The sport of motorcycle racing has thrown up many ‘all-rounders’ over the decades, indeed back in the 1950’s it wasn’t unusual to use the same machine for two or even three different disciplines. But as each type of event became more specialist, as did the machinery used, serious competitors tended to concentrate on their chosen sector. But not Neil Tuxworth, clearly a man born out of his time.
It was almost inevitable that Lincolnshire lad Neil would compete in the sport in some form or other; both his parents were avid enthusiast and regular visitors to the Isle of Man TT and the UK short circuits. So you would have to think it was no surprise to them when young Neil, still attending the local Louth, Lincolnshire, Grammar School at the time took to the track.
That first foray was at his local circuit, Cadwell Park, on March 15 1969, aboard a humble BSA Bantam, which he rode to second place in his first ever race. From small beginnings as they say.
In what seemed like no time at all Neil was racing in British National and International meetings scoring podiums and wins. With his parents love of the Isle of Man TT it was inevitable he would be drawn to the greatest challenge in motorcycle sport, and he did the old folks proud, along the way racking up a Manx Grand Prix win, a runner up spot in the Formula 2 TT and five third places!
Neil was always keen to travel and he followed the Continental Circus as much as possible scoring Grand Prix World Championship points in the UK, Austria, and Finland. But it was his interest, and desire, to race anything with two wheels that saw him compete in Moto Cross, Sand Racing and even Ice Racing during the ‘quite’ winter months. Neil claims his last competitive ride was a beach race at Mablethorpe in 2012.
In June 1986, at the tight parkland Aberdare Park in Wales Neil came very close to paying the ultimate price for his sport. Medics, and Neil’s family, initially feared for his life, but he battled through only to be told he may never walk again. I personally witnessed his fight back to fitness; believe me inside the pleasant, well-mannered man you see on stage at the show is a true man of steel. Obviously after a warning like that you hang up your leathers? Not Neil.
As soon as he could sit on a racing motorcycle again he was back, and went on to finish ninth in TT Formula 3 race in 1988 and fourth in the same race the following year. He also exercised the Devil with a third in the Aberdare Welsh Championship final in 1989 and finally the Ulster Grand Prix Formula 3 race in 1989 where he came home fifth, before retiring one week later to begin his career as Race Team Manager for Honda UK.
Starting this new chapter, initially from buildings on his parents farm he ultimately moved the team to the palatial premises in Louth, Lincolnshire. During his management career Neil managed some of the more colourful characters in the sport, from Joey Dunlop through John Kocinski to Colin Edwards, giving his employers, Honda, many great championships along the way.
It’s guaranteed that Neil’s time on stage at the show will be entertaining; I for one won’t miss it. Check the timetable within these pages to make sure you don’t.
Steve Plater and Frankie Chili