In 1911 American bikes won the Senior TT; in 1912 it was the turn of the two-strokes—but two-strokes from Yorkshire, so that’s OK. As usual it was all pretty wild and woolly…
THE REGULATIONS for this year’s TT Races have been passed by the Auto Cycle Union, and nothing now remains except to secure a large entry and a sufficiency of funds to ensure good races taking place. The rules are practically the same as for the 1911 events, with the one very important alteration regarding cubical capacity of the cylinders. Last year multi-cylinder engines were allowed 85cc greater capacity in the Senior race and 40cc extra in the Junior race. This year single and multi-cylinders will compete on level terms for the first time in the history of the race, and all engines, no matter of what type, must be within the same limits, viz, Senior race 500cc, Junior race 350cc. Thus the Senior twins are brought down to the level of last year’s singles, the Junior singles go up 50cc, and the Junior twins 10cc. The most important alteration is in connection with the Junior singles, and some excellent results may be expected from a single-cylinder engine of, say, 76x77mm (349cc), particularly if the machine be fitted with a change-speed gear.
TT ENTRANTS and the Olympia Show: The Scott Engineering Co Ltd have sent us a copy of a resolution passed at the meeting of the Manufacturers’ Union with a request that we give it publicity. The resolution reads as follows: “That in all cases where a bond is adopted by 80 per cent of the members of any section, those members of that section refusing to sign such bond shall be excluded the first ballot for space at any exhibition which may hereafter be promoted by the Union, and from all benefits as to rebates or allowances in respect of show charges.” It will be remembered that the Scott Engineering Co Ltd, and Messrs H Collier and Sons Ltd, declined to sign the TT bond.
THE VISIT BY Mr TW Loughborough, secretary of the Auto Cycle Union, to the Isle of Man came to an end on Wednesday. Our representative met Mr Loughborough at Euston. He expressed himself as being delighted with his reception, and mentioned that everyone took the greatest possible interest in the races and desired to render every assistance to make them as successful as in previous years. Several road improvements are being effected, notably at Quarter Bridge, where the road is to be widened, and near Greeba Castle, where the corners are being improved. Mr F. Straight, late secretary of the ACU, was in the Island with Mr Loughborough, and on account of his previous experience was able to render his successor a considerable amount of assistance. An important meeting was held at the Government Offices, at which Messrs TW Loughborough, FStraight, T Sargeaunt (Government Secretary), CTC Hughes-Games (chairman of the Highway Board), RH Cubbin (secretary of that body), and Colonel Madoc (Chief Constable) attended, when the final arrangements were completed. It was decided that no competitor would be allowed to use his machine on the course or any part of it after the hours of practice on any day, nor at any time on Sundays. Practising will only be allowed from Wednesday morning, 19th June, to Thursday, 27th June, from 5am to 7am. A competitor must not leave Quarter Bridge after 6am. During the whole of practice silencers must be fitted, but they are not compulsory in the race.
Junior TT Race: Friday, June 28th; distance, 150 miles; cylinder capacity limit, 350cc. Senior TT Race: Monday, July 1st; distance, 187½ miles; cylinder capacity limit, 500cc.
Entries should be forwarded to the Auto Cycle Union, 89, Pall Mall, SW.
A MEETING OF the ACU Competitions Committee was held on Wednesday last week, at which all the entries for the Tourist Trophy Race were accepted except that of Alan E Woodman, the one-legged motor cyclist. The ACU barred Woodman, as the committee considered that his deformity might render him a danger to the other competitors. Woodman is sorely disappointed at the decision…Indignation is felt in the island by the action of the ACU in disqualifying Woodman because he has only one leg. Woodman has lived in England three years purposely to ride in the TT Races, and this year he was to have ridden a Humber. He has a good reputation as a rider on the island, where he has made his home for some time.
This year’s rule that competitors must not use their machines during the daytime is also causing annoyance, and some of the competitors have had to cancel their apartments at the country hotels along the course. The rule was made to prevent riders annoying country people by travelling fast at all hours of the day. The police have instructions to proceed against all riders who drive in any way to the danger of the public. Most of the competitors are stopping in Douglas, and the ACU headquarters are again at the Hotel Sefton on the promenade. The Triumphs and the Scotts will be at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Ramsey, and over a dozen are going to stop at Glen Helen, and several at the hotels in Peel.
Great improvements have been made to the Quarter Bridge corner, where the- road has been widened considerably. Care at this corner will, however, be necessary as of yore. The corner near Mr Hall Caine’s residence has also been widened, and now is an ‘all out’ curve.”
ARE WE GOING to recover the ashes? Will the graceful figure of slender silver adorn Madison Square Garden or Olympia next winter? Such is the question which is agitating all motor cycling circles just now and investing the racing with such vivid interest, despite the enforced absence of many cracks under the manufacturers’ bond. The answer is duplex in nature, and resolves itself into the double-barrelled query. “Can any twin expect to beat the Indians?” and “Can a twin win at all?”
THE TOTAL number of entries received for the Senior Race (five laps, 187½ miles) is forty-nine, and for the Junior Race (four laps, 150 miles) twenty-five. In the Senior Race there are twenty-one private owners, and in the Junior Race eleven private owners.
