Saturday, 4 February 2012

#092 - 1970 - Commonwealth Games

As well as a business to run, we had a contract to marshall the Scottish Milk Race but first marshalling the Commonwealth Games Road Race in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. With me driving my Triumph TR6P police motorcycle and Robert on a BSA police motorcycle loaned for this special assignment, we went up to Edinburgh on the Saturday morning, it poured with rain all day. We stopped at Darlington for lunch, setting off again we hadn’t gone very far when - just outside Darlington - we were stopped by a police car. Wireless messages about 2 bogus police motorcyclists had been sent from Nottinghamshire to the police in the various counties as we travelled north – we were eventually caught up by the Darlington Police who stopped us for investigation, just as well that I had proof of possession supplied by Triumph and BSA - we were allowed to continue. We arrived in Edinburgh and went directly to the stadium, parked our machines and then under the tunnel and out into the middle of the track. Spotted by the race announcer Dave Saunders, over the Tannoy system came a glowing introduction followed by an ovation from the assembled crowd! Suddenly the 350 miles of cold, wet weather seemed to be worth it.

The following day – and still raining – the 102 mile road race started in Holyrood Park, this was a 3.3 mile circuit and because of a decision made by the Chief Commissaire Maurice Cumberworth, no following cars were allowed, the route allegedly being deemed to narrow for team cars (but not apparently for the judges car) I was therefore not allowed to do the job that I had been invited to do i.e. blackboard man, but instead designated to follow the race – with an official on my pillion armed with a pair of wheels - to provide service. It was the first time that this official had been on a motorcycle and he was ‘steering’ me from behind, (a common enough fault in non-motorcyclists) eventually and in the interests of our safety, I asked him to dismount and I continued the race on my own. Being requested by the riders to supply information I was then able to give verbal time checks for the duration of the race.

On the last lap there was a breakaway of 3 and a small chasing bunch, which contained Dave Rollinson. I came across one of the three, Australian John Trevorrow, spread-eagled on the grass verge. I stopped and asked what was wrong, and he replied that he had ‘had it’, I persuaded him to get on his bike with the encouraging words that he had only ½ mile to go, with a big push he was on his way still ahead of the chasing bunch, enabling him finishing third. Dave Rollinson was next over the line and I realised I had denied him a place on the rostrum. The evening celebrations were held at the Ice Rink and late in the evening Edward Heath – having won the election just prior to the Commonwealth Games, made an appearance.

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