Several elements made me choose this image – John Surtees in 1960, en route to winning the Senior TT.
His MV Agusta was easily the fastest bike compared to the following gaggle of Norton singles, with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 35.2 seconds, at an average speed of 102.44mph. MV Agusta team-mate, John Hartle, was second, three minutes behind, at a speed of 100.44mph. Hartle reversed those positions in the Junior.
Outclassed by the MVs, Mike Hailwood and his Norton came a remarkable third, just three minutes behind Hartle, with an average speed over the six laps of 98.29mph.
Just think about that – 226 miles at almost 100mph average, on a single-cylinder Norton with 1960s suspension and tyres. Talented riders and amazing bikes aside, spare a thought also for the photographer, shooting the fastest bike in Grand Prix racing, coming head-on, with a glass plate camera – no autofocus, no motordrive, slow shutter speeds and, oh, sitting on a grass bank on top of a mountain…
Read more News and Features in the June 2019 issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now!Enjoy more Classic Bike Guide reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.