Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Celebration of Motorsport gala ball at Culloden Hotel [photos]

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

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