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1959 Junior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: 1959 Junior Manx Grand Prix

Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 11 Sept 1959 (p. 5), below which is a full list of competitors.

Middleton Wins Junior M.G.P.


Pushes In To Finish

PETER MIDDLETON, who started nearly 21 minutes after Tom Thorp, the almost certain winner of the Junior Manx Grand Prix had finished the race and was waiting, like everyone else, to hear the news that Thorp had won when there came the shattering news that Thorp must have stopped, and then the dramatic announcement that he was out of the race and that Middleton was the winner. The Yorkshireman, a 27- year-old mechanic from Liversedge, was naturally jubilant.

Middleton had been third for the first two laps, when Thorp was second to Eddie Crooks, but when the Manx ace went out on the third lap and Thorp took over the lead, he looked all over a winner—until trouble overtook him on the last few miles of the last lap. He pushed his machine over the finishing line and missed a replica by just over a minute.
The race was not free from accidents, but only one was really serious. There were 10 non-starters men who had not arrived, failed to qualify or become casualties in practices, so that 122 riders faced the starter's flag, making it the largest road race in the world. Seventeen teams were nominated, five from B.M C.R.C. Ltd. two from Horsforth and District and one each from West Bromwich M.C.C. Avon Valley. Westminster M.C.C. Leicester Query, Grasshopper (Romford), Winsford and D.M.C. Falkirk and D.M.C, Stevenson M.C.C. Southern (I.o.M. ) — (J E. Griffiths, J. T. Griffiths and Ray-mond Kelly) and Ramsey M.C. and C.C. ( Mike Kelly, ' Eddie Crooks and Bill Anderson.

As the riders assembled on the grid, the Clerk of the Course (Mr G. D. Hanson) told them that racing conditions were "absolutely perfect." Messages had been received from all round the course giving the same word “perfect"—roads dry, no leaves, and visibility good. Present on the grandstand were His Excellency the Deputy Governor and Mrs S. J. Kneale and this year's guest of honour. T.T. star Harold Daniell.

First Lap
At 10-45 a.m. the maroon signalled the departure of No. 1 K. A. Lindsay and the remaining men got away at 10 second intervals, though a number had difficulty in getting away "clean" —including Gordon Bell (A.J.S.) R. Emerson (Norton),W. Rae (A.J.S.), G. E. Corlett (A.J.S.) and D. Williams (Norton ). As No. 48. R. S. Mayhew (A.J.S.) got away, Lindsay was signalled at Ballacraine, followed by Peter Middleton (Norton ) and N. J. Price (Norton) and it looked as though Eddie Crooks had passed a few on his way to that point.

It also looked as if young Mike Kelly (Norton) was in a hurry, because his indicator went to "Kirk Michael' ' a few seconds after Ned Minihan (A.J.S.). By 11-07 a.m. the field was away and the crowds at the grandstand and the various vantage points settled down to the festival of speed. And it was evident from course reports that the leading riders were going to fight tooth and nail for the coveted "Motor Cycle" Trophy. Peter Middleton (Norton) John Griffiths and Phil Richardson (A.J.S.) roared through the pits and it was obvious that the latter was putting on pressure. Two retirements came in the early stages when C .O. Watson (Norton) had a seized engine at Ballagarey and Phil Richardson (A.J.S.) stopped at Sulby Bridge.

A. Newstead (Norton) crashed at Braddan Bridge. He suffered facial injuries and a damaged wrist and received medical attention. G. B. Rudd (B.S.A.) was unlucky before the race when he found his petrol tank was split. He was given permission to re-place it and started as last man. W. H. Dixon (B.S.A.) stopped at the Bungalow to effect repairs but later retired, and Bill Anderson (Norton) stopped at Michael to make adjustments. From a preliminary announcement of the first lap times it could be seen that Eddie Crooks was wasting no time in establishing a lead with a lap of 25 mins. 1.8 secs. — 10 seconds outside Alastair King's lap record—from a standing start. Manxman J. C Goldsmith (B.S.A.) pulled into the pits, effected repairs to his machine and went on his way again as G. E. Briggs (B.S.A.) retired at Ballacraine.

