A short but bright career in road racing
Born in Belfast in 1915, Artie Bell was one of Britain’s dominant motorcycle road racers in the years immediately after the second world war. His career was relatively brief, as competitive racing was suspended for the duration of the conflict, but he made his mark in a few short years.
Bell’s fame was established by his performance as a relative unknown in his very first Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race in 1947. In the Senior TT, perhaps the most famous and difficult road race in the world, he finished second on the second-hand bike he had bought himself. Immediately snapped up by the Norton team, Bell won the race the following year.
Bell went on to win the Junior TT in 1950, and also triumphed in the Dutch TT and Swiss Grand Prix. His career was ended by a high speed accident in the 1950 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. He survived, but suffered serious injuries and was unable to race again.
Artie Bell died on August 7, 1972 at his home in Co Down.