Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Ards TT

Here's another photo from my family collection, showing a driver in the Ards TT getting out of his car in Church Street, Newtownards. I think this wee row of houses may have stood at the front of Ards Hospital.

The TT ran from 1928-1936, over 6 hours on a 13.7 mile course which started in Dundonald and proceeded, via Quarry Corner and Bradshaw's Brae to Newtownards, down Church Street and Regent Street, through the Square and on to Comber Square, up Castle Street, on to the Belfast Road to the Elk Inn corner at Dundonald and back up to the starting point.

Unfortunately, I don't know which year our photo was taken, who the driver is, or what kind of car he's driving, although some of the manufacturers represented in the TT were Lea-Francis, Frazer Nash, Lagonda, Bugatti, Alfa-Romeo, Bentley, Mercedes Benz, Talbot, MG Midget, Maserati, Singer, and Delahaye. If anyone can throw any light on the identity of the car or driver pictured, I'd love to hear from you.

It's obvious that Health & Safety hadn't been invented then, as the crowd barrier consists of wooden barrels with string in between. In 1936, one of the cars crashed at the railway bridge (long since demolished) at the bottom of the Belfast Road in Newtownards, killing eight spectators and injuring 40 others. That was the end of The Ards TT.

In June 2003, several of the original TT cars took part in a demonstration drive of three laps of the old course, to mark the 75th anniversary of the TT and a memorial to the TT was unveiled in Conway Square Newtownards in August 2008.

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