Early Days

Page 1


he history of the

Belfast and District Motor Club from 1906

to present day Believe and Deliver




s the Belfast and District Motor Club reached its first centenary in 2006, the unanimous opinion of Club members was that a book should be compiled to commemorate the occasion. That proved to be a bigger challenge than was first anticipated. After many hours of research, back then and more recently, a host of important information has been pulled together but there is still so much more that should be added, and will be, as and when it becomes available. Also with time having moved on considerably, this is now a history of the Club and not just its centenary. Over the decades, a lot of information which would previously have been in the Club’s possession has been difficult to find and some may indeed have been lost. Thankfully, with the much­appreciated assistance of many, a number of original documents, minute books and programmes have been recovered. This chapter in the Club’s history and those that are to follow will be retained as open documents which means that they can be added to and/or updated in the future.

Early days Photograph of the Shamrock Motorcycle Club circa 1906 at Ormeau Park, courtesy of Mike Wylie


In the beginning




ecords show that the Belfast and District Motor Club (B&D Club) began in April 1906, making it the oldest motorcycle club in Northern Ireland.

A group of gentlemen from the Mount area met together in a room above a shop (costing 1/2 per week) on the Albertbridge Road in Belfast to discuss the possibility of establishing a club to benefit the growing number of motorcyclists in the city of Belfast and surrounding areas. The gathering agreed to proceed with the proposal and the Shamrock Motorcycle Club (the original name of the club) was created. To this day the Club emblem retains four shamrocks on its crest. The Motorcycle Union of lreland (MCUI) had already been formed in 1902 – the Ulster Centre established less than one year later in January 1903. Both branches were very active, being responsible for early motorcycling events. The principle aim of the founder members of the Shamrock Club was to promote solidarity amongst motorcyclists and to become active in promoting motorcycling as a sport, through running Hill Climbs, Reliability Trials and social runs.

As things took shape the first road race over open roads was held on the 3rd June 1906. The race, to Portrush and back, started at 6 a.m. from Donegall Street Bank with 23 starters. Fifteen were still going at Whitehead and twelve arrived at Portrush. On the return run, between broken belts, punctures etc., three arrived at the finishing point near Glengormley at 10 p.m.

In the beginning



A copy of what must have been the Club’s first Rule Book, printed in 1907, was amongst papers loaned to the Club by the family of Mr J K Miller, one of the founder members. It includes an impressive list of Saturday evening social runs throughout the summer months and details the Club officers for the year, naming the Patron as The Right Hon Lord Arthur W Hill. Patron:

The Right Hon Lord Arthur W Hill


G W Wolff MP

Vice President:

Col James McCalmont MP, A H Wilson, W J Anderson, W H Coates JP, W R Yarr, J Blewitt MD and J S Finnigan


James Chapman

Vice Captain:

J Lindsay


J K Millar

Assist Secretary: W Hutcheson

First Shamrock Motorcycle Club Rule Book, 1907 lent to the Club by the family of the late J K Miller


R McBride


Messrs W McCartney, J Shanks, W Mulholland, D Morton, W Downing and A Holmes




AGM The first Annual General Meeting of the Shamrock Club held on Thursday 13 February 1908 re-elected the President; seven Vice-Presidents, three further officials and a committee of six. It was stated that the Club planned to run a number of events which would include • Hill Climbs, • Reliability Trials and • Penalty Runs. Three events were planned for the year, the first of which was scheduled to take place on 18 April 1908. President:

Mr G W Wolf, MP

Vice Presidents:

