THIS year’s annual motorcycle exhibition has opened at Ballymoney Museum with crowds already packing the gallery.
The exhibition, called “North West Frontier”, celebrates the heroes who have made the North West 200 and Irish road racing such an exciting and popular sport. On display are trophies, leathers, helmets, memorabilia and bikes, with classic photos of riders from the past and present.
The three bikes on display are the favourite exhibits of many visitors and were ridden by Ballymoney men - a 2002 ‘Red Bull’ Honda 600cc of Adrian Archibald, a 1978 TZ250E Yamaha of Joey Dunlop and the 125cc Honda that took Paul Robinson to his historic win at last year’s North West 200.
The original North West 200 trophies from 1929-1958 have been kindly lent for display by the North of Ireland Motor Club and fans of Robert Dunlop are able to see his leathers, helmet and several famous trophies, on loan from his family. Other riders who feature in the display are Malcolm McQuigg, winner of the first NW200 250cc race in 1929; Richard Creith, the dynamic Bushmills rider who won the 500cc at the Ulster Grand Prix and NW200 in 1965 before retiring at the peak of his career; the legendary Dromara Destroyers; the Armoy Armada, including the helmet, leathers and trophy of Mervyn Robinson, the helmet of Jim Dunlop and a tribute to the greatest of them all, Joey Dunlop.
Visitors also have the opportunity to see a unique interview film from December 2009 of Richard Creith, Len Ireland and Billy McCosh in which they remember their days racing each other on the local roads. As an added bonus, Ballymoney Museum has released extra footage from the interviews on the internet at http://www.youtube.com/user/BallymoneyMuseum and bike fans across the world can now watch these Ulster icons as they share the enjoyment, danger and excitement of road racing over 40 years ago.
The exhibition “North West Frontier” is on display until 27 August at Ballymoney Museum, Ballymoney Town Hall, Townhead Street, admission is free and opening hours are Monday-Thursday & Saturday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-4.30pm. The museum will have special opening on Sunday 22 May, 1pm-5pm. www.visitballymoney.com.