VIDEO: Pensioner to ride Harley Davidson at Wheels Festival – 48 years after Manx Grand Prix win (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Pensioner Bob Farmer to ride Aermacchi Harley Davidson at Bournemouth Wheels Festival – 48 years after winning the Manx Grand Prix
A FORMER motorbike racer from Bournemouth will be reliving the glory days at the Bournemouth Wheels Festival.
Bob Farmer, 74, who has lived in the town all of his life, won the Manx Grand Prix at the legendary Isle of Man TT event in 1966 on his 130mph, 250cc, Aermacchi Harley Davidson.
Now, he will be bringing an identical bike that he’s owned for five years to the demonstration straight on the East Overcliff at the event between May 24 to 26.
Bob said: “I started racing in 1964 at the comparatively late age of 25. I always wanted to race, but I was a gas fitter by trade and the wage wasn’t very much.
“I paid my first visit to the Isle of Man in 1961 as a spectator.”
He took part in his first Manx Grand Prix, which was the race for amateur riders, in 1965.
Bob added: “I was in seventh position on the last lap when the engine went. I didn’t finish, but the following year I went back and surprised myself by winning.”
In 1967, he stepped up to the full TT race, competing against iconic names such as Mike Hailwood, who won that year.
He took part on a friend’s Yamaha and finished ninth.
But that was the end of his racing career, as he simply couldn’t afford to keep going.
Bob, of Castle Lane West, sold the Aermacchi that won him the 1966 race, but bought an identical model five years ago and it is that which he will ride at the festival.
“I heard about the Wheels Festival and I thought I would contact them and see if there was any interest.
“They said they would love to have me and the bike down. I’ve taken it to parades and shows and I took it back to the Isle of Man and rode in the past winners’ parade.
“There’s never been an opportunity to ride it in Bournemouth.
“It’s a beautiful bike to ride with superb handling. I think it will be a great experience for people to hear these old bikes and cars and as a Bournemouth resident I’m excited about the idea of it.”
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