Colonel James McCalmont MP, Dr J Blewitt, W H Coates, JP plus 4 more


Mr J K Miller

Carnmoney Hill Climb 16 May 1908

It must be borne in mind that at that time, motorcycles had only been available since the tum of the century. The first model may well have been an American invention – a steam powered two-wheeled machine built by Sylvester Howard Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts – which was demonstrated at fairs and circuses in the eastern United States in around 1867. An example of a Roper machine built in 1869 is still in existence. Gottlieb Daimler is, however, largely credited with building the first motorcycle in around 1885. It was powered by a single-cylinder 264cc Otto-cycle engine, and possibly a spray-type carburettor. It had a top speed of around 7mph. The first known production of a two-wheeler was the Hildebrand & Wolfinueller which was patented in Munich in 1894. In 1895, the French firm of DeDion-Buton built an engine that was to make the mass production and common use of motorcycles possible. DeDion-Buton used their 1/2 horsepower power plant in road-going tricycles, but the engine was copied and used widely. In the early period of motorcycle history there were many manufacturers as producers of bicycles adapted their designs for the new internal combustion engine and British manufacturers held a dominant position in some markets until the rise of the Japanese manufacturers (led by Honda) in the late 1960s and early 70s. Electric trams had only been introduced in Belfast in 1904, replacing the horse-drawn trams which had run in the streets of the city since 1872. Cars were not within the financial capabilities of the majority of people and motorcycles and sidecar combinations were therefore becoming a popular method of transport.

In the beginning



AGM The Annual General Meeting held on Thursday, 11 February 1909 in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Belfast, elected Mr J K Miller as Captain of the Club. Mr Miller had previously acted as Club Secretary but had indicated his desire to relinquish this position due to personal business commitments. It was reported at the AGM that 1908 had been a ‘very satisfactory year’ for the Club. According to an account of the meeting in the Belfast Telegraph on 20 February 1909, club runs in 1908 had been “well patronized by the members and their friends. There had also been three very successful competitions held during the season, these being very keenly contested, single points only separating the winners. The treasurer read his report which was received with applause, showing a substantial balance to be carried forward to this year.”

The Club advised that it was intended to increase the number of events to five in 1909 • one hill climb, • one fast and one slow hill climb, • one reliability and hill climb combined, • one 200 mile reliability trial, • one hill climb, together with the usual weekly runs.

Captain of the Club:

Mr J K Miller

Vice President:

Mr W Bailie

Honarary Secretary:

Mr T Brown

Assistant Secretaey:

Mr A F Bromley

Early photograph of the members of the Belfast and District Motor Cycle Club, lent to the Club by the family of the late J K Miller

The 10s 19




Change of Club Name Ireland’s Saturday Night reported on 12 March 1910 that: “Belfast and District Motor Cycle Club is the name by which the Shamrock Motor Club will henceforth be known, that decision having been arrived at after discussion at the annual general meeting which was held recently.” The precise reason for this decision is not known, but it is believed that it was most likely to avoid confusion with the Shamrock Bicycle Club which was large and very active in the city at that time.

1910 was a significant year for the Club. William Jaffe and W Kearney held the key positions of President and Secretary respectively. These two gentlemen had a major impact on the development of the Club, laying the foundation of strength and commitment which has been maintained to the present day. President:

Mr W Jaffe

Captain of the Club:

Mr J K Miller


Mr C Calow


Mr W Kearney

Reliability Run 10 September 1910 The organized Run took place from Belfast to Swords, County Dublin and back – a total of 192 miles. Start time was 7.00am at Balmoral and there were eight starters: W Beattie (Triumph); A Bullick (Jap); J Cluney (Peugeot); J Kearney (Premier); B J McManus (Premier); J Miller (Jap); W Reid (Peugeot) and J Stewart (Triumph). It transpired that, apart from J Miller (Club Captain at the time), all the entrants were together at the first timing point in Newry and on the homeward journey all competitors obtained full marks. It was then necessary to hold a further contest before a winner could be declared. In October 1910, the Irish Cyclist and Motorcyclist Magazine reported that the Club had felt the need to postpone almost every competition it had planned to run during the year. One Reliability Run which did take place ran into problems when a number of competitors expressed dissatisfaction. As a result, no prizes were awarded.

First annual prize distribution 7 November Took place in the King’s Restaurant, High Street. The occasion was a very pleasant and successful social gathering, at which the members had an opportunity of reviewing progress made by the organisation. Already the membership has reached considerable dimensions, and the present state of the club is most satisfactory in every way. The proceedings took the form of a social and smoker, and Mr C Calow occupied the chair. After the chairman’s speech, a toast of “The King” was duly honoured, after which the prizes won during the year were distributed. J E Coulter for the Cammoney Hill Climb and J Miller for the Petrol Consumption Trial. The chairman proposed the toast to the “Prize Winners.’’ which was very heartily received and responded to by Mr J Miller. “Our Guests” was submitted by Dr Whyte, and was acknowledged in felicitous terms by Mr G Blackburn and Mr J A Gibson. A very enjoyable musical and miscellaneous programme was gone through in the course of the evening, the followmg gentlemen being contributors: Messrs R S Osborne, W Hood, G Fawcett, D G Meharg, Bruin Fee Brothers, W Luffe, W Minchin, W H Bell, W Woodburn, D Smyles and J T Gibb, the accompaniments being skilfully played by Mr S S Fry, Mr J Birrell, and Mr W Woodburn. The arrangements were admirably carried out under the supervision of Mr W Kearney, honorary secretary, who had the valuable assistance of Mr Tom Mallon, and the members of the club are to be congratulated on its present flourishing condition, as well as on the success attending their first annual gathering.

