History - Irish Road Racing
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Ulster Grand Prix

In 1947 the organisers decided to increase the distances, 15 laps – 247.5 miles (396 km) for the Seniors, 14 laps – 231 miles (369.6 km) for the Juniors and 13 laps – 214.5 miles (343.2 km) for the Lightweights . There were 59 entries with quite a few of the ‘works’ teams in attendance . The race start had to be delayed for twenty minutes due to spectator trouble at Muckamore, there was a bus strike at the time and the nearest point that people could get to by other public transport means was close to Muckamore . This resulted in a larger crowd than normal at this point and it took some time to get them all off the road .

The Lightweight race consisted of 14 entries, 2 Moto Guzzies piloted by Maurice Cann and Manliff Barrington and 12 ageing British bikes . From the start it was Roland Pike on a Rudge who led the field, however he had to retire at Muckamore and Barrington took the lead with Cann on his tail . Then Cann took the lead at Clady corner and he held this position for six laps . Barrington was tucked into his slipstream throughout . Then Barrington’s exhaust megaphone came loose and finally dropped off, and he was forced to pull in for a replacement . Cann meanwhile upped his speed and recorded the fastest lap of the race which left Barrington no chance of catching him and he had to be content with 2nd place at the end . Les Martin, riding an Excelsior, finished in 3rd place .

The Junior race had Fred Frith (Velocette) as early leader, with Les John LockettDear (Velocette) and Johnny Lockett (Norton) in joint second, and Ken Bills (Norton) in fourth . Frith increased his lead on the second lap and Bills retired . Dear made a mistake on the 3rd lap by approaching Nutt’s Corner too fast and he overshot, dropping him down into third place . By the half way mark Frith had a 26 second lead over Lockett but a slow fuel stop saw this slashed to 5 seconds at the end of the 8th lap . He struggled to keep Lockett at bay on the next lap and then had to retire with engine trouble . Lockett went on to win with a lead of one and a half minutes over Dear, and Bertram Goodman (Velocette) was in third place . Lockett set the fastest lap of the race with a speed of 86.51 mph (138.42 km/h) .

When the Senior race finally started there were 21 riders on the line . Artie Bell (Norton) led the opening lap of the first true Ulster after the war, and he was followed closely by Bob Foster (Velocettee), Harold Daniell and Ernie Lyons Ernie Lyons finished 2nd(Nortons) . Bell increased his lead on the second lap and broke the lap record as well . The order remained the same on the next two laps with the exception that Daniell’s went out with a puncture . On the 5th lap Foster drew level with Bell and this remained so on the 6th until Bell stopped to refuel and Foster took the lead . On the next lap Foster refuelled, but in a shorter time, and on restarting he was still in the lead . Then disaster struck on the 10th lap, Foster went out with engine trouble and Bell was once again the leader . A long way behind, Ernie Lyons was now in second place . Bell slackened the pace but this nearly allowed Lyons to overtake him, he caught on to this and speeded up again and finally crossed the line 16 seconds ahead of Lyons, with Jock West (A.J.S. Porcupine twin) taking 3rd place . Bell was the first Ulsterman to win the Senior since 1934 .