1920 Isle of Man TT

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The 1920 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy was the first to take place following World War I. Official practice sessions started on 31 May with the races taking place on 15 and 16 June.[1]

The 1920 Junior TT race included for the first time a new Lightweight class for motorcycles of 250 cc engine capacity, but this would not be a TT until 1922. (see below)


Junior TT race[edit]

The Junior TT race was initially led by Eric Williams, the winner of the 1914 Junior TT race riding an AJS and set a new Junior lap record of 44 minutes and 6 seconds, an average speed of 51.36 mph. A mechanical retirement for Eric Williams allowed Cyril Williams also riding an AJS to build up an impressive lead of 20 minutes. However, Cyril Williams hit transmission problems at Creg-ny-Baa[2] and free-wheeled and pushed it for the last five miles[3][disputed ] to win by a margin of 9 minutes and 50 seconds from J.A.Watson-Bourne, riding for Blackburne motorcycles in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 57 seconds, at an average race speed of 40.74 mph.[4]

Lightweight race[edit]

The Lightweight class within Junior race was won by R.O Clarke riding a Levis and he may have won the event overall but crashed at Windy Corner[citation needed] due to a puncture on the last lap, and then completed the race on a bent wheel-rim to finish fourth overall[citation needed]. G. Dance on a Sunbeam set a new lap record time of 40 mins. 30 sec.[3]

Senior TT race[edit]

The Senior TT race was won by Tommy de la Hay riding a Sunbeam at an average race speed of 51.79 mph from local Isle of Man competitor Doug Brown riding a Norton. A new lap record was set by George Dance riding a Sunbeam of 40 minutes and 43 seconds, an average speed of 55.62 mph. AJS thought they could repeat the success of the 1914 Junior TT with a newly developed 2.75 hp (2.05 kW) ohv-engined machine.[5] While Cyril Williams won the Junior race for AJS, H. R. Davies, also on the AJS team, retired from both races with engine trouble.[6]

Race awards and classes[edit]

The 1920 and 1921 Junior races had a separate 250 cc class that appeared to run concurrently. In 1920, R.O Clarke was fourth in the Junior race, but finished in first place in the 250 cc class. For 1921, Doug Prentice was 10th in the Junior race, but finished first in the 250 cc Lightweight class.

Levis won the first 3 places in the Lightweight class of the Junior race and that no prize was awarded for the Lightweight class as the finishers' times were all 30 minutes slower than the winner's time. However, R.O Clark riding for Levis finished in 4th place overall and was within the 30 minute limit for a "prize", despite a puncture at Windy Corner[disputed ] on the last-lap, and then completed the 1920 Junior Race on a wheel-rim.[7]

Race results[edit]

Junior TT 350cc[edit]

9:30 am 15 June 1920 5 Laps (188.75 Miles) Mountain Course.

Rank Rider Team Speed Time
1 United Kingdom Cyril Williams AJS 2¾ hp 349 cc 40.74 mph 4:37.57.0
2 United Kingdom J.A. Watson-Bourne Blackburne 2¾ hp 348 cc 39.44 mph 4:47.07.0
3 United Kingdom J.S.Holroyd Blackburne 2¾ hp 348 cc 39.37 mph 4:47.37.0
4 United Kingdom Ronald O.Clark Levis 2¼ hp 247 cc 38.31 mph 4:55.37.0
5 United Kingdom Eric Longden Dot - JAP 2¾ hp 348 cc 36.41 mph 5:11.02.0
6 United Kingdom N.W. Loughton Douglas 2¾ hp 348 cc 36.34 mph 5:15.52.0
7 United Kingdom Gus Kuhn Levis 2¼ hp 247 cc 35.43 mph 5:19.35.0
8 United Kingdom H.V. Prescott AJS 2¾ hp 349 cc 31.83 mph 5:55.46.0
9 United Kingdom F.W. Applebee Levis 2¼ hp 247 cc 30.99 mph 6:05.21.0
10 United Kingdom S.H. Haden New Comet 2½ hp 293 cc 30.48 mph 6:11.31.0

Fastest Lap: Eric Williams AJS 349 cc – 51.36 mph (44' 06.00) on lap 2.


