Stanley Woods

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Stanley Woods
Nationality Irish
Born 1903
Died 28 July 1993(1993-07-28)
Castlewellan, County Down[1]
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 19 (19211939)
TT wins 10
First TT win 1923 Junior TT
Last TT win 1939 Junior TT
Podiums 14

Stanley Woods (1903[2] – 28 July 1993[3]) was an Irish motorcycle racer famous for 29 motorcycle Grand Prix wins and winning the Isle of Man TT races 10 times in his career. He was a past pupil of The High School, Dublin.[4] Stanley started racing in 1921 on a Harley-Davidson. He was also a skilled trials rider competing in the 1940s.


Woods was born in Dublin. His début on the new Isle of Man Snaefell Mountain Course in 1922 was as a promising seventeen-year-old finishing fifth in the Junior TT on a Cotton even though his machine had a fire at a pit stop[5] and he completed the race without brakes.[6] He won it the following year. His association with Norton spanned the years from 1926 until 1934 during which he won four of the 1927 Grands Prix, two more in 1928 and several more in the following years. He became disillusioned with the Norton and rode for Moto Guzzi in 1935 giving them their first victory at the TT Races, only the second time a non-English motorcycle had won (the first being an Indian, ridden by Oliver Godfrey in 1911).

Described by the motor-cycle press at the time as the "Irish Dasher"[7] his stylish riding style was influenced from watching fellow TT competitor Alec Bennett[7] Over the years many scraps took place between the likes of Jimmie Guthrie, Jimmie Simpson, Charlie Dodson, Harold Daniell, Freddie Frith and Wal Handley during these races. Stanley was a toffee maker and in the Isle of Man TT history it states that he would bring a couple of boxes of toffee with him for the Scouts who manned the scoreboards[8] on which the grandstand audience relied to follow the races. Stanley was president of the TT Riders Association.[9] Commandant Stanley Woods is credited with the task of training some of the first Irish Army 4 Cavalry Squadron's Motor Squadron personnel during The Emergency as the presidential Escort of Honour.[10]

His career record of ten Isle of Man TT victories remained until the era of Mike Hailwood who won 14 TT races. Three riders have equalled his record while another three have had eleven victories, but the most victories goes to another great Irish rider: Joey Dunlop with 26 TT wins.

Woods' standing in the history of the TT was so high that in 1968 a panel of experts named him the greatest of all the island's competitors. In 1957 he returned to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the TT races riding a 350cc Moto Guzzi round the course at just over 82 mph.

In 1996 the Irish Post Office issued a set postage stamps of notable Irish motorcyclists that included a stamp depicting Stanley Woods.

Isle of Man TT career

After competing in race sprints and handicap races with his fathers Harley-Davidson motor-cycle which his father used in his business as a commercial salesman for Mackintosh toffee.[11] It was the pre-war Rudge rider Tommy Green who Stanley Woods calls "his mentor"[12] that encouraged him to visit the Isle of Man TT Races in 1921 with his friend C. W. 'Paddy' Johnston. After watching the races at Hillberry during the 1921 Isle of Man TT Races, Stanley Woods told his friends that "I can do that."[13] Despite his enthusiasm for the Isle of Man TT Races, Stanley Woods was without a motor-cycle to compete in the 1922 Isle of Man TT. After writing to most of the British motor-cycle manufactures, Stanley Woods was able to persuade the Cotton motor-cycle company to provide a machine for the 1922 Junior TT Race. The Cotton marque had entered a new motor-cycle with a new overhead-valve Blackburne engine. On first meeting Stanley Woods, the Cotton racing manager exclaimed that;- "My God! They've sent me a bloody schoolboy![12]

Racing with Cotton Motorcycle Company

The Isle of Man Examiner newspaper described Stanley Woods as an "enthusiastic amateur"[14] and started the 1922 Junior TT with the number 40 entered by Cotton. After being delayed at the start to stop to recover dropped spark-plugs which had fallen-out of his pocket,[15] Stanley Woods still managed to make good-time and lapped in 40 minutes and 50 seconds despite[16] clipping the kerb at Governor's Bridge on lap l. At Sulby on lap 2, Stanley Woods slipped off the motor-cycle[17] and continued but hit the same kerb again at Governor's Bridge which removed part of the exhaust. A fire in the pits at the TT Grandstand followed which was extinguished by pit-attendants and Stanley Woods using an overcoat. Further problems occurred at Braddan Bridge when Stanley Woods had to stop to re-place an exhaust valve after the inlet push-rod had broken.[15] At Greeba Castle when he discovered the brakes had failed after the rear brake cam lever had split[15] a result of the pit-fire. Although, Stanley Woods continued the 1922 Junior TT Race with no brakes, he again fell-off at the Ramsey Hairpin on the last-lap,[7] but finished the race in 5th place in a time of 3 hours, 55 minutes and 33 seconds.

