Tom competed in the Isle of Man TT races between 1970 and 1978 gaining three wins during that time. 
1973 saw him take 9th place in the Lightweight 250 TT whilst 1974 saw Tom entered in four classes, 250; 350; Senior and the 125! It turned out to be a good TT for him, picking up four silver replicas. He was 4th in the 250, 4th again in the 350, 3rd in the 125 and took 15th in the Senior. 
He returned to the podium in 1975 achieving another third place, this time in the Junior class. 
Tom's big ambition was to win a TT and 1976would see him realise his wish, with not one but two magnificent wins on the Mountain Course. 
He opened his account with a record breaking win in the Lightweight 250 at 103.55 mph and put the icing on the cake in the blue-riband Senior TT, winning by 3.4 seconds from Ian Richards. Two further podium places were gained in 1977, a third in the Junior 250 and an excellent second in the Senior TT on his 348cc Yamaha. 
1978 saw the ever popular Ulsterman arrive on the Island straight from an excellent North-West 200 where he achieved a double victory.
He was entered in the F1 and was up against comeback rider, Mike Hailwood, he led and then when caught he held on to the great man for two laps, but the frame of his Honda broke forcing him to retire on the third of the six laps.
In the Senior on Jim Finlay's RG500 Suzuki he had a dramatic battle with Californian Pat Hennen, Tom eventually taking the chequered flag with a race record of 111.74 mph.

In his own words, this is how Tom tackled the famous course on his 750 Yamaha....................

From the start accelerate up to fifth gear by the bottom of Bray Hill. But of course, there are quite a few other things to attend to on the way. Firstly, going over the lights at the top, pull back on the forks to make the bike do a small wheelie so that you can steer to the left and then to the right on the approach to the hill proper that starts on another slight left hander.
The first manhole cover that you hit is in the middle of the road and I pull up on the back wheel again to try and go down in a long, low wheelie so that I can pull to the left hand side of the road near the kerb about 100 yards from the bottom. That in turn means I can line up with the drain or gutter or whatever it is on the right hand side at the bottom itself. Try to miss as many bumps as possible, which is a problem because it is all bumps there, and then steer to the right-hand side of the road again for the next two jumps. I try to make sure the bike does not come up too high on these as it then tends to go away from me a bit. 

This brings us down to Quarter Bridge which is a first gear corner. 
This is negotiated at a very low speed as it is the sort of place where you can fall off and ruin a race without injury. Silly place to fall off actually. Then it's accelerating up to fourth gear to Braddan Bridge and then come back two and take it in second. This is another place that is bumpy on the way in. Go out towards the right-hand side of the road where there is a little slip road which you can go towards until the last minute and then peel off. Then it's quite bumpy round the railings on the left-hand side which you have to stay close to so a flick across to the right can be made to go over the bridge. Run out wide towards the churchyard along the road by the side, keeping about three feet from the wall, then accelerate on towards Union Mills. We arrive there in fifth gear and go gingerly through the tunnel between two high walls. Suddenly the road widens up and goes again towards the left-hand side round a bumpy right-hand corner, then down into a dip which is a very bumpy left-hander with a manhole cover. Once this is negotiated it's flat out to Glen Vine which is approximately three quarters of a mile uphill. It is very important to get Union Mills right because of this climb. Another thing that has to be watched out for on leaving Union Mills in the evening is the sun. After going through the dip and back into the open you just cannot see a thing for two or three seconds so you must be in the proper part of the road because of that. Hit top gear at the top of the hill just before Glen Vine, although some people do take it in top I come back two gears. Weave through quite easily as it is a smooth corner with nothing spectacular and you always get the feeling that it could have been done quicker. Down the hill you get up into fifth gear and then on the flat going towards Crosby, it is into top. Now there I sit up and sometimes it is possible to take the little left hander flat out. That little left hander at Crosby is the sort of corner that you never seem to get right. Then up the hill on the right hand side of the road because at the top the bike does tend to get up on the back wheel. If you stay on the left the chances are that it will come out over the top but, being on the right hand side, you can straight line without peeling off or losing revs. It means that you can go through the Highlander at the fastest possible speed which is between 160 and 165mph. 
Then comes another tricky part.
As you go by the Highlander you come into a tunnel of trees on a slight right-hander then into a little left-hander where you hear people say you can see a telephone box. That was a few years ago, now it is covered in straw bales so you can't see a telephone box. So if people say 'go flat out until you see a telephone box' you'll likely end up at Ballacraine overland, or be embalmed in the wall of Greeba Castle or something. Anyway, I used to come down four gears here, but now over the last couple of years I have found that coming down three and going through on less revs was much steadier. Next, a left-hander and a right-hander that run round by a wall again but it is quite safe if you arrive at the right speed. From there we have a few bumpy bits to get you round on another left-hander just after the castle which, on a 750 Yamaha is hard to negotiate. But if you pull back on the handlebars, it is possible to maintain the speed you would be doing on a 500 or a good 350. 

