Rider Of The Week looks at a famous motorcyclist and examines their career. Some riders were specialists, such as Charlie Williams, who excelled in the 250 cc and 350 cc races at the Isle of Man TT. He won the TT nine times and three Grand Prix races. Williams retired in 1984 and went on to pursue other endeavours.
Williams, born in 1950, developed a passionate for motorbikes from a young age. He lived near Oulton Park and found himself visiting the track with his friends. Williams went to John Deane’s Grammar School and admitted that “after two of three visits to Oulton Park I decided that was what I wanted to do and after that education took a back seat.”
He worked as a mechanic at Hawker-Siddeley in Chester and then moved to Dugdales in Alvanley. Williams wanted to become a sponsored rider and he eventually got his wish.
Williams started his riding career as a sidecar passenger but soon graduated to a bike racer with the help of his friend Allen Steele. Williams entered his first race in July 1969 and in 1972 he partnered with Steele at the TT. Williams was named the best newcomer of the race and the next year he won his first TT.
This became the first of eight other TT victories, with Williams proving his mettle on various occasions. He also distinguished himself in short circuit races in the UK and Europe. Williams has said he loved the exhilaration of being on the track, but he suffered a lot of injuries. “I had about 50 accidents during my career, none of them really bad but I’ve had broken wrists, collar bones and a badly broken leg, but it’s inevitable really that you’ll have injuries in your career.”
In 1980, Williams won the Formula Two Class of the Formula TT world championship. After his retirement, Williams focused on running a motorbike accessory business called Everything but Bikes. He maintained his connection to the TT by becoming a part of the Radio TT presenting team. He provided trackside commentary and helped to promote the next generation of motorcyclists. In 2014, Williams briefly came out of retirement to race in the TT again.
Williams is one of the most versatile riders of all time and he’s earned his place in motorcycle legend.