was born in 1961 and raised in Dublin, Ireland. During
his school years he always liked engines. In 1977 during
his teenage years, like most young men Eddie was interested
in 'getting his leg over' for the first time. But his
chosen ride was an RD 400, a real little scratcher,
and the most popular scratcher of its day. And a young
Eddie scratched his way to and from all the race meetings
he could get to.
In 1979 he purchased his "pride
and joy" a GS 1000 Suzuki, and travelled to all
the road races. One day at the Mondello circuit, in
County Kildare, while watching the 'Streetbike' race
he noticed a pal participating and finishing 2nd. Eddie
said to himself "well I am as good as that"
and so he applied himself to getting a licence, and
the start of a brilliant career began.
His first race was at the annual Christy Clarke Memorial
Meeting at Mondello in 1979 in the 'Streetbike Class'.
That year he won seven out of eight of his races, and
eventually claimed the Southern Centre Streetbike Championship.
Unfortunately 1980 was to put Eddie on the sidelines,
having been involved in a bad road bike accident, but
Eddie as determined as ever used the compensation money
to purchase a new TZ 350 Yamaha for the rest of the
Eddie remembers that bike with a
smile "it was a bugger to get started, but once
it got going, she went well." He finished 3rd mostly
behind Conor McGinn and Geoff Cronin during those Southern
races. Later the same year, Eddie was refused an entry
for the Skerries road races but undeterred, Eddie entered
races in Carrick-on-Suir and Fore, Co. Meath, resulting
in two great 3rd place finishes.
For 1981/1982, Eddie started off with two Yamaha's,
a 250 TZ and 350 TZ, sponsored by Ola Oils and Danfay,
who later let him ride Conor McGinn's 350, after Conor
had his terrible accident at the Laurel Bank section
of the T.T circuit. Eddie completed 1982 by winning
both the Southern Centre and the Loughshinny MCSC Road
In 1983 he had two machines a 350 sponsored by Kevin
Cotter Motorcycles and a 250 sponsored by Poplar Matches,
this was the year Eddie made his T.T. debut, which unfortunately
ended in disappointment. After lapping in 250 practice
at over 102 mph, placing him in the top twelve, he wasn't
as successful in the race and did not complete a full
lap. He also retired in the 350 Senior race.
To make up for the disappointment, Eddie had his first
win at Skerries in the 350 race. He also won at Carrick-on-Suir
and Fore and finished a great fourth at the Ulster Grand
Prix. He then rode Joe Millar's 500 Yamaha in the 'Prix',
after lying 4th in the race he slowed and finished 8th
as a result of rear wheel trouble. He finished the year
winning the Southern Centre and Loughshinney Championships
1984 promised to be a good year with
many engine seizures, and it took until the Ulster Grand
Prix to get all the problems sorted. In the 350 race,
he stormed off into the lead with Mark Farmer in pursuit.
But by mid distance after breaking away from Farmer,
disaster struck! Eddie on the flying 350 misjudged the
top of the Deer's Leap and crashed heavily. He was very
lucky to get away with only a broken foot, which put
him out for the rest of the season.
For 1985 Eddie still had the 250 Yamaha
but it was getting on a bit. He retired at the Northwest
after finding it too slow to be competitive. At the
time he was looking for something more reliable and
competitive when along came Nicky Callaghan from Drogheda,
Co. Louth with a Len Manchester 350 F2 Yamaha earmarked
for Greame McGregor. However, Herron Suzuki signed Greame
and Nicky kindly loaned the bike to Eddie for the Ulster
Eddie romped to victory on his favourite circuit in
the Formula II race, only challenged by Johnny Rea but
was left to win unchallenged when Johnny fell off at
Tournagrough. Brian Reid finished 2nd on Mick Mooney's
350 to be crowned Formula II World Champion, a very
young Steve Hislop finished 3rd. Eddie also won the
350 race that day with over a minute to spare over Gary
Cowan and Denis Todd 3rd. and a new English rider called
Dave Leach finished 4th.
Eddie then rode at the last race
of the season at Killalane, Skerries, Co. Dublin,
only to finish 2nd to Gene McDonnell who won three
races that day. At this time it was revealed that
Eddie's sponsors Poplar Matches were to secure the
McDonnell EMC for the following season in 1986.
The first outing for this competitive machine resulted
in it being in the gravel trap at a short circuit
meeting the week before the Northwest 200, so with
Con Law wielding the spanners, the EMC was fettelled
for the ultra fast Portrush, Portstewart circuit.
In the first 250 race the line
up was formidable with the front row containing Joey
Dunlop, Mark Farmer, Gary Cowan, Steven Cull and popular
visitor Andy Watts. From the start riding No. 28 Eddie
stormed into the lead on the EMC, only Joey posed
a threat to Eddie getting his maiden win at the Northwest.
In the latter part of their hectic dice, Joey unfortunately
fell off at the chicane and retired. Eddie wasn't
aware of Joey's misfortune and pressed on to the end,
to be the first Southern rider in 31 years to win
a race at the Northwest 200. Eddie said afterwards,
"I thought Joey was still behind me, and I nearly
lost it after a big slide, it's a pity Joey didn't
keep going as it would have been a great finish".
Andy Watts commented later "Eddie had the right
tyre selection on for the first race, with intermediates
front and rear. Joey and I had a mix of wets and intermediates."
