Ge­orge Costain


Home racer Ge­orge Costain’s main claim to fame was win­ning the 1954 Se­nior Manx Grand Prix, mak­ing it the first ‘Manx’ dou­ble in the Septem­ber races – his fel­low is­lan­der Castle­town’s Derek En­nett hav­ing taken the Ju­nior hon­ours two days pre­vi­ously. Ge­orge, a true gen­tle­man of the track, died on Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 9, aged 89, and left a true legacy in the sport. That Manx dou­ble by Ge­orge and Derek is of­ten thought to have been in­stru­men­tal in the South­ern 100 be­com­ing a re­al­ity. In 1955 the first South­ern 100 was run on July 14, with both Derek and Ge­orge en­tered and Derek win­ning the very first race on the Bil­lown Course, the 250cc race. How­ever, Ge­orge’s de­but re­sulted in an un­wanted DNF in the 500cc race which was run over 24 laps, a 100 mile race. Ge­orge re­turned an­nu­ally to his home cir­cuit for the next four years, tak­ing three third places and a sec­ond place in the 250cc race in 1957. He started his TT ca­reer in 1955 rid­ing for Reg Dear­den on whose Nor­ton he had won the Se­nior Manx. He rode in 10 TTS with a best 13th place in the 1956 Se­nior and gained nine sil­ver repli­cas in the nine races he fin­ished. Once Ge­orge had de­cided to hang-up his rac­ing leathers, away from his butch­ery busi­ness in Castle­town he joined the race or­gan­i­sa­tion of the South­ern 100 Races in 1961 and con­tin­ued in var­i­ous roles un­til he re­tired af­ter the 2007 South­ern 100. Ge­orge took on the role as trav­el­ling mar­shal in 1961 and con­tin­ued un­til 1970. The fol­low­ing year he took up ste­ward du­ties and filled that po­si­tion up to and in­clud­ing 1979. From 1980 to 1984 he was race com­mit­tee chair­man, a po­si­tion he had pre­vi­ously held be­tween 1971 and 1974, while 1985 to 1997 saw Ge­orge back on the roads as of­fi­cial car driver. He then took a short sab­bat­i­cal be­fore be­com­ing a line judge from 2002 to 2007. Ge­orge may have stepped down from his of­fi­cial du­ties af­ter the 2007 South­ern 100, but he was still to be seen at ev­ery race meet­ing on the Bil­lown course, rem­i­nisc­ing with the mod­ern day com­peti­tors, the old-timers, of­fi­cials and en­thu­si­asts alike. The fi­nal me­dia launch he at­tended was in 2015 when the South­ern 100 In­ter­na­tional Road Races cel­e­brated its di­a­mond ju­bilee, where both he and fel­low ex-racer and

long-time of­fi­cial Al­lan ‘Kip­per’ Kil­lip were pre­sented with spe­cial framed pho­to­graphs. Ill health pre­vented ‘Sparra’ from at­tend­ing the friendly races for the last two years, al­though he kept up to date with the races through Manx Ra­dio and com­mu­ni­ca­tions from the club. Con­do­lences from all at Clas­sic Racer to all of Ge­orge’s fam­ily and friends.

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