An exhibition created by Ballymoney Museum and Manx National Heritage has opened in Peel, Isle of Man at the popular House of Manannan visitor attraction.
The exhibition “Ulster’s TT Heroes” is adapted from a similar display held in Ballymoney Museum in 2013 and features the story of the riders from Northern Ireland who have won races at the famous TT road races since it began in 1907.
Central to the exhibition is a retrospective look at the contribution of the Dunlop family; from ‘Joey’, who recorded 26 TT race victories in a 25 year career of racing on the Mountain Course, and his brother Robert, himself a five time race winner, in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s through to the modern legend Michael, who now has 11 TT Race wins.
Included in the amazing display in Peel are three TT bikes, including two Honda RS250 ridden by Joey Dunlop - a practice bike along with its partner, Joey’s race bike from the same event.
Joey’s 1988 helmet has also been loaned for the display by Arai who agreed to release it from their company archive.
Beside them is the RG500 Suzuki ridden by Norman Brown, of Newry, in his debut TT in June 1982, on which he won the Senior race. Norman’s promising career tragically ended when he was killed in an accident at Silverstone just months later. Recent riders whose careers also feature include Adrian Archibald and Ryan Farquhar.
The story of another legendary local rider, Phillip McCallen, is highlighted with visitors having the opportunity to see the shocking shredded Honda Britain leathers which he was wearing when he crashed at Quarry Bends in the 1997 Lightweight TT race.
Opening the exhibition, David Cretney of the Manx Parliament said it was appropriate for the Dunlop family, Joey in particular, to dominate the display: “He made a huge impact on the Island from the moment he stepped off the boat in 1976. In all my time associated with the event in various roles I cannot recall any more popular wins than his triple in 2000.”
Also speaking at the launch, Keith Beattie, Museum Manager of Ballymoney Museum, welcomed the potential for exciting future events, building stronger links between both museums and working together to promote the rich road racing heritage shared by each region.
The exhibition Ulster’s TT Heroes is on display at the House of Manannan, Peel until 6 September 2015. Opening hours are 10am-5pm and admission is free. For further information visit www.manxnationalheritage.im