Most of us know how difficult it is to attend a job interview, speaking about your accomplishments without appearing boastful or self-congratulatory. Somehow, Carolynn Sells succeeded in talking about her remarkable motorcycle racing accomplishments in a modest, charming, entertaining yet modest manner.
Tim Crookall, Chairman, made a splendid introduction, admitting that he’d made use of Google to assemble some key highlights. Carolynn’s sites are excellent and I cheerfully refer you to them, having dipped in myself.
Carolynn now lives in Lower Foxdale after several moves. She hailed from Preston, spending her childhood at race circuits with her family, her father being a keen racer, competing in circuits all over the UK. These trips doubled up as family holidays, sometimes with the children and luggage wedged in a sidecar hitched to a Norton ES2. This even took them to France. The bike was described as ‘unreliable’. My memory of many Norton’s of this period was their fondness for catching fire!
1985 was Carolynn’s father’s first MGP. She and her brother came over as well. In 1985 they moved here. Where else!
Carolynn started racing just before her 27th birthday, at Jurby, having borrowed dad’s TZ250. By 2003, she obtained her National Licence allowing her to compete on TT course. Martin Bullock approached her and the rest is history!
A full list of Carolynn’s accomplishments are beyond the scope of this article but to give a flavour of her dedication to racing, include being the first woman to win a championship on the Island, highest finishing woman newcomer, 1st woman in top 10, 1st woman to win a race in the Southern 100 (2005), female lap record in 2008, success in Irish Road Races, won Lesley Anne Trophy for best performance by a female in MGP 2003 –9. Fastest lap of 113mph on Martin Bullock Racing CBR 600 holds 9 silver replicas for MGP and in 2009 became the first woman to win an MGP. The gamble of riding four laps, non stop, paid off and took many by surprise. Phew!
Just to balance all these successes, we were also shown spectacular crashes, including being helicoptered to hospital. She regrets being unable to remember the trip as her only experience of this form of flight!
In 2009, Carolynn made the cover of the MGP brochure and is in the Guinness Book of Records. Despite all this success and glamour, Carolynn showed us a photo’ of her baby daughter as her greatest reward. To our relief, she has stopped racing but is still heavily involved in the sport, tutoring newcomers and travelling marshals.
The questions from the audience were well-informed and very entertaining. Not surprisingly, Carolynn and the audience were strongly in favour of keeping the MGP as close as possible to the present format. She also admitted that she would be very nervous if her daughter took up racing!
Our next meeting is at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th June in Centenary Centre. – Ian Cannell MBE ‘A Day to Remember.’