Motorcycle Classics

Dave Roper will ride 1911 Indian at 2011 Isle of Man TT

Peter Gagan’s replica 1911 Indian Isle of Man TT racer. Number 26 was Oliver Godfrey’s 
number; Godfrey took first place at the Isle of Man aboard a similarly-equipped Indian in 1911.

Like Daytona here in the U.S., the famed Isle of Man TT is one of the most anticipated races of the year. First run in 1907 on the St. Johns course, the race made its first run of the now-famous 37-3/4-mile Mountain Course in 1911. Much to the chagrin of the Brits, Indian swept to victory, taking the top three spots in the 1911 race. 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of that first running of the Mountain Course, and Dave Roper, the only American ever to win the Historic TT (1984), will ride a faithful replica of a 1911 Isle of Man Indian racer in the exhibition Lap of Honor.

Dave Roper heading for his historic win aboard the Team Obsolete Matchless G50
at the Isle of Man Senior Historic TT in 1984.

The Indian Roper will ride belongs to former Antique Motorcycle Club of America president Peter Gagan. I spoke briefly with Gagan about the planned run, and he says the bike Roper will ride is a faithful replica of the bikes Indian raced at the Isle 100 years ago. The engine in Gagan’s bike is an authentic IOM race engine, a special 580cc version of Indian’s 633cc “little twin.” Rules for the 1911 race limited V-twins to 585cc and singles to 500cc.

While Roper’s ride won’t be a true race, it will be an historic event. Indian was the first and only American company ever to win at the Isle of Man, and Roper the first American ever to win the Historic TT, in 1984. Those two facts alone make this an exceptional event, so if you’ve ever thought about going to the Isle of Man, 2011 is the year to make it happen. Gagan is looking for sponsors, so if you think you can help, contact him via email at

For more on Gagan and Roper’s trip, check out Ed Youngblood’s excellent blog at

  • Published on Jan 19, 2011
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