Then flat-out again to Greeba Bridge about a quarter of a mile up the road where you come back two gears because you have not been able to make top. Then up past the Hawthorne Inn and on through Ballacraine. After Greeba Bridge you would be accelerating up to 150mph, not maximum revs but getting close to it because you have to ease it slightly for another little corner on any machine over a 350. There is no name for this corner before Ballacraine but it is a bit difficult. Now Ballacraine. Some people take it in first, some in second, but I take it in whatever gear I fancy at the time. If I arrive too fast it will be first - if I arrive perfectly on line it will be in second. Round Ballaspur, easing it slightly on a 750, because if you kept the power on, the rear wheel would go light and spin out from under you, head on the tank round the right-hander down to Ballig Bridge, here I go back a gear. Sometimes, I feel that I should not have done but I feel it is the safest way. It is a long left-hander which opens out and you always feel you should have been going quicker anyway. I hold that gear and drop into Laurel Bank which is a series of a right, a left and a right. Now the first right is very fast. Unknown to a lot of people, it is possible to go in there at a hell of a speed and just shut it off and roll the whole way round. You think you are going to run out of road, but you never do. Then as you come across the right-hand side of the road, you take a tightish left-hander which is pretty quick and I think a lot of people go down a gear too many there. The type of person who changes down there is the type who goes through everywhere else flat-out. Going through that left-hander and into Laurel Bank's right-hander is the sort of place to make up ground. It is tricky there and you can overstep it because you never know if the road is wet or dry, it is that type of surface. Through Laurel Bank and pick up the speed again to the little garage at Black Dub, a left and then right-hander which again are very fast, I come back a gear for it and then up a gear again before Glen Helen. But that is another part of the road that if wet or if there are any signs of dampness I am very careful because there is absolutely nowhere to go if anything goes wrong. 
Anyway, negotiate Glen Helen as best you can and get up the hill which is another rather important part.
Try to get Sarah's Cottage about right because it is important again to get through there to get up Creg Willey's and on to the Cronk-y-Voddy straight at a good speed. It is possible to go all the way up through there flat out on a 750 Yamaha now, but I have only done it twice in my life. 

Once I felt safe and the other I was actually running along beside the bike before I managed to get back on it. I don't know what happened, I wasn't in control. 

