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'Priceless' Harley set to be raffled off in aid of Air Ambulance NI

By Brett Campbell

Belfast Harley-Davidson are set to give away a priceless one-off custom designed bike to one lucky winner in a bid to raise cash for Air Ambulance NI.

The 1200 Sportser - equipped with a bobber seat and flute pegs made from bullet casings - was proudly on display at the North West 200 last month as part of a drive to sell raffle tickets.

"It's a unique bike, there is not going to be another one like it," explained Iris Cluney who works in the family-run business.

"People have been amazed by it, everyone just wants to touch it and they all say 'I want it.' They all agree that the Air Ambulance is a great cause to get behind - it's something we really need."

Mrs Cluney cited the horrific accident at last year's North West 200 to highlight how much the service is needed. Co Tyrone rider Ryan Farquhar was airlifted by police helicopter from the track to the Royal Victoria Hospital following a high-speed crash during a practice session.

"If he was not transported to hospital by helicopter he would not be alive," said Iris.

"Hospitals have been cut so much and with increased traffic some people who live in the countryside have no hope of getting to hospital on time."

Iris' husband William is the artist behind the bike's Second World War design.

The design manager at Belfast Harley-Davidson explained it is the product of a global competition between Harley-Davidson dealers known as the Battle of the Kings.

"Everyone has the 1200 Sportser to work on, it has to be the same bike but there is no limit to what you can do after that.

"It was a team effort and the owner, George Watson, was very much involved," said William.

The design was based on American P-51 Mustang warplanes and included war era pin-up girls in the artwork.

"We turned around the paint job in two weeks, which was fantastic because those pin-up girls had to be painted by hand. You can price it in the sense that the parts are worth £12.5k, but it's unique and ultimately worth whatever ever someone is willing to pay for it."

Raffle tickets, which cost £5, can be bought online or by calling the shop on 028 9446 6999 up until the draw on July 1.

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