In the beginning



AGM At the AGM on 15 February 1911, the Club was again reported to be in a good financial position and in addition, through the auspices of Club member, Tom Mallon, the Premier Cycle Company had offered to present a handsome silver cup to be awarded at future events. President: Captain:

William Jaffe

Honorary Solicitor:

J E Coulter

Mr James Barr

Honorary Secretary:

Mr W Keamey

An interesting article appeared in the Ireland’s Saturday Night newspaper on 25 March 1911, written by ‘The Crank’ (who was actually Thomas H Moles, MP). He explains that: “There was a time when the side car as a useful accessory to a motor cycle was regarded as absurd .... The advent of the free engine and the two-speed gear has brought the side car right into the domain of things that are really practical. That fact is of much importance to a large section whose means often precludes the initial cost and the running expense of a two-seater car but who yet desires to have the companionship of a wife or a friend on a run. To these the side car has always appealed. It is therefore of importance to them to definitely ascertain

whether they can absolutely rely upon the combination of side car and motor cycle to fit the bill in this respect ... I spent some time last Monday, part-time as passenger and part-time as driver of such a combination and the result leaves me in no manner of doubt that given a prudent selection of machine and side car there is not the slightest reason to anticipate any more trouble than would be encountered in using the motor cycle singly and that nowadays is a mere bagatelle ... It is to Mr William Kearney, the honorary secretary of the Belfast and District Club, that I owe the interesting and instructive experience of last Monday. I conducted a sixty miles test of give-and-take roads including one steep hill and the Premier took us through it without a falter and without being obliged to change down at any stage to the low gear. The side car was a Mallon, which gives a seat quite luxurious for even the most sensitive to road shocks and is rebuilt to Mr Mallon’s own ideas.” The Crank goes on at length to describe his journey with Mr Kearney. He states that “If, as has been said, “the best testimonial is a satisfied customer”, Mr Kearney is a testimonial of whom the Premier Company and their agent, Mr Tom Mallon, should be very proud.”

BELFAST AND DISTRICT MOTOR CLUB Hill Climb 29 April 1911 Hill Climb held at Bangor: 1, W J Chambers, 3½h.p. B.S.A.; 2, B Hobson, 3½h.p. Premier.; 3, W McKee, 3½h.p. Premier. Fastest time: J Stewart, 3½h.p. Triumph. Hill Climb 16 September 1911 A hill-climb was brought off on Saturday afternoon at Central Avenue Bangor, the distance being 760 yards. The weather was favourable, and the surface of the road good. The following were the actual times:

Stanley Corry, 4½ Matchless, James Stewart, 3½ Triumph, J McBride, 3½ Premier, Wilson Kirk, 3½ Triumph, W Rickarby, 3½ Rudge, H C Hicks, 5 h.p. engine R McKibben, 3½ Premier, C Hobson, 3½ Premier

30.0secs; 30.4secs; 31.2secs; 33.4secs; 36.2secs; 37.8secs; 39.0secs; 42.2secs.

The actual placings will be worked out later, and announced in the course of the week. Mr W Kearney had charge of the arrangements, and the other officials were: Starter: Mr. Tom Mallon; Course Stewards: Messrs J Busby, H Denby and J Miller; Timekeepers: Messrs R McCann and R McLardy. County Down Spectator and Ulster Standard 22 September 1911

In the beginning



AGM and Election of Officers

Prize Fund

On Thursday 22 February, the 1912 AGM took place in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Belfast. William Jaffe opened the meeting and good reports were given by the Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer. It was recorded that the Club was ‘in a very prosperous condition’ and fourteen new members were enrolled at the meeting.

