I have experienced years when after returning home, I nearly called it a day..
My Dad used to say "Have the interest but don't get too involved".

My Dad supported riders from the North East, among this lost were Louis Carr, Eddie Johnson, George Robinson, all riders who might unkindly have been classified as also rans but who were totally dedicated.

One of the list was a young man from Whitley Bay who was making a name for himself and had actually beaten Geoff Duke a couple of times in mainland races. His name was Chris Horn and he rode in the 1951 Senior TT on a Norton. My Dad was helping and we were expecting a good result.

Unfortunately Chris crashed fatally at Laurel Bank during the race. I witnessed the dark side of racing,seeing what happened in such a case, mainly getting the deceased home. My Dad was devastated and from this his quotation as above emerged.

Chris was the first rider who made me realise that there was a downside to the sport and I have experienced similar situations over the years. I was helping the Britten onslaught in 1994 when John had put together a three man team of Rob Holden, Nick Jefferies and Mark Farmer.....Rob backed out and the team became Nick on the pink and blue machine and Mark on the Black and Yellow CRS version.

There were problems and more problems that practice week, John was very ill and nothing seemed to go I went up to Tower Bends at Ramsey to spot and there I witnessed a horrible fatal crash involving Rob Mitchell---- I drove back to the paddock to learn that Mark had also crashed and had succumbed to his injuries........ Nick raced but nobody in the team were team anymore..

In 1989 I took a friend over to the TT since he had decided to enter the Manx in 1990 on my advice. Ben had a GSZR750 XH which he raced under my banner successfully for a couple of seasons... We felt that the Manx wdould further develop his racing ability..Mick Grant had been most helpful over two years and it was superb being able to pick up a phone a get advice from Mick....Once on the Island I took Ben to the Durex Suzuki HQ at Quarterbridge. We met Mick and also Jamie Whitham and Phil Mellor.

Phil and Ben hit it off straight away and they discussed the corse and other subjects which could help Ben, We even went round the course in my car, me driving with either Ben or Phil in the back seat with Phil giving a comprehensive commentary....Ben appreciated the help he was getting and we all went to the Villa Marina for the Prizegiving after the Wednesdays races. Phil didn't drink but we had a most memorable evening, ending when we laughingly sent Phil to bed "You are racing tomorrow"

We thanked Phil for his help and said our goodbyes since Ben and I were returning home early Friday - Ben had to get back for weekend work.

We had such a wonderfully rewarding ten plus days with Phil and Suzuki and Ben felt confident he would be OK to ride in the 1990 Manx.

Ben and I arrived back in Slough and I dropped him off at his flat. I drove home and switched on the TV --------------- The dreadful news came up on the screen...Phil had died in a crash at Handleys.......I phoned Ben and told him....We were both completely shocked and horrified to think we had all been together the night before

Ben did ride in the 1990 Manx in memory of Phil....................

Other riders with whom I have been involved include close friend Steve Hislop who didn't lose his life racing but crashed his helicopter in Scotland.....


Similarly I had been working closely with Sandor Bitter and was supporting in the TT..However prior to the TT he fell heavily in the NW200, the sponsorship money went on hospital bills and then he was found dead in bed. by his girlfriend. He had swallowed regurgitated food.

Finally I would like to pay homage to my Dad who took me to the TT in 1947 and introduced me to an interest I have kept going through thick and thin for 70 years......Thanks a million, Dad !!

There have been many others, too many, but all are good memories of the occasions when we drank and/or ate together or were part of race teams.

We can't bring them back but they are forever in my mind.