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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Island Racer 2017 > FIFTY YEARS AND ONE BLOODY SECOND!


When Malc Wheeler made his maiden visit to the 1967/TT races, to satisfy his boyhood obsession with the lsle of man, little did he realise what a huge part Mona’s Isle would play in his life. Fifty years on he shares the experience of what followed.
The maiden Manx Grand Prix Dream Team, left to right, Big Mick Parrish, Julie, Dave ‘Monster’ Spilman, and Keith ‘Kipper’ Hill. And Kipper’s not kidding with the baked beans; they formed the basis for most meals that year.
Tom Dickie with his friend and mechanic Malc try our Norton Dominator for size.

From being 10 or 11 years old I had an obsession about the Isle of Man and the TT races, although the island in the middle of the Irish Sea may as well have been as far away as the moon from my childhood home in rural Lincolnshire. The world was a much bigger place in the 1960s.

Like any addict I needed someone, or something, to feed my growing addiction, and I was lucky, I had two! My childhood village home, Donington on Bain, was only four miles from Cadwell Park. On a clear day you could hear every race start. And, as young lads do, we quickly discovered the best hole in the hedge to gain free access. It’s still there, but I don’t fit it any more.

The other feeder to my rapidly growing addiction was my late cousin Colin. Cousin Colin, a few years older than me, had a 350 Ariel on the road and was a great fan of road racing but, perhaps more importantly, a regular buyer of the weekly motorcycle press; The Blue ’Un and The Green ’Un, The Motorcycle and Motorcycling.

I couldn’t wait for Colin to drop his old copies of the magazines off for me. I studied the race reports, especially the TT and Manx Grand Prix, and memorised the riders’ helmet designs and sponsors and the engine tuners’ names.

By the time I was 18 I was on my second motorcycle, and my first serious girlfriend. The 1967 race season clearly promised much and it was clear to me that the Diamond Jubilee TT was going to be something special, with the young upstart Italian, Giacomo Agostini, posing a real threat to our very own Mike Hailwood! MV Agusta versus Honda!

If I was ever going to cross the Irish Sea then it had to be this year.

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Island Racer 2017 is the ultimate guide to this year’s TT. The packed 148-page edition includes: • Ian Hutchinson: The Bingley Bullet has 14 race wins in the bag, and is hunting for more • McGuinness and Martin: Honda’s biggest ever dream team • Also featuring Peter Hickman, Josh Brookes, Dan Kneen and Tim Reeves • The complete 2017 TT Racer's Who’s Who • A beginner’s guide to the TT • A massive multi-part TT poster • Blast from the past racing archive features