
45Denniss, Brian2:57:07.0076.69Norton
46Swetman, R.J.2:57:14.0076.64AJS
47Virco, Alan2:58:01.0076.3BN Special
48Jones, M.J.2:58:24.0076.14Norton
49Stephens, W.A.2:58:50.0075.95BSA
50Taubman, Ken2:59:01.0075.88Matchless
51Darvill, Peter2:59:41.0075.6PJD Vincent
52Morton, Jimmy3:03:41.0073.95BSA
53Flury, Lawrence3:03:44.0073.93AJS
54Voice, Harry3:07:01.0072.64AJS
55Evans, Lawrence Edward3:07:19.0072.51BSA
56Thurston, Colin A.3:08:27.0072.08Special
57Dawson, Robin3:11:38.0070.89BSA
58Ratcliffe, Ken3:11:54.0070.78Matchless
59Newall, John3:19:37.0068.05BSA
60McGuinness, B.3:27:01.0065.62Norton
RBoyce, Ellis0Norton
RBullock, Jack0Matchless
RClarke, Ian0Norton
RDenehy, Brian0Norton
RDixon, Bill0BSA
RDraper, R.H.0Norton
RDrysdale, Jimmy0Norton
RFellows, Desmond0BSA
RFitzsimmons, W.N.0Norton
RFrost, Arthur0Norton
RJackson, J.F.0Norton
RJarman, Den0Norton
RKershaw, B.0Norton
RLanglands, Ian0Norton
RLongman, George0Velocette
RMayhew, Roy0Norton
RMcStay, Michael0Norton
RNaintre, Victor0BSA
RNormanton, J.0Norton
RPatrick, Ken0Norton
RRedford, Maurice0Norton
RRedman, Frank0AJS
RShepherd, Alan0Norton
RStretch, Ron0AJS
RThorp, Tom0Norton
RThurston, John0BSA
RWroe, Ramon0Velocette
RYoung, Lewis0JV Special
RDownes, GrahamAJS
RHaldane, EwenNorton
RHarrison, R.J.Norton
REvans, A.E.Norton
RRitchie, BobMatchless
RMinihan, NedNorton
RFulton, BillNorton
RHolloway, JohnAJS
RBurgess, F.BSA


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