A  History of Classic Racing  50cc Motorcycles


The Isle of Man 50cc T. T. Wednesday June 13th 1962



'Suzuki Break Through'

Run under the same magnificent weather conditions as earlier races in T.T. week the 50cc event provided a long overdue victory for the Japanese Suzuki factory. Ernst Degner covering the two laps (76.46 miles) of the Isle of Man mountain circuit at an average speed of 75.2 mph and putting in the fastest lap of the race, The only one under 0.30mins. at 75.52 mph.

Suzuki also took the team prize with Degner backed by Mitsuo Itoh and Michio Ichino in fifth and sixth places.  Second and third were Honda men Luigi Taveri and Tommy Robb while Hans-Georg  Anscheidt (Kreidler) was fourth. Having already gained eight points with third places in the Spanish and French Grinds Prix, Taveri now leads the world championship for the 50cc class with 14 points and Anscheidt is second with 11.

At the bottom of Bray Hill, Honda works rider Luigi Taveri is hotly pursued by W. Gedlich of the Kreidler factory team. 

THE GRANDSTAND, DOUGLAS I.o.M. Friday Morning, 8th June 1962.

The 57 entries for the first ever 50cc T.T. have been whittled down to 33 by the time the race is due to start.  The Yugoslavian TOMOS and Spanish Derbi teams have failed to put in an appearance, nor did the one un-nominated MZ entry materialize: the Honda line-up has been reduced, for a fairly obvious reason, and many of the British privateers failed to qualify or get machines organised for the race.

So, we are left with four Suzukis, four Honda, five Kreidler, one Tohatsu, no fewer than 14 Italian ITOMs, a Dot, a Benelli and a trio of "Specials". The eight speed Hondas made most of the of the fastest times in practice, with the best of their riders Luigi Taveri, putting in a 72.26 mph lap.

But with a new engine flown in from Japan, Suzuki team leader Ernst Degner capped this on the last outing with a 30m 42.6s (73.72mph) circuit. Taveri, putting in a 72.26 mph lap. The picture is: Ralph Bryans on the Benelli. He finished in 15th place.

The 12 speed Kreidler never showed any spectacular form. With the record of the Spanish and French meetings behind them however they still rank as strong favourites to come home first today. The works team consisting of Hans-Georg Anscheidt, winner in Barcelona, Jan Huberts, winner at Clermont-Ferrand and English man Dan Shorey. (Picture right: The DOT VIVI entry ridden by D. P. Clarke)

Honda have no factory team entered but Suzuki have nominated Degner and two Japanese riders, Michio Ichino and Mitzano Itoh.


At 11 am on the hottest morning of the week, almost sultry. in fact, Ernst Degner, No2, is flagged away, on his own as No. 1, would have been Tom Phillis.  A pair, who should be closely matched at Nos. 3 and 4, Derek Minter (picture right), Honda and Michio Ichino, Suzuki, get away 10 secs, after Degner.  Another 10 secs. and Sadao Shimazaki (Honda) pushes off in company with Anscheidt and the Kreidler two s t r o k e out-accelerates the double-knocker Honda away towards to top of Bray Hill. by which time Anscheidt has already made his first eight gear changes.

Most of the little machines are ready starters, including Itoh's Suzuki none the worse for having been dropped by him during the warm-up session. But Stan Lawley has to change the plug on his Itom and last man away, No. 58 Bill Ivy (Chisholm-Itom) pushes quite a long way before he can get more than a series of poppity-pops from the motor. 

With fair hair billowing out from under her helmet, Mrs, Beryl Swain made a good start on her yellow-painted Itom - not exactly a potential winner but, as the first woman rider in a TT race,  this starter is getting the closest attention from the "dailies". Photograph:  Beryl Swain 1962 - Artist, Tom Discart.

Stan Lawley and Bert Fruin (Fruin Dartela) get no farther than Quarter Bridge before retiring with engine trouble, but the leaders are making remarkably good headway and are passing the commentator at Sulby Bridge where Degner still holds the lead on the road, with Ichino and Anscheidt next, then Tommy Robb (Honda No.9) and Taveri (Honda No. 10).

Allowing for the interval start, Degner is leading at this point, a full 'quarter' of a minute, with his Suzuki team mate Ichino second. Secs ahead are Robb and Taveri who are level-pegging for third spot.  With Anscheidt, Itoh, Gedlich and Hulbert's placed next, the Kreidlers are sitting in much the same sort of position as they were at this early stage of the race in Spain or France.

The cost of flying new motors across from Japan, seems to have­ been worth while for Suzuki, for Degner pulls away steadily from his pursuers and is some secs in front of them at Keppel Gate. By that stage Robb has moved into second place, with 26 secs between him and the leader and single seconds apart behind him are Taveri and Robb.

