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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 racer.
 
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  !!!  
 
 
Robert McDowell.

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