Sunday, 5 June 2011
NOVELTY ISLAND. LITTLE KNOWN TT FACTS
In the early 20s the "Compulsory Smoking Rule" meant that all competitiors had to wear a Capstain Full Strength at all times, as speeds increased though it was hard to enforce with many riders finishing the race with severe cheek burns or just losing their fag completely on the fast run down from Creg Ny Baa. Only the sidecar passengers were able to puff away with any satisfaction but most developed respiratory problems by the end of the week.
In place of the smoking rule the ACU then introduced a handicap system whereby works riders had the job of carrying a Boy Scout on the back during the race. In the photo the terrified little chap is seen standing to one side as the rider Graham Lister refuels. The only Scout remaining alive at the end of the 1928 Senior race was called Bob and was known as "Bob the TT job", later the term lost the letters TT and became a household phrase used for many years.
Fed up with the taunts of " I could bloody run faster" from the Solo riders the sidecar boys made them put up or shut up in 1934 and Irish Norton team rider "Baggyarse" Phil O'Pants ran against Donald and Davey Stott's outfit to try to prove his point. Sadly he died from consumption at the bottom of Bray Hill with only 37 miles to go, the final victim of the Compulsory Smoking Rule.