White transit van man is Grand Prix motorbike racer

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
In term time, Bill Swallow is an unassuming science teacher at Holmfirth high near Huddersfield. During the holidays, he is a legendary motorcycle racer.

Mr Swallow has won the Manx Grand Prix nine times and, in 1996, set the 350cc lap record at 102.23mph.

He retired from the Manx Grand Prix last year but has not retired from racing, having picked up five wins at a meeting in Linkoping, Sweden, this summer.

The 55-year-old has been racing since 1968, but his family has been linked with the sport since 1946, and both his sons, David and Christopher, also race. Christopher has just finished his PGCE.

And although he owns a Velocette 500cc and an Aermacchi 350cc bike and has just bought a 20-year-old Porsche, Mr Swallow still drives to work in a transit van.

He said: "Because of the type of work I do at school I quite often need to carry equipment. So for daily use I have a white transit van, which I use to carry the bikes around at the weekend.

"I don't promote the racing too much. The teenagers are quite impressed, but they are cool about it."

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