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1956 Junior TT

Course name: Mountain (post 1914)

Course length: 264.25 miles (7 laps)

Description: 1956 Junior TT
Race report from the Isle of Man Weekly Times June 8 1956 (pp. 4-5) below which is a full list of competitors:
ITALIAN MACHINE TAKES JUNIOR TT
KEN KAVANAGH WINS ON GUZZI
DRAMATIC LAST LAPS OF A GREAT RACE
Bill Lomas Leads for Five Laps
JOHN SURTEES TAKES OVER, STOPS, TAKES ON PETROL, AND IS EXCLUDED
MANXMAN DEREK ENNETT SECOND

The start, Monday.
After one of the most dramatic races in T.T. history, Ken Kavanagh, Australia’s ace rider, today won the Junior T.T. after Bill Lomas, his Guzzi team mate, the 1955 winner, had led for five laps and seemed to have the race in his pocket. He increased a 15 seconds lead at the end of 4 laps over John Surtees (M.V. Augusta) to one of 44 seconds with only two laps to go.
Then Lomas encountered trouble and Surtees took over. But not for long. He stopped on his last lap, which he started with the smallest of margins separating him and Kavanagh.
Surtees, riding superbly, had cut down the gap between him and Lomas to 15 seconds at the end of the fourth lap. It was a thrilling battle, and Manx people had something to cheer about, too, for Derek Ennett was keeping a good place on the leader board and going great guns.
Lomas, right from the start, showed he was flat out to repeat his success of last year, and the 350 c.c. world champion led by 23 secs. from John Surtees at the end of the first lap, with Jack Brett, on a Norton, in third place, and J.R. Clark (A.J.S.) fourth. Lomas still led after two laps increasing his lead over Surtees to 27 secs., with Brett third just over a minute and a half behind.
WITH THREE LAPS GONE LOMAS WAS LEADING SURTEES BY 21.4 SECS. AND KEN KAVANAGH (GUZZI) HAD MOVED UP TO OUST BRETT FROM THIRD PLACE, MAKING IT ITALIAN MACHINES IN THE FIRST THREE PLACES.
The all-night rain which had soaked the roads, stopped just after 10 o’clock, though wet leaves in some sectors would make the roads rather slippery.
At 10.15 the clouds started lifting and it was reported that by 10.45 weather conditions would be dry and clear. The hills stood out sharply with the sky clearing in the west.
There were 11 non-starters, reducing the field to 75. They included the late Les Aislabie; E.B. Jones, injured at Aintree; M. and E. Munoz, from Spain; M.T. Roach and J. Woods, both from Ireland; and T.A. Ovens injured in practices.
Shortly after the arrival of the Governor and Lady Dundas, the machines were wheeled out from the marquee in which they had lain over the weekend and riders warmed their engines up along the Glencrutchery Road.
The official weather report given to riders was that it was raining over parts of the course. Visibility was restricted on parts of the mountain and caution had to be exercised as falling leaves would be encountered under trees.

First Lap
WEATHER IMPROVES
Five minutes before the start there was feverish activity in the pits and the crowd applauded when a Colombian mechanic walked past the stand bearing a greeting to British motor-cycle clubs. No.1, H. Plews (Norton) was away quickly and only Manxman Roy Capner (B.S.A.) had a bad start. By the time the 63rd man E.M. Grant (Norton) got away, Plews and Hinton (Norton) were clocked at Michael and 31 men had passed Ballacraine. Hinton was reported as being in the lead at Glen Auldyn with John Surtees a short way behind. The weather was reported as “remarkably improved”.
First incidents were that G.A. Catlin (Norton) was touring through at Michael and that E.A. Lavington (Velocette) retired with magneto trouble at Quarter Bridge.
Sensation was caused by a report from Keppel Gate that John Surtees (M.V. Agusta) was leading Eric Hinton (Norton), John Clarke (A.J.S.) and John Hartle (Norton).
The crowds on the stand rose to their feet when Surtees flashed through the Start, first man to complete a lap, having picked up 10 places to lead Eric Hinton.
G. R. Costain (Norton) and E. Cheers (B.S.A.) were riding neck and neck and Costain was passing Cheers at Glen Auldyn hump backed bridge when both machines narrowly averted a collision.
N.S.U. RIDER OUT
H Baltisberger (N.S.U.) pulled in at the pits and retired with a broken front brake. K. Bryen (Norton) came through but was pointing to his machine.
Keppel Gate announcer, Mr H.D. Lay said that Manxman Derek Ennett was very fast and soon afterwards he roared past the pits giving the thumbs up signal.

