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‘I DID IT’ – PETER BUCKLEY WINS GOLD MEDAL 1966

1966 Isle of Man Team
Plane sailing: ready for take-off at Ronaldsway (left to right, front) Dave McTaggart, Ted Corlett, Curwen Clague and Ken Kinrade. Second row (l to r) Hadyn Gawne, Phil Bannan, Peter Quilliam and Albert Johnson. In a line from plane entrance it’s Ernie Potter, Ron Killey, Peter Buckley, Nigel Dean, Nick Corkill and Steve Cooil.

Athletics: Hadyn Gawne (20-mile walk), Albert Johnson (20-mile walk), Phil Bannan (20-mile walk)
Cycling: Peter Buckley (road race), Nick Corkill (road race, 4000m pursuit, 10-mile scratch race and 1000m time trial), Ernie Potter (road race, 1000m time trial, 10-mile scratch race and 4000m pursuit), Nigel Dean (road race, 4000m pursuit, 10-mile scratch race and 1000m time trial)
Shooting: Peter Quilliam (small-bore), Ted Corlett (small-bore), Dave McTaggart (full-bore), Ken Kinrade (full-bore)
Swimming: Steve Cooil (110 and 440 yards free style, 100 yards butterfly)
Team officials: general team manager, Curwen Clague; assistant team manager and cycling manager, Ron Killey
12 athletes, 2 officials (14), flag: Ted Corlett; commandant: Rev Fred Cubbon
34 countries 1050 competitors

Kingstone 1966

The first and as yet only Games to be held in the Caribbean provided the Island with its first gold medal.

With Jamaica getting the nod over Edinburgh, the sun-kissed island was the scene of Peter Buckley’s triumph in the road race marathon.

And while Buckley’s name was not familiar to the Manx public at large, his exploits as a top rider in the UK were becoming increasingly obvious to the cycling community in the Island.

The inclusion of shooting and badminton in the Games programme eased the fund-raising load a little, as the Island was accruing a good reputation in these disciplines, more so with its marksmen.

Walking was also included on the athletics schedule with a 20-mile event, which provided a growing band of local adherents with the opportunity to put their best foot forward.

For the first time member sports were asked to apply selection standards and the Games Fund Trustees set aside money to help with coaching and training. By May, the appeal fund had reached £1,400, and it was decided a 12-strong team could be financed.

Curwen Clague was again chosen as general manager while Ron Killey doubled as his assistant and cycling manager.

Alex Jackson’s swimming reputation was growing at national level and there was excitement about the 14 year old’s possible inclusion in the squad, but ultimately her candidature was withdrawn.

The organisation of the Games left a lot to be desired and Manx-born team attaché Roy Collister, who worked for one of the main sponsors of Games, weaved his magic, overcoming many problems the team encountered, the mere mention of his name providing a satisfactory outcome.

However, the joyfulness and light-hearted hospitality of the hosts more than off-set the negatives, Curwen recounting that the lively scenes and experiences of off-duty moments in Kingston countered many of the difficulties of making the Games happen.

Twelve competitors from seven countries entered the walk, just two not finishing, one of them being the Island’s Hadyn Gawne, who collapsed from heat exhaustion. Phil Bannan and naturalised Manxman Albert Johnson had trailed Gawne but went on to finish seventh and eighth respectively.

In the open-air pool, Steve Cooil, who in 1994 managed the Manx team in Victoria, Canada, became the first swimmer to represent the Island when he took part in three events.

The Island welcomed the addition of shooting to the Games programme and was represented by a squad of four. Ken Kinrade came close to competing in the 900 and 1,000 yards final stages of the full-bore shooting while Peter Quilliam’s long association with the Games didn’t start as well as anticipated in the small-bore English Match event.

Flag bearer Ted Corlett fared much better and he carded 577 ex 600 for 10th place.

With sufficient credentials to be considered Manx, Liverpool resident Ernie Potter was first on stage for the cyclists in the 4000m individual pursuit, contested on a dusty concrete bowl in the main stadium, also the venue for the athletics.

Nigel Dean just failed to make the quarter-final in the same event, while the elegant Nick Corkill was unable to produce his best form.

Dean again led the Manx contingent in the 1000m time trial, his explosive power netting him 10th place, which set him up nicely for the 10-mile scratch race, where he grabbed fifth place, the event beamed to Britain in glorious black and white television with David ‘Colemanballs’ Coleman managing to refer to Dean as Potter for a large part of the commentary!

Peter Buckley
Eyes front: Buckley leads the way in the road race and left a trail of broken men behind him in the 120-mile road race

Buckley, who was building a reputation in English races, soon imposed himself in the 120-mile road race.

Both Potter and Corkill were forced to retire, victims of crashes on the wet and slippery roads on an out and home course, while Dean survived a little longer before also going down and eventually retiring.

Buckley, however, was impervious to whatever was thrown at him – including a late puncture - and he romped home yelling ‘I did it’ with more than four minutes to spare, the Island’s first gold medal in his pocket.

The playing of the Manx National Anthem at the victory ceremony that night was a special moment, as was the reception Buckley received when he arrived back at the Games village, Trinidadians sharing the Manx accommodation block crowding a balcony and rhythmically singing a specially composed calypso to the Isle of Man using tin buckets and cans in the beat.

Royal treat at medal ceremony

■ Graham Young, who competed for the Island in 1974, 1978, 1982 and was athletics manager in 1986, recalls that adopted Manxman Albert Johnson came to the Island in 1963 to compete in the Open TT walking race.

■ His return flight was delayed and he ended up chatting to some of the local youngsters interested in the sport. So impressed was he with their enthusiasm that he decided to return to the Island to live and work as a psychiatric nurse, lodging in John Cannell's mother's private hotel in Palace Road, Douglas.

