Colby Road Racer George Costain main claim to fame as winning the 1954 Senior Manx Grand Prix, making it the first ‘Manx’ Double in the September races with Castletown’s Derek Ennett taking the Junior honours two days previously.
It has always been considered that this double ‘Manx’ victory was instrumental in the Southern 100 becoming a reality and the following year 1955 the first Southern 100 was run on Thursday 14th July, with both Derek and George entered - Derek winning the very first race on the Billown Course, the 250cc race.
However, George’s debut resulted in an unwanted DNF in the 500cc race which was run over 24-laps, 100-mile race.
George returned annually to his ‘home’ circuit for the next four years taking three third places and a best second place in the 250cc race in 1957
George started his TT Career in 1955 riding for Reg Dearden on whose Norton he had won the Senior Manx, riding in 10 TT’s in total with a best 13th place in the 1956 Senior gaining a total of nine silver replicas in the nine races he finished.
Once George Costain had decided to ‘hang-up’ his racing leathers, away from is successful butchery business in Castletown he joined the race organisation of the Southern 100 Races in 1961 and continued in various roles until he retired after the 2007 Southern 100.
George took on the role of one of the two Travelling Marshals in 1961 and continued until 1970. The following year he took up Steward Duties and filled that position up to and including 1979.
1980 to 1984 he was Race Committee Chairman, a position he had previously held between 1971 and 1974.
1985 to 1997 saw George back ‘on the roads’ as Official Car Driver, he then took a short sabbatical before becoming a Line Judge from 2002 to 2007
George Costain may have stepped down from his official duties after 2007 Southern 100, but he was still to be seen at every race meeting on the Billown Course reminiscing with the ‘modern day’ competitors, the old-timers’, officials and enthusiasts alike.
The final Media Launch he attended was in 2015 when the Southern 100 International Road Races celebrated the 60th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, where both he and fellow ex-racer and long-time official Allan ‘Kipper’ Killip were presented with special framed photographs.
Ill health prevented ‘Sparra’ from attending the ‘friendly races’ for the last two years, although he kept up to date with the skeet and races through Manx Radio and communications from the club.
George Costain sadly died on Tuesday 9th January aged 89. It is another sad day for the Southern 100, losing another of their long-time stalwarts and we extend our sincere condolences to all of George’s family and friends and racing associates.
George was a real gentleman and it was always a pleasure to be in his company and a privilege to know him. RIP
Photo shows Kipper Killip MBE and George Costain at the Southern 100 Media Launch in 2015.