Surprise for Gerry as he gets top job
The Annual Classic Bike Racing Ireland Awards Dinner took place last Saturday night in the Glenside Hotel, and as usual it was a full house that sat for dinner.
The CBRI Awards night is slightly different from the normal, as they announce the incoming president on the night, and it's only then that the incoming presidents knows the honour that is bestowed on him.
Bellewstown rider and Classic Bike builder Gerry O'Sullivan was honoured as the new president, much to the delight of the room, and the shock on his face was a delight to see.
Gerry O'Sullivan has been involved in racing for more than 40 years, as a rider and sponsor, and it was great to see one of his longtime riders Dave Madsen Mygdal come from the Isle of Man to be in attendance and celebrate with Gerry. Their association goes back many years, and Mygdal's record around the TT Mountain circuit is one that I don't believe will ever be broken. He has an incredible 122 TT race finishes, and coupled with his Manx Grand Prix races he has achieved more than 150 race finishes. He has accumulated 97 TT replicas alone, and he won the Classic Manx in 2012, with his best ever TT finish a fourth place.
Gerry sponsored Dave in 2005 and the jovial Manx rider had two podium places alone that year. Gerry has also been involved with bringing Irish riders to farflung places to race classic bikes - including Spa and Gedinne in Belgium, the island of Madera for their TT races, Daytona in America and Le Mans in France, as well as Tarragona and Port Asanto.
He has supplied bikes for the likes of John Burrows - who won the 2009 Irish Championship - Godfrey Shaw, Kevin Christie, Andy Farrell, Keith Costello, Cormac Conroy and also Michael Dunlop, who had a great Classic win at Killalane a few years ago, beating Guy Martin in a rare outing.
There were plenty of awards presented on the night, and it was Alastair Henry who was first onto the stage to collect the club's Unlimited Short circuit championship. Andy Kildea took the honours in the 500cc class, with Martin O'Neill taking the 350cc class. Irish 250 short circuit champion Brian Mateer also took the club's short circuit championship.
The Road Race Championship saw Barry Davidson take the honours and the Cullybackey rider, who has amassed 68 road race wins in his career, is now up to 10th place in the all-time record of Irish road race winners.
MCI President Sean Bissett presented to the MCI road race championship winners, and Phillip Shaw was the first recipient, for the unlimited class. Barry Davidson collected the 500 and 350 championship medals, with Brian Mateer making it a memorable night by taking the 250 medal. Davy Carleton took the Southern Star in the senior class, while Robin Heathcote took the junior class.
There were a number of special awards, and classic race journalist and photographer Mark McCloskey was presented with a 'Services to Sport' award for his work with classic racing. Lusk businessman and top sponsor Tony Carton was also honoured with a 'Services to Sport' award for his massive contribution to the sport, and incoming President Gerry O'Sullivan was another recipient.
Martin O'Neill was the winner of the 'Crasher of the Year' award, much to the amusement of the room, Ken Parks was the 'Most Improved Rider of the Year', while Gavan Murphy took home 'Clubman of the Year'.
It was another great night, and thanks to Classic Bike Racing Ireland for their great hospitality.