Soon the leader completes his 'first-lap, going into the second and last after putting up a fastest yet, standing start, circuit in 30m. 17.8s an average, speed of 74.72 mph, less than 1 mph slower than the record lap by Cromie McCandless on an ohc Mondial in the first  125cc T.T. 11 years ago. Can we expect "90plus" laps by the 50cc machines in another decade? Degner has a 15 sec. advantage over Taveri who has less than half a second in hand over Robb.

Slowest of the works men is Dan Shorey, 12th on his Kreidler after lapping in 32m 33.2s. But that is still an average speed of 69.56 mph and the first privateer to come through is No.39 Harry Crowder, on his four speed Kreidler, with fan-cooled moped engine, laps in '37m. 41.4s. over 60 mph. This road going moped was developed into a race bike by Brian Woolley and still maintains a standard ratio gearbox. 


As No. 44, Mike Simmonds with his Tohatsu powered " special" is fairly close on his tail, Crowder may not be the fastest of the non-works men.  No it is Simmonds with a 37m 33.4s. lap. These are the only two to keep under 38 mins. The next best being Itom mounted Paul Latham and 38m 38s.

First Lap Leaders.
1   Degner (Suzuki)               30m 17.8s.       74.72 mph
2   Taveri (Honda)                30m 33s.           74.10 mph
3   Robb (Honda)                  30m33.4s.         74.09 mph
4   Anscheidt (Kreidler)    30m 45.2s.        73.60 mph
5   Ichino (Suzuki)               30m 50.6s.        73.39 mph
6   Itoh (Suzuki)                   31m 6.6s.            72.77 mph
7   Gedlich (Kreidler)          31.23.4s.             72.13 mph
8   Huberts (Kreidler)         31.27.8s              71.98 mph
9   Suzuki (Suzuki)              31.32.6s.             71.80 mph
10   Shimazaki (Honda)    32.14.2s               70.24 mph
11    Minter (Honda)            32.15.6s               70.20 mph
12   Shorey (Kreidler)         32.33.2s               69.56 mph

Luigi Taveri and Tommy Robb

 Ernst Degner


By the time he reaches Sulby Bridge, Degner is still well in front and as second and third men, Taveri and Robb are having a wheel to wheel race with fourth place man Anscheidt, the un-flurried Degner may be able to improve his lead.  As he speeds on, towards Ramsey, Beryl Swain completes her first lap in 46m .57.4s. 48.21 mph, it is faster than any of her practice efforts and better than some of her masculine rivals in the race.

Degner negotiates the mountain ascent and descent for the second. time, lapping DOT rider Dave Clarke between Keppel Gate and Creg-ny-Baa and soon comes in to give the not too lucky Suzuki factory its first TT victory.

Having continued their neck to neck dice right through the second lap, Taveri, Anscheidt and Robb finish in line astern formation. As they are numbers 10, 6 and 8, it is fairly obvious that it will be Taveri who takes second place.

By covering his second lap in under 30 mins. 29min 58.6s. 75.52 mph, Ernst Degner has averaged over 75mph for the race. It is an incredibly good performance. With Itoh placed fifth and Ichino sixth there's not much doubt about who's won the manufacturers team prize. That goes to Suzuki as well.

A few more retirements as the replica times are announced including Roy Bacon, the only man to race this year's TT race with a ridged frame; engine trouble with his Itom powered "Bits" at windy corner.

Finally the light goes up for Beryl Swain and she crosses the line after averaging 48.44 mph for second lap. How the crowd cheers! The first woman ever to ride in the Isle of Man races completes the course in 1hr 33min 41.4 secs, unfortunately outside the the Bronze replica time. But surely some special award will be made.

The Finishing Order for the 1962 50cc Tourist trophy Race.

Silver Replica Winners

Replica Times: Silver - 1h 7m 48.4s:  Bronze: - 1h 12m 19.8s

Lap Record: Degner, 29m 58.6s.
Manufacturers Team Prize: Suzuki. Degner, Itoh, Suzuki.
No Club Team Finished in Tact.

Bronze Replica Winner

Other Finishers and DNF

From Jeep's 1962 TT Scrap Book. (if you have any pictures that are not in this, please send copies  in and I will add them to the gallery)

The Suzuki RM62

Mike Leary's Itom Special with Rotary Valve

M. Itoh - Suzuki 

Charlie mates in the Workshop

Tommy Robb followed by H. G. Anscheidt

E. Degner - Suzuki

Harry Crowder, on his four speed Kreidler

A Naked Suzuki RM62

W. Gedlich on a Kreidler

Beryl Swain receiving her Trophy

Luigi Taviri on his Honda

Kreidler 1962

 Return to The Isle of Man 50cc Tourist trophy Races 1962 to 1968