It was with sadness that the motorcycle racing fraternity learned of the death of Courtney Junk at the weekend following a long illness.
Courtney was one of the sports top road racers in the Seventies and early Eighties, even giving his passion one last go during the 1998 season.
An Irish and Ulster road race champion Courtney will long be remembered for his performances in the 200cc class in 1974 and '75 when riding a 182cc Honda he was virtually unbeatable and I recall one particular race at the Temple 100 when he got the wee Honda virtually sideways over one of the circuits infamous jumps; going on to win the race.
Two other memories of Courtney at his best was in 1978 at the Skerries 100, North Dublin when he raced to a magical treble winning both the 250 and 350cc races before trouncing the opposition in the Grand Final and then during a wet 1983 250cc race at the North West he diced with Con Law and Scottish visitor Stewart Cole who both disappeared on the last lap, Cole falling at Juniper Chicane, leaving Junk on Billy McKinstry's Waddon to take the victory, surprising the chequered flag official, who missed him completely expecting Cole or Law to arrive first.
Courtney rode during a period when road racing was blessed with many star names and he had some memorable battles with the likes of Ray McCullough, Joey Dunlop, Abe Alexander, Con Law, Brian Reid, Mervyn Robinson and Sam McClement to name but a few.
He rode a variety of machines including the famous Rea Racing 750cc Yamaha. He holds one Ulster Grand Prix record to this day - the rider with the longest gap between his first victory in 1974 (182cc Honda) and his last in 1998 (Classic 250cc Suzuki).