Senior TT 500cc[edit]

9:30 am 17 June 1920 6 Laps (226.38 Miles) Mountain Course.

Rank Rider Team Speed Time
1 United Kingdom Tommy de la Hay Sunbeam 3½ hp 499 cc 51.79 mph 4:22.23.0
2 Isle of Man Doug M.Brown Norton 3½ hp 490 cc 51.05 mph 4:26.13.0
3 United Kingdom W.R. Brown Sunbeam 3½ hp 499 cc 49.88 mph 4:32.27.0
4 United Kingdom N.C. Sclater Norton 3½ hp 490 cc 48.57 mph 4:39.47.0
5 United Kingdom H.R. Harveyson Indian 3½ hp 496.8 cc 48.46 mph 4:40.25.0
6 United Kingdom D.S. Alexander Indian 3½ hp 496.8 cc 48.30 mph 4:41.25.0
7 United Kingdom J.W. Shaw Norton 3½ hp 490 cc 46.57 mph 4:51.46.0
8 United Kingdom Noel H. Brown Norton 3½ hp 490 cc 46.16 mph 4:54.24.0
9 United Kingdom F.C. Townsend Sunbeam 3½ hp 499 cc 46.14 mph 4:54.29.0
10 United Kingdom F.C. North Norton 3½ hp 490 cc 45.13 mph 5:01.05.0

Fastest Lap: G. Dance Sunbeam 499 cc – 53.62 mph (40' 43.00) on lap 2.



  • During the first practice session, T.H. Haddock riding an AJS in the Junior race crashed at Keppel Gate. George Cowley crashed at Governor's Bridge and Graham Walker, riding for Norton in the Senior class, hit sheep in the mist on the Snaefell Mountain section.
  • During the Saturday practice D.S. Alexander riding an Indian Scout at number 51 in the Senior turned off the course at Braddan Bridge and rejoined at Hillberry and set a time of 39 minutes and 10 seconds!
  • Non-starters for the Junior race included: 8 George Cowley (AJS), 10 J.H. McDowell (AJS), 22 Bert Houlding (Wooler), 24 F.J. Price (Diamond), 26 J.W. Oates (Aurora), 29 E. Greenwood (Douglas)
  • Retirements during the Junior race: A.E. Williams (Douglas) at Creg-ny-Baa.
  • R.O. Clark was thrown from his Levis at Windy Corner after a puncture on the last lap. After completing the race on a bent front wheel-rim he was detained in Nobles Hospital with physical exhaustion.
  • Prize Money awarded for the Junior race was: 1st place £40, 2nd place £20 and 3rd place £10. A gold finisher's award was made for each competitor completing the race within 30 minutes of the winner. The Motor Cycle magazine Gold Cup was awarded to Eric Williams for setting the fastest lap of 44 minutes and 6 seconds.
  • Non-starters for the Senior race: 73 A.J. Moffat (Norton), 77 S.J. Redmond (Indian)
  • Prize Money awarded for the Senior race was: 1st place £50, 2nd place £25 and 3rd place £15.



  1. ^ Isle of Man Examiner page 2 & 3 "The Motor Cycle Races" Saturday 12 June 1920
  2. ^ Motor Cycling page 181 THE JUNIOR RACE PROVIDES MANY SURPRISES 23 June 1920
  3. ^ a b [1] IOM 1921 Notebook (retrieved 13 August 2006)
  4. ^ Manchester Guardian page 16 Wednesday 16 June 1920
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-05-28. LocalHistory History of A. J. Stevens & Company (retrieved 13 August 2006)[dead link]
  6. ^ Birmingham Daily Gazette page 3 Wednesday 23 June 1920
  7. ^ Isle of Man Examiner page 2 "Interesting Race Pairs" Saturday 19 June 1920
  8. ^ Isle of Man Examiner page 2 "Motor Cycle Races Cyril Williams Triumph" Saturday 19 June 1920
  9. ^ Isle of Man Times page 3 "TT RACES The Junior and Senior. Splendid Wins for AJS and Sunbeam." Saturday 19 June 1920
  10. ^ Isle of Man Examiner page 2 "Motor Cycle Races" Saturday 19 June 1920

External links[edit]


Isle of Man Examiner dated 12 June 1920.

Isle of Man Examiner dated 19 June 1920.