I reckon you come on to the straight at about 110mph. Of course it is levelled up over the top now. 
A couple of years ago it was very bumpy there and you were straight-lining, left, right, lefts all the time and missing the kerbs. When you did arrive 50 yards before the top you started hitting these bumps and started getting speed wobbles before getting over the last rise and, of course, you were topping this with the whole thing in a speed wobble. The only thing you could really do was keep it flat-out and when you did get the speed up you shut it off when you thought you could stop this waltzing all over the place. Along the Cronk-y-Voddy it is not as bad as it used to be but still hang on as best you can. On the 750 I change down a gear at the end of the straight just after the crossroads.The 350 is flat-out, the 500 too, maybe, because it is a little more stable, but with the 750 you must come back a gear here. A lot of people may say 'rubbish' but no way is it anything else for me. About 200 yards there is a slight jump in the road. Pull a wheelie, it is better to do this because you can navigate the bike in to the part of the road where you want it to be. Then there is the double right and the double left before the 11th Milestone which is one of those super fast corners that if you get it right you feel like going back, wheeling the bike up the field and having a go again! It is pretty important to go into the double right-hander very, very fast, actually going through the two right-handers and hooking the gears that are necessary for the 11th Milestone. You go down from top to fourth but you will actually be hitting fifth on the way out of the 11th so you are over-revving in fourth. In other words you are in a slow fifth which is probably 115 to 120mph. 
From there on down to Handley's which, although a bumpy stretch, is no problem. Come down two gears. It is one of those corners that I seem to take differently on each lap and never seem to be on the same part of the road. I always seem to be coming up on people there and the number of times I have had to shut off and brake in a hurry to get through is unbelievable. Graze the hedge on the way in and just as you are doing that you are already changing direction for the right so you should be as close to the wall on the right-hand side as you can. Get out of it and down to the 13th as fast as possible. There is a very bad bump there and you have to ride the footrests and put all your weight on them before you arrive at Barregarrow. I arrive here at the left-hand side of the road well before I come into it and as I approach the right-hander I am moving to the right-hand side of the road and have definitely changed down a gear. So when the road does go to the left over the top I am aiming for the little road on the right and peeling off. This is very critical on a 750 but, on a 250 or 350, Charlie Williams goes through on what-ever line he arrives at. Flat-out on the tank, any line. I am at the top in fourth gear so it's fifth and then sixth going down the hill and then back to fifth for the bottom of Barregarrow which, to me, is a very dangerous corner. It is one of those places where there is positively nothing you can do. You are completely in nature's hands. If anything happens there, that's it, and that's why I come back a gear to give myself a little bit of margin to play with. Out of there still wobbling all the way down to the 13th which is a long right, right, left, 100 yard straight, and then the long left of the 13th Milestone itself. It is pretty smooth then and seems to take all the bumps away. You end up by going round the 13th all that much faster. It makes about 10mph difference going through that way. Hardly any motor on round the corner but on the exit start bringing it on again nice and steady so that you are in control all the time, coming out of there with enough revs to get you down to Kirk Michael in good style. Come back about three of four gears there in a hurry round the right-hander and away through the village as fast as you possibly can. Now that is a tricky section because you have to keep it as flat-out as possible and the road twists and curves through the village. On a 250 or 350 it is no problem but on a 750 it tends to take you off at all times. You come to the end of the village which again is negotiated as fast as possible. 
What-ever gear I'm in I am not too sure but probably fifth. Up to a school and you should pass over a manhole cover, which in the wet gives it a bit of a twitch, run wide against the hedge and start lining up Rhencullen which is about 300 yards ahead. Watch out here for a telegraph pole of which you can only see the top and you must get yourself in a position on the road to go towards that pole when it comes into sight. That in turn will run the rider along the left-hand kerb and when he gets to a stage that he has to shut off to avoid hitting the kerb, that is the time to peel off for the right-hander. That will brush you past a hedge on the right which you should just feel touching the side of your helmet - or shoulder - if you are getting it right. Once done, start bringing it on again to get round the left-hander round the house and over the jump. 
Once you have negotiated that first bend it's all done because you have so much road after that it just opens out for you. You must get that first bit right. People who ride too slow and then try to turn it on are too late with the power. 
It was here that I weighed the situation up to try to get past Pat Hennen because I tried everywhere else between the start and that point and I just could not do it. Once you do that bit right, it is another one of those corners that you want to go back and do it again. In fact, I think that is the corner I prefer to all others on the Isle of Man course. 
If anyone wants to see me in style, that's the place to watch. Well that's what I think; what others feel may be totally different. 
Then you are going towards Bishopscourt. First of all there is a right-hander with a jump and as soon as you get over that you must start going to the left because there is a right-hand dip which usually looks damp or wet. So you don't want to go through on full throttle but have it slightly eased on the over-run. Then when you see it's ok bring it back full stick past the onion patch. From there to Ballaugh I change down two gears on the 750 at Appledene. That is a part of the circuit that can only be learnt by being on it many times, getting familiarised with the hedges and the road so that it can be straight-lined. The only exception here is Appledene itself. 

Now there is a lot of speculation about what gears people take corners in. 

