North Monaghan & District Motorcycle Club

North Monaghan & District Motorcycle Club

Ron Kendrick ron.kendrick1@gmail.com

Motorcycle-ClubThe club started in 1995 with four men sitting in the Olde bar in Glaslough, on a Saturday evening chatting about how they would like to start a motorcycle club in Monaghan. Cecil Kendrick, a great race enthusiast and lover of classic and vintage bikes, Jim Keith, who also had a great interest in motorcycles in general, Ron Kendrick who had just started short circuit racing himself with an ambition to start road racing and Vincent McQuaid who was also a keen follower of the sport. The four lads put four punts into a Tom Herron tea cup and they lodged it in the clubs account. The North Monaghan & District Motorcycle Club was formed with a view to running a road race in the local area the following year or so, spearheaded by another race enthusiast Norman Woods who with the help of others made it a reality the following year.

The first gathering at a club meeting happened in November 1995 where committee members were elected – Danny Douglas, Chairman, Paul Gilliland, assistant Chairman, Fiona Gilliland, Secretary, Jim Keith, Treasurer, and Norm Woods PRO. Our main aim was to promote motorcycling, run social and competitive events and raise money for local charities.

Monaghan club then decided in 1996 that to run a road race would be our main aim. A race committee was then elected. They were Danny Douglas, Ron Kendrick, Barry Murphy, Ann Marie Neeson, Norman Woods, Paul Gilliland, Fiona Gilliland, and Mick McQuaid. Then the fun started with deciding where would be a suitable race venue with having the least amount of work to do to it. Our club invited the MCUI Road race officials to look at different circuits we had in mind. The circuit in the vicinity of Glaslough village was deemed most suitable pending widening and resurfacing of approximately one mile of the circuit. It was estimated that the work could be done at a cost of £50.000. On hearing that the club was not deterred, we were even more determined the race should go ahead.

The club started to lobby the North Monaghan councillors for funding to widen and resurface the circuit, in the meantime residents in the vicinity of the circuit were approached regarding the running of the road races where we received excellent co-operation and encouragement for the venture.

The commitment we had from the councillors Caoimhin O’ Caolain, the late Willie McKenna, Brian McKenna, Patsy Treanor, Noel Maxwell and Stephen McAree were excellent. After a meeting with Dan Doody the county engineer a plan was provided and an estimate given, we realised our goal could be reached. The work commenced in April 1996.

Local residents and club members played a huge part in assisting with the work and supplying tractors and trailers. Micky McQuaid supplied a tipping truck and driver. On finishing the work it was again re-inspected by the M.C.U.I officials from both the Northern & Southern Centres who passed the circuit. At this we had planned a date for the race for the weekend of September 21st and 22nd in association with the Dundalk MCC. But unfortunately the Dundalk club were not in our jurisdiction, we had to be affiliated to the MCUI Ulster centre and apply for a new date for our event.  We became official members in July 1996 and were given the date of August 24th & 25th to run the road racing event, needless to say we were delighted but a serious amount of work had to be done within a month. With less time on our side to get our event off the ground we had a huge task ahead of us. We had to raise £20.000 to run the event.

It was then when Ulster sports promotions stepped in to guide us in running the event. We were extremely fortunate to have Billy Nutt on board as Clerk of Course with all his knowledge and experience of running the famous North West Road Races. We also availed of help and guidance from Jim Cray, Ivan Davidson, Bobby Hewitt and Ian Forsythe to name but a few.
At this stage the club members had done an astronomical amount of work in the space of a few weeks and we need to commend those members on giving every spare hour they had to prepare that circuit in time. The sponsorship of the races was also put in place and we are indebted to all the local businesses for their help and support.  The Race went ahead that year in 1996 and everything ran like clockwork.  Sunday race day, the man of the meeting was Derrick Young. The prizes were given out in the Village.

In the year 2000, a year that no one in the club will ever forget, a tragic accident took place at the race which claimed the lives of Andrew McLean and Gary Dynes. There was a sense of disbelief that two of the sport’s top road racers were snatched away only a month after the loss of Joey Dunlop.

The NM&DMCC went on to run seven other successful road races, the last race taking place in 2006.  In 2007 the club saw the recession and with a lot of vandalism at the 2006 event the club came to an overall decision and decided to give road racing a rest. Since 2007 our club turned their attention to trials, a new event for many of us.  We started the Trials events in Drummully, Emyvale but due to heavy rain it was hard to say whether or not we would be able to run our event because of the high water level. We then moved to Todd’s Leap Activity Centre Ballygawley Co Tyrone. Unfortunately this course had not enough rocky terrain to suit the Trial Bikes so recently we have been using Flagstaff Mountain in Newry for our trial bike events. We have been affiliated to the MCUI since 1996. In 2009 we affiliated to the MRA (Motorcycle Racing Association) with the help of the Errigal, Donegal club and have ran Grass-Tracks events in Tyholland. We went on to run a three round championship in 2010 in Trevor Taylor’s ground beside Glaslough. Many of our officials and Club members race cross-country and ride at Trials events.

Todd’s Leap Activity Centre is our venue for the Cross – Country Racing and what a circuit it is, we have been using Todds Leap this five years now and it seems to get better each year thanks to Ben O’Hanlon and his team in Todd.s Leap Activity Centre, Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.  Last year we started using the Elite Timing System which has left life a lot easier for our club and assures that everybody from first to last place gets a personal timed read out.  The track is about three miles long and takes two hours per race, from 10 – 20 minutes a lap. For beginners, we also run the Classic Bike Run, it’s an Annual event held on the third Sunday of September. The event began as a fundraiser preceding the road races. However since 2006 the event still enjoys success and is well supported by all makes and sizes of bikes. Everything from Honda 50’s to Trikes, Post war, Vintage, Sports, Touring, Sports bikes, and Enduro .

We like to think of our club as a body that promotes all types of motorcycling whether it's Touring, Road Racing, Grass-Tracks, MX, Trials, or Super Moto for young or old with a particular interest on the younger rider who may be looking for advice on how to get started on bikes. The Club is always looking for new interested members to get involved with club activities – so if you’re interested let us know!

Our calendar of events in 2016 are three cross-country races at Todd’s Leap Activity Centre on Sun 22nd May, Sun 21st Aug, Sun 27th Nov and the Classic run on 18th September with our Trials event over on  Jan 9th at Flagstaff mountain.