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How forgotten Tyrone racer Hugh Hamilton became Northern Ireland's first Grand Prix hero in 1930s

 

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Licence to thrill: Hugh Hamilton with his mother and riding mechanic the Marquis de Belleroche at the Ards TT race in 1932

Licence to thrill: Hugh Hamilton with his mother and riding mechanic the Marquis de Belleroche at the Ards TT race in 1932

A cross marking Hamilton's grave in a cemetery in Bern

A cross marking Hamilton's grave in a cemetery in Bern

In action at the race

In action at the race

Licence to thrill: Hugh Hamilton with his mother and riding mechanic the Marquis de Belleroche at the Ards TT race in 1932

Decades before the days of John Watson and Eddie Irvine, Northern Ireland had another motor racing hero and grand prix winner. His name was Hugh Hamilton, a Tyrone native who blazed a pioneering path across European races in the 1930s.

He is long forgotten at home now. So little remembered, in fact, that Watson only became aware of his achievements when he came across the name while reading 'A Race of Love and Death', a new biography of Richard Seaman, one of Britain's most celebrated drivers of 90 years ago.

"I only really became aware of Hugh Hamilton when I read he was team-mate of Seaman - and discovered he was a fellow Ulsterman. We even went to the same school," said five-time Formula One winner Watson.