It is interesting to compare the numbers of the different makes of mounts entered for the TT. The Triumph has been chosen by nine riders in the Senior race, Indian by five, Rudge, Matchless, and NSU four, Singer and Blumfield three, Dot, Scott, Regal-Green, Norton, Zenith, and Douglas two, and Trump-JAP, Regal-Precision, Cayenne, Cleveland, and Rex one each. In the Junior race Humber and Douglas head the list with five each, then come NSU four, Singer three, Alcyon, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Forward two, Ivy-Precision, and OK-Precision one each. [However 10 of the previous year’s marques had dropped out, including Enfield, Matchless, New Hudson and Zenith.]
ON MONDAY morning it seemed strange to see men like Godfrey and Hugh Gibson lounging in the depot with attendants’ badges on their arms [as trade riders for marques which had signed the ACU ‘non-participation’ clause they were barred from the race]; Godfrey in particular scented the air, gauged the wind, and eyed the track like some old racehorse turned out to grass. He was dogmatically confident that his business partner, Frank Applebee, would win outright, and events justified his certainty.
AS THE TIME for starting approached, the competitors were arranged in order of starting in Selburn Road, just off the course. The police exercised their duties in a tactful and excellent manner, while one constable was seen pinning a badge on a competitor. There were four absentees— the three NSUs and Hugh Mason, whose NUT was fitted with the only 2¾hp overhead twin JAP engine in existence. Mason had finished his practice successfully, and on his way to the garage his frame came to grief.
JUST BEFORE ten o’clock Clerk of the Course Mr Nisbet and the two timekeepers, Messrs AV Ebblewhite and FT Bidlake, took up their positions in the pouring rain, and at ten precisely Evans, last year’s winner, was given the word to go, amid the cheers of the
spectators. His engine appeared to misfire at the start. Bailey (Douglas), the hope of Australia, got away in splendid form…Ellis (NUT), while the timekeeper was counting out the seconds before he had to start, had his attention called to a loose terminal on his magneto, and he was still gazing at it when the word to go was given, consequently he lost two minutes. Having fixed the terminal he went off with his stand down, and had to stop to fasten it up.
Stoeffel came up with a newspaper over his machine to keep the rain off. At the word “Go!” his carburetter caught fire, but J Griffiths saved the situation with his cap. Creyton went off on one cylinder, and as he disappeared from view the rain stopped, much to everyone’s relief, and the weather began to improve…The muddy condition of the riders showed that the roads were wet and greasy in the nore shady places on the course…News presently came to hand that Watson and Creyton were walking home. Eventually both arrived together at the depot, and told how both their machines had come to grief near Keppel Gate—Watson through timing gear trouble, Creyton through a seized engine. Bailey had stripped his gears at the hairpin bend near Ramsey, and now the chances of Manxland and Australia were lost.
Poor France, who supplied the only two foreign-made machines, was hopelessly out of it as neither Alcyon finished the first round [Stoefell crashed heavily on the first corner within a minute of starting]…Newman burst a tyre beyond Quarter Bridge and then pushed and rode on the rim to Ballacraine, thereby losing his third position…Then Stoeffel walked in, reporting he had had a puncture and valve trouble. As the said valve took him two hours to dismount, he gave up. Sooted plugs and lubrication trouble, followed by a burst tyre on Bray Hill, which nearly resulted in serious consequences, put JT Bashall out of the running…at last WH Bashall came in sight and, going as well as ever, passed the line amid the cheers of the spectators, while Kickham came in second by 4min 37sec. The crowd immediately became somewhat too anxious to get on to the course, but the stentorian voice of the clerk of the course through the megaphone, followed by a sharp rebuke to the marshals to do their duty, incited the latter to act promptly and keep the people off the road…
Evans, last year’s winner, had more troubles than he could remember, but he stuck gamely to his task, and the fact that he finished earns him our congratulations. Ellis at one point during the race lost all the screws out of his timing gear case except two. He cut some wood plugs and fitted them in the holes to replace the screws that were missing, and the fact that he finished sixth is proof that he wasted no time. This is a very good example of British grit and perseverance.
Results: 1, WH Bashall (Douglas twin) 3hr 46min 59sec, 39.65mph; 2, E Kickham (Douglas twin); 3, HJ Cox (Forward twin); 4, J Stewart (Douglas twin); 5, PW Owen (Forward twin); 6, R Ellis (NUT twin); 7, H Petty (Singer single); 8, J Haslam (Douglas twin); 9, EV Pratt (OK Precision single); 10, H Newman (Ivy-Precision single); 11, PJ Evans (Humber twin) 5hr, 43sec 21sec, 26.21mph.
THE MAIN ROAD from Sulby to Douglas runs through the centre of Ramsey in the form of a soundly macadamised loop, but the racing course takes a short cut via a private road, which has never been properly metalled. This year the private road (some 300 yards in length) was in truly execrable condition, great pools of water three or four inches deep alternating with sludgy puddles and hard ridges. It is impossible to imagine a more diabolical bit of going for racing purposes.
