Northern Irish Motorcycle Trials – Positive Outlook

Northern Irish Motorcycle Trials under the new MRA banner with renewed Sponsorship and a positive outlook for the Ulster Championship Season ahead.

Clive Braithwaite of Inchaquire Industries, Kildare Sponsor of the Semi-Expert Class. Craig Allen Trials Committee. Johnny Annett of OHM motorsport, Bangor Sponsors of the Elite+ Class. At the unveiling of the new AGA Ulster Championship Podium for the coming season. Photo by Earl Boyd.

The Northern Irish Motorcycle trials community came together en masse last weekend at the Auld House, Moneyreagh to hold their 2023 Ulster Championship Awards Evening and the transition of the Trials Committee from the MCUI Ulster Centre to the MRA.

The Evening was an opportunity for those involved in the sport locally, both young and old to come together, celebrate the year’s achievements and plan for the upcoming Ulster Championship set to begin on September 16th with the Bann Cup, hosted by the Banbridge Club and held in Finnis. This will be Round One of the AGA Ulster championship 23/24 Season and will be held over 10 rounds throughout the autumn and winter months.

The evening saw the presentation of awards from the previous 22/23 championship season.
Top of the Trials roster was Stuart McClurg winning first place in the Ulster Championship at Expert Elite Level & The Fred Stock Cup. Banbridge’s Josh Hanlon took second with Paul Abrahm in third. Jake Hanlon won the Expert Class & Ards MCC Mansell trophy with Alex Lennox a close second.

Josh Hanlon Member of Team Ireland set to compete at this year’s Trophy Des Nations. Josh took 2nd place in the Expert Elite + Class in last season’s Championship and was winner of the Irish Championship & Benny Crawford Award..
Josh is pictured here Competing on Slieve Croob in last season’s Ulster Championship Motorcycle Trial. Photo by Cromlin Images.

Neal Perry earned himself the Semi-expert title & the Bernie Martin Cup with Kyle Turner taking first place in the Clubman Classic & 450 Cup. Desi Leckey was 22/23 Clubman & AJ Bell Cup winner with the Sportsman Classic & Vintage Shield taken home by Thomas Crothers. Michael Adams was the winner of the Sportsman & Billy Brown Cup. The 5 Youth Classes were won by Ella Stevenson, Toby Jones, Ollie Gilmour, Mason Crawford and Shane Abrahm respectively. All of whom are up and coming young riders to watch as future Team Ireland members in the making.

Proceeds from the evening were raised to help fund this year ́s Team Ireland in the Trophy des Nations Trial. The team, made up of Stuart McClurg, Josh Hanlon & Sean Doyle with Johnny Lundy and Adam Harris as minders under the accomplished managerial leadership of Andrew Perry will represent Ireland this year. With two previous wins and many podiums under their belt Team Ireland are set to make their mark at the 23/24 championship which kicks off a few weeks from now in Aron, France.

op Left: Stuart McClurg winner of the Expert Elite+ class, making him Ulster Champion 22/23, he placed 2nd in last seasons Irish Championship and is a member of Team Ireland in this years Trophy de Nations Motorcycle Trials. Stuart is pictured receiving his 1st place award and holding the Fred Stock Cup. To his left is David Rodgers FIM World Championship Trials Race Director and to his right: Billy Rodgers, Trials Commission.
Below Right: we see Stuart McClurg in action in the 2022/2023 Ulster Championship and below left of that: Andrew Perry Team Irelands manager this coming season discusses with Stuart McClurg their tactics for winning the Trophy des Nations this coming season in Europe. Photos by Earl Boyd.

This coming Trials season sees yet another big change as the Ulster Championship will be sponsored for the first time in 2 decades. Local business AGA The Stove & Fire Centre have stepped in to support and sponsor the Championship, the Stanex family and their 2 AGA businesses in Belfast and Conlig will be title sponsor for 23/24 Ulster Championship and will be supported by sponsors for each racing grade. OHA Motorport, Bangor will sponsor the elite + Riders and Youth Support. SJ Trials, Ballymena will sponsor the Expert Class. The semi- experts will be sponsored by Inchaquire Industries, Kildare. Clubman Class has Leadmines Motorcycles as sponsor. HTM Motorcycles will sponsor the Sportsman Category with John Hagan Concrete also sponsoring the Youth Support Class.

This injection of local backing is crucial in keeping the huge level of talent found at Northern Irish trials events both male and female, young and old involved and interested.
Trials riding is distinguishable from other disciplines of motorcycling at a competitive level. Fast paced battles on tarmac or turf are a far cry from the hopping and popping from pedal to brakes at an ever changing rate over variable terrain that are found at a Trials event. The attitude, aptitude, agility and sheer ability required in balancing and bouncing through checkpoints, rivers and rocks set Trials riding apart. Like all motorsports however there is a shared passion for the machines, the camaraderie, banter and love of the sport. While most of us relax on cold winter weekend mornings, Trial riders are up early getting down and getting dirty whatever the weather, they turn up, tune up and get out there. It is encouraging to see their efforts and passion for the sport rewarded and appreciated and the Trials committee are delighted to see this boost to the events they work so hard to maintain, it is heartening to see local businesses stand up and support our sportsmen and women.

The trials association wish to thank the MCUI Ulster Centre for their many years of hard work and assistance and the MRA for adopting them so readily. This new chapter for the Trials community brings with it a fresh and positive start to the Trials events with new incentives for all, and the association wish the local clubs, riders and Team Ireland an enjoyable and successful season. Photography by Earl Boyd & Cromlin Images.

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