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 Mike Hailwood Foundation

A handful of Irish riders were on the Isle of Man just over a week ago for a quick look over the mountain Circuit in readiness for the MGP. The trip was organised in conjunction with the Mike Hailwood Foundation, which works tirelessly to promote the TT Races and attract new riding talent to the meeting. Last year Gary Dynes brought over a party of riders and one of his sponsors, Ivan Rainey, brought the riders over last weekend with tuition given by former MGP Newcomers winner Norman Gordon. Davy Morgan, who finished second in the 2000 Newcomers race assisted Norman; Davy intends to enter the Junior & Lightweight races this year.

A good prospect for this years Newcomers is Barry Davidson who is riding for the Royal Hotel, Cookstown, and will enter the Newcomers & 250 races. Barry was one of the main men in last years support classes in Ireland. Another newcomer, Nigel Moore, has considerable racing experience and at one time consistently beat Jeremy McWilliams on the short circuits.

An English rider, Mark Castle also joined the group; Mark has recently purchased Martin Sharpe’s MGP winning machine and he intends to compete in the Steam Packet Races & MGP. Mark’s main championship is the New Era, however the Irish riders have convinced him that he would gain considerable experience if he rode in a couple of road races in Northern Ireland. Kevin Quirk of the Mike Hailwood Foundation said of Mark: “When we last spoke to Mark, he confirmed that a couple of Irish events are a possibility, so we’re waiting to see what he decides to do.” Unfortunately rising star Gary Jess, who was scheduled to catch a later flight, missed the visit due to travel problems. Kevin Quirk commented: “We believe that if Gary is fully fit he has the potential to achieve a couple of wins at the MGP this year, and we are arranging for him to visit the island in March 2001.

Jon Speller , New Era Open Champion, visited the Isle of Man in December 2000 and he is due to return in March with a few other riders from the New Era Club. Davy Wood is also arranging to bring over a party of experienced riders, including Richard Britton, John Donnan and Adrian Archibald, together with a group of newcomers. Asked about the tremendous work done by the Mike Hailwood Foundation during the year, Kevin explained: “The Mike Hailwood Foundation generates it's income from renting out the Hailwood centre to Vagabonds Rugby Club, and also make a modest profit from selling drinks and sweets etc during TT race period.

All income is used to finance these visits and every year we offer scholarships to various riders who have made their debut in the MGP races. The scholarships cover the cost of entries in the following year’s races: for MGP 2001, we are assisting Davy Morgan, Seamus Greene and Martin Finnegan.” Kevin went on: “We approached the race organisers for assistance as our budget is limited, whilst we have expanded from bringing over one party to financing three or four parties each year. We were pleased to get support from the Manx Motor Cycle Club, however we still await a response from the TT organisers .

Preparing for the 2001 Manx Grand Prix. Last year's Newcomers 250 class winner, Davy Morgan, is pictured (far left) with regular podium man Norman Gordon (third left), trip organiser Ivan Rainey (front), plus newcomers Nigel Moore, Mark Castle and Barry Davidson.
Also pictured are Niki Earnshaw, Kevin Quirk and Adrian Earnshaw (rear centre) of the Mike Hailwood Foundation, who helped fund the trip, plus chief Travelling Marshal Des Evans (far right). The photo was taken on the steps to the Mike Hailwood Riders Centre at the rear of the TT Grandstand, which doubles up as the Vagabonds RUFC clubhouse

(Photo: Ron Clarke – Manx Racing Photography)

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