In the second 250 race, with Joey out nursing a gashed
knee, Eddie and Andy Watts provided the fireworks,
with them swapping the lead several times. Andy overtook
Eddie on the last lap denying the young Dubliner a
double win. Gary Cowan was 3rd again and Courtney
Junk 4th. All first four finishers lapped in the 107
Next, was the T.T. and Eddie rode the Callaghan FII
machine, he rode well in practice setting the 5th
fastest time at 106.77 mph. In the race, starting
at No.10, Eddie was 8th after the first lap and rode
a steady race to finish 5th at the flag. His average
race speed was 107.22 mph. An unknown S. Hislop finished
an excellent 6th. The race was won by Brian Reid on
a Yamaha, with an average speed of 109.72 mph.
This was an excellent result for
Eddie in his first T.T. finish. Unfortunately lady
luck deserted him in the 250 race as it ended abruptly
at Ballacrane with fuel starvation problems. Later,
Eddie rode in Spain in the FII series and finished
a fine 6th.
After his European trip Eddie returned to dominate
proceedings in the south. At the popular Skerries
100 races he scored a fine double in the 250 and 350
races, and then proceeded to repeat this achievement
at the very fast Fore road races in Co. Meath.
Around this time with his fast
and stylish riding style, Eddie had caught the eye
of Joe Miller, who had previously sponsored Gene McDonnell
and Con Law. Eddie had ridden for him in the past,
so Joe gave him the use of his 350 Yamaha, and a 500
Suzuki from the Albano concern in Craigavon.
It was at the Ulster Grand Prix that the flying Dubliner
arrived on the International scene, with an easy win
in the FII race, and later in the day he dominated
the 350 also. Eddie remembers " It also went
a long way to paying my expenses as it turned into
a very nice pay day! The 350 was the quickest I've
ever ridden, and I knew if I got away and was first
on the run down to Leathemstown, I could pull away,
Joe's (Miller) bike was a real flyer!"
Unfortunately, in the Classic big
race aboard the 500 Suzuki he crashed at the hairpin,
while lying in a great 4th place. This accident resulted
in Eddie receiving 18 stitches in his arm, of which
he still has the scar today to remind him.
When his arm had healed, to round off
the year, Eddie scored the first ever treble at the
Killalane road races, with wins in the 350, the unlimited
and the grand final. Another fine payday to finish off
the year. To cap it all Eddie was voted second in the
Irish Motorcyclist of the year award for his outstanding
wins at the NW200 and the UGP coupled with dominating
all the southern road races. The winner was "Yer
Maun" after being crowned F1 world champion for
the fifth time.
For 1987 Eddie turned "professional
road racer" and was one of the first southern riders
to attend the Daytona 100 speed bowl event in Florida,U.S.A.
This was part of the Joe Miller tradition, with Joe
having been there before with Con Law. This year in
close attendance was Dr. Joe Erlich and "the angry
ant" Paul Lewis.
Eddie did well on his first visit to
the banked circuit to qualify the 250 on the front row
alongside Kork Ballington. Unfortunately it lashed rain
prior to the race and left the track very slippery in
places. As the race unfolded, Eddie was midfield to
start with, and by mid distance was making inroads on
the leaders. As the track dried out Eddie increased
his pace and due to the heat the bike started to misfire
caused by fuel shortage. At the end, he coasted over
the line with the tank empty to finish 4th. The race
was won by Kork Ballington.
Next on the cards for Eddie after returning home was
the NW200. With over 60,000 eager fans in attendance,
including his own Supporters club, which at the time
was run by Mick O'Neil, (now of Monopic.com fame.) The
action was fast and furious in between the showers.
Both Eddie and Brian Reid had the choice of using 250
EMC and FII 350 Yamaha machinery for the event. Eddie
failed to finish in the first 250/350 event due to mechanical
trouble, but made amends, in the second junior 250/350
by winning with over a minute to spare on his very quick
350 Yamaha. Second home was Gary Cowan on his Honda
with Brian Reid 3rd on his EMC. Both Eddie and Brian
were credited with the fastest lap at 119.94 mph. earlier
in the day Eddie finished a creditable 5th on the 750
Yamaha. Joey won the race with Alan Irwin 2nd, Robert
3rd and Stephen Cull 4th.
With the winning ways back in focus, team Miller set
their sights on a return to the T.T., which that year
was celebrating its 80th year. The T.T. was a place
Eddie said he "Treated with a lot of respect after
Conors' accident" but thought, "it was a real
riders circuit" and "loved to compete over
the mountain circuit". At Eddie's disposal this
year was the trusty 250 EMC, F1 750 Yamaha, FII Yamaha
and a Kawasaki for the Production class B race.
Starting with practice in the usual
mixed conditions, Eddie qualified well in all classes,
and topped the Junior practice leader board. On the
Thursday of practice week, he had a big blow up of the
F1 race engine. He spent all of Friday night prior to
the F1 race rebuilding his race engine from a standard
In the race riding at no. 29, he had a lot of traffic
to get through and rode a safe and steady race to finish
a great 12th aboard Joe Millar's near standard 750 Yamaha.
The race was won by over 51.8 seconds by Joey with Phil
Mellor 2nd and Geoff Johnson joining them in 3rd place
on the podium. But greater things were to come for the
Dubliner on the Monday.
