Straight from the plate: 1925 Junior TT


The imperious winner Handley walks in; the 350cc Blackburne engine in his Rex-Acme took an unmerciful flogging as he raced to victory

First man home was Wal Handley, the 22-year-old Birmingham rider who raced his Blackburne-engined Rex-Acme over the six laps at an average speed of 65.02mph, meaning he covered the race distance in just over a minute under three and a half hours. Handley was in the record-making game that season; not only did he win the Junior and set the fastest lap, but he repeated the win/fastest lap feat in the 175cc Ultra Lightweight race (on another Rex-Acme) and so-mounted set the fastest lap in the Lightweight 250cc race. In the process he became the first man to lap at over 60mph on a quarter litre mount, though he retired from the lead in that one.

Handley had a history of retirements and The Motor Cycle noted that in the Junior he ‘punished his engine unmercifully. He would rush up to a corner, cut out, crash on his brakes, then off with the brakes and let in full engine with a bang!’ That the Blackburne engine sustained such abuse was testament to its strength.

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Runner-up in the Junior was Howard R Davies, on his own-made HRD with a twin-port JAP engine, with third and fourth going to AJS pair Jimmy Simpson and Charlie Hough. There was some speculation that Simpson could have run Handley closer but that AJS had decided to rein Jimmy in somewhat, to ensure he finished; in the Senior he went for it, setting a new lap record at 68.97mph, before the AJS cried ‘enough’. Davies, on his HRD, won.

There were many notable names and stories in the Junior. Stanley Woods impressed on a Royal Enfield, before crashing on the last lap and breaking his handlebar – he tried to continue but was ordered to stop by officials, though dodged the marshals at Sulby and Ramsey before orders were phoned through to halt him at the Bungalow.

Charlie Dodson came in eighth on a ‘cammy’ Sunbeam, while Harold Willis (who 10 years hence would be working with Woods at Velocette) impressed on a Montgomery before retiring, a fate which befell other well known names including the Twenlow brothers, Freddie Dixon, Jock Porter, Frank Longman and Fred Craner, the man who was to found Donington Park. bike

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