The cancellation of this year’s racing on the Isle of Man not only means fans from around the world are missing their ‘fix’ of one of sport’s greatest shows, but also it now means farewell to one of the event’s ‘fixtures’ for nearly 60 years.
Marshals are among the unsung heroes of any TT, but organisers on The Island are keen to pay tribute to Ray Gawne, a flag person who has decided to finally retire.
Ray originally decided to retire in 2017, but with the help of his son and chief sector marshal at Ballabeg, Steve, he was persuaded to carry on, completing 58 years’ service after the Southern 100 in 2019.
He started marshalling in 1961, eventually taking over the flag position at Ballabeg vacated by Alan Costain in the early 1980s.
His dedication saw him miss only one session in all his time, and that was due to bailing hay on his busy family farm.
Ray (right) will now get to enjoy a well-earned rest from standing out on the course in all weathers… but he is sure to still be involved as he is president of the Marshals Association and captain of the Parish of Arbory.
Anyone who has any involvement with road racing knows how important the dedication and work of the marshals is, and race bosses are always keen to hear from more people who want to be involved – enjoying the camaraderie and friendships made and to welcome race fans back year on year.
Racing cannot take place without marshals and it is becoming increasingly important that younger generations come forward to take the places of those retiring.
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