50 races, 28 years – and there’s still no stopping Ewan Hamilton, who is competing in the IMGold MGP Supertwins and the Classic TT in 2015.
When he first entered the MGP newcomers Lightweight Race in 1987, where he came seventh, little did Scotsman Ewan know that 28 years on he’d still be racing round the Mountain Course.
And, apart from 2001, when the foot and mouth crisis meant he had to stay at home in Aberdeen, he’s not missed a year.
“I can’t believe I’ve been racing here for nearly half my life,” says Ewan. “The Isle of Man really is my second home. I’ve been on the podium eight times, including four wins in the Lightweight 250cc Manx Grand Prix Classic, now the Classic TT, and in 2009, my most successful year, I won three replicas, including 1st place in the MGP 250cc Classic.”
Ewan’s love of road racing, and the Isle of Man in particular, stems from a visit to the TT in 1984.
"Watching Joey Dunlop roar down Bray Hill made me decide then and there that I wanted to be a road racer,”
say Ewan. “Three years later I was competing at the Manx. For a newcomer, the MGP offered everything I wanted: it was friendly and supportive yet still highly competitive, an ideal start for an ambitious road racer.”
Unfortunately injuries sustained in a crash at Ballaspur in the MGP Lightweight in 1991 put paid to Ewan’s TT ambitions, but not, thankfully, to his road racing career. And this experience has made him even more determined to support newcomers to the mountain course.
“When I started, it took me about five years to learn the course properly, but the help that’s now given to newcomers is fantastic. It minimises the risk to the riders and really does add to the friendly nature of the event,” he says. “I’ve given as much help as possible to newcomers over the years and, as the plan is to retire to the Island eventually, I hope I’ll be able to continue to offer the benefit of my experience. The standard of the newcomers now is quite something, but the mountain course is a very special challenge, not to be taken lightly."
Ewan’s passion is for two stroke bikes and he acknowledges that these require very different skills to modern four stroke engines. “The challenge is first to get to the start, and then get to the finish line in one piece!”
Ewan laughs. “I’ve finished over 65% of races I’ve started in the Isle of Man, both on classic and modern two stroke bikes but the competition to even get an entry is getting tougher, and every year I hold my breath until I get confirmation of my place. Still, 50 races isn’t bad is it?”
And he wouldn’t still be racing here if it wasn’t for the support of some very special Island friends, Stu Fayle, the McFee and Twist families, Ron Todd and his daughter Amy. “I couldn’t have done any of this without them,” says Ewan, who has no plans to give up just yet.
“I’ve developed my own regime involving a hot tub and a wheely-bin full of cold water and ice to keep my 58 year old body fit for racing,”
continues Ewan. “The TT circuit is really tough on the body but as long as I am healthy and fit I’ll be road racing on my favourite roads, in my favourite place – the Isle of Man.”
Ewan will be competing at number 20 in the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Supertwins race on a 2002 TZ Yamaha two-stroke, at no.82 in the Classic TT Formula 2, riding the same bike he crashed in 1991, his own 1991 Yamaha TZ two-stroke, and at no. 70 in the Classic TT 500cc on a four-stroke Honda 365cc.