About 9am the roadmen set to work to sweep the. water off the road with heavy brushes, but towards 10am a great storm, which had been hovering over Snaefell, burst upon us, and the only possible plan was to telephone across to Douglas that the men might ride on
the footpath. This permission introduced a certain gymkhana element. The cinder path (4ft 6in wide) had to be mounted at an angle, where a formidable stone wall awaited the unlucky Jehu who miscalculated his swerve off the road; then it flattened out to cross a by-street, and where it began again was well guarded by pools and sludge. Then it ran for 200 yards along some iron railings, through which daring urchins constantly thrust their heads, and finally the riders had to charge down off the path again on to the road at the start of a sharp uphill curve…Harrison Watson pulled up with a dead taut belt of large section absolutely refusing to grip, and lost five minutes drying out.
Cox preferred the road to the path and got through in clouds of spray with a racing engine and much plunging in the sludge. Petty quitted the footpath too soon, and had to stop just as he struck the hill, for his belt was swamped and his plugs flooded. O’Donovan came through very slowly, and managed to dodge all the bunkers. JT Bashall pulled up sadly, and cleaned both his plugs… WH Bashall made an electrifying transit, narrowly missing the wall as he mounted the footpath…Creyton, like several others, shorted his plugs and got his belt slipping in the ‘water jumps’—at one time there were five or six men stalled with drowned machines, but they all got away by mopping the wet off the porcelains…Evans explained his requiring 2¾ hours for the first sixty- two miles by saying he had stopped seventeen times, chiefly due to constant belt troubles and the wet state of the roads. Bailey, in spite of his speedy running (63 miles in 94min), stopped three times in the first round and twice in his incomplete second. The Australian looked bitterly disappointed at his hard luck…
On the third lap WH Bashall and Kickham were quite out by themselves, and as the conditions had improved, the remaining forty-nine miles resolved themselves into a high speed reliability trial between the two Douglas cracks…Bashall wobbled in over the Sulby grease to retire with his back tyre punctured, but was more than consoled when he heard that his brother had a cosy lead…Ellis came in quite coolly, and managed to take a huge bite out of a wad of sandwiches, even im the act of re-starting. The marshals were uneasy at seeing.him take a dirty belt on board, which he claimed to have left behind on the first lap…Pratt’s engine was once again compressionless and blowing through at its joints, but he was uncommonly smart at replacing the washers, and his yellow machine barked away again in good form…
The excitment was intense when Bashall and Kickham rounded the wide sweep into the town almost simultaneously. Bashall pulled up, waving frantically, while Kickham shot through along the footpath, crouching so low that he, almost disappeared into his tank fillers. Bashall only wanted a can of oil emptied into his tank, and shot away again after a lightning stop…
WH Bashall, of Ockham, Surrey, is an amateur motor cyclist and car driver, and has had a most varied experience of all forms of motor vehicles. This was his fifth appearance in TT races, a previous success being second position in the 1908 race, when he rode a 6hp Bat-JAP. Bashall is a rider of fine physique and scales 13 stones, so that the manner in which his little Douglas sped over the ground is all the more remarkable…He was not aware of his position until at Ramsey on the last lap, where Alec Ross told him that Kickham was leading him by a minute. After that, Bashall told us, he rode as he had never ridden before in any TT, which will be best understood by those who know his dash and daring.
He further confided to us that the 350cc Douglas was as fast as his last year’s 585cc Senior twin…He started with his breeches pocket full of tools, but these chafed on the tank, wore a hole through the cloth, and one by one dropped out on the road. Once when he stopped to clean a plug the rag he was using burst into flames. Another incident of his eventful ride was when dropping down the mountain road at a mile a minute speed.
He was gradually overhauling PJ Evans on the Humber, who was responding to the appeal of the Frenchman, Stoeffel, for an inner tube, and just as Evans threw it overboard, Bashall, dashing along in the rear, caught it on his toe and carried it along some distance…It is safe to say that there has never been a more popular winner of any Tourist Trophy. The enthusiasm was tremendous, and Bashall was lifted shoulder high as soon as he dismounted his faithful Douglas.
The fact is that the small engine pulley of the average Junior machine is the weak point of its transmission. Efficient as these pulleys are on dry surfaces, all sorts of troubles crop up on wet roads. Effective magneto and plug covers must also some day be standard; fully twenty stops were recorded through absence of these protectors.
