Racing legend Bill Lomas passes away

Published: 15 August 2007

Motorcycling lost another of its greats late last night, after the passing of 50s legend Bill Lomas following a short illness.

The 79-year-old died at Kingsville Hospital in Mansfield, where he was admitted on Sunday following a suspected heart attack. He is survived by his wife Kathy and two sons Mike and Tim.

Lomas made his mark on racing history taking two world titles in the 50s for Italian marque Moto Guzzi, winning the 1955 and 1956 350cc titles. But that is only scratching the surface of his achievements.

Lomas earned rides for teams as varied as Royal Enfield, Velocette, AJS, Matchless, NSU, Benelli, and of course MV Agusta – he rode over
29 different machines in total in a career that makes today's lifelong marque associations look simply lazy.

Racing against fellow all-time greats from what many regard as the golden Age of biking, including Geoff Duke, Bob McIntyre, John Surtees and Carlo Ubbiali, he took a double win at the 1955 TT to cap the nine Silver Replicas he earned on the Island, and numerous GP wins in other classes.

Away from the roads and short circuits he was also an expert trials rider, and an accomplished engineer who was renowned for his ability to help teams develop bikes.

Only an accident during the 1957 season curtailed his career, at just 29. He stayed within motorcycling opening successful dealerships.

His status as a great was confirmed by the longstanding respect he was afforded back in Italy, where the Moto Guzzi museum still has a section devoted to his two world title wins and also his outings on the legendary V8 Guzzi.

He was also invited by MV to be part of many events, and travelled the world as an ambassadorial figure for the sport.

MCN will be passing on details of the funeral arrangements as the family decides them.

If you would like to send the family any messages of condolence, or pass on your own memories of watching Bill race or after his retirement from the sport, send them to mcnsport@emap.com, and we shall pass them on.

To pay tributes to the late Bill Lomas click here

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  • Bill Lomas in one of his many guest parade lap appearances at the Isle of Man TT