REM FOWLER’S ISLE OF MAN TT HIP FLASK OFFERED AT BONHAMS AUTUMN STAFFORD SALE
Motorcycle legend Harry Rembrandt ‘Rem’ Fowler’s hip flask, awarded following his success at the 1907 inaugural Isle of Man TT race, will be offered at Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale on 13 and 14 October. The engraved commemorative silver hip flask in a protective leather case was awarded to Fowler by H. G. Parkes Esq. on his return home to Birmingham from the infamous racetrack. Estimate £20,000-30,000.
On Tuesday 28 May 1907, 25 racers set out to complete 10 laps on the St. John’s Short Course on the Isle of Man, marking the beginning of a competition now referred to in the industry as ‘the suicide mission’. The track’s already treacherous conditions were worsened by the TT organiser’s decision to ‘smooth’ the road surface with an acid solution which burnt through the riders’ clothes and made the 158 ⅛ mile race even more perilous. Despite Fowler experiencing several faults with his bike, he only narrowly missed the overall first-place position. During the race, Fowler’s drive-belts and spark-plugs failed, and on lap seven his tyre burst causing him to crash at 60 mph on the sticky “Devil’s Elbow”.
After the crash, Fowler was on the verge of retiring from the race, until a spectator informed him that he was still winning the two-cylinder class by half an hour’s lead. Regardless of the adverse track conditions and numerous near-fatal lapses, Fowler retained the first-place pole for a two-cylinder bike and achieved the fastest average lap speed of 42.91mph on his Birmingham-made Norton 5hp motorcycle.
Whilst Charlie Collier won the 108 cm tall Senior TT Trophy, Fowler was awarded this hip-flask from H. G. Parkes Esq. The flask is a fitting prize for the driver who gained Dutch courage from a brandy tonic to soothe his pre-race nerves.
Ben Walker, Global Head of Motorcycles at Bonhams, commented: ‘This hip flask is arguably one of the single most important pieces of motorcycle memorabilia extant. It marks the beginning of a competition that has grown from 25 competitors speeding round an island to one of the largest and most celebrated motorcycle races in the world. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an enthusiast to own one of the most important pieces of TT history in existence.’