In comparison with last year’s race over the same course the average speeds were slower. When we consider that the winner stopped eight times in all, the poor comparison is explained, especially when it is taken into consideration that the state of the roads was very bad in places, especially early in the race…The splashing of the water on the belts caused violent belt slipping, and the sousing of the magnetos naturally produced short circuiting…
As regards reliability under racing conditions, eleven finished out of twenty-one who started. This is about the average of previous races, but hardly good enough we think. It is the pace which kills, as the old proverb says, and we think it would be wise before the industry decides not to give further support to such contests to seek first to improve these averages, for it is doubtful whether standard machines run at their highest speeds over the same course and under the same conditions would behave any better…roads and weather, which would have little or no effect on the reliability of a motor cycle at ordinary touring speeds, found out the weak spots when the machines were urged to their utmost limits. The results are a distinct score for the multi-cylinder engine and counter-shaft transmission…
The future of the TT is primarily a financial question. Few can seriously criticise the trade for signing an abstinence bond. The expense of competing is extraordinarily heavy, and the race withdraws the cream of a factory testing staff from headquarters at a time when their presence is urgently needed. Several firms have a long start of the rest in racing experience, and only the winners can hope to recoup themselves for their outlay. Price competition is excessively keen nowadays, and shareholders have to be considered…
A COLD NORTH-WESTERLY wind was blowing, it had rained in the early morning, and mist hung heavy on the mountains. Fortunately, however, greasy patches were comparatively few in number. The competitors were roped off from the crowd, and marshals with two ropes—one each side of the road—kept people from encroaching on the men at the start.
Haswell (Triumph) was given the word “go” punctually at 10am. JR Alexander (Indian) got away well, and so did Heaton (Dot), who was the oldest rider in the race. NF Holder’s (Blumfield) engine fired immediately and had a clean, healthy bark. Hart-Davies (Triumph) had a gummy and refractory engine, which required a long, strong push to make it fire. Applebee (Scott), with his father looking proudly on, essayed a start on low gear from a standstill, but in his haste he stopped the engine; it restarted at the second kick. Philipp (Scott) was more successful, and got away in excellent form. Garrett (Regal-Green) was the funny man among the competitors. He, as also did Woodhouse, wore an elaborate blue garter on theleftknee. When Franklin (Indian) got away just before him, accelerating splendidly, with his engine emitting a healthy roar, Garrett facetiously complained of the noise, and later, when he had a stop during the race, he shook hands with a spectator and wished him good-bye.
Bolton’s Rudge was in absolutely new condition and looked wonderfully smart. Griffith, on Watson’s Humber, looked too lightly clad for a long race on a cool morning, wearing a leather waistcoat, flannel trousers, and no gloves. Petty next came up with his Singer with its musical release valve, at which someone remarked, “Hence the machine evidently derives its name.” Ware (Zenith) started on one cylinder, but the other quickly chimed in. Next Bailey, calmly smoking a cigarette, came up to the start. The brothers Collier went off amid the hearty cheers of the crowd. Then came Mundy (Singer), and last of all started Jamieson (Singer) and Kickham (Douglas).
Haswell was announced to have passed the Bungalow, up to which point no one had overtaken him. Soon after he arrived, travelling splendidly, followed by the redoubtable Applebee, whose stand was trailing. All appeared to be going well, and among them Bailey’s gallant little Douglas was conspicuous. News came to hand that Mason, who was fourth in the first lap, had had a fire at Ramsey, but had gone on. However, he was never seen again at Woodlands. AS Jones (Rudge) was reported to have left his machine at Hilberry and to be walking towards the finish. It was long before he arrived, and when he did turn up he told dire tales of a broken valve which had jammed in the cylinder and a broken plug.
Mundy stopped near the timing box through lubrication troubles. The oil refused to flow into the crank case. Hart- Davies was reported to have retired at Ramsey owing to a seized engine, but, to the great astonishment of everyone, he turned up on the next lap and succeeded in finishing. He was disqualified, however, after the race as he took in petrol outside a depot.
The two Scotts seemed to have established themselves as first and second, Mason had retired, and Garrett had lost his place. Franklin had got up to the fourth position, while HA Collier and Reed began to creep up towards the top of the list. Just about this point in the race, PW Owen (Norton), who had not been seen for the first lap, at last appeared, having taken 2hr 25min 28sec to make one circuit. Franklin dropped out owing to a buckled wheel caused by a fall on Bray Hill, and gave the fourth place to HA Collier, who was greeted with applause when he next passed the timing box…Griffith (Humber) managed to complete four laps satisfactorily, and then ran out of petrol on the mountain and had to retire.
Applebee carried off the trophy after a hard fight and well deserved victory. Haswell showed by being beaten only by 6min 54sec that the day of the single-cylinder is not yet over. Had not Philipp’s tyre come off the rim at Ballaugh Scotts would have finished first and second, but Philipp with an oval rim dropped from second to eleventh place. Applebee’s win was most popular, and on his arrival he was lifted shoulder high, a position which he rapidly and modestly changed for terra firma. Hoffmann and Adamson placed two more Triumphs among the first six.
Results: 1, FA Applebee (Scott twin) 3hr 51min 3sec, 48.69mph; 2, JR Haswell (Triumph single); 3, HA Collier (Matchless twin); 4, CR Collier (Matchless twin); 5, JA Hoffmann (Triumph single); 6, JW Adamson (Triumph single); 7, A Kirk (Triumph single); 8, JR Alexander (Indian twin); 9, CR Martin (Triumph single); 10, AH Alexander (Indian twin); 11, Frank Philipp (Scott twin); 12, W Heaton (Dot twin); 13, JF Sirrett (Indian twin); 14, Harry Reed (Dot twin); 15, SL Bailey (350cc Douglas twin); 16, Percy Butler, (Triumph single); 17, E Kickham (350cc Douglas twin); 19, SF Garrett (Regal Green single); 19, IB Hart-Davis (Triumph single, later disqualified); 20, Blumfield Jnr (Blumfield single) 5hr 34min 57sec, 35.73mph.
