Ewan’s up for half-century
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Ewan’s up for half-century
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Scotsman Ewan Hamilton is devoted to road racing in the Isle of Man.

The 58-year-old from the small village of Drumoak, in North Deeside, Aberdeenshire first competed in the Manx Grand Prix in 1987 and has since clocked another 46 starts in both the Manx and the newly-introduced Classic TT.

He is one of a number of riders with multiple rides in both events over the coming fortnight.

Hamilton will ride a 500cc Matchless in the Bennetts Senior Classic on Saturdayand a 250 Yamaha in the post-Classic F2 race next Monday, sponsored by Motorsport Merchandise.

He will round off a busy 10 days with an outing on the same TZ250 in the Lightweight class of the IMGold Manx Grand Prix 48 hours later.

That will be his 50th start in 28 years racing on the Mountain Course.

When he first entered the MGP Newcomers Lightweight race in 1987, where he came seventh in a race won by Ian Morris from Ewan’s fellow Scot Ian Simpson, little did Hamilton know that almost three decades on he’d still be racing and what’s more still be competitive.

‘I can’t believe I’ve been racing here for almost half my life,’ said the wily Scot. ‘The Isle of Man really is my second home. I’ve been on the podium eight times, including four wins in the Lightweight 250cc MGP [now the Classic TT], and in 2009, my most successful year, I won three replicas, including first place in the MGP 250cc Classic.’

Ewan’s love of road racing, and the Isle of Man in particular, stems from a visit to the TT in 1984.

‘Watching Joey Dunlop roar down Bray Hill made me decide then and there that I wanted to be a road racer,’ he continues.

‘Three years later I was competing at the Manx. For a newcomer, the MGP offered everything I wanted: it was friendly and supportive yet still highly competitive, an ideal start for an ambitious road racer.’

Unfortunately, injuries sustained in a crash at Ballaspur in the MGP Lightweight in 1991 put paid to Ewan’s TT ambitions, but not, thankfully, to his road racing career.

In recent years, Ewan has devoted time to support newcomers to the Mountain Course. ‘When I started, it took me about five years to learn the course properly, but the help that’s now given to newcomers is fantastic.

‘It minimises the risk to the riders and really does add to the friendly nature of the event,’
he says.

‘I’ve given as much help as possible to newcomers over the years and, as the plan is to retire to the island eventually, I hope I’l l be able to continue to offer the benefit of my experience in the coming years.

‘The standard of newcomers now is quite something, but the Mountain Course is a very special challenge, not to be taken lightly.’

Ewan’s passion is for two-stroke bikes and he acknowledges that these require very different skills to modern four-stroke engines.

‘The challenge is first to get to the start, and then get to the finish line in one piece,’ he laughs. ‘I’ve finished more than 65 per cent of races I’ve started in the Isle of Man, both on classic and modern two-stroke bikes, but the competition to even get an entry is getting tougher and every year I hold my breath until I get confirmation of my place. Still, 50 races isn’t bad is it?’

He wouldn’t still be racing here if it wasn’t for the support of some very special island friends, Stu Fayle, the McFee and Twist families, Ron Todd and his daughter Amy. ‘ I couldn’t have done any of this without them,” says Ewan, who has no plans to give up just yet.

‘I’ve developed my own regime involving a hot tub and a wheely-bin full of cold water and ice to keep my 58-year-old body fit for racing,’ continues Ewan. ‘The TT course is really tough on the body, but as long as I am healthy and fit I’ll be road racing on my favourite roads, in my favourite place – the Isle of Man.’

Ewan will be competing at number 20 in the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Supertwin/Lightweight race on a 2002 TZ Yamaha two-stroke; at no.82 in the Classic TT Formula Two on his own 1991 Yamaha TZ two-stroke (the same bike he crashed in 1991), and at no.44 in the Classic TT Senior on a 500cc Matchless.

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26-08-2015, 04:33 PM
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