This photo from the Bill Snelling [] collection generates so many thoughts about the TT…the role of the scouts, position of the pits, the significance of the rider and the machine being re-fuelled…

Earliest records show scout involvement in the races since 1909 when Semaphore Scouts were placed around the whole course, about 300 yards apart. Their duty was to watch for and endeavour to prevent accidents [as Flag Marshals do today], pass messages to marshals, call for medical assistance or, if able, render first aid and help keep the course clear.

Today, of course, they work on the scoreboards, operating the clocks, pulling tearoffs, etc and carrying the national flags of those competing in the races. Seen here, the scout, in full traditional uniform is cleaning the number plate of Geoff Davison’s winning 250cc Levis during his pit stop. A ‘speedy’ race average of 49.89mph saw Davison take victory by approximately fifteen minutes with a time of 3 hours 46 minutes 56 seconds.

This was Davison’s only TT victory in a short IoM career [1921-27]; however, he is probably best remembered in the folklore of motorcycling for his editorship of the ‘TT Special’. First appearing in 1927 as a one-edition summary of the three races at the end of the fortnight, the newspaper soon grew to three editions, then one for each practice session and on one occasion a mid-race edition for crowds at vantage points such as Quarter Bridge which were unable to receive the public-address commentary. Ultimately, editions were limited to the les-hectic format of practice week and individual race day publications. The TT Special, a must for all fans, continued under the charge of Davison, until 1966, the year of his death, with Fred Hanks then taking over at the helm; Fred continued Davison’s good work until 1985.

What of Levis? Well, the race in question was its only podium finish, but it did achieve two 4th places in the hands of Davison [1924 Ultra-lightweight] and RO Clark [1920 Junior]. In forty-one starts in TT and MGP races from 1911 to 1934, it recorded twenty-one retirements.

Chicken wire and corrugated iron fencing are evident in the pits where Davison can be seen holding a funnel whilst his mechanic adds fuel to his Levis from a can. The pits in those days were roadside, being altered to the current format in 1979 when a pit lane was created, together with a stop-box, initially controlled by veteran sidecar exponent, Bill Boddice. This really brings us right up to date as 2010 sees the introduction of a speed control in the pit lane for the TT. If you are interested in finding out more about these sort of aspects of the TT, then worthy purchases would be two books by David Wright – “TT Topics & Tales” and “TT Mixture”, both published by Amulree Publications.