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Road Races

Our 2022 Season: road racing and more…

Posted on 28/02/2023 at 11:31 pm by / 0

This post was originally written in November 2022. For lack of time I couldn’t prepare it and publish it before now. When I was writing it, I certainly couldn’t imagine that 3 months later we would be in that incredible situation on the Island of Ireland with all racing cancelled in the North and the same uncertainty in the South, because of crazy insurance premiums. Problems still to be solved.

I really hope from the bottom of my heart that we WILL have some racing in Ireland this year 2023. Fingers crossed and hoping to be able to go around the paddocks, have a chat with some riders and organisers, and watch the best racing in the world.

This year it is our 10th wedding anniversary, so also the anniversary of our honeymoon trip, which went through Armoy, our first road race, in 2013. Hope to be able to celebrate it there, watching the most thrilling racing in the world.


Our season started in March, when it was still cold and rainy, with the “Stephen Davison” show organised by the CMRVC in support of the Munster 100 Road Race. The show was brilliant as usual, with a great number of great riders including Peter Hickman, Jack Kennedy and Brian McCormack.

The following day was the “Cork Motorcycle Show“, which was a great success considering the circumstances. It was so good to be back into the Motorcycling world again and meet with other people sharing the same passion. We had great chats with Stephen Davison, Wallace and Gillian from RRI, Roger from FBOS, between others.

The racing season started for us in Tandragee. We had never been in Tandragee before, so this year we thought it was a good opportunity to discover it. And what better place than a road race to celebrate my birthday! As Emma was at school and Juan was working on the Friday, we left quite late and drove straight to county Armagh. We stayed at a B&B owned by a very friendly lady who made us feel at home straight away.

The Friday had been a nice sunny day, a good day for the Practice sessions after such a long winter. On the Saturday morning we woke up to the sound of the rain drops on the windows…  not a good start. We had our breakfast and went to the track. We had a go around the paddock, it didn’t stop raining for a minute. We had our rain gear on, and the big umbrella. When they announced the first race, we went to the field just outside the paddock. The Classic bikes were starting. After some wait and several warmup laps, it finally got under way.

We realised that we had forgotten to take something to sit on, we used to have 2 folding chairs, but we didn’t think about it. So, Emma started to be tired, Juan took her on his shoulders, and then he got tired. After the race we went back to the paddock. We saw the first start of the second race, but after a while and some more wait, and a great chat with Andy Farrell, we decided to pack up and leave it for another day. Unfortunately for the organisers, rain did not stop in the whole day, and they had to cancel shortly after we left.

For us it was just good to be back in a road racing paddock, after such a long time, so we were happy despite the rain and all.

On the Sunday we had booked tickets for Armagh Observatory, not motorbikes related, but certainly a fantastic day out for the kids. We spent there a good few hours and only left because we were very hungry and needed some proper food. Emma loved it and we did too! Hopefully we will be able to go back to Tandragee in 2023, hopefully weather will be ok, and we will also go back to the Observatory! On our way down we stopped at Decathlon in Dublin and bought 3 folding chairs, so now we’re ready for the next race!

On the 10th of April, West Cork Motorcycle Club was holding their annual Drag race. At last Juan had been able to register and on the Saturday we all went down to Halfway for the scrutiny. All was good for his bike, unfortunately he had seen at the last minute that helmets must be max 5 years old, and despite having hardly used his, it was just over 5 years old. So that was it for his racing. On the Sunday we went to watch the racing for a short while (Emma was cold), only as spectators. We’ll try again next year!

Then it was a long wait until our next road race. On Saturday June 18th, we were leaving home not too early, dropped our suitcase at the B&B we had booked for the night; the same as last time we had been in Kells, years ago!, and we went to the track.

This time we were better prepared with our folding chairs. The practice was well under way when we arrived, we were at the same corner as the first time we went to Kells. The practice sessions finished quite soon after we had arrived, so we went to the paddock to have a walk around. Once again it was nice to see many familiar faces; we had a chat with Yvonne Montgomery, and after a while we went back to the B&B, had dinner, and went for a short walk to the lake shore, a beautiful place!

On Sunday morning we headed to the track early enough to be able to walk a little bit around the track looking for a good spot. But we finally went back to where we had been the previous day, and took a seat there, close to the village with possibility to buy food and drinks, and a safe place to watch.

The racing started early enough, it was a little bit chillier than the day before (and we were sitting in the shadow of a tree), but we could watch some good racing and take “a few pictures”.


Unfortunately racing came to an abrupt end after an incident further up the road. The rider, a very young man, Jack Oliver, unfortunately lost his life in the accident.

After a while, racing was cancelled, and everybody headed away. This was very sad, nothing was official yet, but we knew what had happened and the journey back home was a sad one. Rest in Peace Jack.

