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Why?  Since the age of around 8, I have enjoyed watching motorcycle sport.  The first 2 years were Scrambling (now known as Cross or MotoCross) and then to Road Racing. I was right at the end of Gileras golden racing era.  Until I was old enough to legally ride motorbikes on the road, I pedal-cycled to Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch for almost all of their meetings.  I carried on watching road racing (and also included watching Wimbledon Speedway as well) until I departed to Australia in 1969.  TV kept me in touch with racing but I gave up riding myself until the age of 59 when I was finally able to purchase an Arcore produced bike.  It was a 350 Saturno and I ended up with two (one red, one black).  With the Gilera Network closed, I formed the I Gotta Gilera Owners Club of Britain and used to ride one of the Saturnos to Castle Combe to watch their once a year bike race meeting. Although always promising myself that I would visit the Isle of Man for TT race week, I never quite managed to do so. I received great enjoyment from watching the sport, but how could I give something back to the sport that had given me (and still does) so much satisfaction?

 

When? From early 2010 I was able to spend almost one week in each 4 weeks over on the Island.  Wasn’t able to make it at TT time, but managed to get three weeks there when the Manx GP was taking place.  Hearing of the great shortage of Marshals (especially for the Manx GP) I decided to volunteer.

 

How?  A visit to the Marshals office at the back of the Grandstand, a quick form to fill out and I was handed my introduction to Marshaling video and my kit.  I was asked where I would like to Marshall and chose anywhere in the Ramsey area as that’s where I was staying.  The Chief sector Marshall for the sector contacted me and asked if I could report to the Marshals post at Whitegates (less than 5 minutes walk from where I stay) and I attended each practice and race session for the Manx GP.  Each Marshals post has a Deputy Sector Marshal who either takes you under his/her wing or places you with an experienced Marshall to show you the ropes.  Provided there are enough Marshalls available, we operated on the basis of two going to the aid of the rider involved in an incident, two to remove the bike (and any items that have come adrift) and also to take care of any fire, oil spills and directing  other competitors away from the fallen rider and/or machine and parts.

 

At first, it might sound a bit scary and just a little haphazard but actually the system seems to work very well.  The introductory video gives you a basic idea, The Deputy Sector Marshall (or an experienced Marshall) will talk you through what the various duties are and will ask what you would like to do.  I chose the bike/fire/oil spill/directing of other competitors away from the danger area.  I wasn’t comfortable with dealing with an injured rider even with an experienced Marshall with me and I hadn’t had any training on using the radio or handling the position of Flag Marshall.  I was there for the one and only incident when rider and bike overdid the bend, both hit the air-bagged stone wall and were thrown back into the middle of the road.  After removing the bike and broken off bits from the course we dealt with the small oil spill and then were positioned in the middle of the road directing following riders (at a vastly reduced speed due to yellow flags being waved) to the inside of the bend whilst medical help was given to the fallen rider.  At the end of each practise or race session, new Marshalls hand their card to the Deputy Sector Marshall for signing off.  Once you have completed 10 sessions, you are considered qualified at the first level.  Free course are given on the Island and also various places on the mainland for Incident Management Courses during which you receive full training on all aspects of Marshaling.  Rider care (helmet removal, moving, checking condition etc), Operating the radio to/from Race Control, Operation of the various flags (when, how, for how long), and other items that you may be involved in dealing with.

 

I will be attending one of these courses in Cheltenham at the end of February so enabling me to be amply qualified to attend both the TT and Manx GP for 2011.  If anyone is interested in either becoming a Marshal, or just wanting a chat about it, feel free to contact me by e-mail on

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll be happy to go into more detail.  Please don’t contact me if the reason you feel that you’d like to become a Marshall is for the taking of photos, as Marshals are forbidden to carry a camera with them whilst on duty.  You are there for the safety of competitors, other Marshals and the general public and you are even made a Special Constable (with Warrant Card) when on duty when the roads are closed to the public.

