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|My introduction to bikes was when I was 16, when my dad bought me my
first bike, which was a Triumph Tiger Cub that was obtained from none other
than Freddie Frith himself, whom I knew quite well.
At this time
I was courting John, who also had a bike, and as you do, we ventured to Cadwell
Park for a day at the races and that was it, I was hooked.
later, the Batley MCC decided to run a ladies only race at Cadwell in 1969, and
the temptation was too much. There were only 8 or 9 of us on all manner of
machines, and I ended up 4th, riding John's Triumph Daytona.
Due to lack
of interest no more ladies races were run, but my competetive instinct had got
the better of me and in order to continue with my new found hobby I had to race
against the lads, which was something of a rarity back then!
I shared the
Triumph with John for a while, and he would do one race and me the next, but it
soon became obvious that we really needed a bike apiece.
introduced me to my passion:- 250cc Japanese 2 strokes, and I have tried them all, a Suzuki X7, an RD 250 Yam,an
I competed in many club races and high speed trials, always on
production machines, which I often rode to work and indeed to the meetings as
In 1974 & 75 I won the British Formula Racng Club 250 production
championship and was 2nd in the Midland club's as well. The following year saw
the introduction of the Avon Production series, in which I rode a 250 RD Yam,
in the 250 class, John competing in the 500 class on a 350 with the likes of
the late Phil Mellor and his brother Paul, and the IOM's own John Crellin.
I was to place 3rd in the championship, and actually won some prize
Gail was all of this time, attending the races with
us,helping out in the office etc as a 10 yr old.
following year in 1977, it became my desire to compete in the TT, having been
to The Island several times on holiday, so I then had to set to work to gain my
international licence.This was eventually
achieved by competing in various nationals at Cadwell, Scarborough, Croft etc.
People insisted that I would never be accepted into the TT as since
Beryl Swain took part in the early sixties there had been a ban on ladies.
However, I proved them all wrong and in 1978 was accepted to ride in the World
Championship Formula 3 TT.
The TT would have been my 2nd choice to the Manx GP, however ladies
would not be permitted to compete until 1989.
I felt honoured to be riding during the same year that
Mike Hailwood made his comeback, and I even stood on pit wall speaking to him.
I finished my first TT in 15th
place, one position behind John,there being 22 finishers.This was also the
first time a husband and wife had competed on solos,and in the same race.
I went on to compete in the TT until 1985,
and only failed to finish in 1979, when my machine let me down on the 1st lap.
I have never been sponsored nor have had any material help from
anyone with the exception of a few visors from Bob Heath,and free TT
accommodation from ex marshal, the late John Bullivant and his wife Diana and
friend Penny in Peel.
One of my most treasured
possessions,apart from my finishers medals, is a tape recording of my father
talking to Mike Hailwood on a BBC radio phone-in, in 1978 or 79, when he was
asked what he thought of women in the TT. He responded by saying he had watched
me up on the mountain and was very impressed!
Since my last TT, I made an
abortive attempt at the Classic Manx in 1989, on a hastily built T20 Suzuki,
with a top speed of less than 100mph.I have to say that I do prefer modern
I have also won the National Sprint Assosciation 125
and 250 road legal championships in the early 90's.
still keep my licence going and I mostly do a few track days, particularly at
my favourite short circuit, which is Donington.
Nothing I have ever done has been in the name of publicity, contrary
to the opinions of some, I don't have time for other hobbies, except keeping a
few chickens, and my cats, in particular my dear deaf ,white Manxie, - Kipper!