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Hilary Musson

Record type: Motorsport Biographies

Biography: Hilary Musson first began racing in 1969 when a local motorcycle club arranged a ladies only race. The lack of support, with a take up of only 8 entrants, saw future ladies races cancelled and as Hilary wanted to continue to race she “got stuck in with the lads”.

In 1978 Hilary was the first woman to compete as a rider in the TT since Beryl Swain had her race licence revoked in 1962. The TT having moved with the times accepted Hilary on merit, her sex no longer an issue. Hilary competed in eight consecutive TTs from 1978 to 1985. The changes she saw in that time, with the sport becoming more expensive, made it harder for smaller race outfits to compete.

“When we started you would do a practice and a race on the same tyres, now it can be a tyre change every lap!”

The Manx Grand Prix (MGP) was slower to move with the times. The fear of bad publicity if a woman rider was killed or injured in a race persisted and it wasn’t until 1989 that Hilary was allowed to enter. She continued to race into the 90s at the Southern 100, her last race being in 1993.

In 2006 Hilary and her family moved to the Island and she became involved in racing again, this time as a marshal at the MGP. The following year Hilary was marshalling the TT at the 26th Milestone when a serious incident occurred, claiming the life of a rider and two spectators. Hilary was seriously injured in the accident and as a result of her injuries her left leg was amputated. It is a cruel irony that after so many years of racing it was when working for the safety of others as a marshal that Hilary was seriously hurt.

Hilary continues to be involved in motorsport on the Island, assisting under the tower at The Grandstand, giving updates to crew on course incidents, a role she treasures, “it enables me to still be a part of the races”.

Gender: Female

Competed in

RacePositionTimeSpeedMachine
1985 Formula 2 TT422:44:09.4082.74Yamaha
1984 Production 250 TT231:27:33.8077.56Yamaha
1984 Formula 2 TT411:51:48.6080.98Yamaha
1983 Formula 2 TT411:52:37.2080.38Yamaha
1982 Formula 2 TT331:54:56.8078.77Yamaha
1981 Formula 2 TT281:52:36.0080.41Yamaha
1980 Formula 2 TT252:08:03.8070.7Yamaha
1979 Formula 3 TTRYamaha
1978 Formula 3 TT152:01:05.8074.77Yamaha

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