It is with much sadness that Southern 100 Racing learnt of the passing of Alan Holmes on Tuesday 15th December 2020 after a short illness.
Whilst Double Manx Grand Prix winner in 1957, Alan never actually raced around the Billown Course, being a Castletown man he was an ardent supporter of the Southern 100 Road Races and later the Pre-TT Classic and Post TT Races even when further afield in Southport and sunnier climes including Greece before returning to his native Island in recent years.
Alan Holmes made history in 1957 becoming the first Manxman to achieve the ‘double’ in the Junior and Senior Manx Grand Prix Races, a feat that has only been replicated a few times since. (The second time was some 37 years later in 1994!)
He was instrumental along with some other local riders in getting racing started firstly at Andreas Airfield, then Jurby Airport, in fact winning his first ever race at Andreas in 1952. Proving it was not beginners’ luck he won his second race at Andreas twelve months later and was ready for the challenges of the Snaefell Mountain Course, entering the Clubman’s Senior TT, finishing third.
Three months later he made his Manx debut with mixed fortunes collecting an unwanted DNF in the Junior due to a split petrol tank and a fine seventh place in the Senior on machines kindly supplied by Manchester sponsor Reg Dearden, association which remained throughout Alan’s racing career.
1954 saw Alan move to the UK to take up a position with Castrol, which allowed him to race on the short circuits, but forced him to miss that years ‘Manx’. However he returned 1955 with a second place in the Junior and a DNF in the Senior. 1956 saw a DNF in the Junior and a third in the Senior, then the record breaking 1957 double victory.
Moving to the TT in 1958, on Norton ‘works’ machinery arranged by Reg Dearden Alan picked up an unwanted retirement in the Junior TT when the conrod broke and took 25th place in the Senior having been delayed by a 12-minute pit stop with carb problems.
His racing career ended abruptly at the end of season races at Oulton Park when he was thrown off his machine fracturing his skull and double vision which remained with him for many years.
Alan was a much-respected resident of Castletown, a true gentleman and a proud Manxman and a good friend of the ‘Southside’ races.
Southern 100 Racing extend their deepest sympathy to his son David and all family members and close friends during this incredibly sad time. It has been an honour and a privilege to have known Alan Holmes.