HOW WORKMANLIKE and clean the brothers Collier keep their Matchless machines! The Indians were all ready for the fray, every detail having received attention, the petrol pipes being wrapped up with insulation tape to prevent leakage in case of a fractured pipe…The Scotts which, on arrival, were immediately surrounded by a big crowd, had two sparking plugs to each cylinder. Plugs have caused this make considerable trouble in the past…The Regal-Green riders were joking everlastingly, and seemed not to be too seriously concerned in the race…
It is strange, after past experience, that such a common trouble as trailing stands should befall TT competitors at this stage, but a number were troubled in this wise. JR Alexander’s stand bumped on to the ground every twenty yards as he flashed past the scoring board, with FA Applebee on his heels. After rounding Quarter Bridge the Scott was much quicker in picking up than the Indian, and so Applebee had overhauled four competitors in little more than one lap. Next Hart-Davies’s burly form loomed in the distance. his leather waistcoat inflated like a balloon by the wind. Already the race had proved far more interesting than the Junior event, the waits being much shorter and less frequent…The times were faster, in my opinion, by reason of the duels being fought out on the course. I noticed Adamson doing a steady 50-55mph along a favourable stretch, and an Indian twin overhauling him, and immediately Adamson realised this he found some more speed somewhere, and these two riders disappeared side by side…Kirk (Triumph) was going in fine style, having passed a number, but we hardly agree with him waving to friends at mile-a-minute speeds…
Petty’s Singer was more of a touring machine than any; it was moderately quiet, too…Mason’s Matchless had momentarily caught fire while being filled with petrol, and the wonder is that more were not ablaze considering the way the spirit was bundled into the tanks and slashed over the hot engines…Applebee was gaining on the No 1 man, and had time to wave and smile…A noticeable feature of the race was the fine running of the eight Triumphs. Almost regularly as clockwork they came round each lap until the fourth when Quentin Smith, the Manxman, was delayed by a burst tyre.
The little Douglases sounded much like the Scotts in the distance and they were going splendidly…There was a short period of suspense at Bray Hill as the inevitable dog ran into the road as a racing machine was heard approaching. It was chased by excited officials, and eventually left the course…CB Franklin (Indian) fell heavily at the Bray Hill corner, but he jumped up, and without stopping to examine his machine shot off again, his front wheel wobbling dangerously. DC Bolton was travelling best of the Rudge trio.
Again I noticed HA Collier only half bent over his mount and looking about unconcernedly…Hugh Mason had fallen at Hilberry corner and damaged his knees, and had been taken to Douglas by a lady motor cyclist on a Scott sidecar. A police whistle denoted the approach of a competitor at this corner. Harry Reed was most cautious here, partly as he had already fallen and cut his hands…
FW Owen on a long-stroke Norton tore by but his engine began to misfire badly, and he stopped to change a plug…The Blumfield machines had suffered a series of mishaps which put them out of the running. They had, unfortunately, had little time for tuning up, though when they passed me there speed was extraordinary. The Colliers were together as usual, HA having overtaken twenty-seven competitors since the start…Let me here say that the Junior Race was child’s play compared to the Senior…One or two men, notably Hugh Mason, Bolton, Martin, and Alister Kirk, rashly eschewed the footpath, and, rushing the bumpy road at speed, did involuntary ‘long-arm balance’ on their handle-bars, simultaneously correcting frightful front wheel wobbles. A number of spectators wisely skedaddled behind an iron fence…
Those who stopped told us the mist on the mountain was very trying, and that speeds over 20mph were as perilous is they were inevitable. Suddenly cries were heard at the filling station, and a pillar of flame shot up from Mason’s Matchless. Instead of mounting and ‘riding the flames out’ as I saw Creyton do two years ago, he flung the machine down in the road The sand was on the far side of the depot, and there were no spades or buckets, but an army of marshals dashed sand upon the Matchless with their hands, and off it went little the worse…Hoffmann, as he passed, caused great gloom by crying that Haswell had seized his engine on Creg Willey; but we guessed he must mean
Hart-Davies. Blumfield had to reinflate his back tyre. Garrett and Bolton once more took the bumps all out, their bodies being jerked several inches up in the air. Quentin Smith’s rear brake was missing—quite the most awkward contretemps imaginable in such an event…Great excitement was caused by six riders all arriving in a clump, and the jockeying that ensued to gain the foot-path and the vantage round the bend into the mountain road was worth seeing…
Hart-Davies toured in looking very disappointed. He reported that his engine had seized six times in sixty miles, and finally his petrol union came loose, and his tank running dry, he had to replenish at an unauthorised point. He was about to retire when we pressed him to finish at all costs, even though he were afterwards disqualified, and off he went again…Petty walked in festooned with rent tubes; his back rim had been so kinked by a large stone that the cover refused to remain in position…
What principally surprised me in the depot work was the fact that some half-dozen of the epicyclic hubs required a most trivial adjustment, and that not one of the riders knew how to perform it. They fumbled and abused the hub until Hugh Gibson or some other bystander explained how the work should be done. Such reckless ignorance in a race is simply astounding!…The judges ‘phoned through that we were to stop Franklin at all costs, as his front wheel was dangerously loose, and a marshal stripped a child of a Red Riding Hood coat and waited at the corner for a long time, but Franklin never came round again…The Triumph men drank hot Bovril when they stopped.
