Sunday 14 January 2024

Svend Aage Sorensen - Road racing photos

-SG- I think it would be no exaggeration to say that Denmark and its sporting riders are better known for Speedway prowess than for road racing activities. But there is an exception to this generalization: Svend Aage Sorensen.

S. A. Sorensen was born in 1903, the youngest of six children, and died in 1980.  He lived his entire life in the same street - perhaps a bit unusual now but less so then!  I am greatly indebted to his son Allan for these biographical details and photographs from his father's albums. Allan is lucky to have the albums as three of them were given away in the minor domestic upheaval following Sorensen's death and fortunately one of the later owners of them contacted Allan nearly thirty years later and offered them back!

S. A. Sorensen is better known for his connection with Excelsiors - for whom he was an unofficial and very successful works rider - than Nortons but none the less, he rode Nortons extensively in Europe before and after the war.  That he was held in high esteeem by the Norton management is shown by the fact that on his retirement from racing in 1954 he was presented with a gold medal.

His career started in 1924 on Armager trotting course against a horse!  The bike had to cover two laps and the horse one!  History does not relate what he rode but by 1929 he had a flat tank OHV Norton which he used in all branches of the sport.  His next Norton mount seems to have been a 1931 CJ of which three were shipped to the Danish distributor  early in the year - still fitted with the ES Druid forks according to the records. His successes with this machine were numerous, to say the least, as shown by his 1933 Trophy Collection photograph.

In 1934 he visited the IOM for the first time - not actually to compete.  None the less he was allowed to do four practise laps - Norton mounted. From 1935 to 1939 he rode in the Lightweight and Junior TTs on works Excelsiors, his best placing being 8th in the 1936 Lightweight. He was Nordic Champion on his Mechanical Marvel Excesior in 1935 and also won the Saxtorp GP in Sweden. Excelsiors were a pretty generous company - later in the thirties, Sorensen was given a new Manxman every year and was allowed to do what he liked with the previous year's 'free issue' - sell it or keep it!

In Denmark, however, it appears that his allegiance to Nortons was firm and although it is not entirely clear to me when he updated to later OHC models, he undoubtedly did so as the decade progressed.

Allan has sent a large number of scans from his father's albums and we have done our best to select those of best clarity and interest from the thirties. We will create a further posting covering his post-war activities in the near future.

Sorensen at Korketrekkeren near Oslo in 1933.  Looks like a flat tanker!

This young man working on the bike is not Sorensen but the son of his next door neighbour

This was taken at Saxtorp in 1932 and appears to show Sorensen and his CJ

Another Saxtorp photo from 1932

This was also taken at Saxtorp in 1932 -  appears to be an early Inter - has three stay frame

A year later, same place!  Sorensen on right of group wearing tennis shoes

The Danish team on Bror Persson's farm, Saxtorp in 1933. Sorensen sitting on number 57