Sunday, May 26, 2013

Roger Willis' tales of TT trophies

This morning, I rode down to the Crab Shack, on the breakwater at Peel on the west coast of the Isle of Man. Roger Willis rocked up -- he's the author of 'The Nazi TT'; the story of the Nazi's determination to win the Senior TT in 1939. Over a kipper bap and tea, Roger told me two equally amazing stories about how the Senior, and Junior TT trophies survived the war. The Senior trophy was won by Georg Meier on the indomitable BMW Kompressor, of course; the Junior trophy spent the war in Italy, after being won by a Benelli rider. I'll try to schedule a formal interview with Roger sometime in the next few weeks. Until then, a teaser: JUnior silverwork spent the war buried in Mr. Benelli's garden. The Senior one -- the most sought after award in motorcycling -- was, luckily, transferred out of bomber range. It ended up in Vienna. After the war, an RAF officer tracked the trophy down, but was dismayed to find that it was in the Russian sector. Through channels, the British prevailed on the Russians to liberate the trophy and repatriate it.

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