It was like a real-life version of the cartoon show Wacky Races.
For several years running in the early 70s, The Blackpool Tower to summit of Snaefell (Isle of Man) race, saw hundreds of enthusiastic contestants compete in numerous classes to try to beat the clock and be the first to arrive – using all manner of weird and wonderful means to get there.
The races in 1970, 1971 and 1972 attracted a huge amount of interest and enjoyed sponsorship from both Heineken and Whitbread.
A Viking longship entry was entered by Leyland Air Training Corps in Lancashire, who also entered a Meteor jet aircraft that could apparently fly from Squires Gate Airport, Blackpool, to Ronaldsway, in under seven minutes. Another team attempted to tread-roll across on a large beer barrel and some snorkelled their way over in skindivers suits.
A Fleetwood taxi firm tried out using one of its fleet and Nicholas Lancaster, of Pilling, opted for a Penny Farthing.
Helicopters were also used and there was a yachts class as well. The BBC took great interest in the event and the prizes were presented at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens by Frank Bough, of Grandstand.
There’s no doubt today’s health and safety rules would make it difficult to run such an event now, but our archive photographs show it looked like tremendous fun.
Today’s Memory Lane front cover shows holidaymakers not seeming to notice Mike Hamilton, of Park Avenue, Ansdell, as he raced along the sands to clock in at the Blackpool Tower, in 1970, after crossing from the Isle of Man in a yacht in the Tower-Snaefell race. He was placed third in his class.