The excitement was increasing as the riders set off for their second circuit and all eyes were on Eddie Crooks who was picking up places as he careered round the T.T. Course in a swift and steady manner chased by Tom Thorp.

A minor sensation was caused when the news came through that practice board leader Michael Brookes (Norton) had retired at Union Mills with engine trouble. So ended his hopes of premier honours. This was followed by another crop of retirements—F. Burgess (Norton) at Ballacraine with engine trouble, Bill Anderson at Michael with a seized engine (putting the Ramsey team out) while Rudd split his tank again. "Obviously the rider had strong knees" added announcer David Lay.

Ian Wallace (Norton) crashed at Laurel Bank and sustained a cut hand which was treated by the doctor. Meanwhile the battle between Crooks. Thorp and Middleton was progressing favourably and it was thrilling to see Crooks go through (No. 54) shortly behind Ned Minihan (No. 29), followed by Mike Kelly (42).

Third Lap
As Crooks sped through to his third lap his engine roared healthily and he was going great guns.

Then, alas came the great blow to Manx hopes as his indicator stuck at Ballacraine. Somewhere between there and Kirk Michael Eddie had met with trouble and news was awaited of his bad luck. The progress of Ron Langston, lying sixth in the leader board, was watched with interest. A former outstanding trials rider, this was his first appearance in the "Manx”. The high speeds produced more retirements—W. Milne (Norton) and E. Whiteside (Norton) at the Start; R. H. Carmen (Norton) at Ballacraine and John Adam (Norton) at Cronk-ny-Mona. The news came through that Eddie Crooks had retired at Sarah's Cottage with magneto trouble — with the cheerful addition that the rider was O.K. Hard luck, Eddie! P. J. Darvill (Norton) touched Sulby Bridge with his handlebars and came off, luckily without injury. At this stage it was interesting to check on the number of practice leader board stars who had retired—Michael Brookes, Eddie Crooks, R. H. Carman and John Adam This, surely was the most open Junior Manx Grand Prix ever.

One more retirement, and another fancied man, John Holder (Norton) at Ballacraine. At the Waterworks, N. J. Price (Norton) retired and K. Heckles (B.S.A.) called it a day at the pits.

From the Nook came a report that G. D. Bell (Norton) came off and was a bit shaken, though unhurt, and had retired. Thick mist swirled in over the grandstand, causing slight misapprehension to spectators, but news from the Mountain and elsewhere indicated continuing ideal conditions. Seventh to 12th positions at the end of the second lap were: Boyce (Norton), Phil Read (Norton), Ginger Payne (Norton), C. Huxley (AJ S). Mike Kelly (Norton) and D. F. Shorey (Norton). K. Bannister (Norton) retired on the Verandah with a seized engine and M. King (B.S.A.) was at Barregarrow making adjustments.

Fourth Lap
With Crooks out of the race, Tom Thorp held a comfortable lead and it was Peter Middleton and John Lewis who were providing the excitement — especially the latter, who had slipped into second place by a mere four seconds.

And for Manx people came an exciting turn to the race—Mike Kelly took sixth place on the leader board, less than three seconds behind Derek Williams. Langston was over a minute ahead of Derek Williams and the private battles between Lewis and Middleton and Williams and Kelly provided thrills for the crowds round the course. Then another sensation! Lewis went out of the race at the Bungalow with engine trouble— a generic term covering multifarious faults but still a toppler of the racing gods. Two other retirements—J. C. Goldsmith (B.S.A.) at the pits (after riding for a couple of laps without a number plate) and J. E. Griffiths—another notable— at the same place, along with J. R. Hudson (Velo.). J. R. Cripps (Norton) came off at the Waterworks without injury, and retired, and J. D. Morton (B.S.A.) called it a day at Brandywell.

Fifth Lap
With such a "ten little n***** boys" atmosphere about this race—the leading men falling rapidly by the wayside—it was difficult to make a leader-board pattern. One thing was certain, that Tom Thorp was in a strong leading position — over 90 seconds ahead of second man Peter Middleton.

Unless something serious occurred the race was in the bag for Thorp after a very fine and consistent ride. When the fifth lap times went up it was seen that R. C. Ritchie (A.J.S.), T. Godfrey (AJ.S.) and Ellis Boyce (Norton) had displaced Derek Williams and Mike Kelly on the leader board, the latter going down to 10th place. This no doubt was due to a pit stop at the end of the third circuit, which would put him back half-a-minute.

