Dungannon Motor Club – The Beginnings (Up to 1970)
The Club was formed at a meeting of interested parties in the Castle Cafe, Dungannon, on Thursday 25 March 1954, with James Shiells as Chairman and J.C.W. Simpson as Honorary Secretary. At this meeting, a committee was chosen to draw up a set of Club Rules. At the same meeting the Dungannon Motor Cycle Club wound up its affairs and donated its assets (approximately £40) to the new Motor Club.
The Motor Cycle Club had been formed in 1923 and was active for five years, operating under the name “The Dungannon and District Motor Cycling Club”. In 1928, this club became inactive, and another 24 years elapsed before being re-formed on 16th June 1952. The interest just wasn’t there however, and the Club wound up its affairs on the night the Motor Club was formed.
By the end of 1954, membership was just short of 40 members, and over the first five years of its existence ran events with a high social content, including navigation rallies, and manoeuvrability type driving tests. The cost of being a member was 75p in today’s money.
In 1959, George Beattie was elected Chairman, and in 1960 Malcolm Duff became Competition Secretary. Under the watchful eye of these two gentlemen, the Club became registered with the (then) R.A.C. and also became a Limited Company to safeguard members and Committee in the event of a claim for damages against the Club “howsoever caused”. Committee member John Shearer was the driving force behind the formation of the Limited Company, and his work was completed on 26 April 1961
1962 saw the arrival of Ronnie Trouton on to the Club Committee, and he would progress quickly through the positions of Vice-Chairman in 1963, Chairman in 1964, and Honorary Secretary in 1965. Alongside Ronnie in 1965 was Competition Secretary Gordon Taggart, and between them they brought about a step up in event organisational quality, establishing the Club’s events as amongst the best in Northern Ireland.
By the late 1960’s, Dungannon Motor Club was running a round of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship, a round of the “Hopkirk” Northern Ireland Driving Test Championship, and ran two autocross in 1968 and 1969, with one in each year counting towards the Northern Ireland Championship.