It would be ungracious to let the year pass without reporting on the opening of the TT Commemorative pits at Quarry Corner adjacent to the Ards circuit outside Belfast. This happy event, inspired by the Ulster Vintage CC, took place as planned on September 11th. But due to the unrest in Ireland, amongst religious parties who choose to ignore the Christian doctrine of loving one’s neighbour and who cannot see that violence is getting them no-where, many of the VIPs and historic cars invited stayed away, and reports of the occasions have been thin in the motor papers.
So we are delighted to learn that the rioters did not interfere with this commemoration of one of the most significant and exciting sportscar races of all time, which brought such huge crowds to Ulster in happier days. The replica pit-building was unveiled by His Excellency The Governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Grey, and afterwards sports cars of TT type drove round the circuit and were displayed in the famous Newtownards Square. Lord Grey took part in the procession, in Lord O’Neill’s low-chassis 4 1/2-litre Invicta which A. C. Lace drove in the 1933 TT, and Lord Dunleath drove David Johnson’s 4 1/2-litre Lagonda which was Hindmarsh’s mount in the 1935 TT. Cars taking part included Colin Readey’s 1.8-litre Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon in a 1935 Ulster Aston Martin, a 1750 Alfa Romeo, a 3 1/2-litre Bentley, three Austin 7s, an MG Midget, a 1,087-c.c. MG, Galbraith’s 1926 Bugatti, two Frazer Nashes, a BMW, a Lancia Lambda, a Delage, another 4 1/2-litre Lagonda and two Alvis cars. We are ashamed not to have been present—except that to have been in Ards would have meant missing VSCC Thruxton.
The greatest credit is due to those who organised this important commemoration and who carried the ceremony through in the face of the unrest in Ireland. The pits-building is to serve as a picnic area for the public—we only hope they respect it as the French respect memorials to their deceased racing drivers and do not ignorantly deface it. It is on a lay-by of the new dual-carriageway road where the TT course of 1928 to 1936 ran. A brick-built store for the Ulster VCC is also visualised, with data panels describing the race, and rallies will probably start from there.
Funds are still needed for the maintenance of these buildings and readers may wish to send donations, as a gesture towards the brave stand being made by motoring sport in Ulster in the face of present difficulties, as well as support for a very worthwhile memorial. An excellent Souvenir Programme was issued, containing TT pictures, a stirring article by Lord Dunleath, Chairman of the Ulster TT Commemorative Committee and the Ulster VCC, and full entry lists for all nine Ulster TT races, with results. It sells for 20p and there are some still available, which should be worth acquiring. The person to write to about donations and programmes is: W. Galbraith, 12, Lombard Street, Belfast BT1 1RD.—W. B.