Second Lap
Surtees was putting up an astounding performance. He sped past Glen Auldyn with a clear road in front of him and was putting up a cracking pace.
The speeds were taking their toll of other riders and H. Wieland (Norton) retired at Ballacraine with engine trouble, G.A. Catlin (Norton) was retired at the pits and E. Cheers (B.S.A.) retired at Glen Helen, also with engine trouble.
Shortly after 11.30 rain started falling and the clouds were lowering covering the mountain tops.
Another retirement was the double Manx Grand Prix winner Geoff Tanner (Norton) at the Stonebreakers’ Hut.
CLARK OFF AT SULBY
Fourth man J.R. Clark (Norton) put in a slower second lap. This was caused by his dropping off the machine at Sulby Bridge. He picked himself up, remounted and made a fast getaway.
British hope Bob McIntyre, on a privately entered Norton, was reported as “touring” past the Bungalow and he came into the pits.
Bill Lomas was extremely fast on all sectors, though at Keppel Gate it was said that his cornering was not of the standard of the other lap leaders. It was announced that Bob McIntyre had retired just as John Surtees, leader on the road, was roaring past the Bungalow.
HAIRPIN SPILL
Ceylon rider Wijesinghe (B.S.A.) came off at the Ramsey Hairpin and retired, the rider being OK. Bearded A.F.J.D. Martin (A.J.S.) retired at Glen Helen.

Third Lap
The tussle between Surtees and Lomas was indeed a battle of man and machine, with Surtees making a superhuman effort to reduce the leeway between himself and Lomas. Lomas had completed two laps in 51 mins. 50 secs., a matter of 27 secs. difference. The leader was 23 secs. ahead of the Agusta-mounted rider on the first lap, but Surtees’ second lap was only 4 secs. slower than Lomas.
Two accidents were reported, L.R. Kind (Norton), a traffic policeman in private life, came off at Laurel Bank and retired; and Bob Coleman (A.J.S.) came off at Handley’s Cottage and retired.
McIntyre’s retirement was due to a broken oil pipe, and his machine was covered in oil.
P.B. Fahey (A.J.S.) pulled in at the Mountain Box to change a plug and got away again, and G.E. Leigh (B.S.A.) retired at the Gooseneck with a broken chain.
At the end of this lap, Kavanagh had moved into third place over Brett, but Lomas and Surtees were still battling in first and second position.

John Hartle, a member of the official Norton team, moved into sixth position, two places behind team mate Jack Brett.

Dickie Dale (Guzzi) retired at the pits, which meant that one of the official works teams was out. The retirement of Geoff Tanner and Bob Coleman meant that Ringwood club and the New Zealand A.C.U. club were out of the club teams.

Fourth Lap
Though the Lomas-Surtees scrap had the crowds on their toes, the four positions on the leader board were subject to change. Still maintaining his fifth position was Derek Ennett, riding fast and consistently.
Twenty-one seconds separated the two leading men at the end of the third lap, but at the end of this lap Lomas was reported as 15 seconds in the lead.
Barry Hodgkinson was officially retired at the pits by the clerk of the course for taking the wrong road at Governors Bridge. He had stopped at Signpost with clutch trouble. News came through that L.R. King, who had retired at Laurel Bank after coming off, had suffered a broken leg and was taken to Nobles Hospital. He was stated to be comfortable.
At the end of this lap, the riders pulled in for refuelling and John Surtees filled up and was away again in 22 seconds.
G. Robarts (Norton) retired at the pits with engine trouble.
Keppel Gate reported showers of rain, though at the time, sunshine was experienced at the Stand.
From all parts of the course, Lomas, Surtees, Kavanagh and Brett were reported to be riding superbly.