In the Junior 201-350 race, Eddie was
riding No. 7 and was leading the practice on his 250
Millar EMC. He was in good company, with the likes of
Joey, Steven Cull, Johnny Rea and Brian Reid, all in
the top ten. It looked like an Irish victory was definitely
on the cards, but the virtually unknown "flying
haggis" Steve Hislop nearly stole the show on his
350 Yamaha. Steve tore into the lead from the drop of
the flag, and such was Hizzy's pace, he was leading
by 10 seconds at Ballaugh on the first lap, followed
by Johnny Rea. After four laps and two pit stops for
fuel, the race ended for Hislop on the 5th lap at Glen
Helen with ignition problems. This left Eddie who was
then 2nd, to battle with Brian Reid in 3rd. On the last
lap, they were only separated by four seconds. Eddie
rode well to win by 5.6 secs and finished ahead of Brian.
Johnny Rea finished 5th and Joey 8th.
This win gave Eddie the privilege of
being the first southern rider since Reg Armstrong in
1952 to win a TT race. On his triumphant return to Dublin,
Eddie was honoured by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin,
Bertie Ahearne with a civic reception in Dublin's Mansion
House. He was presented with a beautiful piece of Dublin
Crystal with details of his historic win engraved on
In the Formula II race Eddie again started at no. 7.
Brian Reid set off with the mission of repeating his
Formula II win of 1986. Reid set a blistering pace,
leaving Hislop, McGregor and Eddie in his wake. Then
Reid retired in Ramsey, and left the flying Scotsman
to earn his first win, finishing over 42 secs over Eddie
who pushed the flying Scot by breaking the lap record
and setting the fastest lap of the race.
Eddie rode a standard 750 Kawasaki in the Production
B and D race and finished 23rd, just behind Joey in
18th. The race was won for a third time by Geoff Johnson.
Who incidentally won each time on a different machine.
By the end of the week, the weather
was appalling. It was the first time the Senior had
been held on a Saturday since Tom Heron won in 1976.
Despite the appalling conditions, Eddie riding no. 26
finished a creditable 10th out of 47 finishers, on his
750 Yamaha. In Eddie's estimation it was a great TT,
but to the fans that witnessed it, a new star of the
TT had been born.
Eddie then rode at the traditional post TT Irish meeting,
the Killinchy 150 that is run over the UGP Dundrod Circuit.
Eddie won the 250 CC race from Brian Reid and Geoff
McConnell. Brian returned the compliment in the 350
FII race and won from Eddie with Alan Irwin in 2nd,
Robert Dunlop and Mark Farmer a good 4th and 5th respectively.
Eddie also rode the 750 F1 Yamaha in the 1000 CC and
invitation races. He finished 7th in the first race
and then a better 4th in the Kevin Martin Memorial Invitation
race. Both races were won by non other than Joey Dunlop.
In1987 the Skerries road races almost
didn't go ahead, for after 41 years the organisers of
the popular southern meeting, the Dublin & District
MCC, decided they would not be running the event. This
was due to the loss of their main sponsor Shell. Fortunately
the local Loughshinny M.C.S.C. who ran the successful
Killalane Races stepped in with the support of a new
sponsor Norton insurances, and ran the meeting under
the name "The Milverton Road races"
With the weather for Skerries perfect as usual, a feast
of racing was served up to the crowd of over 15,000
fans who lined the 2.9-mile circuit. The first race
was the Westview service station 250. And as I recall
it was a cracker. Eddie on his EMC, fresh from his T.T.
and Killinchy wins, was dicing with Stephen cull on
By half distance Robert Dunlop, also
riding a very quick EMC was making up for a very poor
start and started to reel in the leading dice. He quickly
caught the swapping Cull and Laycock, and on the last
three laps was involved in a terrific three-way battle
for the lead. On the last lap, with the leaders all
together at the hairpin, "Big D" announced
"First man up through the tunnel will be the winner".
I'll always remember waiting in the silence with hundreds
of others at the exit of the Shady lane to see who would
emerge first. To the surprise of all who witnessed it,
all three riders emerged side by side over the jump
with front wheels in the air, in a frantic dash to the
line. Roberts EMC just had the power past the cricket
club entrance to beat Eddie and Stephen by half a wheel's
In the 350 race Eddie turned the tables on the opposition,
having been disappointed in not winning the 250. He
stamped his authority from the start and Robert finished
2nd with Johnny Rea 3rd. Again the lap record was smashed.
They say the best is kept until last, and the grand
final lived up to all expectations. In a field that
included Eddie, Robert Dunlop, Stephen Cull, Mark Farmer,
Johnny Rea, Sam Mc Clements, and Eric Galbraith, the
scene was set for a scorcher to match the weather. Mark
Farmer led the first lap with Cull, Laycock, Rea and
Dunlop all hard on his heels. As the race unfolded,
Dunlop and Rea's machines cried enough at the fast pace,
and they both retired with mechanical failure. This
left Eddie, Cull and Farmer to fight it out over the
last few laps. With a whopping great prize of £750.00
up for grabs, Cull on his 500 Honda shattered the course
record on the last lap to record the first ever 100
mph lap at the 2.9-mile circuit. Eddie out powered on
the 350 settled for third behind Farmer on another 500.
