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1951 Senior MGP

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 226.38 miles (6 laps)

Description: 1951 Senior Manx Grand Prix
Race report from the IOM Weekly Times 15 Sep 1951 p. 7 below which is a full list of competitors:

Dave Bennett’s Easy Win
Race and Lap Records Beaten
Don Crossley again Runner-up

Dave Bennett avenged the Norton defeat in the Junior Manx Grand Prix with a brilliant win in the Senior Race. He was never seriously challenged and won at record speed. Bennett took the lead on the first lap, smashed Geoff Duke’s two-years-old record next time round, and with the race half over seemed to have the trophy safely berthed on the Bennett sideboard with a lead of nearly a minute and a half over Don Crossley. Was Don destined to be second for the second time this week? So it proved. Don was runner up once again, but even that makes a record. No-one else has a first and second in both Senior and Junior to his credit – and at 42.

The Start – Friday

What a contrast! Half-an-hour before the start of the postponed Senior Manx Grand Prix the sun was shining and a lively wind played around the Grandstand, yet yesterday the race could not be run because of weather conditions. The arrival of the riders, who had ridden in procession through Douglas and Onchan, was a grand spectacle, and they announced their advent with a thunderous roar of well-tuned engines. With their arrival the stage was set. Seventeen non-starters were listed, leaving 93 riders to face the gruelling test. One of these was M. R. McGeagh of Ramsey, one of the Manx riders in the race.

Over the loudspeakers came news of the marshals who had come forward to help out with the postponed race. Among the 130 volunteers there were a V.C., an inspector of police, a doctor, and a university professor, and, added the message, also a host of other good types.

Bright Weather But Strong Winds

Weather reports revealed that conditions would be fine all day. There was likely to be a strong south-west wind reaching gale force on the mountain but no mist or fog was likely. The travelling marshals reported that road conditions were good to Ramsey, with perfect visibility. Warnings of strong side winds on all parts of the course and head winds on the mountain were given. A strong following wind on the Sulby straight would have a tendency to increase speeds.

First Lap

Before the start the Governor, sporting a red buttonhole, accompanied by Canon E. H. Stenning, one of the stewards (and president of the M.M.C.C.) chatted to the riders. The governor then took the flag and signalled the first rider away – he was A. S. M. Smith (Norton) of Warwickshire.
D. E. Bennett (Norton) had made up seven places before reaching Michael. Quick on his tail was J. M. Crow (Norton) who started immediately behind him. Crow had an accident during practice. The Ginger Hall commentator stated that Robin Sherry, Tuesday’s winner, seemed to need the whole of the road, but his Matchless was going “great guns”. Shortest ride on record was probably that of J. Difazio (B.S.A.) who travelled only a few yards. He retired at the south side of the Grandstand with a burst petrol tank. First man through the start at the end of the lap was Dennis Christian, of Douglas, who started second. His time was 28 mins. 21 secs., a speed of 79.88 m.p.h.

Bennett approaches the Record

Sandwiched between number 16 (T. Duerden) and number 15 (D. W. Shekell), number 55 (D. E. Bennett) roared through the Start at the end of the first lap. He had passed 20 riders during the lap with a time of 26 mins. 7 secs. That was moving, but when D. Parkinson’s first lap time was announced it was obvious that records were going to go by the board. Bennett’s time from a standing start was only 14 secs. slower than G. Duke’s record set in 1949. Then came Sherry’s time, 33 seconds slower than Bennett’s. Bennett had returned the fastest first lap. Our own local rider Don Crossley (Norton), last year’s junior winner, showed that he, too, belonged to the jet age. He clocked 26 mins. 27 secs. to capture second place on the Leader Board. Sherry introduced his Matchless among the Nortons on the Leader Board to come third. Fourth, fifth, and sixth were Dennis Parkinson, I. K. Arber and H. Clarke in that order. Arber’s time was 27 mins. 19 secs., only 2 seconds faster than Clarke.

Second Lap

Having passed 32 riders Bennett was the first to finish the second lap. Parkinson who started in 21st place was second through the start at the end of this lap, with only Dennis Christian, No. 2, ahead of him on the road.

Bennett Breaks Lap Record

While Geoff Duke was being married in St. George’s Church, Dave Bennett was breaking the record that Geoff Duke set up in 1949 by eight seconds. His time was 25 mins. 45 secs. with an average speed of 87.95 m.p.h. With his record lap behind him, Bennett had a lead over his nearest rival, Crossley, of 38 seconds. Crossley was not going slow. He had returned a lap of 26 mins. 3 secs. to retain second place. Sherry still occupied third position, half a minute behind Crossley, and Arber had swapped places with Parkinson, while Clarke was still sixth.

