Friday, April 19, 2024

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George Peach Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Southern 100 Club Chairman & Race Secretary George Peach has been honoured for his dedication to motorcycle sport, especially his involvement with the Southern 100 for over 40 years!

George was invited to attend the prestigious Isle of Man Sports Awards 2024 ceremony at the Villa Marina, where the guest of honour Manx Olympic snowboarder Zoe-Gillings Brier who has represented Great Britain in four Winter Games, under the impression that he had been nominated for an administration award.

George Peach Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Family of George Peach, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Isle of Man Sports Awards 2023. Photo by Callum Staley (CJS Photography)

Another obstacle was the Southern 100 Club’s Annual General Meeting, which was due to be held on the same evening, thankfully after much persuasion by other Committee Members the AGM was postponed for twenty-four hours!

However, much to the Club Chairman’s surprise, it was a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ he was to receive in recognition of his service to the Southern 100 Road Races.

Castletown born and bred, George joined the Committee of the Southern 100 Motorcycle Club Ltd in 1982, prior to joining the Committee, he was one of the many regular volunteers assisting with the preparation of building the 4.25-mile course prior to racing and signing on as a marshal for the duration of the races, before helping dismantle the course at the end of the event for very many years.

On joining the committee in 1982, twelve months after the club had taken over the running of the ‘friendly races’ from the Southern Motorcycle Club who had organised the race since its inception in 1955, he also took on the role of Deputy Chief Club Marshal (the Chief Marshal at the time was the Chief Constable – an honorary position) and continued in the position until 1989 when he took over as Club and Race Secretary, a post he still held as the racing organisation ended its 2018 season.

However, at the Club’s Annual General Meeting in February 2018, George Peach was elected Chairman to replace Phil Taubman MBE, who was elevated to President of the Southern 100 Racing Club.

In addition to being Club Chairman, George still holds the position of Race Secretary, which he took on in 1989, looking after the administration of all entry details for the three meetings, the club organises annually.

In addition to the prestigious Southern 100 Road Races, the club also organise and run the Pre-TT Classic Road Races since 1988 and the Post TT Road Races since 1991.
The Southern 100 was between 2007 and 2018 a full International Road Race, one of only three sanctioned by the FIM, the governing body of motorcycle sport world-wide, in the British Isles. (The FIM subsequently rescinded ALL International status road races to National Status in 2019.)

The Pre-TT Classic Road Races, as the title suggests opens the Isle of Man TT Festival and is regarded as one of the premier Classic Road Races in the annual calendar, whilst the Post TT Road Races, which brings the curtain down on the TT Festival is graced by many of the top TT stars as well up and coming riders as they gain valuable experience of racing on ‘pure roads’ prior to making their Manx Grand Prix and/or TT debuts.

Since George Peach took on the role of Club & Race Secretary in 1989, the Southern 100 has grown in stature and size (as have the Pre-& Post TT Races) and as with all organisations so has the administration duties, which he has encompassed and adopted as required to ensure the events run to the highest of standards.

George’s ethos epitomises the Southern 100. His principled, objective approach, honesty, and responsibility creates an aura about him. His friendly and charming influence instantly puts people at ease and makes them feel welcome. Any first-time competitor, marshal or helper feels at ease with George. However, George can be firm and even gnarled old timers pumped up with adrenaline cannot fail to smile at his pleasantness, even if they have done something wrong. George is part of the reason competitors love to compete on the Billown Course and is a big contributor to the growing success of the Southern 100.

Apart from the mountains of administration work, George could also be found helping at all the work parties involving the preparation of the 4.25-mile Billown Course ensuring that it is safe for racing and returning the roads in good condition for public use once events have concluded.

However, during the final months of 2019 George Peach was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer and commenced treatment at Nobles Hospital and on the Wirral before having major surgery at a Liverpool Hospital at the end of May 2020.

During this very traumatic time, from October 2019 George continued to take as full a role as he could, with the added restrictions because of the Covid Pandemic, in the running of the club using all the latest technical equipment available for ‘isolated’ meetings and the like.

Whilst there may have been no actual road races during 2020, the administration activities continued, with the aftermath of the cancellation of the three 2020 races, the forward planning of the 2021 races along with continuous communications with Government Departments, Sponsors, the ACU and numerous ‘general enquiries’, all had to be dealt with, which George did in his usual way.

Thankfully, road racing returned in 2022, albeit with major changes in the organisation and promotion of the events, which of course added to his workload.
Twenty, Twenty-three saw both sides of road racing, the highs of the Pre-TT Classic and the tragedy of the Southern 100, which was cancelled after a practice incident resulting in a rider and marshal losing their lives.

George, along with his dedicated committee are now very active in the preparation of the Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Southern 100 Road Races for this year whilst planning ahead for the Platinum Anniversary of the Southern 100 in 2055 – 70 Years of the friendly races!

Away from involvement with the Southern 100 Road Races and associated events George also finds time to be on the Committee of the Castletown Bowling Club where he coaches youngsters for the Manx Youth Games. George has also been Men’s Captain and Fixture Secretary in the past.

A well-known person in Castletown George also served his home town and the larger community of the Isle of Man as a Retained Fireman based in the ancient capital for 30 years.

George Peach is the second Chairman of Southern 100 Racing to have been honoured by Isle of Man Sports Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award, previous Chairman, now President Phil Taubman MBE received a similar award in 2016.

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