Mick Chatterton installed as TT Riders Association President
Three hundred guests covered their ears as what looked like a TZ Yamaha - Mick's favourite bike - revved its way into the auditorium at the Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham's NEC, sounding like a modern-day MotoGP bike arriving on the grid!
As someone who saw his first TT in 1954 - when Ray Amm scored a famous Norton victory over Geoff Duke's Gilera, the race being stopped after four laps - Mick was greeted with warm and enthusiastic applause as he reminded a receptive audience that the TT, having been written off when it lost its world championship status in the seventies, had not only survived but prospered to be the most famous race in the world.
"And the reason,"
said the man who has competed in more TTs than any other solo rider, "is the Mountain Circuit. That is what makes the TT different and makes it better known round the world than any other race."
The ageless Yorkshireman, in an amusing and self deprecating speech - "No, I am not Derek Chatterton's brother, he was a bit quicker than me"
- described his introduction to the racing 'drug' when his father took him to speedway, his early years accompanying Peter Middleton, his first races on a dope-fuelled Tiger Cub and his first race on the TT course in the 1964 Manx Grand Prix.
"I raced there every year up until a few years ago when they banned racing bikes. The factories dictated that production-based bikes were the thing and that was the end for people on 125s and 250s, proper racers," said Mick."I had already given up the likes of Cadwell and Brands Hatch and from then on did all my racing on proper tracks in Ireland."
Acknowledging that Roy Hanks, as a sidecar rider, had competed in more TTs than him, Mick also thanked all contributors to the TTRA and spoke of its work in supporting riders in need. He made special mention of the work of Frances Thorpe, wife of Tom who passed away during the year; John Kidson and the many volunteers.
Footnote: The machine ridden into the auditorium by the President was an interesting hybrid owned by Phil Morris of Oswestry. A TZ Yamaha, it is powered by a V-four 250cc Yamaha engine. A four-stroke import, it never appeared in the UK.