|Died||28 July 1993
Castlewellan, County Down
Stanley Woods (1903 – 28 July 1993) 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. 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 and he completed the race without brakes. 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" his stylish riding style was influenced from watching fellow TT competitor Alec Bennett 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 on which the grandstand audience relied to follow the races. Stanley was president of the TT Riders Association. 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.
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. It was the pre-war Rudge rider Tommy Green who Stanley Woods calls "his mentor" 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." 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!
Racing with Cotton Motorcycle Company
The Isle of Man Examiner newspaper described Stanley Woods as an "enthusiastic amateur" 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, Stanley Woods still managed to make good-time and lapped in 40 minutes and 50 seconds despite clipping the kerb at Governor's Bridge on lap l. At Sulby on lap 2, Stanley Woods slipped off the motor-cycle 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. At Greeba Castle when he discovered the brakes had failed after the rear brake cam lever had split 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, 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
|Number of times||10||3||1||4||2||1||16|
Dutch TT race victories
|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|
|Date||Capacity||Make of Motorcycle||Grand Prix & circuit||Average Speed|
|1924||600cc||New Imperial (980cc)||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|
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- Isle of Man Eaxminer dated 8 August 1993
- "Past Pupils". The High School, Dublin. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
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- Wheelers, Malc (2016). "The TTRA: Badge of Honour". TT Riders Association. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Barbour, Comdt Oliver. "2 Cavalry Squadron History". homepage.eircom.net. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
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- Tourist Trophy 90 Glorious Years of the Worlds Greatest Road Race – page 69. Classic Racer Special 1997
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- Isle of Man Examiner page 5 dated 26 May 1922
- May (1958), pp 39
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- Isle of Man Weekly Times dated 11 June 1922
- McDowell, Robert (5 September 2005). "The McDowell Trophy". Vintage Motor Cycle Club, Northern Ireland Section. Archived from the original on 22 June 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2006.
- 1931 Ulster Grand Prix Pathé News
- Biography from iomtt.com
- History of the Isle of Man TT Races
- Pre-World War II motorcycle Grand Prix results at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 March 2006)[dead link] French site (retrieved 8 June 2006)
- Stanley Woods: Forgotten Hero RTÉ
- Ulster Grand Prix History at the Wayback Machine (archived 25 December 2004)