THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Irish riders sweep the board at the Isle of Man TT
From the News Letter, June 19, 1926
The Senior Tourist Trophy race, which had taken place the previous day over the 37-mile course on the Isle of Man, resulted in the third win of the week by an Irishman, when Mr Stanley Woods from Dublin, riding a Norton, secured the trophy after a magnificent race.
Mr Alan Bennett, an Ulsterman, had won the Junior Trophy on the Monday of race week, and Mr C W Johnston secured for Dublin the light-weight honours.
The News Letter reported of the Senior Race: “The winner’s average speed was 67.34 miles per hour, bettering Howard Davies’ time of last year by 1.21mph. This is a new record for the course. Another Irishman – Craig of Ballymena – ran into fourth place.”
The race started under ideal weather conditions, with all the riders on the line except for A Grey (Norton) of London who had crashed during practice. Among the starters were Varsi and Gherai, the Italians, Macaya from Spain. Irish riders included Bennett, Craig, Shaw and Woods, who all rode Norton motorbikes for the race.
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The first lap ended with Simpson (AJS) leading, having broken the lap record at almost 70mpg. S Woods (Dublin) was second, and Handley (Rex Acme) was in third place.
Shaw experienced difficulty in starting, and lost several minutes. While Gherai, the Italian, was fourth at the of the first lap.
The second circuit ended with Simpson still leading, having lapped this time at over 70 miles per hour. Woods was a good second, slightly slower than on the first lap. Gherai fell during the second lap, “damaging his brakes, and he retired at the stands”.
On the third lap Simpson, “as often before”, was forced to retire from the race because of engine trouble after his brilliant start, thereby letting Woods in first place, where he remained until the end of the race.
Behind him was Hough who was 20 seconds back. While Davies was one minute 33 second slower. Bennett came up fourth place, figuring for the first time in the leading six.
The fourth lap found Woods with a reduced lead and only 11 seconds separating him from Hough (AJS). Longman was third, nearly two and half minutes behind. K Twemlow was fourth and Craig in fifth. Bennett was forced to retire at Ballacraine with engine trouble in the fourth lap.
Stanley Woods increased his speed slightly on the fifth circuit and stopped to refill at the end of the lap. He started again with 37 seconds actual lead from Hough. Handley, who had dropped temporarily from the top riders, regained his fourth position with a very fast lap, lying below Longman by 1 minute and 41 seconds. Craig was again in fifth.
Woods was leading Hough by the narrow margin of 30 second at the end of the sixth lap.
Excitement now reached fever pitch, “and the indicator dials were eagerly watched”. The riders maintained their relative positions until Kirk Michael was passed. Woods signalled at Ramsey Mountain and Craig-ny-Ba, while Hough stopped, having fallen at Sulby.
Woods ran in as the winner at an average speed of 67 miles per hour amid loud cheers, “especially from the Irishmen assembled on the course”.