Belfast Telegraph

Celebration of Motorsport gala ball at Culloden Hotel [photos]

Michael Gibson, Laura Gibson, Leigh Cockcroft, Stanley Edgar and Richard Gray.
Michael Gibson, Laura Gibson, Leigh Cockcroft, Stanley Edgar and Richard Gray.
James Greer, Sarah Brankin, Gladys Greer and John Brankin.
Bob Bell, Nikki Wallace, Lady Monica Head, Sir Patrick Head, Pamela Ballantine and Maurice Hamilton.
John and Suzanne Eastwood with Glen Rodgers and Evan Rodgers.
Charlie Eastwood, Chris Smiley, Briony Boyd, Andy Gray and Andrew Watson.
Michael Gibson, Leigh Cockcroft, Ian McCullough and Johann Pilari.
Hector is pictured accepting his award from committee members (from left) Jeremy McWilliams, Pamela Ballantine and Drew Wylie
Sam Patterson and Richard Finlay.
Tommy Hood, Alan Cahoon and Lowry Scarlett.
Jim Brady, Stephen Mawhinney and Ken Dundee.
Bill Blair, Derek Boyd, Drexel Gillespie and Derek Smith.
Lyndon Baird, David Bradshaw and William Cherry.
Mick Merrigan, Arnie Black and David Nicholl.
John Naylor, Una Naylor and Henry Campbell.
Godfrey McCartney, Marty McDonagh and David Gibson.
Rory Thompson, Geoff McConville and Jago Bret.
Hector Neil and Chris Smiley.
Sir PAtrick Head with Alan Graham.
Sir Patrick Head.
Sir Patrick Head.
Colin and Louise Turkington with Tony Jardine and Melissa and Richard Hogg.
PJ Fallon, Jeremy McWilliams and Colin Cunningham.
Mark Russell, Claire McIntyre and Gereard Carew.
Colin Cunningham with Pamela Ballantine and Drew Wylie.
Jim and Paula Gracey, Pamela Ballantine, Professor Ian Greer and Audrey Parr.
Rory Thompson, Jeanette Jardine, Tony Jardine, Geoff McConville, Bob Bell, Nikki Wallace and Maurice Hamilton.
Drew and Pamela Wylie with Maurice Hamilton.
Sir Patrick Head.
Sir Patrick Head.
Sir Patrick Head.
Sir Patrick Head.
Sir Patrick Head.
Jeremy McWilliams, Spark Award winner Hector Neill, Pamela Ballantine and Drew Wylie.
Chris Meeke.
Pamela Ballantine with Tony Jardine.
Chris Smiley.
Colin Turkington.
Gary Jennings.
Ryan Farquhar.
Jeremy McWilliams.
Philip Neill.
Lee Jackson.
Pamela Ballantine.
Pamela Ballantine.
Pamela Ballantine.
Mark Morrow, Michael Taylor and Billy Miskelly.
Brian Reid and Trevor Turkington.
Trevor Turkington, Geoff McConville and Mick Merrigan.
Gary Lyons, Dickie Curran, Johnny Morrow and Raymie Eastwood.
Terry Harryman, Alan Tyndall and Alan Harryman.

By Jim Gracey Pictures by Chris Neely

Legendary motorcycle racing team boss Hector Neill’s outstanding achievements over five decades in the paddock have been recognised by his sporting peers.

The 76-year-old founder of the multi race-winning Moneymore-based TAS team is this year’s recipient of the coveted Contribution to Motorsport award, made at Saturday night’s annual Celebration of Motorsport gala ball in the Culloden Hotel at Cultra.

The award recognises Hector’s success in winning at all the major road racing events, including the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT. All the top riders have won on his machines, from Joey Dunlop through to the enigmatic Guy Martin and North West 200 wins record holder Alastair Seeley.

A self-made man who built up his auto salvage business and then his racing team from humble beginnings in Belfast’s Oldpark, he was a popular winner at an event attended by leading motorcycle racing, rally and motor car racing personalities, with Sir Patrick Head, chief designer of the Formula One World championship-winning Williams cars of the 1980s and ‘90s as chief guest.

Organised by the NI committee of the SPARKS sporting charity, the evening raised £40,000 for the Action Medical Research children’s charity, bringing the total contributed to over £600,000 in the event’s 24 years with a 25th anniversary already penned on for December 6 next year. 

Hector is pictured accepting his award from committee members (from left) Jeremy McWilliams, Pamela Ballantine and Drew Wylie

Hector is pictured accepting his award from committee members (from left) Jeremy McWilliams, Pamela Ballantine and Drew Wylie
Hector is pictured accepting his award from committee members (from left) Jeremy McWilliams, Pamela Ballantine and Drew Wylie

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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