Motor Cycling commented on the conditions too, noting the “annual blessing of the weather” and that it was a “boiling hot day”.
The track was described in The Motor Cycle: “The 2½ mile course, set in the form of a giant basin, had been affected by the dry, hot weather of the past week. The watersplash was more of a mud-hole… Conditions were probably a little easier than in previous years, but the course was still a gruelling test for men and machines.”
Racing began “promptly” at 3pm, before a large crowd, with the 250cc class first to go. Of 23 runners and riders, 21 were two-strokes, but it was John Avery’s 250cc four-stroke BSA (based on a prewar model) which defeated the buzzing hordes comfortably, with Motor Cycling calling his victory a “runaway” with The Motor Cycle preferring “procession”. Terry Cheshire and Bill Barugh, both 200cc Dots, were second and third.
The next (350cc) race was more exciting, with 45 riders before the starter. Geoff Ward (AJS) jumped into the lead, from Brian Stonebridge (Matchless) and John Draper (BSA). The latter hauled himself to the front to win, Stonebridge dropped out, Ward was second (having led the first two laps) and Avery (BSA) third. Brian Martin (BSA) departed the scene after he “… took a toss and became temporarily a stretcher case” while Bill Barugh was an impressive sixth on his 200cc Dot.
And Barugh was one of just four out in the 125cc race – though his carburettor top came off at the start, costing him half a lap. He still came through to third, his riding earning the sobriquet of “magnificent” in The Motor Cycle and the observation that if there’d have been another lap, he’d have won. But there wasn’t, so Barugh’s fellow Dot rider Vincent took the spoils.
Geoff Ward went one better than in the 350cc race to win the 500cc event, which attracted 48 entries. John Draper – 18th at the end of lap one after being embroiled in a “pile up” – steadily came through to take runner-up, with Les Archer third on his “cammy” Norton. Avery, Stonebridge and Frank Bentham (Ariel) completed the top six.
Last race of the day was for sidecars and judged as “something of a fiasco” by The Motor Cycle, mainly because Geoff Ward, winner on an AJS combo, lapped third place man (and the only other finisher after runner-up Jack Stocker) on the third of just four laps. Apparently, the commentator had to “plead” with spectators to be mindful that Pusey was still circulating, long after Ward had returned to the pits. Still, all-in-all it was judged a successful day.
? More images and full story in the June issue of The Classic MotorCycle.