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Meetings 1951 - 1970

TT 1961

In 1961 MV failed to win a race, to the delight of British fans Norton won two, Honda achieved a double and Mike Hailwood became the first rider in the history of the TT to win three races in one week.

Although MV had withdrawn from Grand Prix racing, they provided Gary Hocking with 'private machines' for the Senior and Junior, but incredibly it was the single-cylinder Nortons that stole the glory.

Hocking was odds-on favourite to win the Junior and immediately seized the initiative from the AJS of Hailwood, who was dicing with Phil Read (making his debut after winning the 1960 Junior Manx Grand Prix). The Rhodesian was flying and established a new record of 99.80mph on his second lap as he increased his advantage to over a minute.

Then he began to slow with engine problems and, after a long pit stop, he lost the lead to Hailwood. Read was in brilliant form and pushed the ailing Hocking back to third. Just 14 miles from the finish the tiny gudgeon pin on Hailwood's AJS broke and he ground to a halt, leaving the road clear for Read's superb debut victory. Hocking held on to second place in front of Ralph Rensen's Norton.

Hailwood made up for this setback with a truly memorable ride in the six-lap Senior.

Hocking stormed away again on the MV and, by the end of the third lap, led the 'singles' brigade headed by Hailwood's Manx Norton. The Rhodesian then made a long pit stop to try and rectify a sticking throttle, returning to the fray down in fifth place.

He was forced to retire at the end of the fifth lap when the throttle stuck wide open again and Hailwood went on to win from Bob McIntyre and the Norton Domiracer twin of Tom Phillis. Mike's race average of 100.60mph was the first at over the hundred mark achieved on a single-cylinder machine.

Mike's other two victories had come within the space of a few hours. He kicked off by winning the three-lap Ultra Lightweight race on the Honda twin after a nerve-tingling finish with new teammate Luigi Taveri. Tom Phillis completed the Honda triumph in third place.

Hailwood made it a double by winning a five-lap Lightweight, which was totally dominated by Honda four-strokes, although Hocking offered some early resistance on the MV. Going into the last lap, McIntyre led Hailwood by 34 seconds, but his Honda broke down at Sulby, giving Mike his second victory of the day. Phillis followed him home and Jim Redman was third on yet another Honda. Bob McIntyre's only consolation being a new lap record.

Almost unnoticed, Fumio Ito finished sixth on a two-stroke Yamaha: for the Japanese manufacturer it was the stat of the TT success trail.

The German BMW factory was well down that trail, as they confirmed by filling the first four places in the three-lap Sidecar race. Max Deubel led all the way and went on to clinch the world title. Fritz Scheidegger chased hard, but settled for second in front of Pip Harris.