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Meetings 1931 - 1950

TT 1939

As war clouds gathered in 1939, the German government was determined to boost national prestige by dominating every international sporting event, and the TT races were no exception.

While BMW, NSU and DKW duly despatched works machinery to the Island, Norton decided, because of their commitment to a military contract, not to compete. In the end they did send their 1938 machines for Frith and Daniell to ride, but despite heroic efforts they could do little to stem the overseas assault.

The Junior started the week off well for the British fans, with Stanley Woods claiming his tenth and, as it proved, last TT victory, riding a Velocette. Frith led until the last lap when the Norton stopped with engine problems, which left Woods to take a straightforward victory from Daniell and DKW-mounted Fleischmann.

The Lightweight was held in bad weather and produced a surprise winner, the Italian Benelli factory scoring their first-ever TT victory with Ted Mellors at the helm of their dohc single.

Everybody, both on the Island and in Germany, was waiting for the Senior and the clash of the supercharged BMW twins and the all-conquering British singles.

The BMW team of Georg Meier and Jock West decided to compete despite the death of their teammate Karl Gall in a practice crash. The BMWs had been very impressive in practice, with a top speed of 135mph, and deep down even the most patriotic British enthusiast knew the only real chances of home success were if the German machines both broke down or the weather was wet.

Unfortunately for British pride, neither occurrence took place.

In dry conditions Meier led by almost a minute at the end of the first lap, with West and Velocette-mounted Woods tying on time for second. West then pulled away from Woods and the BMWs reigned supreme, Meier leading his teammate over the line with more than two minutes to spare. Frith and Woods, in his last racing appearance on the Mountain Circuit, battled furiously for third, Frith finally taking the verdict by just six seconds.