Until the sporting scene returns to normal I will be recalling some of my own motorcycling memories on this page.

Regular readers will recall a few weeks ago I mentioned former Manx Grand Prix rider Joe Thornton, who came in to refuel during a race with a privet branch stuck through his shoulder, quickly refuelled and shot off again before officials could stop him.

Originally from York he came to the Furness area to set up antique businesses in Windermere and Ulverston, and now lives in Bardsea.

I still have a lot of respect for Joe who helped me enormously early in my career.

Joe raced in the MGP from 1966 to 1975 mainly on Nortons.

When he changed to the more lightweight Yamaha machinery, his “tucked in” riding style didn’t suit them and he crashed heavily, effectively ending his career.

Plagued with several tumbles he still achieved 6th & 4th placings in the Junior races and a creditable 2nd in the Senior.

Coming over the mountain section one night showing me the course, he didn’t reduce speed, but turned off the headlights.

Feeling rather uncomfortable I asked him to turn them on again, and was met with: “No, you have to get used to this Les, it might be foggy on race day!”

He ‘attended’ one of the Governor of the Isle of Man’s garden parties one year, his residence adjoins the TT course.

Pushing hard for the lead Joe crashed heavily at Bedstead corner demolishing the hedge.

The only way they could get him to a waiting ambulance was to stretcher him through the Governor’s grounds past all the visiting dignitaries.

The following year we were on the start line when his Excellency spotted Joe, greeting him with: “Ah, Mr Thornton, how nice to see you again, please go easy on our course today won’t you, we need it for the TT next year !”

Sadly, I can’t print Joe’s reply!

He still maintains his interest in motorcycling and regularly attends the Furness British Motorcycle club meetings.