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Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games Logo 2018 website 2018 website

NO MEDALS BUT THEY BAGGED A ‘ROO’ OR TWO 1962

1962 Isle of Man Team
Showtime: The eight-strong team for Australia at a local function ahead of departure.
Left to right: John Killip, Peter Crellin, Brian Whitehead, Curwen Clague, Ron Killey, Roger Kelly, Colin Maclachlan and Peter Callow. Peter Harraghy was serving with the RAF in Malaya when the picture was taken.

Athletics: Colin Maclachlan (880 yards and one mile), Peter Harraghy (440 and 880 yards), Brian Whitehead (100 and 220 yards)
Cycling: Roger Kelly (road race, sprint, 10-mile scratch race and 1000m time trial), Peter Callow (road race, 4000m pursuit, 10-mile scratch race), John Killip (road race 1000m time trial and 4000m pursuit), Ron Killey (road race)
Fencing: Peter Crellin (foil and epee)
Team officials: general team manager, Curwen Clague
8 athletes – 1 official (9), flag: Roger Kelly
35 countries 863 competitors

Perth 1962

Making sure the Manx flag flew in Perth took a great deal of fund-raising.

It would be battling a losing race trying to win a medal, but as team manager Curwen Clague remarked in an article published by the Daily Mirror: ‘All my country is asked to do is to send its best athletes. That is what we are doing.

‘The idea of going to Perth to win is not the most important thing. The important thing is that we will be able to participate and join the Commonwealth in sport. After all, the Isle of Man is the oldest member of the Commonwealth.’

A UK appeal to commerce and industry provided assistance for all the home countries and supplemented local initiatives.

At the same time, Fred Faragher and Clifford Peach, promoting a weekly lottery for Manx football clubs, proposed an additional lottery, the main objective of which was to assure a Manx presence in Perth, and the Manx Empire Games Fund was eventually established.

Hogan ‘Kid’ Bassey MBE, a professional world boxing champion, made an appearance at a fund-raising tournament staged at the Villa Marina ahead of the Games. He was the protege of Manxman Douglas Collister, who had discovered him as a talented urchin in Lagos, Nigeria, and brought him to the boxing club he had established.

The Manx Government chipped in £400 and the bill for participation ultimately came to £2,546 – the various appeals netting just under £100 less than required.

Australia provided plenty of ‘out of hours’ pursuits, not least surfing, but shooting kangaroos?
Yes, the Manxies enjoyed a spot of that when they visited the Corteen family, who had emigrated to the other side of the world, for a brief period of R and R.

Having delayed his marriage for several years in order to concentrate on selection for a second time, Stuart Slack was disappointed not to make the team on this occasion, but cycling was well represented, with young Roger Kelly, one of the Island’s greatest exponents of two-wheel sport, with an International Six Days Enduro off-road motorcycling medal already in his possession, making his second appearance.

And cycling produced the most notable and praiseworthy performance when Ron Killey, a formidable climber with a great deal of success to his name in both England and Ireland, helped himself to sixth place in the 120-mile road race, his final competitive outing.

Afterwards he was to focus on the management and administration side of the Games as well as coaching many young riders for which he earned the OBE in 2000. In the 1000m time trial, Kelly, 22, ‘died’ in the final 200m and saw a potential medal place go begging, eventually sharing seventh place.

1958 Isle of Man Cycling
Apprehensive: (left to right) Peter Callow, Roger Kelly, John Killip and Ron Killey await the start of the road race

Kelly and Peter Callow, both 22, got little joy out of the sprint event, but Callow faired better in the 4000m pursuit, making the quarter-final where, despite improving his earlier time, he fell victim to the eventual silver medallist.

John Killip, a bank clerk like Callow, whose brother, Don, drove from Canberra to see him, found the going too tough in the same event, while the 10-mile scratch race saw both Kelly and Callow badly shaken and injured in separate crashes on the final lap.

First Callow went down with several others as the field came into the back straight and then Kelly went flying with more riders just yards from the line. Both were scarified and next day, just 24 hours before the road race, looked like the walking wounded from a war.

The team’s attaché, prominent Perth swimming official Bob Bestman, weaved his magic and all four for the road race avoided the usual last night jollying in the Games village and were accommodated over night in a high-rise apartment belonging to a prominent member of the judiciary.

Managers and riders from other countries looked on enviously as the Manx squad rode the short distance to the start line next morning for the first of 31 laps of a park circuit, which included 200ft of climbing halfway round each lap.

The team enjoyed good support throughout the race and felt at home each time they passed through the pits/feeding zone, with a sign bearing the legend ‘The Manx Arms’ prominently displayed on the side of the road.

Killip was the first to retire but Kelly soldiered on for 100 miles before calling it a day. Callow and Killey were looking strong, however, saving their resources as England, Australia and New Zealand did battle, and the Manx pair eventually found themselves with nine or so others from whom the result would come.

After cresting the circuit’s only incline for the final time, the route left the circuit for a long finishing straight, and the sportsmanship of Killey at this crucial point probably cost him a higher place as he distracted himself at the junction to call back Northern Ireland legend and forceful sprinter Jack Johnson, who had failed to notice the change in route.