No one could deny that there were thrills galore in the ever- changing leader board, particularly at the end of the fourth lap with only 38 seconds separating third to sixth men—and six seconds between fourth and sixth. Ellis Boyce, unfortunate in past Manx Grand Prix rides, was making his presence felt, and he roared through the pits intent on big business.

Last Lap
As Thorp was speeding on his way to Ballacraine, Peter Middleton — in second place — came through to take the chequered flag and the applause of the grandstand crowd for his very fine performance. Meanwhile the news of other, but more unfortunate riders, was posted with P. J. Dunphy (Norton) retiring at Crosby with a seized engine. A crash at Ramsey put H. Crowder (A.J.S.) out of the race, and he was given medical attention.

Thorp was signalled at Kirk Michael and reported to be going great guns through the village en route to the north. Shorey (Norton), lying 11th in the race, free-wheeled past Creg-ny Baa to retire at the pits, and, at Ramsey, Manxman Raymond Kelly (Norton) retired with a seized engine.
Then came the greatest sensation of all—Thorp was out of the race, He was reported as roaring healthily up the Mountain and the public address system was switched to Keppel Gate for Eric Teare to take the leader through. With a tentative "Thorp has not gone through yet," Eric suddenly spotted a rider pushing his machine towards Keppel. It was Thorp. A few miles from the chequered flag and a Junior race triumph, he had been cruelly robbed by engine trouble at the Bungalow. So Middleton was the winner of the 1959 Junior Manx Grand Prix and Langston had put up a magnificent performance to take second place. This excitement tended to overshadow the shuffling going on with the other leader board men and all eyes were on Ellis Boyce's lap time to see if he had overtaken Godfrey. He had—by one second! So it was Middleton first, Langston in second place and, a mere five seconds in arrears, R. C. Ritchie. One second behind him was Boyce and one second behind him was T. Godfrey—surely the closest finish of any race.

Perhaps the most moving moment of all came when Tom Thorp pushed his silent machine over the line—a gruelling finish which earned the crowd’s sympathetic applause. Manxman Mike Kelly finished in ninth place in 2 hrs. 35 mins. 57.2 secs. R. Bisbey (A.J.S.) retired at the Quarry Bends with engine trouble. L. L. Brown was stated to have come off between Graham's Memorial and the Bungalow. He was not badly injured.

Note - This newspaper report contains discriminatory language.


