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British Industrial History

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Jimmy H. Simpson

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Jimmy H. Simpson (1898–1981) was a British motorcycle racer.

Simpson spent many years as a works rider, first with AJS and later with Norton. He was one of the most successful riders before World War II.

1922 Took part in the Isle of Man TT for the first time. He competed in the 500 cc Senior TT race on a Scott and retired after half a lap with damage to his motorcycle.

1923 Moved to AJS. His first TT for them was the 350 cc Junior TT and despite setting a new lap record for his class, he fell whilst leading the race by over a minute.

1924 Took part in both the 500 cc Senior TT and the Junior TT and finished neither race. That year, the European Championship was held for the first time, at the Circuito di Milano in Monza, Italy. Simpson won the 350 cc race, becoming the first European champion in that category.

1925 Took part in both the Senior TT and Junior TT races on the Isle of Man, as well as the Sidecar TT, in which he finished fifth. In the Senior TT he failed to finish but came third in the Junior TT. In July, Simpson won the UMF Grand Prix at Montlhéry on a Sunbeam.

1926 Achieved his best result so far at the Isle of Man TT with second place in the Junior TT. He also won the 500 cc race at the Belgian Grand Prix, held at Spa-Francorchamps. The race carried the European Championship title and so Simpson won his second European title, albeit his only win in the 500 cc category. In August, Simpson won the 350 cc German Grand Prix at the AVUS track.

1927 Most successful year so far. He came third in the Junior TT and again won the 350 cc European Championship at the German Grand Prix, held at the Nürburgring. He also won the 350 cc races at the Swiss, Belgian and Austrian Grands Prix.

1929 Moved to Norton. He failed to finish either the Senior or Junior TTs, but in 1930 he came third in the Senior TT before winning the 500 cc race at the inaugural Swedish Grand Prix, his first international win for Norton.

From 1931, Norton possessed a level of confidence in their single cylinder four stroke engines that would later lead to them dominating the larger 350 cc and 500 cc classes. At the Senior TT, Simpson became the first person to lap the Snaefell Mountain Course at 80 mph (130 km/h) but he retired. Once again he won the Swedish Grand Prix in the 500 cc category.

1932 Came third at the Senior TT. He also won the 350 cc UMF and Belgian Grands Prix.

1933 Isle of Man TT, Simpson finished second in the Senior TT to his teammate, Stanley Woods. He won the 350 cc Swedish Grand Prix which carried the European Championship title, becoming European Champion in the 350 cc class for the third time.

1934 Isle of Man TT in 1934, Simpson finished second to his teammates in both the Senior and Junior TT. In the 250 cc Lightweight TT, Simpson competed on a Rudge. He beat his teammates, Ernie Nott and Graham Walker, whilst setting a new lap record for the class and securing his first victory at the TT, which was also to be Rudge's last.

Simpson won the 350 cc European Championship title for the fourth time at the Dutch TT. He also won the 350 cc German Grand Prix, the 350 cc and 500 cc Suiss Grands Prix, the 350 cc Belgian Grand Prix and the 350 cc Ulster Grand Prix

After retiring from active competition, Simpson joined the Shell petrol company as a member of its racing division.

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