The riders were mobbed by the crowd during the slowing
down lap, and everyone agreed it was one of the most
memorable days racing seen at Skerries for a number
The following week, Eddie raced at Fore in Co. Meath,
and won both the 250 and 350 races beating the likes
of Joey, Robert and Sam Mc Clements.
The Ill-fated U.G.P. was next on the race calendar and
even in practice the event had its problems. Virginio
Ferrari who was riding in the F1 race, pulled out of
the event after five laps in practice, saying it was
too dangerous. Joey fell at the Quarry Bends after the
track flooded, and Eddie broke a collarbone after crashing
This eliminated him from the event
and racing was abandoned on the race day, after the
death of the popular German Klaus Klein in the Formula
Eddie rode at the end of the year in the Killalane Races,
and finished 3rd in the 250 after a poor start behind
Michael Swann and Phillip Mc Callen. He retired after
highsiding the 350 in the warm up, adding further pain
to the shoulder injury from the U.G.P.
It was also during 1987 that Eddie made the transition
to short circuit racing in the UK, with some creditable
performances at Brands Hatch and Donnington Park riding
Joe Millers 500 Honda.
At some time or other the thought of riding in the cut
and thrust of GP's crosses the mind of every rider.
So with Joe Miller realising Eddies potential, and wanting
to contest and make an impression on the international
scene. The Miller squad set their sights on the Blue
Riband class of 500 Grand Prix racing. So from this
point onwards with the backing of the Miller haulage
business, Eddie started to mix his road race appearances
with rides at selected GP's in Europe.
Riding the ex-Richard Scott 500 triple, Eddie embarked
on the trail of Tom Herron, Graham Young and at the
time Gary Cowan. This was at a time affectionately known
as the Golden Era '88-'92, and Eddie mixed it over the
years in races that included the cream of GP greats,
such as Schwantz, Lawson, Gardiner, Mamola, and Doohan.
Eddie constantly strived for top privateer status, riding
the Honda triple for the first three seasons, and then
he rode a YZR 500 V4 Yamaha for two more. All this time
he was gaining valuable experience and scoring points
along the way, but that's another story, perhaps a book
or film, or as Eddie says even a musical!. So for the
rest of this hero's profile I've focused on Eddie's
performances at the three big road race events.
It was a very difficult task to race GP's one week and
a TT the next, coupled with all the driving and jetting
around. As Eddie remembers "Sometimes I just felt
wrecked, but just got on with the job in hand, and I
hope I lived up to the expectations of everyone who
had put their faith in me " To the casual observer
all this travelling never seemed to show as the Miller
machines were always immaculate. However Eddie's style
also remained smooth and fast on the bikes whether he
was flying through Black Hill, Budore, Black Dub, or
the bottom of Au Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps.
To start 1988 Team Miller made their
annual appearance at the Daytona in March, and after
finishing in 11th place decided that the EMC wasn't
as fast as last years model. Team Miller decided to
obtain one of the new fast Yamaha's that were making
a comeback into 250 racing. Luckily for Eddie the 500
Honda proved a worthy tool on the GP trail and more
so on the roads as Eddie was to find out.
After riding in the transatlantic races in the UK at
Easter weekend, Eddie rode in his first GP in Spain
on the 24th of April, and a week later fell off at Jarama
and broke his collarbone. This had to be plated in time
for the North West 200.
Riding the 500 in the first superbike race Eddie finished
a great 2nd to Stephen Cull after Joey who was 2nd retired
at Mathers cross. Later in the day Eddie was to be involved
in one of the best NW 200 Junior races. This involved
a great six way dice on the opening lap with Stephen
Cull, Brian Reid, Alan Irwin, Carl Fogarty, and Woolsey
Coulter. After Reid retired on the second lap, the five
way dice for the lead went right to the flag, and kept
everyone on their toes right till the end. As I recall
to witness this spectacle through Station Corner was
breathtaking, with all five riders flat out, nose to
tail and only a foot or two apart!!.
On the last lap all five were line abreast into Metropole
corner, and after Church Corner it was Fogarty, Cull
and Irwin who made the break along the coast road. At
the flag it was Cull who snatched victory from Foggy
at the last corner, Irwin was 3rd and Coulter 4th. Eddie
finished a very tired 5th. Later due to the shoulder
causing him discomfort, he decided to retire from the
rest of the meeting, and rest the shoulder for the upcoming
Eddie started his TT with a ride in the Production
D race aboard a Danfay Yamaha FZR 400R. In the race
he was lying second initially to Barry Woodland, but
after a lengthy pitstop he finished a good 5th behind
winner Woodland, Mc Gregor, Reid, and Mat Oxley.
In the Junior where he was one of the favourites,
Eddie was No. 1 and always knew he was going to be the
mouse to be chased. He remarked afterwards "I did
not like starting at No.1, and when Joey and Brian Reid
came by me so early in the race, I just lost heart,
but not to worry I had a good run". Eddie was credited
with a lap of over 110mph, and was happy to finish on
the rostrum in 3rd. In the senior that gave Joey his
13th win, he finished 8th on the Honda, and the race
is most remembered for Stephen Cull's outright lap record
on lap two at 19 mins .06 secs only for his Honda to
hole an exhaust and catch fire at Brandish, in his chase
of "Yer Maun".
