1978 - For Doris Mulligan and her husband Howard, the '78 Isle of Man TT was definitely one to remember. They were able to have dinner with Classic winner Mick Grant after winning the special Motorcycle Rancing magazine competition in our May issue.
From the huge number of correct entries received, it was unbelievably difficult to sort out one winning reason as to why the entrant wanted to dine with the TT star of their choice. So into the hat went the bundle of postcards and out came the one from Doris of Craigvad, Holywood, Country Down, Northern Ireland.
She chose Mick Grant as the man she would most like to have dinner with. Her reason? "He's one of the best public relations promoters in motorcycling today. And he's lovely!".
That seemed to be a good enough excuse for Doris and her husband, que ride a BMW R90 and have been attending the TT for 12 years, to have a great night out with Mick and his wife Carol, at the Coach-house, Ballasalla, regarded as the Island's top retaurant.
The life-long motorcycling enthusiasts thoroughly enjoyed the evening... and couldn't wait to tell their friends of the night they spent with the Island's fastest racer.
Mick Grant was a popular choice to dine with but there were many other Island aces who were nominated by readers.
Phillip Richardson of Walsall, went for Pat Hennen because of his "riding skill and determined display", while Samuel Campbell of Annalong, named Charlie Williams as he "is always very approachable in the paddock or elsewhere".
Ian Stubbs from Brant Broughton, felt he would "rather have a meal and talk bikes with John Williams than spend a night with Raquel Welsh!".
Burton, Staffordshire, fan R. Hinshellwood went for Mike Hailwood because "he's a promising newcomer", and Sue Jones of Wallasey, plumped for George O'Dell as "he has done more for Sidecar racing and Britain than anybody else".
"Better than Barry Shenne, more handsome than Hennen, faster than Fau, greater than Grant...It's persevering Steve Parrish for Mel" was how Sue Day of Leatherhead, Surrey, described her choice. Jacqueline Weeden of Dartford, Kent, wanted John Williams to "ask how he felt after pushing his bike in after leading all the way in the 1976 Senior".
Those for Mick Grant included John Ellis of Swansea for the way "he has treated the course with respect and mastered it, but still remains modest and sociable"; Jocelyn Looker of Swindon for "being a true gentleman on and off the circuit and he rides with my initials on my helmelt"; and A. Bancroft of Rochdale, Lancs, as "like many other great sportsmen, Mick Grant gives one hundred per cent effort, has a good personality and a sense of fair play."
Romantic touch too from Dubliners John and Vivianne Gray who nominated Mick Grant because "we spent our honeymoon at the TT in 1975, the year he broke Mike Hailwood's lap record".
Just some of the other star choices from the many hundreds of entries received included Ulster's Ray McCullough, Scottish sidecar wizard Jock Taylor, eight-times World Champion Phil Read, Chas Mortimer, Giacomo Agostini, Ron Haslam...
Also appreciated was the entry from Miss Moira Flockhart from Musselburgh, Midlothian, who said: "I would like to dine with any rider because everyone who competes in and supports the TT race are stars."