A Review of the Isle o’ Man T.T | After-Lights

By Francis Jones

From the September 1935 Issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

This year’s Tourist Trophy meeting in the Isle of Man was the most sensational on record. So sensational that only now, writing a week after the event, does one begin to get the hang of it. Likewise, the proportion of certain things in connection with the affair.

First, an Italian machine, the Guzzi, won the senior race in record time; also, a Guzzi annexed the Lightweight trophy. Further, another Guzzi all but got a place in the latter as well, while in the first six finishers in the Senior, there were three foreign machines; the winner, and a couple of German N.S.U’s. English motorcycles had it their usual own way in the Junior; outside of that, British supremacy received-at any rate, at first glance-a severe cosn. It was the first time, be it remembered, that a foreign machine had won in the Island since the Indian annexed the first three places in the Senior of 1911, and no foreign machine has even been placed since a Guzzi got a Lightweight second in 1927.

And then in the senior race the officials began by announcing the wrong man as winner!

Then, the weather conditions, both for the practising and the actual races, were the worst in memory. There was a crop of bad accidents; a rider was killed in the Junior and another in the Lightweight. Finally, visibility was so bad on the Friday that the senior was postponed until the next day, a thing that has never been done before-and that many people thought just could not be done. The organization difficulties were enormous, but all concerned rose to the occasion and the job went through smoothly.

Lastly, the fact that the winning Guzzis were equipped with spring frames has given the technical fans something to chew. The Vincent-H.R.D. machines, also with spring frames, showed up well, too, in the senior race, and these facts make the outstanding feature of the meeting from the design point of view.

That is a summary of the high-spots of the 1935 T.T. I will go on to tell you what happened in each of the races-and then we will try and see what it all amounts to.

The practising period, which started ten days before the races themselves, was chiefly notable for the vile weather. It began badly, because the Isle of Man was having a strike, and transport and other services were consequently all endwise, but fortunately the dispute was settled just in time. Partly, though not entirely, due to the weather, crashes were numerous, and several riders were taken to the hospital. Fortunately none of the injuries proved fatal.

The Junior race (for 350 c.c. machines) was run on the Monday, which turned out a perfectly good day. As a bit of racing it was on the dull side; the result (of a wholesale Norton win) was a tolerably foregone conclusion, and in fact three Nortons led the field for every one of the seven laps, with the same riders. James Guthrie (a Scotsman) was first all the time; W.F. Rusk (an Ulsterman), and J.H. White (English) scrapped for the next two places, finishing in that order. Behind them came three Velocettes; the foreigners (represented by N.S.U’s. and Jawas) did not come into the limelight at all. Although the weather was fine, there was a very strong wind, and for that reason the winning speed was actually a shade lower than the 1934 figure. The fastest lap, too, was under last season’s speed; Rusk was responsible for it.

The race unfortunately resulted in the death of J.A. MacDonald, a London rider, who crashed at Union Mills and was killed instantly. He was an experienced man, having ridden in the Manx Grand Prix, which is run over the T.T. course. Apparently on this occasion he misjudged things; another rider was killed at almost exactly the same spot some years ago.

By Francis Jones
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