Classic Racer

Mac Mistake #1


Dear CR

Just to add a few more comments on Raymond Ainscoe's letter in CR#211 regarding the often mistaken story surroundin­g Bob Mac's 1957 Gilera ride – I've always understood that, as Raymond says, it was Bob Brown who was given the ride on Geoff Duke's bike after Duke had fallen twice at the meeting at Imola earlier in the year, and injured his shoulder. None of the Italian team riders were considered experience­d enough to compete at the TT.

Brown rode very well at the TT, finishing 3rd in the Senior, a position that he repeated in both the 1958 and 1959 Senior races on Manx Nortons.

Of further note, is that the article in CR#208 mentions that the Gilera had pannier fuel tanks fitted, but I recall that this only applied to Mac's bike, and that Brown's bike had the traditiona­l tank without the panniers.

Moving back to Bob Mac, again, it's my recollecti­on that, despite being chased by MV, and briefly by Moto Guzzi to ride their V8, he agreed to ride for Gilera at the Gold Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, Scarboroug­h in September, 1956. It wasn't appreciate­d at the time that Bob, who was racing his Joe Potts Norton, had one of his first rides on the Gilera at Scarboroug­h, for after chasing Geoff Duke on the Gilera all the way in the 500cc race, as the riders lined up for the garlanding ceremony, Bob and Geoff had swapped bikes, and as Bob was sat on the Gilera, he was given the winner's laurels by the lord mayor who was presenting the awards! Ray Slack

The editor says: “Maybe this is the last word on the matter? ...Hang on!”

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