My next Manx character featured in an excellent article written by John Watterson, Media Isle of Man’s sports editor, in the May/June 2009 issue of Classic Racer.

The headline appropriately described him as poacher turned gamekeeper.

John Joseph (Jackie) Wood was a very capable motorcycle road racer in the 1950s, who went on to undertake the senior official position of clerk of the course for 16 MGP and 17 TT events.

The following quote is from Nick Jefferies, who holds the unique distinction of winning the Manx two-day trial in 1976, Senior Manx Grand Prix winner in 1983 (the diamond jubilee of the event) and the winner of the 1993 Formula 1 TT.

He also had seven second-place and three third-place TT results among many finishes.

He said: ‘Apart from being a thoroughly nice chap, Jackie Wood benefited from having actually raced,with success, around the TT Mountain Course.

‘He added the advantage of being approachable,considerate,and attentive,all facets of being a successful clerk of the course.’

I was one of the riders’ liaison officers during his time at the helm, along with sidecar racer Mick Boddice.

I am sure that he would agree with me that Jackie made our job much easier thanks to his understanding of the needs of the TT and MGP competitors.

He was, without doubt, the best clerk of the course over the last 50 years.

Nine-time TT Sidecar winner Mick Boddice agreed that Jackie was a nice bloke, stuck to the rules and recalled him wearing his TT Riders’ Association tie with pride.

Jack was born on September 9, 2029.

The family ran butchers shops in Port St Mary, Foxdale and Peel and lived on the Port St Mary premises.

He had an older brother Gordon, who worked in the family business.

His younger sister Isabella married Bram Callin who became CID Chief Inspector and later chairman of Onchan Commissioners.

Jack attended Rushen School (walking there and back, including lunch times).

When old enough, he delivered orders from the Foxdale shop every Friday using a carrier bike.

He left school when he was 14 and became an apprentice motor mechanic at Quayle’s garage in Douglas.

He got the 7am train from Port St Mary returning on the 5.30pm from Douglas, including alternate Saturdays.

He left Quayle’s after 18 months as brother Gordon had been conscripted into the navy and Jack was needed back home.

He resumed delivering orders and, when he was 16, he passed his test. He used his Douglas motorcycle with the meat orders in a cardboard box balanced on the tank.

He also worked on an Irish fishing boat when the shops were sold before National Service.

His National Service was with the 70th Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment based in Weybourne, Norfolk, where he was noticed using the gym in his spare time.

He was sent to Pirbright, Surrey, for a three-week course to train as a physical training instructor.

With two stripes, and rank of bombardier, he returned to Weybourne as an instructor.

After army service, Jack bought a cattle wagon which he owned for four years before concentrating on motorcycle racing.

In 1949, home for Christmas from National Service, he rode his Douglas motorcycle in a hill climb at Injebreck and won impressing MGP regular Harold Rowell, who was the owner of a successful motorcycle business, Salisbury garage with his brother Bertie (a pre-war rider) and initial plans were put in place for the Douglas factory to provide a machine for Jack in the 1950 MGP.

Permission was given by his commanding officer to grant a fortnight’s leave.

Sadly, the Douglas machine didn’t materialise but he rode a 350cc ‘garden gate’ Norton, which vibrated so much it caused both his hands to swell up like balloons as he tightly held the bars.

He completed the six-lap race for his first finish.

In 1951, Jack entered the Clubman’s TT riding a Norton International for Wilf Harding and he topped the practice leaderboard on the Thursday morning session.

Norton bosses offered him the opportunity to purchase one of their much sought after Featherbed models.

His father Eddie bought the machine and Norton supplied extra bits for it. Jack rode to sixth position.

The bike cost £430 and the night after the race the bike was sold on.

It was a great deal as the purchaser let Jack have the bike back for the Manx and he completed the course in seventh place.

He also claimed 14th position in the 1952 Junior race won by Bob McIntyre.

Jack competed on short circuits and at the North West 200 in 1953. He finished in an impressive third place in the 350cc event.

In the 1953 Manx GP, riding a brace of Featherbed Nortons, Jack came fourth in the Senior and seventh in the Junior.

Jackie rode full time for Geoff Duke in 1955, on 350 and 500cc BSA Gold Stars, and scored a memorable win in the 350cc class of the NW200

He rode the same machine in the inaugural Southern 100 at Billown, going on to win the 350cc class in the Leinster 200 in Ireland.

Reg Armstrong, who had won the 500cc race, was unable to compete in the 250cc event on an NSU so Jack offered to ride it and was given the ride, going on to take victory. In the same year, Jack finished 20th in the Junior TT and 3rd in the Junior MGP.

In 1956, with machine in the back of his van, Jack joined the ‘continental circus’ taking part in many Grand Prix Events travelling long distances in the process.

Later Jack decided there was not enough money to cover racing costs and support his family.

He was also aware of the risks that were involved especially as he had two young daughters to consider.

Jack knew Bob Dowty, a fellow competitor and he accepted the offer (£2 weekly plus commission) to work as car salesman with the Island Garages Group.

He later became a director and general manager.

After this he had a contract with the Department of Tourism and Leisure to act as recruitment/liaison manager providing information re: the TT to prospective riders.

It was during part of this time that I worked most closely with Jack meeting with the Auto Cycle Union to organise the TT races.

Jack joined the Manx Motorcycle Club in 1951.

He has held all positions except timekeeper!

He has been a travelling marshal, start-line marshal, scrutineer, official driver, assistant controller, deputy clerk of the course, vice president, and president, as well as clerk of the course.

He is married to Pat, who taught at Peel Clothworkers, deputy head at Onchan, head at Ballaquayle and literacy consultant for the Department of Education.

He has three children: Jane, Joseph and Jacqueline, two stepsons, Stephen and Paul, and is a proud grandfather and great grandfather.

A past chairman of Douglas Round Table, and member of Port St Mary seniors’ golf club.

He has enjoyed many holidays sailing yachts in the Caribbean and Adriatic, and scuba diving, including shark diving in the Bahamas and the wreck of HMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands.

He and Pat have enjoyed travelling to many places and cruising.

I enjoyed a couple of hours reminiscing with them both.

Jack was able to recollect memories from many years ago.

A real gentleman!