Phenomenal Turn Out for the Temple Motorcycle Club’s Marcus Blain Trial as the AGA Ulster Championship Takes Slieve Croob by Storm
Competitors turned out in their droves last Saturday to compete in the newly sponsored AGA Ulster Motorcycle Trials championship round 2 on Slieve Croob, Dromara. An unseasonably mild breeze swept in from every direction and brought with it riders in great numbers.
Perfect conditions and such a successful turnout could never have been predicted and the Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club, organisers of this ‘The Marcus Blain Trial’ couldn’t have been happier to see the convoy of vans that lined the ascent to Slieve Croob filled with riders and bikes, family and friends armed with flasks of coffee and sandwiches, fuel and fodder for a fantastic day of Trials bike riding.
They arrived from every corner of Ireland, the young and the old, boys, girls, men and women each with the same objective in mind, to tame the mighty Slieve Croob. More than 100 riders took to the hill fearless and determined to leave their mark without putting a foot out of place.
To feel passionately enough about a sport to be able, whatever the weather, to throw back the covers in the dead of night, load up the van and get on the road before dawn is to know the life of a trials rider. Those familiar with Slieve Croob will know that it’s a one way path to the top of a mountain, where riders, on this occasion were met with a warm welcoming wind urging them on into meandering rock filled riverbeds peppered with markers and flags.
Coupled with a backdrop of luscious green countryside there are few places a trials rider would rather spend their Saturday morning. The bond between rider and their motorbike is a fine balance of confidence, trust and respect. It is a glory to behold the mastery and skill as riders tame their steeds and manipulate powerful engines with precision and grace. The element of timing and tuning involved is remarkable as they find equilibrium between acceleration and braking leaving us hanging on their every turn. The experience of rockhopping through muck and mud, over boulders and bumps demonstrates commitment and incredible ability.
The calibre of riders in Ireland was apparent on Saturday as we were invited to enjoy a display of our finest trials riders, young and old at their very best.
Banbridge local Josh Hanlon proved himself worthy of his Team Ireland position as he made a molehill out of the mountain with his impressive overall score. He lost only 4 marks over 4 laps of 10 sections earning 1st place in the OHA Motorsport Elite + Class. Team Ireland teammate Stuart McClurg proved to be another extremely skilled rider and worthy contender on the day taking 2nd place with a score of 22. Jonathan Lunney joined them to complete the top 3 in this round.
The SJ Trials expert class Saw Andrew McCrory beat Robert McCrory with a score of 17 to Robert’s 38, with Matthew Millar a close 3rd on 41 marks.
The Inchaquire Industries semi-expert class was won by John Robb who finished up scoring 45, just 3 marks ahead of Russell Houston in 2nd and 15 ahead of 3rd position Stanley Callaghan.
The Clubman class sponsored by Leadmines Motorcycles was won by Desy Leckey with a score of 28, Stephen Murphy took 2nd on 32 with John McAndrew a close 3rd with 35.
The HTM Motorcycles Sportsman Class was won by George Robinson with 16 marks to David Lemon’s 17 and Ian McMahon taking 3rd place with a score of 21.
The Youth classes sponsored by OHA Motorsport and John Hagan Concrete were won respectively by Mason Crawford heading up the Youth A category, Kyle Hewitt winning Youth B. Ollie Gilmore won Youth C, Full course with Zac Lockhart taking 1st in the shorter course Youth C Class and James McMahon winning the final group in the youth categories.
In what turned out to be a hugely successful and enjoyable day of motorcycle trials riding all would agree that in this round of the AGA Ulster Championship they came, they rode and they conquered Slieve Croob.
The Temple Motorcycle Club extend their gratitude to all the local businesses who have supported and sponsored the AGA Ulster championship this year and would like to thank everyone who participated in Saturday’s event. Wishing all riders the very best in the upcoming rounds and continuing success this Motorcycle Trials Season.
Special Thanks to the landowner Desmond Herron and family. Also John Heenan, the main course bullworker with assistance from David Gault and Eddie Henderson. Also Craig & Ben Allen, youth course.
Observers: Walter Price, Steven Cromie, John Heenan, James Chambers, Gareth Jones, Craig Allen, Andrew Guthrie, Sandi Kane, Eddie Henderson.
Photography By Earl Boyd.