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First race after WW1. 1920 Isle of Man TT
John Hulbert
John Hulbert
02 Jun

First race after WW1. 1920 Isle of Man TT

The ACU had insisted on a minimum of 30 entries for each race before agreeing to a resumption of the TT in 1920, and decided to introduce a new Lightweight class for 250 cc machines, which would be incorporated within the Junior race.

The Mountain Circuit was extended to its current length of 37 3/4 miles, with the riders turning left at Cronk-ny-Mona, and taking in Signpost, Bedstead and Governor's Bridge before reaching the new start-and-finish area, just a few yards down the road from the present grandstand.

Nineteen Junior and just four Lightweight machines shattered the post-war depression as they continued the TT story after the enforced six-year lay-off.

The 1914 winner, Eric Williams, soon established a new Junior lap record of 51.36 mph, but retired with mechanical failure. Cyril Williams, riding a similar machine, took up the challenge and built up an impressive 20-minute lead before hitting severe transmission problems at Keppel Gate, four miles from the finish.

A combination of freewheeling and pushing brought the exhausted Williams to the line for a well-earned victory over the Blackburne of Watson-Bourne. His winning margin was still nine minutes, but the outcome could have been very different. Veteran campaigner R. O. Clark, riding a Lightweight Levis, crashed just before Keppel Gate on the last lap and had to nurse his machine home. He eventually finished fourth (first in the Lightweight class). Had it not been for the accident, he could easily have won the Junior overall, but how many times has that been said in the history of the TT races.

The six-lap Senior was not so dramatic, with just four factory teams (Sunbeam, AJS, Indian and Norton) in the 31-strong entry.

Local man Dougie Brown took over on his Norton, but was overhauled by the eventual winner, Tommy de la Hay, riding another Sunbeam. De la Hay and Brown, who was second, became the first riders to average over 50 mph for a complete race.

🏆 350cc JUNIOR TT Race

Held on 15 June 1920, at 9:30 am over a distance of 188.75 miles (5 laps of 37.75 miles each), limited to machines of cylinder capacity not exceeding 350cc., with a class for 250 cc. engines run concurrently for The Motor Cycle cup. Out of 32 entries, comprising 8 two-strokes, 16 four-stroke Singles, 7 Flat Twins and 1 V Twin, twenty-four started the race and only eleven finished.

#1 Cyril Williams - £40 and a gold medal.
#2 J. A. Watson-Bourne - £20 and a gold medal.
#2 J. S. Holroyd - £10 and a gold medal.
#3 R. O. Clark - Winner of The Motor Cycle Trophy and a gold medal.

Riders line up on the grid ready for the start with Albert Milner, Diamond (#21), and N. C. Heath, AJS (#4) sitting on their motorcycles on the back row.

🏆 500 SENIOR TT Race

Held on 17 June 1920, at 9:30 am over a distance of 226.50 miles (6 laps of 37.75 miles each), limited to machines of cylinder capacity not exceeding 500cc. Out of 29 entries, comprising 21 four-stroke singles, 5 V Twins, 3 Flat Twins and no two-strokes. Twenty-seven riders started the race and fourteen finished.

#1 Tommy de la Hay - £50 and a gold medal.
#2 Duggie Brown - £25 and a medal from Manx Motor-Cycle Club.
#3 W. R. Brown - £15 and a medal from Manx Motor-Cycle Club. 1st Private entry

Motorcycles, competitors, and spectators in the paddock. Junior race.

Harold Petty (#61), Duggie Brown (#56), and Lieut. F. C. North (#63) work on their Norton motrocycles in the garage.

The riders lined up on the grid with F. W. Applebee, Levis (#13), G. Kuhn, Levis (#14), R. O. Clark, Levis (#25), and P. Pike, Diamond (#23), forming the front row.

A view of the paddock. Junior race.

F. W. Applebee, Levis, starts while officials, G. Kuhn, Levis, and R. O. Clark, Levis, look on. Junior race.

Competitors with their motorcycles next to the scoring board.

H. V. Prescott looks on as fluid is poured into his AJS. Junior race.

George Cowley Snr, AJS. Junior race.

A. F. Houlberg, Wooler, J. A. Watson-Bourne, Blackburne, and S. A. Marks, Diamond, push their motorcycles past the pit area. Junior race.

A competitor with officials. Junior race.

A competitor with officials. Junior race.

Eric Longden works on his DOT motorcycle. Junior race.

#race #tt #tt1920 #IOMTT

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