The following is a brief history of our club:
It all started when a group of motor enthusiasts in the Ballynahinch area decided to get together to form a club, as there was no club in the area dedicated to motor sport. It was January 1992 and our first A.G.M. of Ballynahinch and District Motor Club was held in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel and one of those enthusiasts was to become our first Chairman - Samuel Mathewson. Brian Crawford - Vice Chairman, Lawson Wade - Secretary, assisted by his wife Elizabeth wade and Billy McCullins was Treasurer. Club meetings were to be held on the last Monday night of every month. That year was spent building the club for the future. We organised treasure hunts, scatter rallies, went go karting, and helped to marshal at other events.
Already recognised by the A.N.I.C.C., then later on that year we became affiliated to the governing body of Motor sport in the UK. Then known as the R.A.C.M.S.A. This was announced at our A.G.M. in January 1993. We received a lot of press coverage, which attracted many new members for 1993. We had a new Chairman in Clifford Davis & Vice-Chairman was Brian Crawford. All other positions remained the same. We ran our first event on 13th July 1993. This was the first ever rally to be held at Bishopscourt and we organised it!! Club member Ian Greer and his company Rainbow Signs sponsored the event, which was won, by Robin Philips in an Escort Cosworth. Social events of the year were a BBQ, and a trip to Monaghan for paintballing. The last club meeting of the year in December, was held in the festive spirit. It was an unofficial and relaxed affair and became better known as the gaunching night.
At the A.G.M. in January 1994, Clifford Davis was Chairman, Brian Crawford, Vice Chairman, Lawson and Elizabeth Wade Secretary and Assistant Secretary. Jim Burrows was voted in as treasurer. Our Bishopscourt rally the year before was such a successful and popular event it achieved Championship Status and became the second round of the Northern Ireland Championship, held on 19th March. We joined forces with the R.U.C.M.C., to co-promote this event. Club member Ian Greer and his company Rainbow Signs sponsored the event for a second year. Ian Greer did double 0 in his newly acquired TTE Celica, which he used to compete in the Irish Tarmac Championship having won the Irish National Championship in an Opel Manta in 1993. Social events of the year was a BBQ and our first ever Dinner Dance at which the Club Awards were presented.
At the A.G.M in 1995 Brian Crawford stepped up to become Chairman, Michael Marner became Vice-Chairman; the rest of the positions stayed the same. Marshal Tyres sponsored our Bishopscourt event at the start of the year. Caravan Services sponsored our forest rally now held on the 13th July. Our club is always aware of the needs of local charities, and when a driving competition to raise money for Charity was being held at Kirkistown Race Circuit our club members willing took part and help raise a lot of money. Afterwards there was a BBQ, where burnt burgers were served long into the night. We are very fond of our BBQ's and for this years club BBQ a change of venue to Ballynahinch Rugby Club. The clubs first trip outside the country was to the Galloway Hills rally in Scotland. Rounding off the year with the Annual Dinner Dance.
At the clubs A.G.M in January 1996, Michael Marner moved up to take over as Chairman and Brian Crawford was voted in as Vice-Chairman. Our events were similar to 1995. Marshal Tyres was again to sponsor the Bishopscourt event and Caravan Services our July Rally. The Club had grown in size and we decided to go all official, and become a Registered Company. We had a new event in 1996, an autocross, which we held at S.J Martin's quarry. For Charity this year, we helped to sponsor the Ballynahinch Lions Club Fun Run and later on in the year we sponsored our own Club Secretary Lawson Wade who drove a lorry packed with food and clothing to the Ukraine for the charity Youth for Christ. The club rounded off the year with the Annual Dinner Dance.
At the A.G.M in January 1997, club members had just returned from the auto sport show in Birmingham NEC. This was to be the first of many trips to Birmingham. Chairman for the incoming year was Brian Crawford and Vice-Chairman was Michael Marner. All other positions stayed the same.
M.E.Crowe sponsored our Bishopscourt event; Society Kitchens sponsored out July Rally and Spence Engineering sponsored the Autocross. Fun event of the year was a safe driving competition. We were now the owners of a fully equipped trailer which means we can set up and run stages throughout Ireland with our fully trained Stage Commanders, Clerks of Course and Safety Officers. The Club finished out the year with its dinner dance..