The Club were very grateful to receive the following additions to their prize fund for the 1912 season:

President: Captain:

William Jaffe

Honorary Solicitor:

William McKee

Mr James Barr

Honorary Secretary:

Mr W Keamey

Assistant Secretary:

Mr S J Doman

Honarary Treasurer:

Mr James Miller

A sub-committee was appointed to consider the matter of possible affiliation with the Motor Cycle Union of lreland (MCUI).

The Hutchinson Tyre Company pair of motor cycle tyres The Palmer Tyre Company pair of motor cycle tyres Rudge-Whitworth Limited silver cup The Enfield Cycle Company £2 2s Od The Rover Cycle Company £2 2s Od The BSA Company £2 2s Od Messrs D McDowell & Co, Jewellers gold medal S J Dornan silver challenge cup W Kearney £2 2s Od W Jaffe £1 1s Od David Huey MD £1 1s Od J Matson MD £1 1s Od D D’Largy £1 1s Od W McKee £1 1s Od P H Dodds £1 1s Od

The Club also acknowledged promises of prizes, not yet received, from:

Change of Club Name wording One significant point of business that year was the decision to drop ‘Cycle’ from the name of the club and hence shorten it to Belfast and District Motor Club. As far as can be ascertained, the reason behind this alteration was the desire to permit some car owners to become members. This probably reflects the fact that a number of leading motorists in the city were within the ranks of the Club.

Dr S H White; Dr Blewitt; Mr Frank Kane; Mrs Mallon, Ann Street and Messrs Andrews & Co. Events The Club had a busy season in 1912 and events included: 8 April 11 May 1 September 14 September

Hill Climb Hill Climb Reliability Trial Hill Climb

BELFAST AND DISTRICT MOTOR CLUB Knocksaughey Hill Climb 8 April 1912 The Club held an open hill climb today at Knocksaughey, Ballintoy. The event has caused considerable interest of late in motor cycling circles, the result being that the satisfactory entry of thirty-four was secured, amongst whom were many motor cyclists from Belfast, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Ballycastle, Armagh and Coventry. The competition was divided into two classes – one for machines with engines not exceeding 500c.c. cylinder capacity, and the other for machines of any capacity. The hill on which the events were decided measured about 1,550 yards, with an average gradient of one in four. The surface was in good condition, with the exception of a portion at the final turn. The atmospheric conditions could scarcely have been worse, a veritable hurricane prevailing during the day. and the lot of spectators and competitors alike was far from being a happy one. In the 500 c.c. class three prizes were offered for placings, in addition to a challenge cup presented by Mr S J Doman, assistant honorary secretary of the promoting club. Of the thirtyfour entries a number failed to turn up at the starting point,

Bangor Hill Climb 11 May 1912 nevertheless the muster and competition were good.

The Club held a very successful hill-climb, venue being Central Avenue, Bangor.

The result was decided on the A.C.U. formula, the factors taken into account being horse power of engines, weight of rider and machine, and time.

The afternoon was very favourable, and the surface of the hill was in the pink of condition. The distance of the climb is a little over half a mile, and portions of it is very steep.

The placings were:— 1. R Holloway, 3½h.p. Premier 76.81 2. J Stewart, 2¾h.p. Douglas 81.90 3. W Cameron, 3½h.p. Rudge 83.76 4. S Sloan, 3½h.p. Rudge 84.10 5. T Griens, 3½h.p. Rudge 85.34 6. J C Holland, 2¾h.p. Humber 86.60 7. B McBratney, 3½h.p. Matchless 87.63 8. R H Dodds, 2½h.p. New Hudson 90.28 9. J McBride, 3½h.p. O.K. Precision 91.18 10. J G Getty, 3½h.p. Triumph 93.26 11. J Stars, 3½h.p. Rudge 99.30 12. C R Martin, 3½h.p. Triumph 104.04 13. G Gregory, 3½h.p. New Hudson 105.08 In the unlimited class the result was:— 1. R Holloway, 3½h.p. Premier 52.80 2. J R Thompson, 3½h.p. B.S.A 53.00 3. S P Corry, 3½h.p. Special Matchless 55.80 4. T Griens, 3½h.p. Rudge 61.20 5. C R Martin, 3½h.p. Triumph 62.40 Belfast Newsletter Tuesday 9 April 1912

