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IRTA and Mike Trimby to the rescue

Mike Trimby

The late eighties and early nineties was a period of turmoil for Grand Prix Motorcycle World Championship racing with threat of riders striking for  more money, a proposal from Kenny Roberts to launch a new series and Bernie Ecclestone looking to take over the whole thing.

This was before IRTA had been formed, so the FIM were typically sticking their nose in, prompting Mike Trimby - who sadly passed away last week at the age of 74 - to set up a body to represent the teams  and riders in an effort to achieve a peaceful outcome. 

He was not alone and one of his colleagues was Paul Butler, who was also born with racing in his blood and rose to be in charge of Dunlop and then Yamaha in Amsterdam. He recalls the formation of IRTA - the International Racing Teams Association - and the part Mike played in it:


”Mike and I spent time together when he invited me to Macau in 1985," he told BSN.

"In 1984 I had been managing Kenny Roberts’ 250cc GP team so I knew about Mike’s work on track safety on behalf of the riders who funded his work.

"Mike as a former Road racer competing at the TT and Macau had been selected as the man to battle the inflexible race organisers and promotors.

"IRTA had been established in 1988 with Michel Metreaux as President and Mike as Secretary General. I was a committee member on behalf of Team Roberts and in 1993 I was appointed CEO of IRTA.

"No progress had been made with the FIM so negotiations began with Bernie Ecclestone to create an alternative World Series! Mike and I rewrote the Grand Prix rule book to avoid accusations of passing off.

"Then Dorna came to the table via the FIM’s new President Jos Vaessen. A deal was brokered by Bernie which satisfied all of IRTA’s objectives and Bernie’s. The start of the new era resulting eventually in MotoGP had begun. 

"Mike in his role of Secretary General oversaw the birth of the paddock management system that continues to today. I represented the Teams in event management and from 1999 as Race Director and Starter. 

"Mike with the support of his wife Irene ran the back office and created an administration and staff that insured smooth and efficient operations around the world. He was appointed CEO in 2011 at the time of my retirement.

"Mike has always been conscientious with an exemplary sense of fair play and his dedication meant that until his recent illness he held the record for consecutive Grand Prix attendance.

"He died with his boots on! He will be sorely missed" - Paul Butler

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