Classic Camera: New Zealand TT, 1950


Pictured is John Dale, who in the 1950 Senior event was running second until lap 16 (of 20, which made up 100 miles). Luckless Jim’s pushrod Matchless (a machine more associated with scrambling, although of course Les Graham’s ‘Shelby special’ Matchless enjoyed short-circuit UK success) cried ‘enough!’ a little later in the same lap as dominant leader Rod Coleman’s ohc 500cc Velocette did likewise; both dropping a valve. Coleman’s Velo was the same spring framed job which Stanley Woods had used to finish second in the 1936 Senior TT. Dale had more ‘major places’ to his name than any other NZ rider, but his departure allowed Ken Mudford to romp home to an unchallenged victory on his Triumph Grand Prix machine.

Bill Grey came in second on a plunger framed Norton Inter (he was riding with an injured leg and was half a lap down on Mudford) while third man home Brandon had to push his Triumph the last 100 yards after running out of petrol.

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Just six of the 21 starters made it to the end; Len Perry (Velo) was a high profile crasher, while another leading rider Sid Jensen was ruled out by illness.

Two days earlier, Perry (Velo) won the Junior race from Dale – who rode a 350cc AJS 7R – and Coleman, also 7R mounted. Sixth and last finisher Fawcett stopped and changed a valve spring on his KSS Velo en route! bike

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