Isle of Man TT race victories

Year Race & Capacity Make of Motorcycle Average Speed
1923 Junior 350cc Cotton 55.73 mph
1926 Senior 500cc Norton 67.54 mph
1932 Junior 350cc Norton 77.16 mph
1932 Senior 500cc Norton 79.83 mph
1933 Junior 350cc Norton 78.08 mph
1933 Senior 500cc Norton 81.04 mph
1935 Lightweight 250cc Moto Guzzi 71.56 mph
1935 Senior 500cc Moto Guzzi 84.68 mph
1938 Junior 350cc Velocette KTT Mk VIII 84.08 mph
1939 Junior 350cc Velocette KTT Mk VIII 83.19 mph

TT career summary

Finishing Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th DNF
Number of times 10 3 1 4 2 1 16

Dutch TT race victories

Woods won the Dutch TT six times on the early Assen circuit.

Year Capacity Make of Motorcycle
1927, 25 June 500cc Norton
1928, 23 June 350cc Norton
1931, 11 July 350cc Norton
1932, June, 25 350cc Norton
1933 350cc Norton
1933 500cc Norton

Other victories

Date Capacity Make of Motorcycle Grand Prix & circuit Average Speed
1924 600cc New Imperial (980cc)[18] Ulster Grand Prix, Clady Circuit, Dundrod, Northern Ireland 72.71 mph
1925 600cc New Imperial (980cc) Ulster Grand Prix 65.26 mph
1927 500cc Norton Swiss Grand Prix, Circuit de Meyrin, Genève
1927 500cc Norton Belgium Grand Prix, Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps
1928 500cc Norton Grand-Prix de L'U.M.F, Bordeaux, France
1930 500cc Norton Ulster Grand Prix 80.56 mph
1930 500cc Norton Grand-Prix de L'U.M.F, Pau, France
1931 500cc Norton German Grand Prix, Nürburgring
1931 500cc Norton Belgium Grand Prix
1931 500cc Norton Swiss Grand Prix, Bremgarten, Bern
1931 500cc Norton Ulster Grand Prix 86.43 mph
1932 500cc Norton Grand-Prix de L'U.M.F, Circuit of Reims, France
1932 500cc Norton Belgium Grand Prix
1932 350cc Norton Swiss Grand Prix
1932 500cc Norton Swiss Grand Prix
1932 500cc Norton Ulster Grand Prix 85.15 mph
1933 500cc Norton Swiss Grand Prix
1933 500cc Norton Ulster Grand Prix 87.43 mph
1935 500cc Husqvarna Swedish Grand Prix, Saxtorp
1939 350cc Velocette Ulster Grand Prix 91.65 mph

See also


  1. Reynolds, Jim (31 July 1993). "Obituary: Stanley Woods". The Independent. Retrieved 3 February 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. McDiarmid, Mac (2004). The magic of the TT : a century of racing over the Mountain. Yeovil, Somerset ; Newbury Park, Calif: Haynes. ISBN 1-84425-002-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Isle of Man Eaxminer dated 8 August 1993
  4. "Past Pupils". The High School, Dublin. Retrieved 16 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Meetings – 1922 TT". The Isle of Man TT Official Site. Retrieved 18 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The History of the TT: The Mountain Course". 18 February 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Savage, Mike (1997). TT heroes : a personal selection. Isle of Man: Amulree Publications. pp. s. 133–134. ISBN 0-9521126-9-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Competitor Profile: Stanley Woods". The Isle of Man TT Official Site. Retrieved 18 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Wheelers, Malc (2016). "The TTRA: Badge of Honour". TT Riders Association. Retrieved 16 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Barbour, Comdt Oliver. "2 Cavalry Squadron History". Retrieved 7 June 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Denis, May (1958). Pastmasters of Speed. London: Temple Press. p. 41.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Tourist Trophy 90 Glorious Years of the Worlds Greatest Road Race – page 69. Classic Racer Special 1997
  13. History of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Races 1907–1989. Richmond, England: Hazleton. 1990. p. 39. ISBN 0-905138-71-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Isle of Man Examiner page 5 dated 26 May 1922
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 May (1958), pp 39
  16. Isle of Man Examiner dated 19 June 1922
  17. Isle of Man Weekly Times dated 11 June 1922
  18. McDowell, Robert (5 September 2005). "The McDowell Trophy". Vintage Motor Cycle Club, Northern Ireland Section. Archived from the original on 9 November 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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