Blog by John Hulbert
“Flying Freddie” and Walter Denny - a lightning partnership…
John Hulbert
John Hulbert
1 month ago

“Flying Freddie” and Walter Denny - a lightning partnership…

The humble sidecar has been around for almost as long as the motorcycle itself, however it still took almost 16 years before it surfaced at a TT event. The 1923 Isle of Man TT saw the introduction of the first sidecar race, set over three laps of the Mountain Circuit. It proved an instant hit and something a little different for enthusiasts.

The race was won by none other than “Flying Freddie” Dixon and co-rider Walter Denny on a Douglas flat-twin [number 55] fitted with a special ‘banking’ sidecar. The race was won accident-free in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, at an incredible average speed of 53.15 mph

The unique Douglas outfit was designed and built by Dixon, and was advanced for the time. The sidecar wheel was mounted on a 7 inch crank that was raised or lowered by the passenger with the long lever situated in front of the wheel. This ingenious design enabled the whole machine to bank into the various circuit bends, and thus increase cornering speeds. In Freddie’s words:

“Its effect was naturally more marked on left-hand corners, but, of course, it was very useful on right-hand bends as well. It was operated by my passenger, but, except on a quick S-bend such as Braddan Bridge, I didn’t expect him to judge when to put it into action-whenever possible I gave him a signal for each bend and he then got busy.”

The Douglas machine also boasted disc brakes which were mounted to all three wheels; technology that was quite something for the year!

In second place was Graham Walker and co-rider Tony Mahon on a Norton. Third was taken by another legendary duo, George Tucker and Walter Moore, again on a Norton. The fastest Sidecar lap was achieved by Harry Langman on a Scott at a speed of 54.69 mph.

1923 marked the beginning of sidecar racing at the Isle of Man which still continues to this day, albeit at slightly elevated pace! It also marked Freddie’s first big win and the start of a golden career in motorcycle racing with the mighty Douglas

#TTRace #TT1923

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