I just received this message from Tommy Robb, former World Road Race Champion, I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it with you lads: ‘Hi John, After reading this terrible news on the outcome of our beloved lead mines in N.Ireland I have to wholeheartedly agree with Sammy the place is a Temple to motorcycling. I also started my trials riding and entered into motorcycling there in 1951 at the Boxing day trial and spent the next thirty years improving my skills there, along with my entry into road racing. Had it not have been for the lead mines sending me in the right direction I would not have a Silver and Bronze replica for World Championship Grand Prix racing in my trophy cabinet. It was thanks to starting at the Newtownards Lead Mines that I got to travel the world and like Sammy managed to pass on our skills to the many other brilliant Irish riders who have followed in the years since. I hope the powers “that be” will see sense and what it is going to do in helping to destroy the future of Irish sporting motorcycling…….long live the mines.’
The Lead Mines
The famous old mines where generations of motorcyclists practised and competed over many years.
I trained and learnt my skill there and went on to be European and 11 times British Champion – an all-time record. Also I was awarded an MBE by the Queen. The Hurst Cup and the Walter Rusk Trials were all held at the Lead Mines and I managed to win 18 Walter Rusk Trophies in succession and 12 Hurst Cup Trials when all the famous British manufacturers were sending their works teams to compete in the Hurst Cup.
The world in which we live spend millions on sports facilities and stadiums to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble and yet I understand that you intend to close the Lead Mines to motorcycle trials riding. This would cause more trouble with young people with no sport facilities in which they can practice and compete. This would be a big mistake. You should be enhancing this facility especially as I understand Moto Trial NI are prepared to control and manage the facility for you.
Think again and save this wonderful area for motorcycle trials. You are probably aware that motorcycle trials is very akin to horse trials – man and machine against terrain. The Trial Motorcycles are fully road legal and fully silenced to meet EU Regulations.
I own one of the biggest Motorcycle Museums in the world and it all started on a little bike at the Lead Mines!