If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

TT Memories 1

Big welcome to Microdave, and the first of three posts on his visits to the Isle of Man in the 1970s/80s. Click any picture for a bigger version.

Dear readers, Richard seemed very interested in my picture of the late Stanley Woods from back in 1979, so I suggested that I could scan some more, and make them the subject of a post or two. I'm going to divide it into 3 parts, or else it would get rather long, so here goes.

I made 3 visits to the IOM TT with my father - in 1978, '79 & '80, followed by a trip to the Manx Grand Prix the next year. On the first 3 occasions we went on 2 motorbikes, firstly my Moto Morini 3½ Strada and his Kawasaki Z 400. In '79 it was a pair of BMW's - my R65 and his R100S. In 1980 I confounded all my friends by taking my newly re-built CZ175, and had the most enjoyable time of the 3 trips. There was a sense of achievment in doing a 280 mile cross country ride to get to Heysham, and being on one of a handful (and by far the best) of Czech machines there! For the Manx we took mother along and used a car and dad's BeeEm, sharing the riding / driving.

Anyway back to the subject - on Saturday 7th June we rode up to Jurby airfield in the North of the island, which was being used for practice and testing of the old bikes which were going to be ridden in the first "Millenium Lap Of Honour" the following day. It was here that we met Stanley and his helpers. He was the perfect "gent" and willingly gave us his time. He was then 75 and admitted to having both hips replaced, and wasn't able to get on the old Velocette without assistance. However once he had been push started he was in his element. Apparently all the riders had been advised they only had 40 minutes (I think) on the circuit, after that they would be flagged off at the next junction. So although it was meant to be a fairly sedate demonstration lap, it soon became anything but. Stanley completed a lap in 33 minutes, averaging 68mph! The leaders on newer faster machines were really having a ding dong, and I think I'm right in saying that some lapped faster than the last time they had raced, such had been the improvement in the roads.

On Sunday 7th June we found a suitable spot to watch at Signpost Corner, and most of the following shots are from there. I have no idea what camera we had back then, but it did use 35mm film. I probably have the negatives somewhere in the loft, but trying to find them would be a nightmare, so these are all scanned and cropped from the prints.

Stanley Woods (no28) on a Velocette

Geoff Duke (no3) on a 500 Gilera Four.

Georg Meier (no9) on a 1939 BMW

John Surtees (no2) on an MV 500/4

Luigi Taveri (no4) on a Honda 250/4

Paul Smart? on a Suzuki & John Surtees (no2) on a MV 500/4

More to follow later.

I'll be posting the second and third instalments over the next couple of days. Great to see the giants of road racing making 'good progress'.


  1. Great piccies MD

    Those were the days when you could identify a rider from 1/2 mile away by the colour + pattern on their helmet.

  2. I have a stereo sound recording of the bikes going by at Glentramman. the first 3 were Read (MV) leading Surtees (MV) then Tait (Trident) followed by the rest. The MV's sound great as they arrive.

  3. As soon as I figure out how to get it on the pc, I will.

  4. Errrmmmm, sorry for the delay, I was ermmmm, doing something, anyway, I've got the recording on a usb stick now, so watch this space, that's assuming anyone's here or indeed interested?


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