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Post-War TT racing (1947-1959)

Motorcycle racing did not return to the Isle of Man and the Mountain Course until September 1946 with the first post-war event the 1946 Manx Grand Prix. For the 1947 Isle of Man TT Races a number of changes occurred to the race schedule and the rules governing the races. First, the inclusion of a Clubmans TT Races for Lightweight, Junior and Senior production motorcycles. Second, and more important the rules governing all international road racing were changed to effectively ban all forms of supercharging. The 1949 Isle of Man TT Races was the first event of the inaugural Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship and Les Graham the first 500 cc World Champion finished 10th in the 1949 Senior TT Race. For the 1951 Isle of Man TT the Ultra-Lightweight TT Race was re-introduced that was won by Cromie McCandless riding a Mondial motorcycle at an average race speed of 74.84 mph. From 1947 to 1959 there occurred a number of course changes and improvements. Road widening occurred between the 33rd Milestone and Keppel Gate for the 1947 season and further major changes for the 1954 Isle of Man TT Races with significant alterations to Ballaugh Bridge, Creg-ny-Baa, Signpost Corner and Governor's Bridge.[26] Also the 1954 Isle of Man TT Races was the first year of the Clypse Course, the re-introduction of the Sidecar TT Race and the first female competitor, Inge Stoll, to enter an Isle of Man TT Race.[26] The 1950s may be seen as a decade when the course and race changes the Isle of Man TT Races evolved into the motorcycle event that occurs today. Perhaps seen as the golden-era, the 1950s for the Isle of Man TT Races mirrored changes in the motor-cycling industry and motor-cycling technology and the increasing globalisation of not only of motorcycle racing, but also of the motorcycle industry. As with the 1930s, the period from 1947 to 1959 the dominance of the British motorcycle industry was gradually eroded by increased European competition. Again throughout the 1950s this was played-out through increased technological change. The ntroduction of the Featherbed frame and the abortive Norton Kneeler concept by the works Norton team it was not sufficient to challenge the multi-cylinder European motorcycles from Gilera and Moto Guzzi. Financial problems led to the demise of the Norton team and along with other traditional British motorcycle manufacturers AJS, BSA, Matchless and Velocette and were replaced by European competition from CZ, DKW, Ducati, Mondial, MV Agusta and NSU at the Isle of Man TT Races. By the end of the 1950s, the East Germany motorcycle firm MZ used the Isle of Man TT Races to improve their Walter Kaaden designed two-stroke technology. The 1959 Isle of Man TT Race was the first race for the fledgling Japanese Honda team when Naomi Taniguchi finished in 6th place in the 1959 125 cc Ultra-Lightweight TT Race on the Clypse Course at an average race speed of 68.29 mph. Pre-war, the Isle of Man TT Races was seen as the preserve of British, Irish and Commonwealth competitors. This stranglehold was first broken by Omobono Tenni as the first foreign winner in 1937. As the Isle of Man TT Races became a World Championship event in 1949, the post-war period produced race wins from European competitors such as Carlo Ubbiali and Tarquinio Provini. The first New Zealand winner was Rod Coleman in 1954 and first competitor from Southern Rhodesia was Ray Amm when he raced at the 1951 Isle of Man TT Races. Despite a win by Eric Oliver at the first post war Sidecar TT race, this also became dominated by German and Swiss competitors such as Walter Schneider, Fritz Hillebrand, Fritz Scheidegger and Helmut Fath. For the Senior TT Race this was still dominated by new British TT competitors, Geoff Duke winning the 1955 Senior TT Race, John Surtees riding for MV Agusta and Bob McIntyre in the 1957 Isle of Man TT races were headlined when he recorded the first 100 mph (160 km/h) lap, riding for Gilera motorcycles. The 1958 Isle of Man TT Races was the debut event for another British rider with the 18-year-old Mike Hailwood who would dominate the next decade.