Without any unnecessary delay a start was made, fourteen facing the starter out of an entry of eighteen. Mr S P Corry on his 3½h.p. Matchless, made a splendid ascent, doing the distance in 29 seconds, which was the fastest of the day, and constitutes a record for the hill. Mr J R Thompson, 3½h.p B.S.A., who has been performing well of late, was second, his time being 30.6 secs. Mr P H Dodd’s 2¾h.p. New Hudson made the best performance of the five light weights. The result was arrived ay on A.C.U. formula, the determining factors being horse power, time, and combined weights of rider and machine. In addition to fastest time S P Corry was first on formula. The individual placings being as follows: Time Formula 1. S P Corry, 3½h.p. Matchless. 29.0secs 42.40 2. P H Dodds, 2¾h.p. New Hudson 4 4.4secs 43.51 3. W A Conn, 2¾h.p. Humber 41.0secs 43.57 4. J R Thompson, 3½h.p B.S.A. 30.6secs 43.63 5. Godfrey Pinuz, 3½h.p. Matchless 33.4secs 47.08 6. A V Henderson, 3½h.p. Rudge 32.8secs 47.58 7. J Stewart, 3½h.p. Triumph 33.2secs 48.30 8. J Stewart, 2¾h.p. Douglas 46.2secs 48.48 9. Ben Hobson, 3½h.p. O.K. Precision 36.6secs 49.90 10. J McBride, 2½h.p. Precision 53.2secs 56.28 11. F Andrews, 3½h.p. Precision 37.2secs 61.51 12 J McBride, 3½h.p. Premier 43.2secs 61.27 13. W J Burney, 2¾h.p. Royal Enfield 62.2secs 76.41

In the beginning Reliability Trial 1 September 1912 The following were the officials:— Starter: W Kearney; Judges: R G Lindsay, P McManus, T Mallon, R G Gladstone, G Gregory, J Barr, H Boyle, and J Kearney; Timekeeper: A McRoberts; Flag stewards: H J Millar, and W Pemberton. Belfast Newsletter Monday 13 May 1912

16 July 1912. Permission was refused by Bangor Urban Council for the Belfast and District Motor Club to hold a hillclimbing competition in Central Avenue on Saturday evening, the 14th September.

A write-up in the Ireland’s Saturday Night on Saturday 7 September 1912 reports that: “In the midst of a season remarkable for its bad weather, the Belfast and District Motor Club were lucky to have so much of last Saturday favourable for their reliability trial to Bushmills. The run right around the coast and back as far as Ballymena was almost ideal but from this until the finish a drenching rain caught the competitors and pretty well soaked them before they had reached Fortwilliam Park.” Control points were established at Lame, Cushendall, Bushmills, Coleraine, Ballymena and at the finish on the Antrim Road. The conditions under which the trial was carried out were stringent – no speedometers were allowed and there was an extensive list of penalties. Each competitor was timed by his own watch. Entrants included, amongst others, W Kearney on a 3½ Rudge and sidecar; J Hobson on a 2½ Singer; P McManus on a 3½ OK Precision and the eventual winner, W J Chambers on a 3½ BSA and sidecar. The newspaper goes on to say: “Side cars were permitted in the competition, but I venture to suggest that it is hardly fair

to the single machines to ask the riders of such to compete against the driver of a side car, whose passenger can carry the watch and coach him as to the exact second to go into control: a driver cannot well watch the control point and his watch simultaneously. It might be advisable to have either a distinct competition for sidecars or a separate class in the same competition in future.” Wise words indeed! It is interesting to note that in the same edition of the newspaper, there is a very blurred photograph showing “the finest and most numerous exhibit of motorcycles that has appeared in any window in Belfast ... which is attracting a great deal of attention”. It pictures the four models of Triumph motorcycles – free engine to standard pattern; standard pattern ordinary; tourist trophy road model and the tourist trophy racing model. The article indicates that other agents in the city will also be displaying new models in the course of a few weeks but already Mr W H Alexander, Mr T Mallon, Mr A J Chambers (Donegall Pass) and Messrs Andrews have been exhibiting 1911 models. The price of the TT Roadster bike is shown in the display at £50.0s.0d.