Eddie then returned to the GP circus to try and score
his first points. He was always in the top twenty, but
to score points he had to push for a top fifteen finish.
In the Killinchy meeting after the TT, Eddie fired his
first warning shot across the bows of Joey and others,
to show how much he loved the sweeps and curves of the
Dundrod circuit. In the 1000cc race he beat Joey and
then finished a great third behind Brian Reid and Joey
after a wheel-to-wheel dice in the 250/350 race.
In the final race of the day Joey had to push the
lap record to 120.03 to beat the flying Dubliner, the
evergreen Sam Mc Clements was third. This was an early
showing of just what Eddie was capable of around the
Dundrod hills, and later in the year he returned to
make his claim on the absolute lap record.
At the "Prix" the weather was playing its
usual games during practice, and again on race day morning.
Thankfully it cleared to give everyone what they had
come to see..... Great racing. TT star Nick Jefferies
won the Superstock race on his RC30.
In the first 250/350 race Brian Reid repeated his Killinchy
150 form with a start to finish win, with Eddie getting
the better of a close race with Steve Williams, who
was fastest in practice. However Williams machine cried
enough at the Hairpin on the last lap, and he retired.
This left Eddie in 2nd, over Wollsey Coulter in 3rd.
A great dice for fourth between Joey and Ian Newton
followed which went in Joey's favour.
Joey lost out to Carl Fogarty in the F1 race, after
a disastrous tyre choice and Eddie finished in a lowly
17th. In the second 250/350 Coulter showed what a fine
road racer he was becoming, in a wheel-to-wheel dice
with Joey. After the race long duel, the pair crossed
the line side by side, and the nod was given to "Yer
Maun". Williams claimed third after his disappointing
first outing, and Eddie was 4th after a terrific scrap
with Brian Reid and Phillip McCallen.
The meeting was then rounded off with a memorable and
record breaking Senior race. The question was, could
the ever-improving RC30's of Joey, Hislop, and Jefferies
take on the ageing 500's of Laycock, Irwin, and Cull?
The answer was about to be played out in front of the
eager crowd lining the 7.5-mile Dundrod circuit.
At the start of the nine lapper, Cull took off like
a scalded cat on his recently rebuilt 500 triple, with
Eddie, Joey, Hizzy, and Irwin in tow. By the start of
lap two Cull was flying and extending his lead over
Eddie and Hislop, Joey followed with Irwin on his tail.
On the next lap Irwin fell off his 500 at the Hairpin,
but by then Cull was starting to have trouble with a
sticking throttle and decided to get the ailing Honda
home safely. Now the question was .....Could Eddie catch
Cull and pass him for the lead?.
On the eight lap Eddie, Hislop and Joey all relegated
Cull to 4th and as Eddie passed his pit he was given
the "Hurry up" as Joey had passed Hislop and
was on his way.
Eddie duly upped his pace and shattered the absolute
course record with a 121.39mph lap to win, leaving Joey
2nd, Hislop 3rd,Cull 4th, Jefferies 5th, and Dave Leach
After being presented with the Tom Herron trophy for
the A.L.R., Eddie remarked "I could have gone quicker
had I been pushed, and only had one close shave with
backmarker Doug Fairbrother on the last lap, otherwise
Later in August Eddie rode in what could best be described
as his home GP at Donnington and finished 17th. With
the shoulder plate still giving him trouble, he decided
to have it removed and with recuperation could not ride
in the season closer at Killalane. He did ride much
later on in the Neil Robinson memorial races in Kirkistown,
and had two good finishes in the Junior races.
In summary 1988 was a good year for Eddie and team Miller,
with good performances in all three major road races
and the A.L.R at Dundrod.
His results in the GP's did not reflect just how hard
he was riding at times, but after all he was on a major
learning curve and things could only improve for 1989.
With a busy season ahead for '89, Joe Miller again
purchased new machinery for Eddie. An ex-Roger Burnett
RC30 was added to the stable alongside the 250 Yamaha
and the 500 Honda. At the annual trip to Daytona in
March, the Yamaha seized during the race when Eddie
was lying in third place.
A disappointed team Miller returned and Eddie did some
coaching at mondello with the MCUI, and enjoyed passing
on his experiance. He then rode the ex-Burnett RC30
at the Donnington Eurolantic races, and it dropped a
valve. Left with a hefty repair bill, Eddie headed to
the Mettet races in Belgium to ride in the "King
of the roads" series scoring 4th and 2nd in the
Eddie returned to the NW200 which this year was celebrating
its Diamond Jubilee (60 years). It was also notable
for the absence of Joey, who could not attend due to
his accident at Brands Hatch with Stephane Mertens.
In practice Eddie was looking good for a top spot in
the junior, and the 500 was clocked at 183mph on the
run down to Metropole.
So for the race on Saturday, it was looking like it
was to be another cracker. With 50,000 spectators waiting
along the 8.9 mile circuit the first race on the cards
was the "Prince of the Roads" 250/350. The
favourite Woolsey Coulter was out at the start with
a broken handlebar! .Lucky for Woolsey it was discovered
at the line rather than flat out at Station Corner!
Steve Hislop was also out of contention with ignition
So when the flag dropped it was obvious the race was
between Brian Reid, Kevin Mitchell, Johnny Rea and Eddie.