1Middleton, Peter2:33:06.0088.73Norton
2Langston, Ron2:34:00.0088.2Norton
3Ritchie, Bob2:34:58.0087.66AJS
4Boyce, Ellis2:34:59.0087.65Norton
5Godfrey, Tony2:35:00.0087.64AJS
6Huxley, Cyril2:35:11.0087.54AJS
7Read, Phil2:35:11.0087.53Norton
8Williams, Derek2:35:19.0087.45AJS
9Kelly, Mike2:35:52.0087.15Norton
10Mayhew, Roy2:36:15.0086.93AJS
11Pratt, Denis2:36:34.0086.76Norton
12Rutherford, Frank2:36:49.0086.61AJS
13Minihan, Ned2:37:40.0086.16AJS
14Woodman, Derek2:38:26.0085.74Norton
15Davies, Eugene2:38:30.0085.7Norton
16Reynolds, Frank2:38:33.0085.68Norton
17Fulton, Bill2:38:36.0085.64Norton
18Bell, Gordon2:38:54.0085.49AJS
19Darvill, Peter2:39:26.0085.2AJS
20James, L.A.2:39:51.0084.97Norton
21Duncan, David2:39:59.0084.9AJS
22Payne, Ginger2:40:24.0084.69Norton
23Williams, David2:40:34.0084.6Norton
24Culshaw, Roy2:40:36.0084.58Norton
25Rae, Jimmy2:40:45.0084.5Norton
26Nutter, John2:41:00.0084.37AJS
27Siddles, Bill2:42:35.0083.55Norton
28Saward, Gerry2:43:00.0083.34AJS
29Cooper, Stan2:43:36.0083.03Norton
30Urquhart, Lindsay2:44:11.0082.74AJS
31Hislop, Sandy2:44:35.0082.54Norton
32Smith, Dave W.2:44:51.0082.4Norton
33Craven, Alan2:44:57.0082.35BSA
34Eccles, Geoff2:44:57.0082.34BSA
35Riley, Harold2:45:05.0082.29Norton
36Fisher, Anthony2:45:12.0082.23Norton
37Dawson, Robin2:46:13.0081.72AJS
38Rae, W.2:46:34.0081.55AJS
39Wroe, Ramon2:47:07.0081.28Norton
40Griffiths, John2:47:47.0080.96Norton
41Sutherland, George2:48:05.0080.82Norton
42Fellows, Desmond2:48:33.0080.59BSA
43Gribbin, Terry2:48:56.0080.4BSA
44Shorey, Dan2:49:17.0080.24Norton
45Corlett, Ted2:49:20.0080.21AJS
45=Thorp, Tom2:49:20.0080.21Norton
47Cooper, H.2:49:36.0080.1Norton
48Lindsay, Ken2:49:41.0080.06BSA
49Evans, Gary2:49:48.0080.82BSA
50Patrick, John2:50:02.0079.89Norton
51Prentice, Geoff2:50:30.0079.67Norton BSA
52Reilly, V.2:50:32.0079.66AJS
53Clarke, Ian2:50:40.0079.59Norton
54Raynor, Harry2:52:42.0079.57AJS
55Hill, W.J.2:51:26.0079.23Norton
56Walton, Fred2:52:56.0078.54BSA
57Morecock, P.G.E.2:53:33.0078.27AJS
58Millins, Roger2:55:27.0077.42AJS
59Walker, Tom2:55:32.0077.39BSA
60Bullock, P.2:55:55.0077.22BSA
61Pilling, Derek2:56:31.0076.95AJS
62Malam, A.D.2:57:18.0076.62BSA
63Thurston, John2:57:23.0076.57BSA
64Appleyard, Colin2:58:20.0076.17AJS
65Emerson, R.2:58:22.0076.16Norton
66Waite, Donald2:58:39.0076.04BSA
67Higginson, A.2:58:49.0075.96BSA
68Gaunt, Peter2:58:50.0075.95BSA
69Sweetman, Norman2:58:53.0075.94BSA
70Edwards, Colin2:59:19.0075.75
71Brock, Bill3:01:35.0074.81BSA
72Holloway, John3:03:09.0074.17AJS
73Oldfield, G.E.3:05:10.0073.36BSA
74Walker, J.3:06:23.0072.88AJS
75Muir, Terry3:06:26.0072.86AJS
76Wastell, F.3:10:35.0071.27BSA
77Chivers, F.G.3:11:04.0071.09BSA
79Castle, R.3:18:12.0068.54AJS
80King, Michael3:24:18.0066.49BSA
RAdam, John0Norton
RAnderson, William R.0Norton
RBannister, K.W.0Norton
RBisbey, Roy0Norton
RBriggs, Gordon0BSA
RBrookes, Mike0Norton
RBrown, L.L.0Norton
RCarman, Richard0AJS
RCrowder, Horace0AJS
RDixon, Bill0BSA
RDuckett, Vin0BSA
RDunphy, Joe0Norton
RGittins, Maurice0Norton
RGoldsmith, John0BSA
RGriffiths, J.F.0Norton
RHeckles, Keith0BSA
RHurlstone, John0Norton
RJackson, J.F.0BSA
RJarvis, P.V.0BSA
RJones, C.L.0Norton
RKenyon, George0BSA
RMilne, Bill0Norton
RMinto, Roy0Norton
RMorton, Jimmy0BSA
RNeale, J.R.0Velocette
RNewstead, Alan0Norton
RPrice, Norman0Norton
RRichardson, Peter0AJS
RRudd, G.B.0BSA
RTurner, G.H.0AJS
RVicarage, H.0BSA
RWhiteside, Ted0Norton
RCripps, JohnNorton
RCarr, BrianNorton
RHudson, JohnVelocette
RLewis, JohnNorton
RWallace, IanNorton
RWatson, CharlesNorton
RKelly, RayNorton
RBurgess, F.Norton
RCrooks, EddieNorton


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