Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

Steven Cull roars into the Hall of Fame

Steven Cull, from Bangor, on a Neill Honda, sweeps round Station Road on his way to victory in the Superbike race at the North West 200.  21/5/1988
Steven Cull, from Bangor, on a Neill Honda, sweeps round Station Road on his way to victory in the Superbike race at the North West 200. 21/5/1988
Steven Cull lifts the front wheel over one of Temple's famous jumps on his way to winning the 250cc race. 31/7/1986
Steven Cull. 4/9/1984
Steven Cull. 18/12/1988
Steven Cull (No 98) passes R. Hazelton in the 350 cc race at the Embasst Final. 6/10/1979
Tamara Ewing (11) from Bangor gets some tips from motorcycle ace Steven Cull as she sits on the 500cc honda bike. 16/9/1988
Steven Cull, winner if the 1,000 cc race at Killinchy 150, is followed closely by race rival Tony Moran. 14/6/1986
Steven Cull (249 Yamaha) turns on the power as he leaves Rectory Corner during the 250cc race in the Temple 100. 15/7/1989
Steven Cull who rides a 750 ducati, checks with his pit team about tactics. 16/8/1985
Steven Cull rides a Norton in a Formula 1 World Championship Race August 1989.
The year 1964 and Mrs Maxwell, wife of the Coleraine Motorcycling Club secretary, congratulating Ralph Bryans 250cc and 350cc winner, Dick Creith, 500cc winner and Jack Findlay who had the fastest lap of the day.
Bob McIntyre, North West winner in 1957.
Mick Grant double winner in 1975
John Williams, three times winner, in 1974.
Ulster's Tom Herron.
World ace Joey Dunlop.
Ralph Bryans in action at the North west 200. 17/5/1968
Ralph Bryans, who had just signed a contract to ride works Honda. 1963
Ralph Bryans chats with Prime Minister Terence O'Neill and FIM Official Billy McMaster before the Ulster Grand Prix.
Ralph Bryans in a typical action shot on his Honda. 1965
Ralph Bryans, as a 21 year-old working on his 500cc Norton before the Killinchy '150'. 20/6/1963
Sweeping into Portstewart, Ralph bryans astride his 250 machine. 25/5/1970
Ralph Bryans, relaxed and ready to take part in the 125cc race in the Isle of Man. 1965
Practice time at the Ulster Grand Prix, Dundrod. 14/8/1968
The scene at the starting grid as the 250 cc's get away in prectice. 14/8/1968
The start of the 125cc event at Dundrod, as Phil Read (2) and Bill Ivy (1) get away almost together from the starting grid. 17/8/1968
Tony Rutter in conversation with Queen's University engine developer Gordon Blair. 28/6/1979
High speed Yamaha dice in the NW 200...John Williams (No 9) and Tony Rutter (No 3) are neck and neck coming into Shell Hill Corner at Coleraine in the 250 cc race. 19/5/1973
The ever reliable Tony Rutter sorts out some problems with his new Yamaha. 16/5/1975
All eyes on Tony Rutter (No 10), from Stourbridge, on his 246 Yamaha as he leads Stan Woods, from Chester, on his 248 Yamaha (No 47) round Glenvale Corner, during the NW 200. 23/5/1970
Tony Rutter. 13/1/1977
Tony Rutter at the Ulster Grand Prix. 18/8/1977
Tony Rutter on his way to a new Dundrod lap-record of over 107 m.p.h. 18/8/1973
Tont Rutter (No 4) competing in the NW 200. 20/5/1978
Tony Rutter prepares for battle in the epic 350 cc race at the NW 200.
Tony Rutter on the way to winning the 350cc event at the NW200, followed closely in the early stages by No 17 Joey Dunlop, and Noel Hudson and No 54 Bob Jackson. 26/5/1979
S. H. Healey (19), on a Norton, corners at the hairpin during the 350 cc race. Close behind are C. Watts (30), Norton), and P. Conran, (35), Bultaco. 17/8/1968
Duckett scrambles clear of oncoming rider R. Reid, who swerves to avoid collision. 17/8/1968
The start of the 125 c.c race at Dundrod, as riders push their machines into race position. 17/8/1968
Tony Rutter in the 350 cc practice race at the Ulster Grand Prix. 15/8/1979

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.

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