Fifth Lap
Could the dashing Surtees out-speed Bill Lomas, the leader?
It was a formidable struggle for leadership, Lomas having a very small margin in hand, and as Surtees went through at the end of the lap, the M.V. was roaring a high-pitched song and sounded very healthy.
The weather was playing a travesty of moods. At Keppel Gate, it was reported, that the weather had cleared and that Benn-y-Phot, two miles away, was clear, but that mist was capping Snaefell. From the Bungalow came a report of our typical Manx weather – a hail storm was experienced for a short period!
Up to this moment there has been 15 retirements, and news was received that Bob Coleman, brother of the Junior T.T. winner Ron Coleman, had sustained broken ribs and was being taken to Nobles Hospital.
The 16th retirement was A.L. Burton (A.J.S.) at Glen Helen, with engine trouble, the rider being reported OK.
Jackie Wood, the Manxman on Geoff Duke’s Velocette, retired at the pits with frame and gearbox trouble. He was seventh man when he packed up, having pulled up his position from 10th man at the end of the second lap.
Bill Lomas was motoring extremely fast and supremely well. Sensation! He increased his lead over Surtees to 44 seconds!
LAUREL BANK CRASH
On this lap, P.B. Fahey (A.J.S.), a New Zealander and countryman S.R. Cameron (A.J.S.) crashed at Laurel Bank and the medical officer was sent there. Both riders were reported OK and after receiving medical attention they were taken to Nobles Hospital for a check-up.
Jackie Wood, Manx rider, was running seventh man, when he retired at the end of the fifth lap, with gear box and frame trouble.

Sixth Lap
LOMAS OUT!
And here comes the astounding news that leader Bill Lomas has retired at the Guthries Memorial with engine trouble.
This leaves John Surtees, the master of the race, who is putting in a terrific performance, and as the news of the retirement of Lomas was announced, Surtees was going great guns at Ballaugh on his last lap.
A.W. Jones (A.J.S.) retired at the pits with a burst oil tank. At this stage there was only one club team left in the race, Wirral “100” M.C., and only two manufacturers’ teams, A.J.S. and Norton, were left in the race.
And now there are gasps of astonishment from the crowds on the stands when it was learned that second man Ken Kavanagh (Guzzi) and team-mate of the unfortunate Lomas is three-fifths of a second behind John Surtees.
He completed his sixth lap at a speed of 90.93 m.p.h., and the tussle between Kavanagh and Surtees has everyone agog round the course. This fantastic challenge shows that the Guzzi firm are not allowing Surtees all his own way. A. Wheeler (Moto Guzzi) pulled into the pits and reported a partial seizure. He took on oil and proceeded.
It was stated that Eric Hinton, who had been lying 10th, had crashed, but no further information was forthcoming.

Seventh Lap
Excitement is now at its greatest height. Here comes the amazing news that John Surtees has stopped at the Stonebreaker’s Hut on the Mountain and that Jack Brett, the third man on the leader board, has retired at Quarry Bends with gearbox trouble. First, second and third man out of the race in the last two laps. This shows the absolute cracking pace at which this race is being run and now Kavanagh is in the lead with Manxman Ennett, second, and Norton team man, Hartle, third.
Kavanagh is now climbing the mountain and all at the Grandstand are wondering whether he can make the last few miles without incident.
B.P. Setchell (A.J.S.) retired at the Gooseneck with engine trouble and R. Ferguson (A.J.S.) was reported as “coasting” down the Mountain.
Surtees has been reported as “coasting” past the Bungalow and Kavanagh, the leader, was on the Verandah, going extremely fast.
Surtees’ engine was said to be firing badly on two cylinders.
John Clark, who stopped at Michael after hitting the sandbags, officially retired.
V.T. Williams (Norton) was coasting in past Keppel Gate.
John Hartle finished first as Kavanagh was doing magnificently and using every inch of the road through Keppel Gate and Creg-ny-Baa on his way to victory.
Shortly before he came into the start the gleaming red M.V. ridden by John Surtees came into the pits, and the crowd stood on its feet and gave him some loud and sincere applause. Kavanagh flashed through to win the Junior TT race after an amazing series of changes on the leader board.
The Wirral “100” M.C. was the only club team left in the race.
When Ken Kavanagh was asked about his ride he said he took the first three laps quite easy as Bill Lomas ad John Surtees were battling it out together, and all he could do was “tour along”.
When he got to the mountain “I saw Lomas had stopped, so I pulled all the stops out and to devil with the rev counter”.
He did not realise that he was only three-fifths of a second behind Surtees at the end of the sixth lap.
“My timing box at the Quarter Bridge wasn’t quite sure what the difference was”.