England’s Wes Mason easily won the sprint – his 20th consecutive victory of the year – with Killey bagging sixth, a great result for a rider not known for his sprinting prowess.
Callow went backwards on the final ascent of the hill, but still finished a remarkable 11th, Curwen Clague, the team manager, remarking that no competitor ever gave more.

Peter Crellin, later to become a prominent Manx advocate, was a fencing half blue at Oxford and took part in the epee and foil events, winning a match in each.

On the athletics track, Brian Whitehead, the youngest member of the team at 19, who told Daily Mirror he had to train on a meadow, admitted that competing against his idols in the 100 and 220 yards had petrified him.

He later commented: ‘Being selected was one thing, but then the reality dawned. I was petrified. The furthest I had ever travelled was London. I was facing such top class opposition; they were my idols – how could I compete? But when I got there it was great. Everyone looked after each other and I remember it took us three days to get there.’

Colin Maclachlan, a member of the Woodford Green AC, who had come to the Island when his father retired and was schooled at King William’s College, had been the Staffordshire one-mile champion, but he, like Whitehead, found the world-class opposition in the 880 yards and one-mile to be far too good.

The same applied to RAF corporal Peter Harraghy in the 440 and 880 yards.

1962 Kangaroo
A roo or two: The team were invited to the Corteen homestead and shot a variety of Aussie wildlife.
Left to right Ron Killey, Peter Callow, Ron Killey and Pete Crellin

‘Are the horse trams still running?’

■ Fencing took its seat at meetings of the Isle of Man British Empire and Commonwealth Games Association in 1962, joining representatives from cycling, athletics, swimming and boxing.

■ The Lord Mayor of Perth paid an early morning call to the Manx team within an hour of its arrival. It turned out that Sir Harry Howard spent holidays in the Island in his youth and he wanted to know if the horse trams were still running.

■ Prince Philip quipped, during a village walkabout, that the ‘coolish’, mixed weather up until the start of the Games was ‘just like in the Isle of Man’.

■ However Brian Whitehead had to contend with the hottest day in Perth for 49 years - 103.9F - when he lined-up in a heat of the 100 yards.

■ Much to the delight of the Isle of Man, a meeting of the Games Federation agreed to include shooting and badminton in the 1966 Games in Jamaica and a 20-mile walk was added to the athletics programme.

■ RAF Corporal Peter Harraghy, based in Malaysia, flew by Hercules aircraft to Australia while his uniform was carried by the team, Peter having been measured by an RAF tailor at his base.

■ The cyclists received a telegram wishing them luck from John Geddes, a key player in the 1958 road race in Wales, and a firm fan of International Cycle Week. Legendary coach and fellow Merseysider Eddie Soens, a member of the England team, helped the Manxies at the velodrome.

Results

ATHLETICS

1962 wheel deal

The wheel deal: John Killip (top left) alongside Peter Callow, and Ron Killey (front right) and Roger Kelly enjoy a pre-departure photo shoot with the Daily Mirror

Men's 100 yards, gold: S. Antao (Kenya) 9.5
Brian Whitehead - 11.0 (47/47)
220 yards, gold: S. Antao (Kenya) 21.1
Brian Whitehead - 24.4 (37/37)
440 yards, gold: G. Kerr (Jamaica) 46.7
Peter Harraghy - 56.1 (30/31)
880 yards, gold: Peter Snell (New Zealand) 1.47.6
Peter Harraghy - 2.02.8 (28/30)
Colin Maclachlan - 2.00.00 (26/30)
One mile, gold: Peter Snell (New Zealand) 4.4.6
Colin Maclachlan - 4.29.2 (29/32)

FENCING

Foil and epee
Peter Crellin - one pool victory in each discipline, not placed, gold: foil Sandy Leckie (Scotland); epee Ivan Lund (Australia)

CYCLING

Men's road race (120 miles), gold: Wes Mason (England)
Ron Killey - 6/37
Peter Callow – 11/37
John Killip DNF
Roger Kelly DNF

1962 Manx Arms

No stopping for a pint: The IoM’s pit area was christened The Manx Arms

1000m sprint, gold: Tom Harrison (Australia)
Peter Callow - beaten in heat, eliminated in losers’ repechage
Roger Kelly - second round after walkover, eliminated in losers’ repechage

4000m individual pursuit, gold: Max Langshaw (Australia) 5.8.2
Peter Callow - 5.36.5 in heat, beaten in quarter-final, 5.31.0 (7/16)
John Killip - 5.46.6 (14/16)

1000m individual time trial, gold: Peter Bartels (Australia) 1.12.9
Roger Kelly - 1.15.5 (eq 8/17)
John Killip - 1.21.6 (14/17)

10-mile scratch race, gold: Doug Adams (Australia)
Peter Callow – DNF
Roger Kelly - DNF
John Killip DNF

1962 Newspaper Report
Plenty of publicity: The UK media was fascinated that the little old Isle of Man was in the Games again. The Daily Mirror reported that Colin Maclachlan trained on Ramsey golf course and Brian Whitehead lifted weights as part of his preparation.