SELECTED ARTICLES FROM THE 2010 SUMMER ISSUE OF THE
TT SUPPORTERS CLUB MAGAZINE
A busy time, recently for Bill Snelling of Amulree
Publications which is publishing an expanded
and revised version of David Wright’s ‘Travelling Marshals of the Isle
of Man’. This is currently being finished and
should be available before the TT. Other publications coming
on stream shortly are: ‘Living to Race, Racing for a Living’, the
autobiography of the late Frank Fox and a
revised and expanded version of ‘Aurora to Ariel’, the motorcycling life
of J Graham Oates, a pioneering Manx
motorcyclist. Graham rode trans-Canada in 1928 and 1932 on Ariel
sidecar outfits and also rode in the 1924 Ultra Lightweight TT,
the first massed-start TT.
So, in 1924 the ACU introduced the Ultra-Lightweight class for 175cc machines to continue the tourist tradition and encourage machines that were used by the public. They certainly did nothing to encourage safety when they allowed the 17 machines to start together rather than in pairs, but, luckily, all survived the trip down Bray Hill on the first lap. The scene is most evocative: flags fluttering above the wooden stands, grid positions painted on the ground, numbers tied to the riders’ backs and the time box podium over-hanging the road, the megaphone presumably having already served its purpose in gathering the attention of the competitors before the off. What of the machines? Well, the aforementioned Graham Oates was astride a Powell as was one other starter; the most common marque was Cotton, with four entries of which three finished in the top five. Jock Porter won the race, his second TT after the unfortunate Wal Handley retired while leading on his Rex-Acme; Oates finished eighth. There appeared to be a Scottish influence on the start line with a McKenzie and three Wee McGregors, one of which finished in seventh position with BB Smith on board. Porter completed the distance in 2 hours 12 minutes 40 seconds at an average speed of 51.21mph nearly five minutes ahead of second placeman FG Morgan, on a Cotton. There were eleven finishers. New Gerard’s only other TT victory was in the Lightweight event of the previous year; alas, not such good news about the Wee McGregor concern as the 1924 Ultralightweight event was the one and only time the machine ever made the TT start line.
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