Lyon Heart

When Men were Men. So what do you do with a fast light engined Triumph? You go out and race of course! That’s what Irishman Ernie Lyons did after the War. He took a GP500 and went to the Manx Grand Prix in ’46, with a sackful of high speed talent went on to win in heroic style, and wet conditions.



Not for the faint of heart even in perfect conditions. Apparently a longer touring mudguard was key to beating the conditions as well as Ernie’s undoubtable racing prowess. Look at that wet reflected road surface, slick.


What’s more remarkable is that the hale Mr Lyons is still going strong in Ireland at the grand age of 99. There’s a cheeky youthful sparkle in that eye that’s for sure.



Bill? Any more to add?

4 Comments to “Lyon Heart”

  1. Nope.. not at all. You’ve got it covered.
    You are correct, these old boys were heroic.. in a different sort of way to todays hero’s..
    I watched the MotoGP at Assen last week-end. The antics of the front-runners were unreal. When I was involved in racing, there was SMBH, and Agostini on works bikes and the rest of the field on tired and very tired Brit’ singles getting nowhere.. no chance!
    Then later, it was Ago’ out on his own, and our plucky chaps.. still nowhere..
    Last week-end showed once again that today’s field has a squadron of works bikes out front and the satellite teams in hot pursuit..
    Whatever these young men are paid.. they are surely worth every penny.
    As for Lorenzo riding with a broken and plated collar bone, hours after surgery.. Well.? At the TT any year, with such an injury, unless he can do the required number of press-ups.. the [injured] rider does NOT get a start.. sounds good and wise to me.
    Some of the photo’s I’ve seen of Rossi, “reet ower”.. knee’s, elbow’s and shoulders VERY close to the deck.. Unreal, even to a hardened observer like me.!
    They are all to be applauded.. the “Old” boys and those of today.. their courage is immeasurable.. so natural to them.. and unknown to most of us. But two very different worlds. The older.. almost “Alf Tupper, the tough of the track” the new.. science-fiction.. you couldn’t write some of it..

    • True Bill! There are racers with undoubted talent out at the edge of the envelope no matter what machine they’re on and in what decade they’re riding it. Rossi, Ago, Duke, Hailwood all Racers.

  2. Just to say..
    I have met or known many of the stars of the 60’s onward and, being around racing, many of those from earlier times too.
    Those I really was “devoted” to were Percy Tait, Ray Pickrell and Peter Williams.. all were truly superb and regularly pulled off tremendous winning rides.
    But as much as I admired all the top riders and especially the above named.. my absolute favourite was a privateer racer called Robin Fitton. He was the chief engineer of a Yorkshire waterboard and the owner/tuner of the 2 fastest [350 & 500cc] Manx Nortons in Europe. He was both a club racer at National level at home in the UK and, a GP hero thro’ the years I knew him.
    He was so good to watch, swift and smooth.. as Stanley Woods wrote of Hailwood.. “like watching water flowing over stones in a brook”. When the Yamaha assault on all classes began in earnest with the TD/TR series of racers..Rob’ was going to give up, being in his early 40’s and not wanting to start again with unfamiliar tackle.
    Sadly it wasn’t to be.. he was fatally injured in practice for the West German GP of 1970. The events are far too grisly to go over, suffice to say he was just so nice, a lovely man, for such a thing to happen to. All very sad..
    When the news came thro’ to our circuit where an event was being staged, I can say that for the first time as a young adult, I sat down,alone, and wept..
    I was a bearer at his funeral in Leeds.

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