■ At that time there were five clubs affiliated to race walking in the Island, and the young talent was distributed among them. He considered Boundary Harriers to have the most efficient infrastructure, and persuaded most of the youngsters he was coaching to sign up to the Union Mills-based club.

■ Johnson, nicknamed ‘Nid Nod’ because of his unusual action while racing, twice competed for Great Britain in the Olympics, and was soon involved in the administration of athletics, serving on the committee of the Harriers, writing a regular column in the Green Final, the Saturday evening sports paper, and was the instigator of the Winter Handicap Walking League that endures to this day. The TT Relay Walk was another of his ideas.

■ Ahead of the Jamaica Games, moves were being made to provide the Island with an athletics track, the idea being to reshape King George V Bowl to accommodate a 440 yards facility. At the same time it was anticipated that a development at Derby Castle would result in Douglas having a modern indoor swimming pool. The track idea foundered but in due course the Aquadrome’s 33m pool was constructed.

■ The Jamaica Trophies for cycling, walking and shooting were introduced by the Games Fund trustees and money was set aside to assist with coaching and pre-games preparation of probable competitors.

■ It was estimated that the cost per head of sending a team to Jamaica would be £210. By April, 1966, the local appeal had raised £1,056 and the Manx Government stumped up a further £500. On the eve of departure, the estimated cost of competing was £3,150 and the actual cost came to £3,080.

■ The Rev Fred Cubbon, a long-time benefactor of Manx sport, was invited to be the team commandant.

■ Alex Jackson, then 14, and already tipped for major swimming honours, was considered too young and inexperienced and on advice her candidature for the team was withdrawn. Two years later Alex finished sixth for Great Britain in the 100m freestyle race at the Mexico Olympics and four years later in Edinburgh won a bronze medal for the Isle of Man in the inaugural 200m freestyle event.

■ The Manx flag was missing when the traditional flag-raising ceremony took place in the Games village. Luckily, the team had brought its own.

■ Shooter Ted Corlett led the team into the opening ceremony.

■ Imperial measurements were used for the last time at the Games, meaning some records were on the shelf for all time.

■ Team manager Curwen Clague took no chances when it came to the playing of the Manx National Anthem at the medal ceremony for the Island’s first-ever gold medal, won by Peter Buckley in the cycling road race. Aware that a mistake had been made at an earlier ceremony, Curwen approached the chief of protocol and was assured the Manx anthem would be played.

■ On meeting Curwen on the night of the presentation, the chief of protocol immediately ordered the Manx team into the royal box, and there they stood to applaud Peter’s victory and relish the playing of the Manx National Anthem by the Jamaican Army Band.

■ It was party time in the Isle of Man when the team arrived home and after a reception the team were bussed to the Palace ballroom to be acclaimed. Next day there was a reception in the mayor’s parlour.

■ At a meeting of the Games Federation in Jamaica, the name of the Games was altered for the first time with the deletion of the word ‘Empire’.

■ In assessing the result of participating in Jamaica, it was agreed that each sport should have direct supervision from qualified personnel and that each sport at the Games required management representation on the sport’s technical committee.

Results

1966 March

Manx on the March led by shooter Ted Corlett

ATHLETICS

Men's 20-mile walk, gold: Ron Wallwork (England) 2.44.42
Phil Bannan - 3.06.11.2 (7/10)
Albert Johnson - 3.08.05.8 (8/10)
Hadyn Gawne – DNF

CYCLING

Men's road race (120 miles)
1, Peter Buckley (IoM); 2, Des Thomson (NZ) at 4-19; 3, Laurence Byers (NZ) at 4-27 (43 starters, 17 finishers)
Ernie Potter – DNF
Nick Corkill – DNF
Nigel Dean – DNF
4000m individual pursuit, gold: Hugh Porter (England) 4.56.6
Nigel Dean - 5.23.9 (11/27)
Nick Corkill - 5.29.7 (15/27)
Ernie Potter - 5.41.9 (18/27)
1000m individual time trial, gold: Roger Gibbon (Trinidad and Tobago) 1.09.6
Nigel Dean - 1.15.7 (12/27)
Ernie Potter - 1.17.2 (19/27)
Nick Corkill - 1.19.5 (25/27)
10-mile scratch, gold: Ian Alsop (England)
Nigel Dean – 5/32
Ernie Potter - finished but not placed
Nick Corkill - finished but not placed

1966 Stadium

Stadium of Light, Jamaica style

SWIMMING

Men's 110 yards freestyle, gold: Michael Wenden (Australia) 54.0
Steve Cooil - 61.2 (22/24)
440 yards freestyle, gold: Bob Windle (Australia) 4.15.0
Steve Cooil - 4.52.0 (13/18)
110 yards butterfly, gold: Ron Jacks (Australia) 60.3
Steve Cooil - 65.8 (14/16)

SHOOTING

*Full-bore individual - first stage 7 shots at 300, 500 and 600 yds; second stage 10 shots at 300, 500 and 600 yds; third stage 15 shots at 900 and 1000 yds, gold: Lord Swansea (Wales) 103-146-145-394
Ken Kinrade - first stage 32, 33, 27 - 92 – ex 105; second stage 46, 47, 44 - 137 ex 150 agg 229 ex 255 (25/31), did not qualify for third stage (top 20)
Dave McTaggart - first stage 30, 30, 31 - 91 ex 105; second stage 46, 47, 40 - 133 ex 150 agg 224 ex 255 (30/31), did not qualify for third stage
50m small-bore rifle prone individual, gold: Gil Boa (Canada) 587
Ted Corlett - 577 ex 600 (11/30), 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 96
Peter Quilliam - 569 (23/30) 94, 89, 97, 93, 99, 97