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Stanley McKee, famed racer and builder of motorbikes

Local motorcycling is mourning the loss of one of its most cherished members following the death of Newtownards legend Stanley McKee.

The 68-year-old sadly passed away at his home in Craigantlet, Holywood, last Friday after a short illness.

A former privateer racer in the late Seventies and early Eighties, his tenure included a couple of visits to the Isle of Man, where he competed at the Manx Grand Prix.

He was also a winner between the hedges at his local Carrowdore 100 race during that period.

Born and bred in Newtownards, Stanley was a pupil at both Victoria Primary and Regent House Grammar School in the town, and later excelled in his chosen career - computer maintenance, progressing to the position of his firm's regional manager for Ireland before his retirement.

Stanley was also a very talented mechanical engineer, which became a lifelong hobby.

This came in handy during his racing career and in later life when, along with close friend Archie Lappin, he delivered a number of motor cruisers for local clients from all over Europe.

When he retired from racing Stanley assisted a small number of riders, the most notable being double Formula 2 World Champion Brian Reid. He also offered his support and expertise to Comber racer Colin Rodgers and Ireland's most successful national road racer Ryan Farquhar during the early millennium years, when both men rode Yamaha R6 machines for Irish Racer Magazine.

His love of the sport saw him take up a role as travelling marshal within the Motorcycle Union of Ireland Ulster Centre in 1983, where he gave 33 consecutive years of voluntary service.

He later took over the position of convenor within that same group. A humble man with a dry sense of humour, Stanley was said to be happiest alone in his workshop.

However, he did take on a part-time role with Charles Hurst Motorcycles after his retirement, building new Yamaha models and later BMW machinery for the company to keep him busy and his inquisitive mechanical mind ticking over.

In recent weeks, despite knowing that his illness was getting the better of him, he made the short trip to see his iconic Honda CR93, which had been restored by a close friend.

Stanley is survived by his wife Valerie, mother Elizabeth, sister Linda and brothers Roderick and Raymond, who are well-known and respected businessmen within the North Down and Ards areas.

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