The Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club
101 years ago in 1921, a few men local to the Temple area decided to form a motorcycle club and hold a motorcycle Road Race. The Temple Road Race was born.
The race was to be 25 miles in distance around the roads at Temple and Carricknaveigh. The first known legitimate attempt to run a road race ( made public as an event with more than a few competitors) in Ireland.
A 20 year old local, Thomas Graham Lindsay on his 2 3⁄4 Imperial J.A.P machine won the first ever ‘Temple 25 miles Open Handicap Race’ on Saturday 3rd September 1921.
Ten riders had taken part in that first race unaware that the motorcycle race and the club responsible for organising it would still be going strong a century later.
For almost 8 decades the members of the Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club were responsible for the running and organisation of the prestigious meeting of The Temple 100 Road Race, the longest running and original true road race in Ireland, one of the oldest in the world, and without doubt one of the greatest.
Road racing legends emerged at The Temple, racing their way into motorcycling halls of fame. A roster of champions never to be forgotten with a fan base worldwide.
The Club and surrounding area will be forever associated with the race and the sport.
Throughout the past century, members of the Temple Club have been meeting and staging Motorsport Races and Events, on and off road, setting the stage for motorcycle riders to follow their dreams and at the same time bringing people together in adrenaline fuelled spectator sports.
The Temple Club was one of the few Road Racing clubs also involved in the organisation of Grasstrack, Enduro, Trials, Motocross & Scrambles, as it is to this day with the addition of Short Circuit Tarmac racing.
In the early days they ran many sporting events aside from motorbike races, cycling, athletics & football to name a few and the name remains as a tribute to the Athletic section of the Club without whom the Temple Road races could have been stopped after only a few years. Thanks to the Athletic Club affiliation they went on to run 69 Temple Road races over 5 local circuits. The final Temple 100 Road Race took place in 1999, claiming the life of local rider and neighbour Phillip Conroy. The roads were declared too dangerous and after many attempts to move the race and keep the dream alive it was clear that the future of the Temple 100 was in doubt.
Today the Temple 100 Cup is presented as part of the Ulster Superbike Championship Round hosted annually by the club at Bishopscourt Race track with the Sam McBride Cup being added to the event in 2022.
The Terry Hill Trial & Marcus Blain Trials are also held annually on Slieve Croob with Classics & Motocross, Sidecarcross & Quadcross events held yearly at the club’s own ‘Laurelbank Motocross Park’ Saintfield including the Brian Bell Memorial Motocross which has been running annually since 1969 across 5 venues with many prestigious motocross riders holding the ‘Winner’ title over the years.
The David Jeffries Supermoto was hosted by the Temple Club at Nutts Corner Track following his untimely death during the 2003 Isle of Man TT and 2022 saw the addition of the Philip Wylie Memorial Supermoto as part of the event.
Philip Wylie had been the reigning title holder of The DJ Trophy in 2017 before his tragic Supermoto accident in 2020.
The Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club is more than just a club, it has earned its place in the history books of Motorcycle Racing in Northern Ireland and owes its many years of successful events to its hard working members and the Northern Irish Community of motorcycle competitors, supporters and fans. Events run with the help of Volunteers, Marshalls, Officials, Medics, Time Keepers, Scrutineers, Sponsors, Advertisers and with the support of our friends in The Press.
Those who give generously of their time whether to partake or spectate, who share a love of the sport and who each play their part in keeping the Races alive. When we work together it is incredible what can be achieved. The past century of racing and the club is testament to that.