Martin hurled a broken belt at us and nearly lassooed a marshal. Hall reported an hour’s stop with his tyres. Jamieson passed with his stand trailing. Petty after a stay of an hour went off with a fearful squeak in his engine. PW Owen reported using up nine sparking plugs. Hart Davies had seized his engine on two further occasions. Mundy walked in with his back tyre right off the rim. And so on. There was plenty of trouble about…AH Alexander (Indian) showed evidence of a spill, his left knee being plastered with mud; luckily he was wearing leathers.
Emerson (Norton) arrived during the crackling of a particularly noisy single, which shall be nameless, and startled the attendants by sirging out his number with a lusty voice. The attendant jumped, and well he might, for no previous competitor had had to shout his own number; there were too many ready and willing to do it for him…Applebee could not have been ignorant how he stood, yet he was not sitting on his lead and riding quietly to finish, but fighting as though somebody were a minute in front. He nearly came over in this last transit of Ramsey…The victory was tremendously popular in Ramsey, as the Scott and Triumph teams were staying there, and Applebee and Haswell made hosts of friends.
It was a few minutes to two when FA Applebee finished a winner of the Tourist Trophy of 1912, having covered the course of 187½ miles in 3hr 51min 3sec, or an average speed of 48.69mph, ie, 1.14mph faster than 0C Godfrey, last year’s winner. The machine he rode, a two-stroke two-cylinder two-speed chain-driven Scott, shod with Continental tyres, had a capacity of 486.6cc, the smallest engine in the race, excepting the three Junior machines.
Chatting with the winner immediately after the conclusion, he told us that his machine had run faultlessly throughout except for a brief period of misfiring in the first lap. Twice he stopped to replenish his tanks at Ramsey, and with the assistance of 0C Godfrey clocked the record times of 15sec and 14sec respectively. On two occasions his stand fell, but he managed to kick it up on the run. He knew his position every lap, as he had arranged with his father, FW, to signal to him.
“There were no incidents at all,” Applebee said in response to our query. It was a case of “sit fast and hold tight” throughout. Still, judging by the way the Scotts held the road, thanks to their low centre of gravity and smooth running engine, there was less difficulty in holding on than in the case of most of the other leading competitors.
Applebee once ran on to the footpath at Willaston corner, but he did it purposely to avoid the gutter. His radiator was only just warm at the finish, proving the efficiency of the water-cooling apparatus. Surely Godfrey and Applebee are ideal partners, winners respectively in 1911 and 1912.
Mr Alfred A Scott, the designer of the machine bearing his name, saw Applebee’s performance, and was naturally highly delighted. In face of strong opposition, Mr Scott was brave enough to abstain from signing the manufacturers’ bond, and his independence of spirit has brought his machine the finest advertisement it could possibly have had.
Questioned as to whether the gear-driven rotary distributer valve would eventually find a place on the standard machine, Mr Scott said that it certainly improved the flexibility and general running, but he did not like what he called the “abominable gear wheels”. Eventually, however, it might be adopted. The Scott pistons were noticeably clean. Three diagonally cut rings, two above and one below the gudgeon, were used. The gear ratios were 3 and 4.8 to 1.
The first rider: James R Haswell, of Crick, near Rugby, put up a magnificent ride. By reason of his many records at Brooklands, he was regarded by many as having a splendid winning chance, and his opening laps confirmed the belief. Haswell rode fearlessly and cornered in true racing style, several times hitting his right foot-rest on the ground owing to laying over at an acute angle.
He enjoyed a non-stop run except for two halts to replenish at Ramsey, although bothered by a stretched exhaust lifter wire. His Dunlop-tyred Triumph was standard throughout except for the Sturmey-Archer two-speed gear and also a detail in connection with the carburetter, which had a receptacle underneath the float chamber containing a gauze filter. He-used a rubber petrol pipe. The engine was in wonderfully good condition at the finish, the domed-top piston having only one step cut ring at the top and drilled with oil holes. Gear ratios of 4 and 6 to 1 were used.
At the palace
Motor cyclists attended in their thousands at the Palace on Monday evening, when the Clerk of the Rolls handed over the trophy to Applebee, who was cheered to the echo. Much amusement was afforded when efforts were made to persuade Applebee senior
and Haswell to make speeches. Major Lloyd said he hoped that a more strenuous and more interesting TT would be held early in June next year. (Cheers.) The awards were then announced as follow:
FA Applebee (Scott) the Tourist Trophy, £40, and a gold medal.
JR Haswell (Triumph) £20 and a gold medal.
HA Collier (Matchless-JAP) £10 and a gold medal.
JA Hoffman (Triumph) Private Owners’ silver cup.