SURTEES EXCLUDED
Surtees actually finished fifth man, but as he had taken on petrol at the Stonebreakers Hut, was excluded from the finishers.

42 Men Finished
First 27 Men Won Silver Replicas
Forty-two of the starters finished the distance. There were 33 retirements and 11 non-starters.
Four hundred and four laps were completed, a total distance of 15,213 miles.
A.J.S. “walked off” with the team prize and no club team qualified for their own particular award.

Competitors

PositionCompetitor(s)TimeSpeedMachine
1Kavanagh, Ken2:57:29.4089.29Guzzi
2Ennett, Derek3:02:07.4087.02AJS
3Hartle, John3:04:48.6085.75Norton
4Sandford, Cecil3:04:48.8085.75DKW
5Grant, Errol3:07:44.0084.42Norton
6Trow, Alan3:08:40.8083.99Norton
7Powell, Derek3:09:16.0083.73AJS
8Perris, Frank3:09:40.8083.55AJS
9Agostini, Duilio3:10:52.6083.03Guzzi
10Shepherd, Terry3:10:58.6082.98Norton
11Bryen, Keith3:11:00.6082.97Norton
12Dunlop, Gavin3:11:45.6082.64AJS
13Chadwick, Dave3:11:46.0082.64Norton
14Cook, Fred3:12:06.2082.5AJS
15Rensen, Ralph3:12:18.6082.41Norton
16Carter, Phil3:12:41.2082.25Norton
17Salt, George3:12:56.0082.14Norton
18Wheeler, Arthur3:14:34.4081.45Guzzi
19Fay, Ray3:15:21.0081.13BSA
20Nygren, Olle3:16:09.4080.8AJS
21Plews, Harry3:16:28.4080.67Norton
22Lloyd, Ivor3:17:33.4080.22Norton
23Freestone, Brian3:17:45.2080.14Norton
24Costain, George3:17:58.6080.05Norton
25Cook, Robert3:18:30.8079.83AJS
26Beevers, Bill3:18:56.6079.66Norton
27Gonzalez, Francesco3:18:57.2079.66Norton
28Begg, George3:20:09.4079.18AJS
29Alexander, John3:20:16.8079.13AJS
30Tully, Kevan3:20:20.4079.11Norton
31Edwards, James3:21:19.8078.22Norton
32Salt, Charlie3:22:41.8078.19BSA
33Turner, Gerry3:26:28.0076.76BSA
34Thomson, Dick3:26:31.8076.73AJS
35Grant, Harry3:26:51.6076.61BSA
36Chapman, Don3:30:02.8075.45AJS
37Ranson, Llewellyn3:34:07.0074.02AJS
38Denton, Ben3:35:17.2073.62BSA
39Glazebrook, Joe3:35:34.8073.52AJS
40Capner, Roy3:40:15.0071.96BSA
41Pizzey, Maurice3:50:03.8068.88Norton
42Lowe, Harry3:50:32.0068.75BSA
RBurton, AdrianAJS
RCameron, StanAJS
RColeman, BobAJS
RFahey, PaulAJS
RFerguson, BobAJS
RJones, AlbertAJS
RSetchell, BrianAJS
RCheers, EricBSA
R=Norris, FrankNorton
RHancock, WalterBSA
RLeigh, GeorgeBSA
RWijesinghe, RalphBSA
RDale, DickieGuzzi
RBrett, JackNorton
RCatlin, GeorgeNorton
RHinton, EricNorton
RHodgkinson, BarryNorton
RO'Rourke, MikeNorton
RRobarts, GeraldNorton
RTanner, GeoffNorton
RTostevin, KenNorton
RWieland, HarryNorton
RWilliams, VictorNorton
RBaltisberger, HansNSU
RLavington, ArthurVelocette
RClark, JohnAJS
RLomas, BillGuzzi
RMartin, AngusAJS
RMcIntyre, BobNorton
RSurtees, JohnMV
RWood, JackVelocette
RKing, LenNorton
RHarding, RichardNorton

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