All three led the race at different points and after
three laps Eddie retired with a broken clutch while
in third. The race was won by Mitchell with a new lap
record of 111.83 mph with Reid 2nd and Rea 3rd.
Bitterly disappointed Eddie was fired up for the"
King of the Roads" superbike race and aboard the
500 Honda, blasted off the line leaving Steve Hislop,
Robert Dunlop on their RC30's ahead of Stephen Cull
this time on the new JPS Norton. Also at the front of
this race was NW200 debutant Darren Dixon on another
very fast 500 Honda.
Eddie led into Metropole on the first lap and along
the coast road, but ran wide at the chicane to let Hislop
through to lead, followed by Eddie, Dunlop, Dixon, and
Dave Leach. At the Metropole on the next lap Dixon out
braked the leaders to take up the running, and then
it was announced that Laycock had stopped.
Cull retired at the end of the lap. After adjustments
on a loose wire Eddie got started again and was clocked
through the speed trap at 177mph! In an effort to catch
the leaders. At the start /finish Hislop regained the
lead from Dixon with Dunlop third. By then Eddie had
caught and passed Sam Mc Clements to move back up to
fourth. On the next lap Dixon's Honda cried enough and
he retired with a seized engine. By now the question
on everyone's lips was could Eddie catch and pass the
flying Haggis? As they entered the last lap Eddie was
up to third after passing Dunlop through the speed trap
even faster at 179mph! On his way to recording the fastest
lap of the race and a new lap record 118.35mph.
At the flag it was Hislop with Eddie 12 seconds down
in 2nd, Dunlop was third, Leach 4th. Robert admitted
later he was suffering from fuel starvation, but Eddie
was still the fastest on the day.
So for the second 250 race, Eddie wanted to make up
for his disappointment in the first. Also wanting to
make amends was Wollsey Coulter who took off at the
start and was never headed, Coulter led from flag to
flag with Mitchell 2nd, and Eddie getting on the rostrum
after a race long duel with Brian Reid.
Eddies hopes were high for the featureNW200 Superbike
race. But after a downpour the whole grid changed to
wets. Eddie tore off into the lead and led Hislop by
eight seconds after the first lap, followed by Dave
Griffiths, Jamie Witham, and Nick Jefferies with the
only JPS Norton of Steve Spray in sixth. Spray took
over second spot on the second lap wit Eddie disappearing
into the distance lapping in the 118 mph bracket. Un
fortunately for Eddie on the fourth lap the Honda triple
cried enough on the run to Metropole and he retired
with a split crank. With the chance of Spray winning
on the Norton the crowd was kept entertained till the
end, with Hislop tacking the flag first, Witham 2nd,
Spray 3rd. A disappointed Eddie had the consolation
of the A.L.R. at 118.35 mph.
Next on the agenda was the TT of 1989 and as usual
brought triumphs and tragedy. It's most remembered for
the emergence of new TT star Steve Hislop and for the
loss of TT stalwarts Phill Mellor and Steve Henshaw
in the ill-fated Production race.
But at the start of the week on the Friday evening June
2nd, Irish eyes were smiling at a great performance
from Eddie aboard an RGV 250 Suzuki in the Supersport
400 class. In the race he stormed to a start to finish
win and averaged a great 105.27 mph for the four-lap
race. He dominated proceedings from the start with an
opening lap of 106.78 mph, and on lap two he increased
his pace to 106.90 mph, a new lap record.
Greame Mc Gregor was 2nd on another Suzuki, third
was Barry Woodland who was fastest in practice on his
250 Yamaha. Eddie recalled afterwards "the little
Suzuki was just flying, the only problem I had was the
slagging over the CONDOMS sponsorship and the Rabbit
I nearly ran over at Governors Bridge!!"
In the F1 race dominated by Steve Hislop, Eddie on
the RC30 was lying in twelfth on the last lap when he
retired with mechanical trouble. With one win under
his belt Eddie felt he had a good chance in the Junior,
but Hislop had other ideas after taking 7.2 secs off
Joey's lap record. And so it was that after lap two
when Hislop was leading by eight seconds over Johnny
Rea disaster struck. At the Quarry Bends at over 135
mph Hizzy went down right in front of Eddie, this shook
Eddie as he recalled "Hizzy was sliding down the
road in front of me and I did not see where he stopped,
on the next lap I spotted him sitting on the wall and
was relieved he was up and ok
After stopping for fuel and a new battery, Eddie then
shaken and stirred got his head down and chased Johnny
Rea home to his first TT win. In chasing Rea, Eddie
set a new lap record of 114.04 mph and only finished
2.8 secs behind the winner as Rea admitted later, his
machine was losing revs on the last lap. Steve Haszlet
finished 3rd to give it an Irish 1-2-3. My own favourite
memory of this race was the superb wheelies across Ballacry
on every lap.
In the Senior won by Steve Hislop, Eddie had brake problems
on the 500. And coming from twelfth on the first lap
he was happy to finish 5th after the mixed emotions
from the tragedy's in the Big Proddy race.
The following post TT Killinchy meeting was a mixed
bag for team Miller. First Eddie had to overcome a sticking
throttle to win the first Junior 250 race, and had to
reel in and pass recent TT winner Johnny Rea. In the
second he broke down to leave the win to Rea. In the
big race Eddie finished a great 4th after a race long
battle with Sam Mc Clements who finished 2nd and Robert
Dunlop who finished 3rd. It was a delighted Dave leach
who won having decided to live in Ireland. It wasn't
to be his last!
