The Snake-like mountain road that meanders its way to the top of Slieve Croob in Dromara, County Down came to life last weekend with a convoy of Transits and Trailers as Motorcycle Trials Riders ascended the hill to compete in The Terry Hill Trial, Round 4 of the Irish Championship.
Slieve Croob never fails to offer up a challenging trial, the altitude adds to the experience as riders face the mighty Croob which brings with it exposure to all of the elements, heightening the senses and drawing riders of all ages and abilities from across Ireland out of their beds and onto their bikes.
A cold Northern Irish January morning is not for the faint hearted, riders took to the course as the wind chill hovered menacingly close to below zero. They faced sidewinding blasts of cold air that threatened to topple and tilt bikes beneath them as they expertly manoeuvred through river and rock, balanced and poised with concentration and calm.
The elite+ class included a roster of local champions and there was no doubt the riders would be on form and focused knowing every point would be crucial in the championship.
Stuart Hanlon headed up the Expert Class finishing with 36 points, well ahead of Robert McCrory & Neil Moore who took 2nd and 3rd respectively with 54 points and 67.
Alex Guthrie led the Semi-Expert class with an impressive 33. Andrew Molloy scored 77 in second place and John Millar a close third with 83.
Desy Leckey owned the Clubman class with a final score of 22. Philip McClurg gave him a fair challenge coming in second with 42 and Stephen Pyper third with a respectable 46 points.
George Robinson finished first in the Sportsman Class with a fine score of 13, George Smyth and Michael Adams came in 2nd and 3rd with 26 and 28 points.
The Youth Classes saw Shane Abram take a clear win with 70 points to Shannon Smyth’s 135 and Evie McStay’s 161. In the Youth B class Ben Allen took home 81 points and Youth C’s Ollie Reid finished up with an 86.
The fresh breeze that can only be found atop Slieve Croob challenges a rider’s equilibrium and plays havoc with control of stability and speed, yet unfazed the Trials men and women rode on like warriors in the wind, bracing themselves for whatever the weather threw at them. Rosy cheeked riders wearing ear to ear grins pebble dashed the mountain enjoying every minute of the day, oblivious to the challenges and relishing the opportunity to get down and dirty, weather beaten and weary. Competition and camaraderie working seamlessly in harmony.
The Terry Hill Trial has been organised and run by the Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club since 1964 and 60 years on the Club is honoured to be hosting it still. Local Irish Trials riders continue to impress us, not only with the level of skill, expertise and ability they display but also through their incredible level of stamina and commitment to the sport not to mention a clear passion for trials shared by so many across the Island of Ireland.
Without doubt these Motorcycle Trials fixtures would not run without the Observers, Course Builders and Club Members. The Temple Motorcycle Club wishes to extend their gratitude to the Herron Family, also John Heenan, David Gault, Craig Allen & Alan Young for course set up and to all the observers: Andrew Guthrie, Ken Clarke, Craig Allen, Willy Dickey, Mike Crothers, David McKnight, David Gault, John Heenan, Harry & Walter Price. The Temple Club thank all those who took part in the Terry Hill Trial and wish them all the very best in the remaining rounds of the 2024 Irish Championship.