Gold medals were awarded to CR Collier (Matchless-JAP), JA Hoffmann (Triumph), JW Adamson (Triumph), JR Alexander (Indian), CR Martin (Triumph), AH Alexander (Indian), and Alister Kirk (Triumph).
The consolation prize presented by the proprietors of the Palace to the favourite (decided by vote) who did not finish first was awarded to Frank Philipp (Scott).
Advice from Ixion
“FOR THE BENFIT of future visitors I will commence by offering a few wrinkles about visiting the island in comfort. A machine is essential to an enjoyable visit, and it should be preferably a lightweight, for ease of handling on the steamer. Luggage is a nuisance, as a motor cycle and overalls lumber a visitor up considerably; my tip is to send the kit by parcel post in a couple of large parcels. Indifferent sailors should arrange to leave Liverpool at 10.30am, when a three-hour turbine steamer can be relied on; on the return journey you can pick your boat and your sea, and if you are cutting things fine to catch a train at Liverpool, just label your machine at Douglas and hand it over to the Steam Packet Co; they will take it home for you without any bother at all. Finally, eschew hotels,
which are crowded and noisy in race week; the island abounds with good boarding houses, where the food is excellent and terms are reasonable. It is much pleasanter to stay with a few chosen friends at one of these establishments than to put up at an hotel.” On a more technical note, Ixion added: “I venture to prophesy that if the TT he held next year, and trade affairs permit the Hendee factory to enter heart and soul into the event, the Indians will once more have to be dreaded and beaten…The race showed plainly in what a very casual spirit many entrants undertake their task. I should say that quite half the users of three-speed hubs were ignorant how to adjust their control, the rod of which was liable to get bent in falls, or even by frenzied knee-gripping at anxious moments. More than half the competitors had omitted to make any detailed study of the course. The cracks knew where the bad ruts were, and had studied a definite line at the worst corners, to which they adhered closely every time they came round…If the trade as a whole formally compete next year, we shall not hear of riders seizing their experimental engines every single morning in practice, and finally shilling in the race with an untried piston-cylinder combination.”
☞Some of the Junior twins accelerated perceptibly better after a corner than most of the Senior singles.
☞It is unusual for Franklin to fall. He had two on Monday—one at the Bungalow, and again at Bray Hill, which buckled his front wheel so badly that he was stopped.
☞The Triumph gear ratios were 4 and 6 to 1 (the bottom gear being disconnected), and the riders changed down at every corner to obtain rapid acceleration.
☞EC Paskell’s happy and original idea of entering a Junior machine in the Senior Race on behalf of the Colmore Depot provided most excellent results for comparison. Owing chiefly to non-delivery, there were actually three Junior machines in the Senior Race—two Douglases and a Humber.
☞David C Bolton is ever unfortunate in TT races. This year he rode magnificently on his Rudge-multi and had gained fourth position on the fourth lap. Everybody was sorry when it was learned that he had broken a valve at Sulby Bridge on the last time round.
☞AS and W Jones were the two first men to turn up at the start, both with lady passengers on the carriers.
☞After the Douglas win several leading manufacturers resolved to standardise the belt-cum-chain drive for 1913.
☞SF Garrett (Regal-Green) started with the unlucky No 13. He started well but, singularly enough, finished thirteenth. He had at least two tumbles.
☞The binding with insulating tape of all the likely parts to shake loose, such as mudguard stays, etc, was a smart move on the part of the Indian competitors.
☞The Singer tank cushion and knee grip combined was a good little fitment; it prevented any vibration of the tank against the top tube.
☞Geo Griffith’s little Humber showed up well in the Senior Race. He told us that he passed more than one Senior competitor on the level stretches, and in contrast to the belt troubles experienced by the riders of this make on Friday, his Pedley belt was untouched throughout.
☞On the Saturday afternoon of TT week a gymkhana was held on Belle Vue Racecourse in aid of the Isle of Man hospitals. There was plenty of fun, and everybody enjoyed
himself to the full. In the cigarette-lighting race the competitors had to race over an allotted distance to ladies, who provided cigarettes and matches, and had to light the former…The next item on the programme was a potato planting- race, in which ladies in sidecars had to put potatoes in flower pots…During the afternoon the Douglas riders, who turned up in red caps and red sashes, were persuaded to run a one-design race. Early in this Stewart had a bad toss and rolled over and over, but with better success than AH Priestley, who before the gymkhana started had a nasty spill, and dislocated his shoulder…The gymkhana closed with a tug-of-war, single-cylinder riders verms twins. in which the twins were victorious.
☞EV Pratt wore a belt consisting of tiny leather pouches, each containing a spare part.
☞If the rain had continued throughout the Junior Race, it is doubtful whether a single direct belt drive could have finished.
☞Harrison Watson pulled up at Ramsey on the first round, and drily remarked that though his machine hadn’t completed one lap, his engine had done at least three.
☞Some of the Senior entrants meditated deeply on the merits of the belt-cum-chain drive during Friday’s débacle.
☞Hulbert was riding an experimental chain-cum-belt two-speed Triumph last winter, and found the belt gripped even in deep snow.
☞If you asked any non-finisher what had happened to him, he invariably said “tyres!” But there are other things which can go wrong.
