Nine hours on full chat

The 1956 Thruxton nine-hour endurance race was eventually wonby a 350cc Gold Star, which covered 651 miles.

Photographs: MORTONS ARCHIVE

There were 60 motorcycles due on the line for the 1956 Thruxton 500 mile road race, to be held over the kidney-shaped 2.7574 mile course.

Organised by the Southampton and District Motor Cycle Club, practice was on Saturday June 24, between 10 and 11am, with the race starting the same day at noon, grid places decided by ballot.

The meeting had attracted some well known riders, among them Bob McIntyre, Alistair King, Geoffs Monty and Tanner (the latter the double 1955 Manx GP winner), Dennis Christian, recent Clubman TT double victor Bernard Codd, Ned Minihan, Percy Tait and Eddie Crooks, while Velocette sales director Bertie Goodman was sharing one of his company’s new products (a new 500cc Venom model) with journalist and Brooklands Gold Star holder (on a 350cc Velocette KTT) Vic Willoughby. But Eddie Dow (winner of the 1955 Thruxton event) was a non-starter.

The grid of motorcycles (running in three classes; 350cc, 500cc and 750cc) was made up thus; 32 BSA Gold Stars (10 350cc and 22 500cc), 11 Triumph twins (four 500cc Tiger 100s and seven 650cc Tiger 110s), four Velocettes (three 350cc Vipers and the Goodman/Willoughby Venom), two 692cc Royal Enfield Super Meteors, two Norton Dominators (a 500cc 88 and a 600cc 99), two Matchless(a 350cc G3LS and a 500cc G9 twin), plus one BSA A10.

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