Racing on the Irish Roads – Racers Recollections: John Leigh Pemberton

Racing on the Irish Roads – Racers Recollections: John Leigh Pemberton

The twenty sixth racer to take part in Road Racing News, recently launched Racing on the Irish Roads – Racers Recollections series is reigning Irish Road Race Junior 350, Senior 500 classics Champion, John Leigh Pemberton.

His answers to the Irish road racing themed set of questions, are as follows:

Q1: What is your first Irish road racing memory?

“Rode over with some mates to watch the Temple 100, some time in the 1980’s. For someone from Southern England who was used to Brands Hatch and Lydden Hill it was a proper eye-opener and I was hooked.”

Q2: Present favourite Irish road race?

“Such a difficult question. I love Faugheen and Dundrod is spectacular but really I think it has to be Tandragee.

It is so complicated, fast and challenging and if I could only do one meeting a year, that’s definitely where I would go.”

Q3: Who is your most respected fellow Irish roads exponent?

“It has to be Barry Davidson. He can ride anything, he is brilliant at reading a race and always seems to have a bit of extra pace whenever he needs it. And I admire the fact that he puts so much back into the sport.”

Q4: If you could alter one aspect, in particular, within the sport, what would it be and why?

“I have always felt that it is a privilege to be able to race on Irish roads and it would be great to have more public recognition, for all the club officials and marshals who work so hard to put the meetings on.

All the focus is always on the riders but without all the work that goes on behind the scenes before the meeting, none of it would happen.”

Q5: To date what has been your favourite Irish roads moment?

“My first ever Irish road race was at Dundrod some time in the 1990’s. I had just taken up my position on the grid in the 600 race, some way back and Joey Dunlop brushed past me on his way to the front row.

That I should be on the grid with him was like a dream come true.”

Q6: Irish road racing summed up in one word, what would it be?


Q7: Is there any Irish roads event, that you haven’t raced at yet that you would like to?

“Would love to have a race at the Mid-Antrim. I got to practice there for the first time this year but obviously did not race and it’s up there with Tandragee as a circuit.”

Photo credit: Derek Wilson

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou

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