☞In the Junior Race the wind was blowing at 20mph against the riders over the mountain top.
☞The Triumph men were praying for similar weather on Monday, believing they had the best “wind-sloggers” in the entry.
☞In the Senior Race, SL Bailey, on the Colmore-Douglas, broke Friday’s Junior record lap on three occasions. But for a spill at the Ramsey hairpin and a broken chain he would have been well up. Fifteenth place is something to be proud of. There were more Senior machines behind him than in front of him.
☞Seven Triumph riders out of eight completed the course—typical result in connection with this make of mount in TT races. The absentee retired owing to a burst cover in the last lap.
☞AH Alexander ran badly for two laps, his carburetter catching fire owing to flooding and his inlet valve rocker sticking. At last his Indian metaphorically got the bit between its teeth and he completed three fast laps.
☞Harry Reed’s performance is typical of the pluck displayed by many of the unfortunate in their desire to complete the course. The valve lifter pin broke, and dashing down the mountain at over a mile a minute, he raised the lever at Kepple Gate corner only to find it inoperative. He made direct for the wall and was only saved bv the turf at the roadside. He had six more spills at corners owing to the failure of this pin.
☞We regret to have to announce that there has been again too much fast driving in the Island, and one bad accident occurred on the eve of the Senior Race, while the police had to complain of inconsiderate driving on the Douglas promenade. The ACU looks after the competitors well, but it cannot control visitors, and it is a shame that those to whom a most hearty welcome is extended should abuse the exceedingly lenient treatment accorded to them. The police have been advised to take the matter into their own hands.
☞The Triumph riders experimented with concave-topped pistons; as these got hot, there was a tendency for the piston head to flatten out and seize.
☞The private road at Ramsey ought to be repaired at all costs before another race is held. There were at least twenty narrow escapes of falls due to taking the footpath at high speeds, and any such fall might easily cause the victim to be impaled on the iron fence. Moreover, the path is only 4ft wide, and more than once a man left the depot a few yards down the read just as another rider tore up. This compelled the second man to take the high-road, and if his pace was estimated for the path, the bumps in the road caused a fearful quadruple wobble.
☞All the small parts of Applebee’s Scott were additionally secured with insulating tape and glue.
☞”Wait and see what Indians can do next year, if there is no trade bonds!” Wells said curtly after the race, “I sign no more bonds!”
☞Haswell has a splendid phrase for the sound of a well tuned engine; he says, “it’s revving nicely.”
☞On Tuesday morning Jack Woodhouse’s machine was still lying in the ditch near Snaefell Summit, bearing obvious signs of its fall.
☞The noise of some of the Junior engines minus silencers was simply appalling. The continuous crackle of some of the fast-running twins would put a 60hp Brooklands racing car in the shade.
☞The Colliers were as careful as ever. They never hustled their refills, but always had a rag waiting, and mopped off any spilt petrol before proceeding. Harry was overheard to say on the boat, “I’m getting too old for this game.”
☞Godfrey, last year’s winner, made of steel and rubber though he is, confesses to feeling very fidgety for an hour before the start of his races; but once he’s off, he does not care a washer if it snows.
☞JR Haswell, curiously enough, was the only Triumph rider to utilise an old engine, and though it had a domed piston, it was well ‘run in’. Though he was rather ‘jumpy’ the night before (like many of the riders), he rode like a demon when he once started. In fact he was slowed because he began hitting the ground with his foot-rests at corners, a trouble he had never encountered in practice.
☞There is a lot of false signalling to competitors in TT races. The exact signals given by the trainers depend on different riders’ mentality. In 1911 Wells kept signalling “second” to Godfrey, when he was actually leading, desiring him to travel faster, and make assurance doubly sure, while trusting him not to lose his head; but Godfrey’s friends along the course kept yelling his real place to him.
☞Besides the Hairpin and the Gooseneck, there are three other corners on the mountain climb which call for much address. On the drop off the mountain there are two un-named corners which need careful negotiation at speed.
☞Noise is not speed. Spectators had several proofs of this during the Senior TT. A noisy machine would come along and impress the onlookers with its fleetness, but it needed a buzzing Scott to pass these machines to gain an idea of the pace they were travelling.
☞This year Applebee senior signalled “first” to his brilliant son; but Frank rode as though somebody was a minute ahead of him, and took all possible risks right up to the finish, sustaining three frightful swerves in his final passage through Ramsey.
☞Egg-flip and hot Bovril were the racing men’s favourite refreshers; tea, beer, and whisky cause indigestion, and chocolate induces thirst. Most of the men go through fasting, as they find any food dangerous when they are jolting about with a full stomach.
☞The Triumph riders were much happier than last year’s team in being provided with change speed gears. This year they all changed down at every bad corner.
☞Some of the men who were unaccustomed to variable gears did not use their low ratios half enough. Three times we saw two riders fighting desperate and even duels on rising ground; in each case the man who changed down got clean away. None of the Seniors got away from a bad corner better than the Douglas machines, and we estimate that the Douglas men only lost time up and down the mountain; they seemed as fast as anybody on the winding levels.