Third Lap

After going well for two laps Dennis Christian retired at Barregarrow on the third lap with a seized engine. Dennis, a young soldier, flew from the Middle East to compete. At the end of this lap Crossley, who had passed some 40 riders up to this stage of the race, pulled in for replenishments. He did not intend to let the “petrol bug” plague him on his last lap this time. He accomplished a rapid fill-up in 38 secs. and was away at the same time as J. M. Crow. Clarke also pulled in at the end of this lap and took on petrol.

Ennett Crashes at Governors’

Another Manx rider, D. Ennett of Castletown, astride a B.S.A., had a crash on this lap. He met his Waterloo at Governors’ Bridge but, fortunately, only sustained some minor scratches. This was his first appearance in the Manx Grand Prix. Hard Luck, Derek! Bennet lapped in 25 mins. 51 secs. and increased his lead over Crossley to 1 min. 25 secs. Despite his pit-stop Crossley was still lying second. Sherry retained third place with a lap of 26 mins. 54 secs. Once again Parkinson and Arber changed places. Parkinson in fourth position was leading Arber by only one second. Clarke was a consistent sixth.

Fourth Lap

By the fourth lap a dozen riders had retired, the majority because of engine trouble. People at the Grandstand began to get anxious about Crossley, who seemed to be behind schedule, but he flashed past the Start going like the oft quoted cannon. Rapid replenishment, carried out by Arber at the end of the fourth lap took only 18 secs. Bennett had established a substantial lead over Crossley when he clocked 26 mins. 15 secs. compared with the Ramsey ace’s 26 mins 19 secs., a time which reflected his pit-stop. Bennett had, at this stage of the race, a lead of 1 min. 29 secs. over Crossley, which was a useful margin. A lap of 26 mins. 31 secs. had put Arber from 5th into 3rd place, Sherry being relegated into 4th with a minute deficit. Parkinson, who was in 5th place, had apparently finished his see-saw game with Arber. New name on the leader board at the end of this lap was that of B. A. Jackson (Norton) from Oswestry who had ousted Clarke from 6th position with a lap of 26 mins. 52 secs.

Fifth Lap.

Arber out of the Race

Groans of commiseration from spectators greeted the announcement that a commentator had seen Arber walking along the road at Quarry Bends near Sulby. He had ridden magnificently and when he retired had looked to be a safe third.

Hard Luck Jackson!

Hard Luck Jackson! After appearing on the Leader Board for the first time B. A. Jackson met with misfortune on this circuit. He stopped at Milntown with a broken primary chain, fortunately none the worse for his misfortune. This was a double dose of hard luck for this rider, as in the Junior race he had to retire with petrol shortage. With another fast lap Bennett increased his lead on this circuit. His time was 25 mins. 56 secs. compared with Crossley’s 26 mins 11 secs. Bennett had increased his lead to 1 min. 44 secs. There had been other changes in the leader board. Parkinson had come into 3rd place, with Sherry 4th and Clarke 5th. A new name on the leader board was that of P. A. Davey (Norton) who had come into sixth place.

Crow’s Crash at Appledene

It was reported at the Grandstand that J. M. Crow had crashed at Appledene, near Greeba, about six miles from the Start on this circuit. The rider was reported as injured, but no information as to the extent of the injuries was given.

Sixth Lap

First man to finish the course today was Dennis Parkinson. Followed by Bennett 8 secs. later. Bennett’s time was 2 hrs. 36 mins 3.2 secs. In second place was the Manx ace Don Crossley, completing a double in that position. His time for the race was 2 hrs. 37 mins. 46.4 secs., his average speed being 86.099 m.p.h. The sixth man, P. A. Davey, was not content with completing six laps, and roared through the Start to start a seventh. He was eventually stopped at Ballacraine, having given the flagmen a busy time on that part of the course.

The Manx Riders

The Manx star in today’s race was Don Crossley. As we went to press the next best performance was put up by J. J. Wood. His time for the five laps was 2 hrs. 18 mins. 7 secs. He was still on the course doing very well. D. Ennett became a casualty at Governors’ Bridge on the third lap but got away with scratches on one of his legs. He went to Nobles Hospital for a check-up. The third lap also brought trouble to Dennis Christian who packed up with engine trouble at Barregarrow. The other two Manx riders, Mills and Mawson, were still on the course, but Mawson was stopped some time on the fourth lap at Governors’ Bridge to make adjustments, but got away again. He, Mills, and Taubman were still going strong. H. L. Mills finished in 2 hrs 45 mins. 40.4 secs.


