day" exhibition - 8 decades of road
The first North West 200 was held on
20th April 1929. From the 31 entrants, only eight
bikes passed the checkered flag.
At the birth of the North West, the now-familiar
wail of Japanese race bikes would have been a
very alien sound . In those heady days, the roads
around Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine echoed
to the thunderous roar of big singles and twins
with megaphone exhausts.
Bikes were basic and the riders were heroes.
It was a game of rider skill more than technology.
Names like Exelsior, Rudge, Velocette & Norton
went with those of Malcolm McQuigg, Jimmy Guthrie,
Freddie Frith, Stanley Woods and many many others
which populated the pages of the race programmes
the early years.
The unforgettable smell of Castrol oil and the
rhythmic beat of hot pistons was brought back
to life by Ballymoney Museum in May 2004. As
part of the year's Bike Fest.
Trophies, photographs, race winning motorcycles,
and all manner of memorabilia from eight decades
of Irish road racing was on view over the NW200
weekend, at The Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre, Ballymoney.
Top left: 500cc race 1971. John Cooper
(21) & Geoff Barry (97)
Top right: Ray Amm on the Streamliner,
Bottom left: Phil Read in 1969
Bottom Right: Joey Dunlop 1992
Photography courtesy of
Clifford McLean and Ballymoney Museum.
|Keith Beattie, Manager of Ballymoney Museum
who put the exhibition together.
Click here for a guide to what the North West 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