Following on from the news this week that a major, closed-road motorcycle race will take place on the Isle of Wight next year, Island Echo introduces the team behind the Diamond Races Isle of Wight 2021.
As previously reported by Island Echo, riders will battle it out in a time trial format at speeds of up to 210mph on a 12.4-mile road course through villages such as Chale, Shorwell and Brighstone next October.
The event is being led by a world-class, best in the business team from the racing industry. So, who are they…?
Gary Thompson MBE, BEM – Clerk of the Course
Gary Thompson joins the Diamond Races team as the Clerk of the Course, bringing his wealth of expertise and experience to the Isle of Wight. Gary has been the Clerk of the Course of the Isle of Man TT, Classic TT and Manx GP since 2011 and being safety focussed, he also has the globally-recognised NEBOSH health and safety qualification as part of his event safety expertise. Formerly a serving officer in the British Army, Gary was awarded an MBE and BEM for operational service.
Steve Plater – Rider Liaison, Recruiting & Safety Advisor
Former British Champion, Isle of Man TT winner, and multiple North West 200 and Macau Grand Prix winner, Steve Plater is well-versed in the motorcycle racing industry from all aspects. Since retiring from racing, Plater is now heavily involved with TV presenting and commentating whilst off-track and is a respected test rider, instructor and rider coach whilst on track.
Neil Tuxworth – Team/Rider Liaison & Recruitment Manager
The jack of all trades and master of all, Neil Tuxworth joins the Diamond Races team with invaluable expertise in the field. Tuxworth has a long history of racing in every class from 50cc to 1000cc. In his 21 years of racing, Tuxworth completed in 68 TT races with 5 podium finishes, was runner up in Formula 2 World Championship (now Supersport), as well as competing for England in ice racing, competing in over 3,500 sand races (and winning around 2,500 of them), speedway, endurance and has achieved wins at the Manx GP, Indian GP, and Ulster GP and Silverstone Grand Prix.
Most recently, Tuxworth is known for his position as ex-Honda Racing Manager, a position he held for 28 years that saw 57 World Superbike wins for the team and Superbike World titles for Colin Edwards and John Kocinski, as well as over 60 TT wins with riders such as Steve Hislop, Joey Dunlop, Carl Fogarty and John McGuinness.
Eddy Forster-Knight CBE – Chief Operating Officer
Eddy joins the Diamond Races team as the Chief Operating Officer following his global experience working in programme management, risk, security, intelligence, high-risk operations and resilience, alongside his substantial experience serving in the British Army as a senior Army executive (Brigadier).
James Kaye – Co-Founder & Race Originator
Where it all started. James Kaye, a resident on the Isle of Wight, originally had the idea of bringing a road race to the island and has been working closely with Paul ever since to make his idea into a reality. A legendary name in British Touring Car Championship history, James claimed 3 championship titles during his 15-year tenure with Honda and although he no longer races, he still surrounds himself with all things motorsport.
Matt Neal – Race Advisor
3-time British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) Champion and 6-time BTCC Independents Champion, Matt Neal is a British motor racing driver who has contested over 600 BTCC races since joining the series at the beginning of the 1990s. Involved in motorsport for over 30 years, Matt is also the UK ambassador for Honda.
Paul Sandford – CEO & Co-Founder
Paul Sandford is the driving force behind the creation of the Diamond Races. With a wealth of experience in digital management and entrepreneurship and being a resident on the Isle of Wight for many years, Paul has set his sights on creating a legacy event within the International Road Racing calendar and Isle of Wight community. Paul has broad experience with both start-ups and going concerns, and is no stranger to working in complex environments utilising new concepts and progressing ideas from conception to delivery.
William Parry – Commercial Officer
William joins the Diamond Races team as the Commercial Officer after working in international roles in customer, brand and sports marketing for over 15 years, including being Head of Global Marketing for HSBC and playing a key role in establishing and marketing a new Formula One team. With a thorough understanding of the international sponsorship marketplace and leveraging sports and venue sponsorship rights, William plays a pivotal role in the strategic development of the Diamond Races.
Steve Legg – Chief Technical Officer
As the Chief Technical Officer, Steve brings his wide practical knowledge of IT architectures and technology to the Diamond Races team. Previously working for IBM as the CTO for Storage and leading their Institute of Coding project, his hands-on approach and ability to deliver complex solutions will support the Diamond Races’ approach to modern motorsport.
You can read more about the Diamond Races at https://www.islandecho.co.uk/major-motorcycle-race-heading-to-the-isle-of-wight-in-october-2021.