1Bennett, David2:36:03.0087.05Norton
2Crossley, Don2:37:46.0086.09Norton
3Parkinson, Denis2:41:37.0084.05Norton
4Sherry, Robin2:42:15.0083.71Matchless
5Clark, Harold2:43:04.0083.3Norton
6Davey, Peter2:44:17.0082.69Norton
7Wood, Jack2:45:40.0081.99Norton
8Read, Geoffrey2:47:24.0081.15Norton
9Pearce, Harry2:48:37.0080.56Velocette
10Julian, Cyril2:49:01.0080.37AJS
11Briscoe, R.D.2:49:03.0080.35Norton
12Norris, Frank2:50:09.0079.83Norton
13Andrews, Edwin2:50:24.0079.72Norton
14Storr, John2:50:25.0079.71Earles Spec.
15Kemp, H.J.2:50:50.0079.52Norton
16Robinson, G.W.2:50:55.0079.47Norton
17Rowbottom, Bob2:51:48.0079.07Triumph
18Prudence, Mark2:52:47.0078.61Norton
19Morgan, Dennis2:53:54.0078.11Norton
20Smith, A.M.S.2:53:55.0078.1Norton
21Dolby, Jesse2:54:49.0077.7Velocette
22Tonge, H.M.2:55:20.0077.48Norton
23Barham, A.J.2:56:27.0076.99Norton
24Howard, W.2:58:32.0076.09Norton
25Smith, T.B.N.S.3:00:25.0075.29Norton
26Mills, Herbie3:01:36.0074.8Norton
27Griffiths, Cyril3:01:46.0074.73AJS
28Scott, W.G.3:02:17.0074.52BSA
29Jackson, J.F.3:02:24.0074.47Velocette
30Passmore, Fred3:03:11.0074.16Velocette
31Wilson, J.S.3:03:23.0074.07Velocette
32Crossley, Jim3:05:19.0073.3Vincent
33Bennett, C.M.3:06:28.0072.85Norton
34Porter, Ross3:08:37.0072.02AJS
35Muir, I.R.3:09:17.0071.77Norton
36Jowett, N.3:09:56.0071.54Velocette
37Bennett, R.3:10:07.0071.52
38Sunderland, Milton3:10:09.0071.44Norton
39Goodwin, E.3:10:13.0071.41Norton
40Thomson, J.A.3:10:45.0071.21Vincent
41Woods, A.W.B.3:11:33.0070.92Velocette
42Shekell, G.W.3:12:27.0070.59Norton
43Tynan, Donald3:13:02.0070.37AJS
44Young, N.V.3:13:07.0070.34AJS
45Bagshaw, Peter3:14:45.0069.75BSA
46Ollerenshaw, Henry3:17:00.0068.95AJS
47Duerden, T.3:19:39.0068.04Norton
48Hedley, James3:20:04.0067.9Norton
49Rudge, Ron3:20:51.0067.63Norton
50Johnstone, Andrew3:21:58.0067.26Norton
51Widdup, F.3:24:34.0066.4Norton
52Mawson, Bob3:28:01.0065.3Norton
53Wastell, F.3:31:41.0064.17AJS
54Jervis, R.3:32:09.0064.03Triumph
55Bent, Herbert3:35:58.0062.9Norton
56Walsh, Pat3:36:26.0062.76Triumph
57Clifford, H.S.3:36:35.0062.62Triumph
58Taubman, Ken3:37:23.0062.48Triumph
59Blair, J.S.3:38:55.0062.05AJS
60Winter, H.B.3:41:16.0061.39Norton
61Henthorn, Arnold3:45:02.0060.36BSA
62Southam, Les3:46:33.0059.96Norton
63Penney, Bob3:47:24.0059.74Norton
64Waite, J.F.3:55:48.0057.62Norton
RArber, IvorNorton
RBassett, A.D.AJS
RBateson, N.Norton
RBirrell, DavidNorton
RBogie, DavidNorton
RChristian, DennisNorton
RCrow, JimNorton
RDifazio, JackBSA
REnnett, DerekBSA
RFreestone, BrianBSA
RGreenwood, OwenBSA
RHall, P.M.AJS
RHargreaves, BernardDouglas
RHouseley, EricBSA
RLambert, G.K.Norton
RPusey, FredNorton
RSwallow, KenNorton
RSwarbrick, ThomasAJS
RWhite, N.W.Velocette
RWilkins, DavidNorton
RWilliams, VictorTriumph
RWright, J.N.P.BSA
RZealand, A.W.Norton
RWilliams, TrevorNorton
RTaylor, Alan C.Norton
RMoss, P.AJS
RJackson, BrianNorton
RBrown, Arthur D. (Buster)AJS


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