The World Motor Cycle Road Racing Championships were launched in 1949 and the TT naturally hosted the British round of the six round series, in the presence of the Duke of Edinburgh.
For the first time riders set off in pairs at the start of a race on the Mountain Course, with the exception of the Lightweight, which as the previous year were given a massed start.
Les Graham led at the end of the first lap of the Junior by 19 seconds, however, on the second lap his clutch gave up, allowing Bill Doran to snatch the lead from Frith. AJS looked set to win their first TT since 1930 until Doran’s gearbox broke at the Gooseneck, which provided Frith with the luxury of a steady ride to the finish. Ernie Lyons made it a Velocette one-two, with Bell’s Norton third.
The Duke of Edinburgh started the Senior TT, which saw a tie for the lead at the end of the first lap between the AJS of Graham and his team-mate Ted Frend. Unbelievably, they were the joined by Bob Foster’s Moto Guzzi!
Frend crashed at Glen Helen on lap four, as Foster led the race. Two laps from the finish Foster’s challenge ended when his Guzzi’s clutch cried enough at Sulby, which moved Graham back into the lead from Harold Daniell.
Graham’s luck looked to be holding as he started the last lap with a 90-second advantage, then the news came through that he was pushing the AJS at Hillberry and eventually crossed the line in tenth place. Harold Daniell was the winner, with Norton teammate Johnny Lockett second and Velocette-mounted Ernie Lyons third.
It was the same old story in the Lightweight, with Guzzi supreme following massed start. After Dario Ambrosini (Benelli) crashed at Governor’s, it was simply a matter of which Moto Guzzi was going to win and it turned out to be Manliffe Barrington.