1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy
The 1922 R.A.C. Tourist Trophy held on June 22nd at 9:30 a.m. was the first in eight years and the last motorcar Tourist Trophy to be contested on the Isle of Man. The formula was consistent with the 1921 Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 formula for 3lt capacity and 1,600lbs minimum weight. An ‘International 1,500 Trophy’ race for voiturettes up to 1,500cc (1,000-lb minimum loaded weight) was run off together on the same course. The road racing Mountain Course was part macadam, part tar, part stone; 302 miles (8laps of 37.75miles) for the Tourist Trophy and 6 laps (226.5miles) for the ‘International 1,500 Trophy’.

The main 3lt T.T. event attracted three modified race-prepared cream and red-coloured Bentleys; Bentley III driven by W.O. Bentley himself; three specially designed Harry Ricardo scarlet-red racing Vauxhalls and three modified dreadnought grey 1921 G.P. type Sunbeams. The ‘1,500 Trophy’ attracted three blue Talbot-Darracqs which were smaller version of the Sunbeams with one cylinder block instead of the two that made the bigger cars; three Crossley-Bugattis came from France for the first time; a peacock-blue Enfield-Allday driven by A C Bertelli; Hillman and three Aston Martin though only one (‘Bunny’) reached the start line.

1922 June IoM TT Segrave MN2044 1

Sunbeam Experimental department modified four 1921 G.P. chassis for a team of three cars and a reserve. The weight was reduced, 30 gallon bolster tank fitted, two BTH magnetos replaced the Delco coil ignition, two CZC Claudel Hobson carburetors fitted and compression raised to 6.3 to1 resulting in 112bhp. Jean Chassagne also had his signature ‘Rene Thomas’ laminated sprung steel steering wheel.

The T.T. was preceded by two weeks practice on closed roads 4.30a.m. to 7a.m. The event was held in appalling weather, wind, heavy rain and mist reducing visibility to less than 20 yards; later the winner Chassagne described the conditions as “a nightmare in sea of mud”. Cars were dispatched at one minute intervals. The calcium chloride, which was used on the circuit as dust-laying compound, in the rain, made the roads muddy and greasy and caused burning irritation to driver’s eyes.

Sunbeam I race no.1 for K Lee Guinness (riding mechanic Bill Perkins) winner of the previous event in 1914 did not start due to slipped clutch. Sunbeam II race no.4 for H.O.D. Segarve (riding mechanic Paul Dutoit) made fastest lap both in practice and during the race (57.3mph) but retired with magneto problems on lap five. Sunbeam III race no.7 (its 1921 G.P. race no 10 still grinning under the new livery) for Jean Chassagne (riding mechanic Robert Laly) proceeded to win the race in 5hr 24min 50sec averaging 55.78mph.

1922 june IoM TT chassagne no 7 copyOf the nine main event T.T. entrants, one did not start and five completed; the Bentley, the only team to finish, receiving the Team Award and Jean Chassagne won the race outright. Of the ten voiturette starting the event, six completed; Sir Algernon Guinness with Talbot Darracq I no.24 reaching 90mph on the Sulby straight and winning a 1-2 (with Divo 2nd) for STD in 4hr14min45.4sec averaging 53.3mph -faster than some of the bigger-class cars; the Crossley-Bugattis won the team prize though some 20min behind the winner.