The McDowell Trophy
THE THREE R's
No not the "reading
'riting & 'rithmetic" R's, in this case its the three Roberts. The story
started recently when I was reading a worthy publication by Ballymena
Borough Council. Namely one of their research series written by Andrew W
Allen and published in 1994. It is No. 25 to be precise and commemorates the
life of Joe Craig, famous for the successes he achieved for Norton but also
covering the less well known facts about his career as a successful road
Early on in the booklet I
noticed that a trophy for machines over 600 cc was not awarded in the 1923
UGP for the fairly obvious reason that no bikes in that category finished
the race!!. That trophy was the McDowell Trophy. I didn't think anything of
it given that there are plenty of McDowell's in the country however later on
in the publication more details were forthcoming. The trophy in question had
been presented by one Mr R McDowell &Co Ltd. Now it so happens that I had a
great Uncle Robert (that's him in the middle) who had a jewellers shop in
High St which traded under that name. To prove it I was able to unearth some
cutlery with exactly that engraved on it.
In 1924 & 1925 Stanley
Woods won the McDowell Trophy on a 980 New Imperial although I think there
is a slight "typographical error" for 1924 as the Dunlop Trophy (which was
won by Joe Craig) is shown as having been awarded twice!!.
Such is the march of
progress that in 1926 the UGP was recognised as an international event by
the Federation International des Motorcyclistes and aligned with their
classification i.e. 250, 350, & 500 cc and over 500cc which I guess made the
old trophy setup redundant.
It may well be that the
McDowell Trophy remained part of the Stanley Woods collection and that is
certainly an avenue I intend to follow up with the Ulster Transport Museum.
I would love to trace down
this piece of memorabilia, the dream would be to bring it back into McDowell
family possession but failing that, more information and even a photograph
would be most welcome. So if anyone can shed any light on its whereabouts I
would be eternally grateful!.
Anyway its a great yarn
---- and by the way that's me on the left, my Great Uncle in the centre & my
Father to the right !!!