25 January 2015

Sid Moses - Blazing a trail for the New Zealand TT

Sid Moses (NZ's first Isle of Man TT placegetter) at the
weighting in enclosure at the Island in 1933. The Man
behind is the NZACU's British Representative
Stanley Pees.
The 80th running of the New Zealand TT (Tourist Trophy) will be held this year on the 7-8 March 2015 at Hampton Downs which is one of New Zealand's latest Motorsport circuits .

The first NZTT was run in 1931 on Waiheke Island, and was won by a complete outsider. 

Sidney Lewis Moses was born in Auckland in 1907  and as a young man loved his motorcycles and toured many miles with his mates around the country's gravel roads.

In passing one day Sid mentioned to his friends that if a road race circuit was created in New Zealand  then he wouldn't mind having a race. 

So it was that on June 3rd 1931 that the first NZTT took place on Waiheke Island taking the same format as the famous Isle of Man races. 

There was a grid of 25 starters , Sid (500cc Rudge) would win the 217km race in 2 hours 45 Minutes - almost one minute ahead of second place. He was actually beaten across the line by Len Sowerby (500cc Douglas) who had led all the way on the road , but as the race was a time trial Sid won the race overall on corrected time.

The young Aucklander was virtually unknown in racing circles and soon the talk started about his win as a fluke. The critics were soon silenced when he finished second in 1932 on a Rudge Ulster behind Alf Mattson (Norton) , then proceeded to win the 1933 (Works TT Rudge) and 1934 NZTT.

His 1934 win has another story behind it. Sid had promised his mother he would give up racing and after the 1933 win he had the Works Rudge up for sale. It remained unsold for some time as a rumour had started that it had some mechanical issues. So angry about that story , he entered the 1934 NZTT and out of the twenty one starters won the race finishing two laps ahead of the field . Needless to say after that the bike sold without any problems.

Sid's other claim to fame in New Zealand's Motorcycle Sport History , was that after the 1933 NZTT win he was selected to represent New Zealand at the 1933 Isle of Man TT . Armed with an 150 pound sterling (approx $18,000 in modern money) grant from the organisers  , he travelled to compete in the Senior and Junior races. In the Senior he retired with gearbox trouble . 

Better luck followed in the Junior. Riding a Velocette Sid lapped the Isle
of Man at 112km/h average and finished in 13th thus becoming the first New Zealander to finish an Isle of Man TT. The success nearly didn't happen , when he crashed in practice but he later said " I hadn't come 12,000 miles to sit on the sidelines " . He raced with nine stitches in his elbow holding together a deep wound. The race result was special for the 25 year old TT novice being held over such fast rough unsealed roads. 

The Isle of Man result earned him a Silver Replica Trophy , and the Nisbet award for his " Pluck and Endurance ".

Although New Zealand riders had raced at the Isle of Man since 1910 . Sid would be the first of many New Zealand riders to travel to the other side of the world and have success on the Isle of Man. 

Sid retired from racing in 1934 , which he considered as his biggest regret. He did return to the Isle of Man as a spectator later in life with wife Dorothy.

Sid here in 1997 with some of his prizes ,
Including the
Island of Man Silver Replica and Nesbit Sheild.
Sid would go on to have a successful life away from motorcycles . Becoming a Major during the second world war , becoming the managing director of the Maple Furnishing Company and a director of many others. 

He was invited  to chair the Decimal Currency Board in 1964 to oversee the introduction of dollars and cents in New Zealand in 1967.

He was awarded a CBE (Companion of the British Empire) by the Queen in 1978 for services to the business and community.

He died in 2001 at the age of 93 .

The New Zealand TT will be held on March 7th-8th 2015 and incorporates the third round of the New Zealand Superbike Championship. Go and follow NZSBK 2015 on Facebook and check out live timing and more on you Phone/Tablet and Lap Top at www.ctaslive.co.nz .

We would like acknowledge the following for providing parts of this story of Sid. Kate Downling , Joseph Romanos , MNZ Inc and Maureen Bull.

Fast Kiwi Media / Ian Dawson ©copyright 2015