BELFAST AND DISTRICT MOTOR CLUB Ballybannon Hill Climb 14 September 1912 The season was brought to a close with a further Hill Climb at Ballybannon, near Castlewellan, County Down at which there was a very large attendance. 1, Mr T A Borden, 2½ Singer 2, Mr Corry, 3½ Matchless, 3, James Stewart, 2¾ Douglas. The Ireland’s Saturday Night (14 September 1912) reports that in two of the heats, Mr Borden’s opponents met with difficulties and “like the good sportsman he is, he at once expressed a wish to run them over again, an action which was much appreciated by the other competitors.”

In the beginning



Annual Social and Prize Distribution

Hill Climb, Ballybannon 29 March 1913

The Club held its second Annual Social Gathering and Distribution of Prize evening on 3 January 1913 at which it was noted that membership now stood at 72 members. The event was again held in the King’s Restaurant, High Street, Belfast and Mr William Jaffe (Club President) reported that 1912 had been another successful year. The B&D had organized reliability runs as well as petrol consumption, speed trial and various hill climbs, all of which had been well supported. The prize distribution included awards to R Holloway; J Stewart; W Cameron; S P Corry; W H Dodds; W A Conn (Club Secretary for 1913); W Kearney (outgoing Club Secretary); T Mallon; J McBride; H Denby; W Rickerby and T A Burden, several of whom were Club Members.

The Club Hill Climb was held at Ballybannon, near Castlewellan. There were eleven entries for the event and the winner was T S Douglas (a competitor from Dublin) on a Rudge.

Events 29 March 26 April 17 May 7 June 16 July 16 August

Hill Climb Petrol Consumption Trial Reliability Run Hill Climb 12 hour Reliability Trial Reliability Run

Petrol Consumption Trial 10 May 1913 The petrol consumption trial which had been planned to take place on 26 April was postponed until Saturday 10 May due to poor weather conditions. Although a fine entry had been received for the original date, only five competitors faced the starter on 10 May. The course was from Glengormley to Ballymena and back, a total distance of 44 miles. When all competitors successfully crossed the finish line, the seals and tanks examined and found to be in order, the process of measuring the petrol consumed commenced. 1st, Mr H Denby, 4hp Rex 38oz 190 miles per gallon 2nd, J Miller, 3½ Campion Jap (48oz) 3rd, J Haswell, 3½ Rudge Multi (58oz) Mr Denby had won the same event in the previous year with a petrol consumption rate of 175 miles per gallon.




The commencement of World War 1 appears to have had a marked effect on the B&D Club as there are no records of any competitions being held in 1914.

In the beginning





The AGM took place on 28 January 1915 in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Belfast, with William Jaffe continuing in the role of President. Ten new members were enrolled at the meeting.

15 May Easter Monday 28 August ????

The balance-sheet was read, which showed balance in hand to commence the new season.

Hill Climb, Carnmoney 15 May 1915

The appointments to the various offices were made, and the personnel appointed is a sure indication of the part this club will play in motoring circles throughout the coming season. The first meeting of the new committee will take place 8 p.m. at the club headquarters. Prince of Wales Hotel, on Thursday, the 11th February, following which the prizes for past competitions will be distributed. This club has done good work in the past in organising very successful competitions, and it is earnestly requested that many members who possibly can will do their best to be present at the meeting 9 p.m.. and at the same time bring along others who contemplate joining. New members are required to fill the ranks of the club, which has been depleted through the call to arms. Competition, one of the most enjoyable of all motoring sports, and it is anticipated that a programme of this club’s competitions for the coming season will be put before the meeting. Belfast Newsletter Saturday 6 February 1915

Hill Climb Reliability Run Reliability Run Hill Climb, Red Brae

The Club Hill Climb was decided on the Time Trial Principle. B&D Motor Club cup and medal 1, J W Shaw, 3½ Norton £1.0s.0d 2, S Adams, 2¾ Douglas 5 gallon drum of oil 3, W Rickerby, 3½ Rudge & sidecar. Reliability Run Easter Monday 1915 W Rickerby took first place on a 5/6 Rudge and sidecar. Reliability Run 28 August 1915 J Stewart and D Robb were awarded equal points and agreed to share the first prize.




