So August 5th rolled around and I jumped on another airplane headed over to Belfast, Northern Ireland to start my "little" trip. My good friend Paul Black who I bought the CBR600RR from that I rode at Kells arrived at the airport to pick me up and we went on a little tour of Northern Ireland. That first day I was just amazed at what I was able to see and experience.
|Finally made it to Joey's Bar for a couple pints of Guinness!|
As most of you know Joey Dunlop has been my all time racing hero forever, this trip I was able to have a few pints at his bar in Ballymoney and even got to meet Joey's daughter Donna along with meeting up with Gary again. We also walked through the memorial gardens there celebrating Joey and Robert's wins and lives. Another place we visited that was truly unexpected was a small auto dealership in Ballymoney, Hugh O'Kane Motors. What I was able to see in person there was a real treat, this little dealership was one of the original sponsors of the Armoy Armada, which consisted of Joey Dunlop, Mervyn Robinson, Frank Kennedy, and Jim Dunlop! The memorabilia from days gone by they have is amazing and meeting with them was a humbling experience. Even got to meet up with our bud Tommy Henry for a bit while at O'Kane's shop.
|This is one of Mervyn Robinson's bikes, a Seeley framed TZ... Amazing stuff!|
After having some pints and chatting with a bunch of people we headed back towards Belfast with some stops and laps around the Armoy Race Course and a few others and maybe another stop for 1 or maybe 2 more pints before grabbing some grub and out to the paddock to figure out how this Ulster GP was gonna work!
|The starting grid area looking down towards the flying kilo of the Ulster GP.|
I'll leave ya with some pics from that epic first day, HUGE Thanks to Paul for touring me around!
|I was very fortunate to see all this history on my trip, real roads history.|
|Very Tasty RD500 YPVS, wish I could add one of these to the collection with pops RZ350!|
|This is one of only 26 produced Joey Dunlop Replica SP1's celebrating his 3 TT wins in 2000!|
|The Armoy Armada, where it all began!|
|Met up with Gary Dunlop again, love watching him out on the wee 125's, may have to find one to ride... ;)|
|The Armoy Road Races are on my list to do at some point, road racing is huge over there!|
|From the podium at the Ulster GP looking across at the VIP tent and Joey Dunlop Grandstand.|
|Pano view from the podium at the Ulster GP|