Road racing in Northern Ireland has been under duress in 2023. Though skyrocketing insurance rates threatened to cancel all events in the country this year, contributions by Euro Auctions founder Derek Keys and local fundraising efforts saved the North West 200, Armoy Road Races, and Cookstown 100.

Road racing fans may have to fight to keep the sport alive, but to the Northern Irish, motorcycle racing is a way of life. When the country split from Ireland in 1921, Northern Ireland First Minister James Craig and entrepreneur/racing fan Harry Ferguson presented the first Ulster Grand Prix in 1922. To celebrate the rich, 100-year history of Northern Ireland road racing, photographer and journalist Stephen Davison takes viewers on a trip down memory lane with The Motorcycle Mavericks documentary.

"Long before I ever picked up a camera, I had heard of the great racers who hailed from this part of the world in the past,” explained Davison. “Making The Motorcycle Mavericks has allowed me to dig much deeper into that rich history and discover the huge impact they made on the international stage.”

From chronicling Joe Craig’s rise to the top of the rider ranks to dissecting Rex McCandless’ paradigm-shifting Featherbed Frame design, Davison leaves no stone unturned. However, not all road racing stories are triumphant. Case in point: the Dunlop family, which accounts for more than 50 Isle of Man TT wins, but also lost three prominent members to road racing crashes.

Available to stream on BBC’s iPlayer, the one-hour film will remain accessible on the service until September, 2023. Hopefully, The Motorcycle Mavericks helps increase Northern Irish road racing fandom, especially during this critical time.

"Reading books about figures like legendary Norton team boss, Joe Craig, brilliant engineers such as Rex McCandless and Joe Ryan, or great riders like Joey Dunlop is one thing but meeting historians and people who knew them personally has brought their personalities and legacies to life,” Davison added. “Seeing the machines they designed, exploring the circuits they raced on, and listening to the tales of legends such as Dick Creith, Ray McCullough, Jeremy McWilliams, and Jonathan Rea has been thrilling."

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