Eddie then returned to his GP campaign, and at Assen
he was knocked off his Honda by Ron Haslam in the closing
stages of the race. After other mixed fortunes in Belgium
and France, where he finished outside the top fifteen,
he returned to ride in the British GP at Donnington.
He crashed at McCleans in practice and hurt his wrist
and ankle, nearly putting himself out of the 60th Diamond
Jubilee Ulster Grand Prix.
After practice Eddie was looking forward to the racing
after qualifying second to Brian Reid in the 250 at
109.63 mph. As expected Eddie topped the Supersport
400 leader board riding the TT winning Suzuki. Junior
TT and Killinchy winner Johnny Rea was drafted into
the team by former TT winner Mick Grant, to back up
Eddie in the 400 race riding another little Suzuki.
With the Supersport race first up, Eddie put in a storming
lap of 107 mph to lead over Johnny Rea, with Dave Leach,
Steve Ward, and Ian Lougher it tow. Eddie eventually
won by 21.6 seconds over Rea. Lougher was third after
a great dice on the road with Leach and only 0.15 secs
separated them as they crossed the line. Eddie also
got the fastest lap of the race on lap two at 110.14
Eddie then completed a double by winning the Prince
of the roads 250 with another fastest lap of the race
at 111.66 mph, Reid was 2nd, Coulter 3rd, and Rea was
4th. Eddie remarked afterwards "I had an easy run
in the Supersport, but the conditions were very slippy
in the 250, I took it steady for a few laps and then
speeded it up after getting the signals that Brian was
reeling me in ". Eddie also finished 11th in the
F1 race won by Carl Fogarty giving Carl his second F1
World Championship. Eddie said " I was pleased
with 11th in the mixed conditions as I'd only ridden
the RC30 twice and was still getting used to the bikes
Carl Fogarty also won the Superbike race, Hislop was
second after a great dice with Eddie throughout, Robert
Dunlop was fourth and Phillip Mc Callen fifth. Eddie
later commented on the great race with Hizzy "In
the King of the Roads race Steve just pipped me for
second place after a great dice, it was a real cracker
from where I was watching!
Our bikes were dead equal on speed, though I think
Steve's pulled better out of the corners. It was pretty
scary on the last lap on the climb to Jordan's when
we almost touched, and I was nearly out through the
To round off a great 1989 season Eddie returned to Mondello
for the Christy Clarke memorial races and won both 250
Junior races from Phillip Mc Callen, he also finished
6th in the EBC superstocks race won by Robert Holden
after dicing with Andy Mc Gladdery and Colin Gable.
Eddie and team Miller also made the trek to Macau in
November for the first time and were rewarded with a
great 4th behind Dunlop, Mc Callen and Hislop. Not a
bad year for the Miller team with a TT win, two UGP
wins, The King and Prince of the Road titles and a few
For the following year 1990 the team returned to the
GP trail with the ageing Honda and finished 11th in
Jerez, 12th in Assen, 13th in Spa, 14th in Brno, and
14th in Hungary.
In April of 1990 the Miller team took part in the 50th
running of the Grand Trophy at Mettet in Belgium. The
circuit Jules Tacheny is an extremely fast one set into
the Belgian countryside. In the two-leg race Eddie was
up against Michel Simul on an RC30 and the current Belgian
champ Michael Simeon on his GSXR 750 Suzuki, other familiar
names in attendance were TT regular Steve Ward and Mark
Lindscott. In the first leg Eddie finished a great second
to Simul with Lindscott third and Ward in tow. For the
second it looked like a cracker was on the cards, when
with all first leg finishers in contention, the heavens
opened with Hailstones!. Eddie remembers "On the
straight at speed it was like being hit with Buckshot
I couldn't see a thing " The organisers wisely
stopped the race and took the standings from lap four
giving Eddie fourth overall behind winner Simul, Delaby,
and Lindscot. Eddie said, " It was a pity it ended
so soon but I loved the experience, but beware of those
Later in May the 1990 North West
200 was dominated by Robert Dunlop on his black JPS
Norton, this was Micro's Norton debut and wanting to
impress, Robert was clocked at an amazing 185 mph through
the speed trap in practice. Robert reckoned the 190
mark could be reached under the right conditions on
race day. Also in practice Woolsey Coulter headed the
250 class with a lap of 106.75 mph with Eddie second
at 105.80 mph.
Brian Reid and Steve Hislop were both out due to ill
health and mechanical trouble.
In their absence Eddie felt good for a win until he
fell off in the Thursday practice at Black Hill, the
result of someone's oil spill.
On race day in the 250, Eddie started from the fifth
row and chased an eight-man freight train for the first
lap, led by Wollsey Coulter. It included Ian Newton,
Phillip Mc Callen, Kevin Mitchell, Johnny Rea, Ian Lougher
and Alan Irwin. Coulter fell off at the chicane on the
third lap after running on to the grass taking Mitchell
with him, and Mc Callen took over at the front.