AGM The 1916 AGM took place on Thursday 20 January in Robinson’s Hotel, Donegan Street, Belfast. It was noted that during the previous year (1915), the Club had organized four events, the Jaffe Cup, Premier Cup, Belfast & District Cup and a hill climb at Red Brae. Events Easter Monday 27 May July 26 August

Reliability Run Hill Climb, Red Brae Hill Climb Premier Cup Event

Jaffe Cup Reliability Run Easter Monday It was decided to hold the Jaffe Cup Reliability Run on Easter Monday (24 April) from Belfast to Dublin. The difficulty of obtaining petrol en-route was considered at a meeting held on 22 March 1916 and it was decided to arrange to have petrol reserved for the competitors at the controls. The entry fee was fixed at 5/- and in the event of a tie, a non-stop run would have preference. This competition was confined to members only, starting from Balmoral at 6.30am, with a number of check points en-route. The rules at the time stipulated that one mark would be deducted for every minute or part-minute early or late at each control. Competitors were not allowed to oil, adjust or interefere with their machines in any way. A breach of this would result in disqualification. At a meeting of the Club on 27 April, it was reported that the Easter Monday Reliability run (held three day’s earlier) “had been held successfully and the route cards were handed in by the secretary”. However, a discussion took place later in the meeting regarding the fact that some competitors had not adhered to the main

thoroughfare through Lisburn on the return leg. It was agreed that all complaints were to be made in writing and would then be considered at the next meeting. On 11 May 1916, it was reported that the problems in respect of the Easter Monday meeting had still not been resolved. It transpired that the check at Dundalk had not been at the place originally designated and this had proved confusing to competitors. After much discussion, it was therefore decided to cut out the Dundalk check, although a number of members remained unhappy about this decision. It was eventually agreed that the result was: Jaffe Cup and gold medal: 1, J Watt, Voucher for petrol to the value of £2.2s.0d: 2, J Wallace, runner-up; Hutchinson cover valued at 25/-: 3, W Rickerby, 3½ Rudge. Red Brae Hill Climb 27 May 1916 The Red Brae Hill Climb entrance fee was set at 5/for non-members and 3/6 for members. B&D Motorcycle Cup and gold medal: 1, J Shaw, 3½ Curtess 1 min. 35 secs. (he also won the 25/- Fastest Time Prize). Burnett tyre (valued at £2.2s.0d): 2, E Thompson, 3½ Rudge 1 min. 47 secs. Fifteen shillings: 3, J Watt, 1 min. 50 secs.

In the beginning





AGM The AGM was held on 29 March 1917 in Robinson’s Hotel, Donegall Street, Belfast with the President, Mr William Jaffe, occupying the Chair. It was reported that the Club had had ‘a very successful season in 1916 notwithstanding the difficulties encountered by reason of the war.’ It was proposed, however,

that the Club should suspend its activities until the cessation of hostilities and that the members should be called together again at the termination of the war. In the interim period, no members would be asked to pay any subscriptions. These proposals were unanimously accepted.

On 16 December 1918, a committee meeting took place in Robinson’s Hotel at which members expressed their deep regret at the loss of a very active member, Mr Tom Mallon. Mr Mallon had held the agency of the Premier Cycle Co Ltd and in 1909 had induced the company to supply a cup for competition in the club. Tom Mallon himself had won the Premier Cup two times before his death.

At the meeting, hope was expressed that it may be possible that “the present restrictions and difficulties with regard to motor cycling would be sufficiently relaxed” to permit the club to hold some competitions in the following year.




AGM An AGM took place in January 1919 with Mr Barr, Honorary Solicitor, in the Chair. Mr Robb referred with regret to the resignation of Mr W Jaffe as President and paid tribute to his many years of work for the good of the Club. The following officers were appointed: President:

Mr J E Mawhinney

Honorary Treasurer:

Mr Hugh Denby

Honorary Secretary:

William McCormick

Honorary Solicitor:

Mr Barr

The inactive state of the club was noted as being caused by the many restrictions imposed on motorcycling following the war and it was decided that once these restrictions were lifted sufficiently, there would be no further delay in restarting activities. The mood was a little low, understandably as the country had been at war for almost four years and there was also considerable political unrest in Ireland at the time. However, the overwhelming will to continue was evident and this was to be demonstrated in the following season.

The 20s 19

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