Picture story: Meet a real Jack Sparrow

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It’s 1954 and Shrewsbury bike shop manager JJI Sparrow is returning from the Isle of Man where he’s just finished 16th in the Lightweight (250) TT. In the rain-affected race he averaged 66.83mph.

The top four places were filled by NSUs, with winner Werner Haas (pictured below in action) completing the reduced three-lap race at an average of 90.88mph. Jack’s bike has an Excelsior Manxman motor in a frame of his own design.

Excelsior never re-opened after World War II, meaning his bike’s single-overhead-camshaft, two-valve engine was at least 15 years old when he raced it. 250 World Champion Werner’s trick NSU Rennmax R22, by way of contrast, was a cutting edge largely magnesium alloy unit and at 37bhp had twice the power.

Classic Bike magazine

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