Over the summer, there was a full calendar of road races at sight. We tried to go to Skerries before leaving for our holidays but the prices of the hotels and B&Bs, if any room left, were just mental! So we had to forget about it for this year. For most of the summer we were visiting the family, so we missed the Irish road racing season.

On our way back to Ireland from France, we stopped in Le Mans, for an event called “The Big Car Show”. We booked one day visit on the Saturday and spent the whole day watching nice cars on display, walking around the different stands and what Emma liked most, the stunter Florian Bugs who was brilliant! Maybe she liked even more the Carrousel, as each session just never ended: 15 minutes going round and round and round (and we had bought 5 tickets!!!).

Then we were back home and back to the “routine”, so we didn’t want to miss West Cork MCC TwoHigs Hillclimb on the 18th of September. We left home not too late for a change, and we arrived in Clonakilty around 11am. We put our chairs not at the best spot, but not too far away from the start and watched bikes pass by. We were there for a couple of hours, had a chat with Stephen Davison, and finally headed back home after a while. This was brilliant as always.

But the season did not finish with the Hillclimb! We decided to give a go to the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship in Mondello. We had thought of going earlier in the year but could not make it. So finally on the 25th of September, we headed to Mondello and arrived around 11am. We went to the grandstand that overlooks the first corner and you can also see other parts of the track. We took seat there and started watching racing and more racing. We were thrilled. We are quite close to the action unlike bigger tracks we used to go in the past, and the atmosphere is very similar to road racing – well, many riders are the same ones, so similar paddock and teams!


It was also our first time watching sidecar racing (well, we did see some in Czech Republic but most sidecars were quite old, although not less impressive!), we were hooked! I just loved them, and Emma too!

After a few hours watching racing, we went for a walk around the paddock and before the last Supersport race, as it was already 4pm and we had to drive back home, we reluctantly decided leave. Emma wanted “to watch more racing”. We will definitely be back to Mondello, we had a great day there, great facilities and great racing with great atmosphere!

Our next and last outing of the season won’t be for racing, but we will hopefully be at the Annual CorkToy Run on December the 4th.

And fingers crossed for a full 2023 season!


Road Races

Kells Road Race 2016

Posted on 28/06/2016 at 11:38 pm by / 0

The week-end of 18-19th June it was Kells road race on Crossakiel circuit. It is one of those races that are on Saturday and Sunday, so it’s quite practical as we don’t have to take days off.

We left Cork on Saturday morning, not early enough to get there before road closure, so we first went to the B&B to leave our stuffs before heading to the circuit. We arrived through another road as last year, actually to the place where we had been watching from last year for race day. The field from which we had watched last year was not open to the public this year though.

We parked the car and looked for a place to stay going through the fields. As the road was already closed and there was very little time between each practice session, we just stayed at the same spot. We could probably go somewhere else through the fields as some people were coming and then disappearing 😉 but we just stayed there. We took some pictures, not too spectacular though as we were not in the best spot.

William Dunlop

Veronika Hancocyova

Tony Willis & Sean Leonard

Micko Sweeney

Melissa Kennedy

James Kelly

Freddie Stewart

Derek Sheils

Derek Mc Gee

Brian Mc Cormack

Brian Coomey

Kells circuit is famous for its jumps, but it will be for some other occasion.

The truth is that the afternoon went by quite quickly because many people went by us, and had a chat with us before being able to cross the road… That way Juan learnt about how to do riding days at Mondello, and many other things 😉 . The Irish people are very sociable people, this is very pleasant and nice.

All practice sessions went by without any incident, and were followed by the Classic Races, and then more practice sessions, until it was late and started to rain.

For the last 2 practice sessions, as we thought it was over (no megaphone where we were), we went back to the bend before the car park. In the last session there was a red flag, Veronika Hancocyova who had a fall, but she was ok.

When all sessions were over and road opened again, we went to the paddock with the car. We went for a walk around the paddock and went to say hello to Yvonne Montgomery. She is a woman who races with a Kawasaki 400 and in Supersport with a GSXR600. I didn’t know her personally but we are on the same forum of photography Irish Race Photography from Baylon Mc Caughey.

It started to rain so she invited us under her “roof” and we chatted a good while with her and Richard, who used to be a Yamaha mechanics and also raced, and who is now spannering for her. She told us that she took her riding licence a few years ago and the next year she started to race. On her first race (circuit) she highsided and broke a few ribs, and in spite of it, she was only counting the days until the next race.

She thinks that short circuit racing is boring, she prefers road racing; she likes to take as braking reference a tree, a house, a fence… and she likes a lot Kells jumps.

After a nice chat, we said goodbye and went on with our walk around the paddock. It was quite full. We finally found Andy Farrell, but he was busy so we just said hello and went on. After another while, we left for the b&b to get some rest.

On Sunday we had our breakfast between Paul Jordan’s team and a French rider who was racing for the first time in Ireland. He usually races in the IRRC on the continent and he was surprised of the differences in organisation.

