Rider Of The Week shines a light on the career of a famous rider and Stanley Woods is an all-time great. Woods made a name for himself early in his career and went on to set a record of ten Isle of Man TT victories and won 29 Grand Prix races. His TT record lasted until 1967 when it was beaten by Mike Hailwood. Always a gentleman, Woods congratulated Hailwood at the finish line, which demonstrated his generosity of spirit. This sportsmanship defined his entire career.
Woods, the son of a toffee salesman, was born in Dublin in 1903. Woods began his racing career in 1922 and debuted at the Isle of Man TT, coming fifth in the Junior race. A year later he took his first TT victory by riding a Cotton. His raw talent caught the attention of Norton and he joined the team in 1926. Woods captured a 500 cc Senior TT victory for them. His other accomplishments at Norton included winning four Grand Prixs in 1927.
Eventually, Woods became disillusioned with Norton and went to Sweden in 1934 to sign with Husqvarna. Then, he switched to Moto Guzzi in 1935 and gave them their first TT victories, winning the 250 cc and 500 cc titles.
Woods was known for his fearless riding style, being dubbed the ‘Irish Dasher’ by the media. This helped him in races against the likes of Jimmie Simpson, Freddie Frith and Jimmie Guthrie. In 1936, Woods raced for Velocette and established a good relationship with the board of directors.
Woods joined the Irish army as Commandant in the Fourth Cavalry Motorcycle Riders in 1939. After WW2, he concentrated on trial riding. In 1957, he participated in the TT Golden Jubilee on a 350 cc Moto Guzzi.
In his later years, Woods was active on the motorbike event circuit. He took part in many interviews and was present at the 1979 Classic Bike Show in Manchester. Three years later he was the guest of honour.
Woods died in 1993, but he led an amazing life and achieved a level of greatness that will never be replicated.