Rider Of The Week looks at a famous rider and examines their career. Jimmy Simpson was one of the most talented racers of his generation, becoming the first person to lap the Isle of Man TT at 60, 70 and 80 mph. Although he only won a single TT in his career, his determination and dedication to the sport is something to be admired.
Simpson started his career in 1922, taking part in his first Isle of Man TT. He competed in the 500 cc Senior TT race on a Scott, but had to retire early due to his bike being damaged. Undeterred, Simpson moved to AJS in 1923 and and he raced in the TT 350 cc Junior race, setting a new lap record.
In 1924, Simpson participated in the first European Championship held at the Circuito di Milano in Italy. He went on to become the first 350 cc European champion. He competed in the 1925 Senior TT and Junior TT races, finishing fifth and third respectively. His lack of a victory at the TT didn’t stop him from winning the UMF Grand Prix at Montlhery in July of the same year.
1926 saw Simpson achieve his best result at the TT, coming second place in the Junior race. He also won the 500 cc race at the Belgian Grand Prix, where he captured the European Championship for the second time.
Simpson achieved great success in 1927, winning the Swiss, Belgian and Austrian Grand Prixs. He moved to Norton in 1929, going on to win the 500 cc race at the first Swedish Grand Prix.
Simpson set his best record at the 1931 Senior TT, when he became the first person to lap the Snaefell Mountain Course at 80 mph. Two years later he captured his third 350 cc European Championship, which bolstered his confidence for what would be his finest moment.
After twelve years of hard work, Simpson won his first TT in 1934. He competed against Norton teammates Ernie Nott and Graham Walker in the 250 cc Lightweight TT. After setting a new lap record for the class, it secured his TT victory. He also won a fourth 350 cc European Championship at the Dutch TT and secured a victory in the 350 cc German Grand Prix.
After he retired, Simpson became a part of the Shell petrol company as a member of its racing division. He died in 1981, leaving behind a legacy as one of the all-time greats. This is represented by the annual Jimmy Simpson Trophy, which is given to the rider who completes the fastest lap at the Isle of Man TT.