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Bill Doran

Record type: Motorsport Biographies

Biography: Junior - AJS
Senior - AJS

Age 36, a motor engineer, of Rossendale, Lancs. Bill Doran is one of the most prominent riders of the day and is a member of the official AJS team.

He rode in the 1946 “Manx” Junior and Senior, on a 348 Norton, and finished both – twenty-second in the Junior and twenty-third in the Senior. Was in the same two races in 1947, again on Nortons, but this time had a 499 model for the Senior. Retired on the third lap in the Junior, but was seventh in the Senior, at 75.08 mph and won a replica.

Turned “International” in 1948, riding an AJS in the Junior and a Norton in the Senior, finishing twenty-seventh in the Junior. In the Senior, he came on to the leader board in sixth place on the third lap and retained his position on the fourth, rising to fifth on the fifth lap, and fourth on the sixth, behind Bell, Daniell and Tenni. Then owing to Tenni’s delay and Daniell’s retirement, Doran drew into second place.

Bill is best known, perhaps, for his brilliant failure in the 1949 Junior TT and for his brilliant win in the 500 class of the Belgian Grand Prix soon after.

In the Junior TT he was second on the first lap to his team-mate Les Graham, and next lap when Les retired he came into the lead, which he held for the next five laps. At the end of the sixth lap he was eleven seconds ahead of Fred Frith, but he retired at the Gooseneck on the last lap.

In the Senior TT on the following Friday, he was third on the fourth and fifth laps, after which he began to slow down and finished eighth.

Going over to the Continent, he was third in the Swiss Grand Prix, one-fifth of a second only behind Les Graham. His luck turned, however, in the Belgian Grand Prix a fortnight later when he won the 500 class by one-fifth of a second from Artesani (Gilera) and averaged 95.25 mph. This was the fastest speed at that time for a post-war road race.

He started off the 1950 season well by winning the 350cc race at Floreffe, beating his team-mate Les Graham by 2/5ths of a second.

In practice for the TT, however, when he had already put up some very good laps, he came off on the first left-hand bend after Ballig Bridge and broke a leg, which put him out of racing for the rest of the season. The bend where he crashed is becoming known at “Doran’s Corner”!

He is a “senior member” of the official AJS team in both races.
(TT Special, 4 June 1951, pp.10-11.)

Competed in

1953 Senior TT52:54:25.0090.86AJS
1953 Junior TT53:02:23.0086.9AJS
1951 Senior TT22:53:19.2091.44AJS
1951 Junior TTRAJS
1949 Senior TT83:12:04.4082.51AJS
1949 Junior TTRAJS
1948 Senior TT23:17:16.0080.33Norton
1948 Junior TT273:41:00.0071.71AJS
1947 Senior MGP73:00:57.0075.08Norton
1947 Junior MGPRNorton
1946 Senior MGP233:43:58.00Norton
1946 Junior MGP223:30:30.00Norton


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