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16 October 2014
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Ballymoney man has been to them all

In 2004, Ballymoney man John Henry has been to every single NW200 since it began

John Henry aged 84 (2004)
 
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Update - YP&M have learnt of the very sad news that John Henry passed away on Thursday 5th January 2006. We interviewed John back in 2004 about his passion for motor bikes and the famous NW200 races in particular :

montage of nw200 posters
If you ask John Henry his age he'll reply" I'm in my 85th year ". Ever conscious of his long time on this earth and the memories he has, the Ballymoney man talks in a soft County Antrim accent with passion and love about the Nor' West. Having attended every single race since it all began, he is probably unique.

20th April, 1929, the year Audrey Hepburn was born and the first Oscars ceremony higlighted the might of the showbiz world. This side of the Atlantic, a nine year-old boy called John Henry went with his father in a sidecar to watch the dawning of a new era of motorcycle racing... the "North West 200". From the 31 entrants, only eight bikes passed the checkered flag. Such was the casualty rate from a 200 mile endurance race 75 years ago. From that day on John began to form his opinions on which riders had star quality. His judgement was good too because many of his chosen few went on to be world class 'aces' (the word that preceded Superstar).

John Henry of Ballymoney in 2004
CLICK HERE to watch video as
John reflects on 75 years of NW200
John Toal went to Ballymoney where John Henry was to be found viewing a special exhibition in the Joey Dunlop centre, to commemorate 75 years of the event. With razor sharp memory, he spoke fondly of past events and names, many likely to be forgotten or unknown by today's race fans.

Names like Jimmy Guthrie, Freddie Frith, Stanley Woods and many more trot off his tongue like it all happened just yesterday. He even still has a shifting-spanner that fell out of a rider's boot on a corner 70 years ago, which he picked up off the track as a memento.

We have found some unique 1950s archive footage of the North West and you can see it here and listen to John Henry reflect on his memories.

 

Watch 1950s Film
Listen to Audio only

 


More NW200 stories

Click here for more information on the "Race Day " exhibition.

Click here for sickening news of vandalism to Joey Dunlop`s memorial garden in Ballymoney.

Click here for a guide to what the North West 200 is all about

"your place and mine" reporter Davy Apsley went to the races in 2003 and produced a "picture page". Read his account of it here...

Is it an event you'd never miss? What is the atmosphere like and has it changed over the years? Have you any good photos? (You can e-mail copies to us - see the address in the final paragraph below) Do you meet up with the same people year after year?
Do you live abroad and can no longer attend? Have you ever helped in running the event? What's it like to take part? Would it matter if the 'North West 200' came to an end?

Some of you have been sending your own comments and pictures. Click here to see them...

 

 
Robert Dunlop
Robert Dunlop

Bring the 'North West 200' to life for the uninitiated and connect up with other enthusiasts, by sharing your memories of this Northern Ireland sporting spectacular.

If you'd just like to add a quick comment, you can post it directly into the site or e-mail us at ypam-online@bbc.co.uk.

 


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