Steven Cull roars into the Hall of Fame
When Steven Cull rode into his first championship race at Imola, Italy, nearly 35 years ago the Bangor man had no idea of the motorcycle merry-go-round he had just joined.
For Cull had been one of the big names in the hotly contested high speed sport of motorcycle racing.
The son of a Bangor furniture shop owner, Steven always had the yearn for motorcycle racing.
He worked his way through the smaller machines and finally got his entry accepted for the second round of the Formula 750cc series in Italy.
"It is going to be a hectic weekend", said Steven's brother Brian at the time. "We will be racing at Brands Hatch on Good Friday. I will be taking the bikes over to Italy, while Steven will be travelling back home for the Kirkistown meeting."
That was just one weekend in the life of speed-ace Cull. It was to be repeated many times in different parts of the world as Steven chases his ambition to be world champion and follow in the footsteps of such local riders as Joey Dunlop and Brian Reid.
Steven was another one of the amazing Ulster road racing specialists. In 1984 he guided his Aermacchi into first place in the Historic TT 350cc race and he also has a Junior TT win to his credit.
In 1988 he became the fastest man around the 37 mile circuit in the senior event, but had to retire with victory going to his great rival Joey Dunlop.
In 1989 his feat was honoured when he was featured on the Isle of Man's 50p coin — following in the footsteps of three other Ulster riders to be honoured in this way, Joey Dunlop, and sidecar riders Lowry Burton and Pat Cushnahan.
It was his sheer grit and determination when the chips were down that made Steven into one of the hottest properties in motorcycle racing.
He was the first man to ride the new Cotton 250cc machine in Ireland and was the man Norton picked to bring them back into the motorcycle racing picture.
In every race he had his eyes set on emulating such riders as Geoff Duke, Bill Lomas and Bob Mclntyre on Britain's best loved racing machines
In all, Steven stood on the TT podium six times and had 15 top 10 finishes.
His career came to a premature end following a crash at Scarborough during the 1991 Gold Cup meeting.
In recent years he has had to fight health problems, two years ago at the Adelaide Motorcycle Awards he was inducted into the Bridgestone Hall of Fame, receiving his award from racing legend Philip McCallen,celebrating his brilliant career.