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Competitor Profile: Bill Milne

TT Career Summary

No of times1113

MGP Career Summary

Position45782425DNF 0
No of times112111131

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Bill Milne had a string of meda1s covering every Manx Grand Prix between 1958 and 1973. He was respected as a racer who was both fast and safe and he was one of the few competitive riders of the time who had come through two decades, covering the both four strokes and two strokes, which required quite different riding styles.

His racing career began in 1952 when he was "young and daft". On a speedway JAP he was chasing champ Bill Innes on Forth Inch. In 1956 he turned to road racing on a 350 Gold Star BSA. In 1958 a Snaefell Newcomer's Race was held in the Isle of Man, in addition of the Manx GP. They only held it that one year for as Bill recalled "there were lads going a’ place, over dykes. the lot". Bill managed to finish the race that year when Phil Read won, and so began his apprenticeship on the TT course.

Although he was one of the top riders in Scotland during almost all his racing years, his heart was in riding the TT at the Isle of Man. He knew it so well he was able to show the quickest line through certain bends to men who went on to win the Manx. Selwyn Griffiths for instance didn't believe it possible to take a G50 Matchless through the Barrragarroo flat out in top gear. Bill showed him how to work up to it to such an effect that a spectator who saw the Milne Matchless approaching on full song fell backwards over a dyke!

The year Jock Findlay from Bonnyrigg won the 500 Manx GP, Bill came third on a 350 AJS. It was against the rules to ride a 350 in the Senior, but Bill made it no secret that he was riding a 7R. After the race he was brought in front of a 14 man committee, the Chairman demanding an explanation. Bill said he had "paid his money and wanted a canter", "Some canter," said a voice from the back. Bill however, agreed the rules were the rules and was duly disqualified. Some years later a peace offering came from the same committee in the form of an oil painting of himself airborne at Ballaugh Bridge on an Aermacchi Metisse.

Over a racing lifetime, Bill rode many bikes including the G50 Matchless, Bultaco, Yamaha, R7, and his favourite a 500 Norton.

Bill Milne died in 1987; he is much missed but never forgotten by his wife Rita, and daughters Katrina and Kerry.

The main picture here shows Bill's medals, which his wife Rita says, "Bill was very proud to wear". Thanks to Kerry Milne and Paul McKinnon for providing the above information.

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