I certainly take Ballaugh in first gear. I used to be a lovely jumper over the bridge but I have found that the best way over is whatever way you can get over it. I used to thrill myself and the crowd with moto-cross skills.
Not now. As soon as you jump Ballaugh you have to round a right and a left with a bit of straight road in between for about 100 yards changing up through the gears all the time for a right-hander. Then past Andrea on a bit of a straight before a left-hander and over a jump - where I broke the Peckett and McNab F1 frame - and from there to the Quarry Bends it is full open. Quarry is a place where you can go in very fast but I can never seem to do it. Everyone else seems to change on the way in but I start to change by the little house on the left-hand side with an archway on it. I go down three gears and take Quarry Bends in third, bump around as best I can and arrive on the Sulby Straight. Now that is something out of this world on a 750 Yamaha. You have to consciously brace yourself, arse in the seat, elbows against the tank and your knees - and hang on like blue hell. I keep moving up and down and pulling on the front forks and wheelie up there as far as I can go. When that front wheel hits the deck, it is just one big speed wobble. It's like that all the way from the Quarry to the village of Sulby and then you shut off, it is one of the fastest sections. I would say around 160mph, if the back wheel is on the road long enough to pull you through. Down to first gear for Sulby Bridge with big handfuls through the box, it is a nice corner. Going out wide against the wall, pop a wheelie if you want to come out nicely, and head off for Ginger Hall. Run out wide to the right here coming back a gear to second after getting to third on the run-in from the bridge. On a 750 Yamaha it's a hell of a job to bump round there and then drop down into Kerrowmoar. It is just tank to tank all the way round here and there is a little jump. Hold it as fast as you can into Glentramman. Now that is a bit of a job because the thing is trying to throw you off at all times. Glentramman, two lefts, one right and another left, the last being the slowest - so you navigate the first two lefts flat-out and as you take the right you are braking and changing down to second gear for the actual left-hander. When you take it you run wide into a little road that runs up into the mountains somewhere, and come back on to the main road heading for Milntown Cottage. At this part of the road you come over a slight rise and a kerbstone sticks out. Now you tend to go in the direction of the road and you would hit the kerb as soon as you topped the little bit of a rise. So stay out a couple of yards from the kerbstone. 

Milntown Cottage is a very bumpy right, bumpy left and bumpy right with a tightish left on the way out going towards the bridge before Schoolhouse. Milntown, renowned for its bump, has to be taken as fast as you can on the 750 on the over-run. I am not sure which gear I arrive in but I take it back one, probably to fourth, and let the bike run round the corner. Coming out, the right-hander is the tightest bend. The road goes left and you have to use so much of the road coming to this that you find yourself running out of room. The front wheel is skipping away and changing direction so you have to be careful as it would be easy to lose it there. Over the bridge before Schoolhouse and as soon as the front wheel drops on the ground again, turn the corner, which is a right-hander. Down the bumpy little straight to Schoolhouse in the middle of the road because, although it is a left-hand corner the bumps are just too much when you are braking and you could lose it. Hook back two gears and then once you come to that corner the road flattens out again. Then accelerate hard as possible down to Parliament Square. Back down to first gear round the corner very gingerly again, as you would at Quarter Bridge, and up to May Hill where you come back a gear to third, bump round as best you can and come up to the little left-hander, I again bump round this and go up through the gears until I arrive at the right-hander just before the hairpin. Now the hairpin bit is where I try not to be too sore on the clutch because it has to last for six laps. It's on round a right-hander where the bike again wants to leave, and on towards Waterworks. The first bend at Waterworks is very fast and the faster it is taken the better because you run out wide towards the kerb where you stay for about 100 yards before reeling in reasonably late for the actual corner of the Waterworks. There again run out towards the wall - and up the hill again going up through the gears. 

There is a little right and left and then the right and left before the Gooseneck. Flat-out on a 350, I have to come back a gear here on the bigger bike to fourth. I'm moving on now up round the Gooseneck and on to the Guthrie Memorial, the first part of which is bumpy again. But once through that section you come on to reasonable ground. There is a treble left-hander coming in to Guthries which is always a problem. In fact, the only person I have seen going through there properly is Mike Hailwood. He must have been on the right line. I learnt it that night and forgot it again the next day. At least I know where it is - if I can find it again. I take Guthries in second gear, accelerate up to third and there is another left before the little bridge that takes you on to the Mountain Mile. This is the Cutting and it is very important to get that perfect because you have the full mile ahead to the Mountain Box 1. The right-hander at the end of the Mountain mile is another important part. Everybody seems to sit up and go down gears, well I just go down one gear. Then there's another little bridge, that could be the East Mountain gate. I just don't know where I am on the Mountain anyway. There I change down another gear and hold it all the way round the right-hander until the road is straight with a direct line for the Mountain Box. Having gone up the gears, it's back two or three again round the Box and flat-out again up to a slight right-hander. I see from the map it's called the Stonebreakers but I've never heard it called that before. Any other bike is flat-out here but with the 750 it's a case of easing a little because there is a little bump and it's one of those places that always seems to be a little damp as well. Just ease it slightly to allow time to get traction on the road and then into the Verandah. Down one gear, through the left-hander, another left-hander and three rights as fast as you possibly can. For me it's not very fast because I don't like the Mountain all that much. I seem to get lost every time I'm on it. 
Then flat-out again to Stonebridge and the Graham Memorial. Now there is always a lot of wind here, either blowing up from the valley or down from the mountain. You just don't know which way it is going to get you. Down three gears for the Graham Memorial, off the smooth road and on to the bumpy stuff again that eventually brings you up to the Bungalow., which is a second gear bend. Over the tram-lines hanging on like hell and up towards the second Mountain Box. For the last bit of that you have to get to the left and stay there because the road starts going to the right and you have to make a bit of a corner. If you don't do that you end up shutting it off where it is not necessary. Again it's back a couple of gears for the Box which is the type of corner you think you can take pretty quick but cannot. Now this is starting to frighten me - again - coming down to the 32nd Milestone. You are getting speed so fast in top gear coming down that section that I go down two gears. Some riders go round flat-out, but I don't. The approach is about 145mph and you probably only come back 20mph which is about the speed a G50 would go round flat-out anyway. 