Then we went to the circuit, to the Jumps part where we took our spot between the hedges. The day had started with rain and it didn’t seem to get better. They closed the road but it was still raining. The marshals were going around the circuit to check the conditions. After a good while waiting, it started to rain more heavily, and we took shelter from the wind behind a camper van. A woman came out of the van to inform us that the races were cancelled.

The truth is that it was raining a lot, and it didn’t seem to get better. There was a lot of wind also, and there was a lot of standing water around the track. It was not quite pleasant to walk around, not saying to race with those bikes…

We went back to the paddock, had a chat with the French team who was disappointed (they had come specially for this race), and then went to say goodbye to Andy Farrell’s team. Then we took the road back home…

The week-end was shorter than planned, but we had a great time on the Saturday, enjoying the practice and the people.

It’s a pity for the club who put so much effort into organising the event, and saw it washed out because of bad weather.

Hope they will bounce back and will come back with great racing soon.


Road Races

Our 2015 road racing season: Kells

Posted on 23/08/2015 at 11:03 pm by / 0

Our 2015 season started later than planned. We wanted to go to the Northwest200 in May but at that time Juan was out for work, and I just wished I could have gone as I was stuck at home in rainy Ireland while Juan wished the same but from some Californian beach 😀 .

In June at last we could go to our first road race of the season.

It was in Kells, in Republic of Ireland and it was practical because the race was on Sunday (and practice on Saturday) while all of Northern Ireland are on Saturdays (with practice on Fridays). This gave us time to arrive on Saturday, get to know the area and find the best place to watch the races.

Kells road races are run on a road that goes out of Crossakiel village and makes like a triangle.

We left home on Saturday morning at about 9.00am and after we got lost for a while (the GPS had not charged correctly during the night), we arrived to the hotel where we stayed at about 1.00pm. We had some lunch in the pub restaurant and after leaving our cases in the bedroom, we finally went to the circuit, at about 15km through very narrow and bumpy roads. We found the circuit, parked the bike and went to the first corner from the village. The road was already closed so we couldn’t ride around the circuit anymore.

We stayed in that corner and took pictures of the practice for classics, Supersport, Superbike, 125, Supertwins, etc…

Paul Jordan

Michal Dokoupil

William Dunlop

Juan had a long chat with another fan who told us where to go the next day to take nice pictures, and who also advised us that we had to go to Skerries and Killalane road races (North of Dublin) in July and September respectively.

After the practice we went back to the hotel, had dinner, and the hotel owner advised us to go to a castle 1km away. So there we went. The garden was just amazing, and the castle very nice. That’s funny that it looked much like a Playmobil castle, I don’t know if they got their inspiration from Irish castles…

The night was not so funny though as they started with a concert in the pub below the room at 11pm, just when we decided to sleep, and the music was quite loud and not as we like either… and we couldn’t rest until it stopped at last at 1.30am…

After a short resting night, we left early to have breakfast in Crossakiel (a full Irish Breakfast so that we get to the end of the races without eating) and get to the sighting place early. We left the bike (no organised car park for the bikes) and went to “Dromad Hire” corner, on the other side of the circuit. The bad thing was that there was no food/drink selling point in that field, it was on the next corner, and there was few time between the races to move. So we just stayed there, with our just eaten Irish breakfast, a bottle of water and some cereals bars for Juan…

The races went by, very exciting. We were taking turn to take pictures 😉 . We were very close to the riders, so much that at the beginning I was a little scared. Though we were on the inside part of the corner, so after a while I enjoyed it very much.

William Dunlop

Sam Wilson

Derek Mc Gee

Andy Farrell

Paul Jordan

There was an incident in one of the races that required the doctors, ambulance and then helicopter intervention. The rider, Ian Morrell was swiftly attended and is now safe and recovering from his injuries.

After the break (everything was very well organised, Cheers to all the organisers, marshals and Medical Team who saved his life in the first minutes), the race started again, followed by the rest of them Supertwin, Junior Support (one won by the Czech woman Veronika Hancocyová), Superstock, and Superbike (the “Grand Final”)… It finished at about 4pm.

Traveling Marshal

Traveling Doctor John – RIP

Stephen Morrison

John Ella

Craig Gibson

Sean O’Neil

Alan Bonner

Derek Mc Gee

Parade Lap

Barry Sheehan

Veronika Hancocyova

Paul Jordan

William Dunlop

Michal Dokoupil

Derek Mc Gee

Alan Bonner

Derek Mc Gee & Alan Bonner

After a full racing day, we went back to the village to have lunch/dinner, and then we went back to Cork, some 250km, this time through Dublin (with GPS functioning this time) and we got rain for about 150km…  I think we broke a record of lasting rain (not of intensity though…).

At last we arrived home, wet, tired but happy, and with some 900 pics to sort out…



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