 

Paul Tipler (Founder of the old I Gotta Gilera Owners Club of Britain)

I was interested in biking from a very early age.  At 8yrs I was into Scrambling, by 10yrs I had switched to Road Racing and cycled (pedal power) to both Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch from my Hayes, Kent home for the majority of meetings.  I had always been a Gilera fanatic although I was only 11 when they pulled their factory team out of competitions, so I never got to see the dustbin faired 4 cylinder in action.

 

 

My first bike (at the age of 14) was a Dunkley, 70cc 4-stroke 2-speed hand change which of course, I NEVER road on the public highway.  I spent many a day riding around the rather large car park of the Bromley FC ground (with their written permission). 

 

 

Next came BSA, Vespa (yes I know it was a scooter), and Triumph bikes, which I rode to watch the racing (not the Vespa though).  I really wanted a 150 or 175 Gilera but there was just no way I could afford one as even second hand (if you could find one) they were way over my limit. 

 

 

 

For a year or so, I road a brand new Itom 50cc bike.  I say brand new, it was actually about 4 years old, had never been used and was the last bike the showroom had as they had stopped selling bikes.  Needless to say I got that at a fraction of the cost it should have been.  I remember the first time I ‘screamed’ it to Brands to watch a meeting.  It was a fascinating sight to a lot of the Gold Star and Triton riders who crowded around and were amazed that it got all the way from Bromley without blowing up.  I can honestly say that I loved riding the Itom around even though it wasn’t a Gilera.

 

 

 

 

By the age of 19, I had ‘tasted the tarmac’ so often and losing quite a few of my mates to bike road accidents that, after a particularly bad crash I was fortunate to walk away from, I decided to ‘take the hint’ and I gave up riding.  I was soon off to live in Australia and although I kept my interest in watching the bikes racing, I had no desire to ever ride one again.  Come 1997 and for various reasons I had to return to England and was soon contacted by an ex schoolmate and riding pal and after 40 years we got together for a chat about the old days.  He was still a biker and asked if I was and when I said no he asked if I was still ‘into’ Gileras.  I said I was, and one thing led to another and I called into see Bob Wright in Weston super Mare to see if there was a Gilera Club that I could join.  He said that The Gilera Network had finished.  Whilst talking to Bob I just happened to notice a lovely small red sports bike sitting in his showroom.  He said it wasn’t for sale and he in fact he only did spares now.

 

 

 

 

 

 After several more trips to talk Gilera with Bob, I had decided to start a Gilera Owners Club up and was running the idea past him to see what he thought.  He suggested I did start the Club and then surprised me by asking if I was still interested in the small red sports bike.  I said I may be and he told me that it was for sale but only to a Gilera enthusiast which I obviously was.  I did buy that 1989 350cc Nuovo Saturno and truly loved the bike. I then formed the I Gotta Gilera Owners Club of Britain.  We did attend several Shows and had a few trips.out, but the interest of members seemed to be more into just receiving the monthly newsletter than attending Club functions. The Saturno handled like a train on tracks, and even if the riding position was a bit much for a 60 year old, I still loved it.  I loved my Saturno so much that I had bought a second one (1990 black).  Even rode it from Weston super Mare to Cadwell Park for a Morini Track Day (during which I’m sure I got the record for the slowest ever lap) and then rode it back to Weston.  After 4 years, the Club sadly came to an end. I still had my Saturnos but fife never goes to plan, and in 2010 I had to say goodbye to both the Saturnos and was left with just a Honda CB500 as a run-around.  This however was stolen at the end of 2010 and currently I’m back to being a car driver again.  Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I’ll be back on a Gilera again but it might only be a 125 or 180 DNA that I can afford.  At least it would be a Gilera and that’s what really counts.

 

 

Why, When and How I became a TT Marshall

This is my Nordie on my basket ball pitch, I'm not joking, the previous owner of my house must have been a fan to make it, but it's a great car park or a place to land the helicopter when I get one.