American Dave Roper at Isle of Man TT on a 1911 Indian

IOM_TT_1911_MountainMapThe Isle of Man TT went over the Snaefell Mountain Course for the first time at the 1911 running of the event. Now that the 100 year anniversary is on its way for the 2011 season, the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development has planned an enormous celebration.

It will include many stars and their almost equally famous motorcycles which will all feature in a very long parade where many of the riders will re-live their exciting and important historic accomplishments on the course. It will be big party for the fans as they will be able to see many of the great people who made the Isle of Man TT what it is today. Along with the many greats joining in that soiree will be one rather important American, a man by the name of Dave Roper.

IOM_TT_1907_Oliver_GodfeyYou may or may not know that name, but if you are a big TT fan and an American, you should know why Roper is being invited to attend.

First, when the very first Isle of Man TT motorcycle race was organized in 1907, it was held on the old St. Johns course. Indian Motocycle (period correct spelling) sent a full contingent of bikes, riders and techs to the event in a bid to give a good show. They did that and more by defeating every other machine on the course and taking the top three slots in the race, thus owning the podium. The British fans were none-to-happy about the outcome, but it stood and Indian became the first and only American manufacturer to ever win at the Isle of Man TT.

IOM_TT_1907_2007Mr. Roper also holds a one-of-a-kind record on the Isle of Man; Roper is the only American to ever win the Historic TT. That was 1984 when he rode a Team Obsolete Matchless G50 in the Senior Historic TT over the Mountain Course. This time, Antique Motorcycle Club of America president Peter Gagan is partially sponsoring this ride by providing a faithful replica of the Indians which ran at the very first TT. In fact, the Indian will even be equipped with the same IOM race engine the original racers used. It is a 580cc version of Indian’s 633cc ‘little twin’ which was necessitated due to the displacement restrictions in place in 1911 limiting the bikes to a 585cc maximum.

Roper will not be riding in a true race, but the historical significance of this special event is diminished in no way by that. The simple fact that the first motorcycle to ever win the Isle of Man TT, and the only American marque to win at the event, will be there with the only American to ever win the Senior Historic TT makes this a significant event.

For more information about the Isle of Man TT and the many special events scheduled at the 2011 running, take this link:

Courtesy of