Motor-racing fans from all over the world gathered in Douglas, on the Isle of Man, yesterday (Saturday) for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the famous Manx T.
Motor-racing fans from all over the world gathered in Douglas, on the Isle of Man, yesterday (Saturday) for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the famous Manx T.T. races - and to watch the first events of a week's races.
Officials of the Manx T.T. had organised an impressive display to remind visitors of the triumphs of the last sixty years. Veteran motorcycles provided a fascinating contrast with the streamlined machines of present-day racing.
A parade of the countries participating, and a ceremonial carrying of the Jubilee Banner, opened Saturday's events. As a flurry of pigeons rose above the 38 mile (61 km) circuit, the flags of Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Austria, Britain, Japan and the other countries involved fluttered over the grandstand.
One of the first celebrations races was the three Lap Standard Production Machines. The race began late in the afternoon, with a "Le Mans' start for each year of the three classes. A five-minute interval separated the 750cc, 500cc, and 250cc events.
Seventy-nine competitors in all took part in this event, which covered 113 miles (120 km) over its 3 laps. The circuit has 200 bends and a 1400 foot (428 m) climb. A typical victim of one such bend was C.J. Vincent, who came off and mounted again unhurt at Quarter Bridge.
Winner of the 750 cc event was John Hartle, riding Triumph Bonneville - one of the few British bikes still achieving successes in the Manx T.T. 250 cc winners were B. Smith on a Suzuki T20 and T.Robb on a Bultaco Metralla; Smith took the honours by only .4 of a second.
The Manx T.T. started in 1907 as the outcome if a wish to boost the prestige and sales of Britain's motor-cycle industry, now rather on the decline. The Isle of Man was chosen because there no speed restrictions, and no laws against Road Racing. The first 1907 Race was held over a pothold circuit of about 16 miles, many of the machines having only single gears and a number of them pedal assisted.