Road Racing News

Manx GP Top 6: Jim Hunter

Manx Motorcycle Club director, travelling marshal, former Newcomers Senior class winner, all round great MGP supporter Jim Hunter is next to take part in Road Racing News, rising in popularity Manx GP Top 6 series.

A top thirty finisher at the TT Races, previous Newcomers Manx lap record holder, his answers to the Mountain Course themed set of questions are as follows:

Q1: When you first competed at the Manx, what was your first initial thought of the Mountain Course?

“Getting to race a bike on the Mountain Course was my absolute burning ambition and I gave it everything I had to achieve it.

When I lined up on the Glencrutchery Road for my first morning practice in 1986 I couldn’t have been more elated. I was just hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed, nothing could be further from the truth. Hooked ever since!”

Q2: Most memorable Manx GP bike?

“That’s an easy one to answer. My Suzuki GSXR750 that I won the Newcomers race on. Was down to ride a Yamaha RD500V4 but jumped ships at the last minute following the really strong GSXR showing at that year’s TT.”

Q3: Most treasured memory from the Manx?

“So many! My mom, dad and brother Jeff’s faces when I pulled into the winner’s enclosure. Seeing my friend Roger Beckett turn up to ‘pit’ for me after losing his fianc√© in a road traffic accident only weeks before.

Long time ago before all the restrictions, passing Tony Duncan going into Creg Ny Baa on the TM (Travelling Marshal) bikes, he did get back in front at Brandish! LOL!

Getting asked by David Harding if I’d considering joining the Manx Motor Cycle Club board of directors (you bet I would!).

Best though would have to be riding over the Mountain with my son, Jack, who was practising for the 2014 Newcomers race. Riding that section of the course on a beautiful evening with your son, doesn’t get much better than that.”

Photo by Paul Soulby

Q4: Is there one specific Manx GP competitor that you look up to?

“Again, so many over the years. Riders like Hizzy (Steve Hislop) and Foggy (Carl Fogarty) spring to mind as ones that really pushed the boundaries and rode with such determination, courage and conviction throughout their MGP / TT careers.

One would always stand out for me though, head and shoulders above the rest, not only because of what he achieved on the Mountain Course but also what he did when not racing his bike, that would of course be Billy Redmayne.

I would hazard a guess that not even Billy’s mom and dad (Sue and Dave) knew exactly what Billy got up to when on active service in Afghanistan that led to him being commended for his bravery by the Parachute Regiment.

But, I can tell you, if you’d been present at Billy’s memorial service, seen the Tornado jet fly over and heard what the regiment had to say about him, there would be no doubt in your mind that he was held in the very highest regard.

No doubt, the very same bravery and courage that made him such an exciting racing prospect.”

Q5: Describe the Manx GP in one word?

“Unmissable!”

Q6: Finally, if you could race one machine from any series, championship around the Mountain Course, what would it be?

“Not so much a machine, what I’d have loved more than anything is to have someone to help me set the machine up!. That was always my ‘Achilles heel’. Get there, take the bike off the trailer and ride it, that was me! I remember attending a Wednesday afternoon practice at Mallory Park on my 350YPVS Yamaha (that I’d ridden up).

‘Rocket’ Ron Haslam was also there, setting up a Honda VFR like looking 750 Honda which he was scheduled to ride in the Transatlantic Match races. On his own, he didn’t even have a paddock stand and just a toolkit that you could of slipped into your back pocket.

Watching him go round Gerrard’s as the afternoon progressed he turned that VFR from a bucking bronco into something that looked like it was running on rails using nothing more than a screw driver and an adjustable spanner. Unreal! So, to answer your question, an RC30 (Honda) with Slick Bass in attendance!”

Words by Stevie Rial

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