Up to top gear again for the run down to Windy Corner where it's back three gears, once round the right-hander the speed gathers again on the way to the 33rd. It is always very windy along this section and to start getting the 33rd lined up you have to get over to the left-hand side of the road and bring it back to right as you start lining up for the three left-handers. Go in reasonably early, a thing I have only recently learnt, and come back two gears. But it is then possible to go back up to fifth again going through it. Screw it on down to Keppel Gate which is hard braking as you come down the hill, bringing it back two or three gears. Coming out of Keppel, there is a hell of a bump. It is the same with any bike. You get everything straight and then hit this unmerciful bump and everything goes haywire as you approach Kate's Cottage. Bump through it, slither round as best you can without trying to set any lap records and then you can really get the speed up down to the Creg. 

After a jump which brings on a bit of a wheelie, you just make top gear before starting to change down for Creg-ny-Baa. This is taken in second gear and then you hammer on down to Brandish. Here is the fastest part of the course where you must be touching a colossal speed. I brake really early for Brandish, miles and miles too early and I don't mind Hailwood or Grantie knowing that because they have both outbraked me here. It is a third gear corner before you gather up the speed again with a rush down to Hilberry where you can do with coming back to gears to fourth on the 750. Then you can come out at a good speed for the immediate climb that follows the dip. If you go through too fast you lose time coming out on the way up to Cronk-ny-Mona.

At Cronk-ny-Mona leave it late to go in and leave the power on until you are around properly because it is a nice big curve once you get the hang of it. Trying to take it too fast or too slow means making a bit of a mess of it. If you get the arrival to Signpost correct and at the right speed it is best to go back to first gear and hold it back. 
That way you are more in control on the way out of the right-hand corner.

Down round Bedstead with a little ease on the throttle and then a good, hard blitz down to the little right-hander and then on to Governor's Bridge where you can drop to five to seven mph. 

Round the dip on the clutch and bringing it on to the power band so that you don't have to wait on it as you come up out on to the Glencrutchery Road. 

You want to get on the power and into second gear and come into third on the exit. Then fourth gear almost right away, fifth gear a little way up the road and top just before the start and finish line. 

It is 155mph past the grandstand with maximum speed just before the traffic lights where I nip it down a gear and pull a wheelie before setting off down Bray Hill again. 

I hope to maintain the speed I go past the grandstand and hit the bottom of Bray Hill at about 150mph. It means there is another lap gone - and a chance to do it all over again, hopefully better.


Tom at Sulby Bridge: TT debut in 1970.
Photo Courtesy: Bill Snelling
 www.fottofinders.co.uk
By Kind Permission

Tom exits Quarter Bridge on the Faddiley Garage 750cc Yamaha during the 1977 Classic TT.
           
Photo Courtesy: Bill Snelling
 www.fottofinders.co.uk 
By Kind Permission

On the Mocheck Honda at Quarter Bridge during the 1978 Formula One TT.
       
Photo Courtesy: Bill Snelling
 www.fottofinders.co.uk
By Kind Permission

Tom at Ginger Hall: 1973 Lightweight TT. 
Photo Courtesy: Bill Snelling
www.fottofinders.co.uk
By Kind Permission

Main Photos
Tom at the bottom of Bray Hill on his way to winning the 1976 Senior TT.
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Greeba Bridge: 1978 Classic TT.
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Ballaugh Bridge: 1973.
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Photos Courtesy: Bill Snelling
 www.fottofinders.co.uk
By Kind Permission
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Governor's Bridge: 1970
Photo Courtesy: Norman Waddell
By Kind Permission