By this time Eddie had got his head down and by the
third lap had caught and passed the others to take second
place. On the last lap going into Metropole Mc Callen
ran wide and the Dubliner took over at the front and
led along the coast road to cross the line to a tremendous
cheer. Lougher also caught Mc Callen napping and finished
second. Rea was 4th and Irwin 5th, amazingly only two
seconds covered the top five at the end. Lougher was
credited with the fastest lap at 113.64 mph.
In the Extravision Superbike race Robert and the Norton
demolished the opposition relegating Fogarty to second
and Eddie a great third after another slow start. Phillip
Mc Callen was 4th. Roberts win on the Norton was the
first in twenty-five years since Dick Creith in 1965.
In the second 250 race Eddie made no mistake in getting
away first and then proceeded to disappear. He remembers
" There were too many very quick men there that
day so I cleared off like a scalded cat to see who would
follow" At the flag Eddie finished a clear eight
seconds ahead of Newton, Lougher, Rea, Mc Callen and
In the final race of the day, the Hutchinson Tiles NW200
Robert repeated his earlier performance to overtake
a determined Fogarty on the second lap, and then proceeded
to smash the lap record to 121.04 mph. Fogarty and Nation
retired at half distance to leave Mc Callen 2nd, Eddie
pipped Joey on the last lap for third and Nick Jefferies
finished a fine fifth.
With his two wins under his belt Eddie was on top form,
and felt he could repeat his 400cc win at the TT, again
riding the RGV Suzuki, and so headed for the Isle of
With the new rules in the Senior he decided to ride
the RC30 having lapped in the 117 mph bracket the previous
First up was the F1 race, dominated by Carl Fogarty
on his RC30, Nick Jefferies was second on his Loctite
Yamaha, and Robert Dunlop finished third on the JPS
Norton. Eddie only managed two laps on the Miller RC30
and had to retire with a broken clutch lever.
In the much anticipated Supersport 400 race, which
incidentally was the showdown of the new Honda VRR 400
R. Eddie's race was over as it started, as the little
Suzuki seized going down Bray Hill on the first lap.
A dejected Eddie pulled in at Quaterbridge and made
his way to the Beer tent to drown his sorrows. The race
was won by Dave Leach aboard his V&M Yamaha with
eight seconds to spare from Fogarty in 2nd, and Steve
Ward 3rd. Just for good measure Leach broke Eddie's
lap record of 106.90 mph with a lap of 108.12 mph.
And so after a terrible hangover Eddie set his sights
on the Junior 250 race. The race itself became a hangover
as its effect lasted for a very long time after the
race was over, many years in fact. In this memorable
race was the likes of Joey, Hislop, Reid, Rea, Fogarty,
and McCallen. By Ballaugh on the first lap the flying
Hislop had caught and passed Eddie who started ten
seconds ahead of him. Hislop was leading on corrected
time but only just from the sensation of the race,
Welshman Ian Lougher. By completion of the first lap
Hislop led Lougher by 1.8 secs, Reid was 11 seconds
down in third followed by Ian Newton, Carl Fogarty,
and the Irish quartet of Rea, Joey, Eddie and McCallen.
By Ballacraine on lap two Hislop only led by one
second over the flying Welshman with Reid still a
steady third and all the others holding station. Like
all TT winners you need a little bit of luck and unfortunately
for Hislop during the pit stop his filler cap was
dropped into the fairing and lost him vital seconds.
By Ballacraine on lap three Lougher led Hislop on
corrected time with Reid still third, Rea 4th, and
Eddie now 5th. Joey and Newton retired.
By Ballacraine on the last lap Lougher was still leading
but only just, then Reid retired with a seized engine
and let the flying Dubliner into third as Rea also
slowed. However Lougher on his last lap put in a flyer
and lapped at 19 mins 13 secs to beat Hislop down
the mountain to win by 1.8 secs. Eddie completed the
hero's up on the rostrum by finishing in third. Fogarty
finished 4th, Rea 5th. Lougher's new lap record of
117.80 mph hung over for a very long time after.
The Senior was delayed by bad weather and was dominated
by Fogarty again, Trevor Nation was 2nd, Leach 3rd,
Steve Ward an excellent 4th. Eddie finished a steady
Eddie missed the post TT Killinchy meeting as he attended
his sister Carolyn's wedding. In fact Eddie lost his
own "Singles race" the following year when
he married the lovely Helen on the 9th of February.
Sadly this was Eddie's last TT and sadly for Irish
fans we never saw him race on the public roads again.
For 1991 Eddie decided with team Miller to contest
a full GP season with no road race appearances, and
on completition of the season finished a career best
12th with 57 hard earned points, aboard Joe Millers
V4 500 Yamaha. The following year Eddie also rode
the 500 Yamaha to 20th place with 4 points.
Eddie retired at the end of 1992, and Jeremy Mc Williams
took over the 500 Yamaha for 1993. He now lives in
Templeogue with his wife Helen and their two boys,
and runs a successful pet shop at Cornellscourt in
So in summary Little did Eddie Laycock know, when
he got his first so called "Leg over" that
this first ride on two wheels would lead him to Irish
road and circuit championships, lap records and wins
at the Ulster Grand Prix, North West 200, and Isle
of Man TT races, eventually culminating in him representing
Ireland at Grand Prix level with very creditable performances,
at a time enthusiasts call the golden era. To ultimately
become to us all here on Real Road Racing.com -A road
Words by Myles Lally