For the A.G.M in January 1998, Frank McMullan was voted on as Vice Chairman and Brian Crawford carried on as Chairman for another year. Secretary Lawson Wade and Treasurer Jim Burrows were both made honorary members. Carryduff Auctions sponsored out Bishopscourt event and Roy Haslett Preparations sponsored the July Rally. Regency Decorators sponsored our Autocross; Club members took part in a rally kart competition as part of Drumaness festival. At the request of our members, we held a co-drivers school. Club trip was to Galloway Hills rally in Scotland. Rounding off the year with our Annual Dinner Dance.
In 1999, Frank McMullan was chosen to lead the club into the twenty first century as Chairman and Andrew Devlin as Vice Chairman. Rest of the posts stayed the same. The club joined World Wide Web and became www dot. For a second year Carryduff Auctions sponsored Bishopscourt. The July Rally was sponsored by Carryduff Forklift and seen the welcome return of the Drumkeeragh Forest Stage. Club members Phil Cherry and Raymond Mason swapped fastest stage times all day, with Phil getting the upper hand and claiming victory in his Mitsubishi Evo 3. CluB members were happy to see the winners spot occupied by a fellow club member. Regency Decorators sponsored the Autocross for the second year. There was a trip to Kart Valley and we finished off the year with our Annual Dinner Dance.
A full turnout of club members at the first A.G.M of the twenty first century proved that there was no millennium bug in this club! For 2000, Andy Devlin was Chairman, Brian Crawford was Vice Chairman and all other positions remained the same. Roy Haslett Preparations sponsored Bishopscourt, Crossgar Poultry sponsored the July Rally now a round of the beginner's championship, and has become a very popular event. We held our autocross in S.J. Martin's quarry. Our BBQ this year was one with a difference; it was free to all club members. How many clubs would do this for their members? For this years Dinner Dance, we had additional entertainment in the form of Horace Jay, a magician and comedian.
At the A.G.M in 2001 club members had just returned from their fourth trip to Birmingham. It was Brian Crawford for Chairman and David Meeke for Vice Chairman. The Foot & Mouth epidemic affected every one in some way, shape or form. With disinfectant procedures in position, Bishopscourt went ahead two months later than normal, but did not count towards the Championship. This did not affect the entry or the crowd. Lagan Networks put their name to that one. Out July Rally is normally held in the forests, but with the restrictions still in place we took it to Bishopscourt. Patrick Haughey Partnership sponsored it and a great days craic was had by all.
It was now August and still not a lot of rallying happening in the country, in fact not a lot of anything happening in the country. Restrictions in the forests around Ballynahinch were lifted and with the permission of the Enniskillen Club for their date. A lot of hard work in a very short space of time by our own club we ran a forest event on the 8th September, sponsored by Roy Haslett Preparations. This one counting towards the championship. We were hailed as saviours of the championship.
Double 01 may not have been a good year for rallying but this wee club used up all three dates and wasn't such a bad year for us after all.
November and the club organised a charity fund raising night. We had an auction of rally memorabilia; entertainment was Irish dancing, a comedian, magician and live band. In one night we raised a five figure sum and had a hell of a lot of fun doing so. In fact one club member was heard to say afterwards, that he had such a good time that he felt as if he was drunk and he hadn't touched a drop of drink all night!
Monday night, the 28th January will be the tenth A.G.M. All club members old and new will be made very welcome. More details of what's happening in 2002 will be announced then. But I can reveal to you we have a busy year ahead. A co-drivers school in February, our Bishopscourt event on the 16th March, a club newsletter is to be announced and more social events to be planned. Maybe even a few rallies in between times.
This club has come a long way in the last ten years. Many of our club members compete in events at different levels and with a lot of success. Within the club we have a merry band of marshals who attend these events. Without their co-operation rallies could not take place.
The Club would like to thank all their sponsors, all club members for their support and hard work, they know who they are, and long may it continue. Roll on the next ten years.