Artie Bell

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Artie Bell (1915-1972) Belfast a Northern Irish motorcycle road racer became known for his short, yet brilliant, post-World War II Isle of Man TT career that came to notice with his second place finish in the 1947 Isle of Man TT on a second-hand 500cc Norton he bought himself on which he lead for three of the seven laps.

Bell began motorcycling as a teenager despite the opposition of his father, who at one time forced the boy to get rid of his Sunbeam motorcycle, but by 1938 Artie prevailed and rode in minor events progressing to a second place finish in the North West 200 an event that still takes place in Northern Ireland. Riding his 1939 Norton, he participated in several races in the immediate post-World War II period including the 1946 Cookstown 100 event where he recorded the fastest lap time of 76.60 m.p.h. and winning the 1947 500cc Ulster Grand Prix race with an average speed of 91.25 mph (146 km/h) in a time of 2 hrs. 43 mins. 1 sec. while setting a new lap record of 94.79 mph (151.17 km/h).

Following his 1947 Isle of Man performance, Norton picked him up as a works rider for the following season. He did not finish in his TT Junior 350cc race, however, the the next season he claimed first place in the 500cc race and third place in the 350cc Junior event. In 1949 he placed third and fourth. Norton introduced the Featherbed frame in 1950 contributing to his 1950 first place in the 350cc Junior race and second place in the 500cc Senior race. Further placings in the 1950 Dutch TT and Swiss Grand Prix ensured his position in the 1950 Grand Prix season with seventh and fourth place respectively in the 500cc and 350cc championship standings.

Unfortunately, his promising racing career came to an end following a high speed crash during the 1950 Belgian Grand Prix at the extremely fast Spa circuit. Artie was unable to race again even though he survived serious injury.

He died on August 7, 1972 at his home in County Down and in 1996 the Irish Post Office issued a set postage stamps of notable Irish motorcyclists that included a stamp depicting Artie Bell.

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