Newtown family’s success in motorbike racing

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

A racing mad Newtownhamilton family has enjoyed fantastic success recently. The McDonalds, who have been involved in short circuit racing for over 20 years, recently turned their attention to a new family venture; motorbike racing. Jim McDonald, who manages the team with his wife, explained, “We have been racing now for the last 4 years, starting out in the aprillia production class, then moving up to the pre 97 class on a home built cbr600 Honda.”

It really is a family adventure as Jim tells Newry Times, with his wife participating in kart racing from birth, his son Anthony also competing and his daughter Caoimhe (8), a racing mascot. The support of the local community has been crucial to the success as Jim explains, “we are always being asked how Anthony is getting on and when and where he is racing, but Ian Boyle’s garage on Newry street always give us help with bits and pieces for preparing the race bikes.”

Anthony (20) has been involved in racing all of his life too, gaining inspiration from the late Robert Dunlop. He fared extremely well recently in the , getting two 4th place finishes in the 125gp race and a 3rd place. He also finished 3rd overall in his final race which is an outstanding achievement considering it was only his third time racing the bike in his life.

Anthony said, “I have been racing from before I was born, my mum was marshaling in Mondello Park and the Irish road race scene even when she was carrying me.” Speaking about his excellent performance in Kildare, Anthony continued, “I was really chuffed with myself, I was racing the two stroke class on my Emerald Road race Magazine 125 Honda, it was only my third weekend racing it and I improved my times a lot, but getting good points in such a high profile championship like the Adelaide masters series is brilliant.”

Jim’s daughter Caoimhe is also a huge racing enthusiast and Jim said, “Caoimhe is probably better known around the paddock than me! She has her own MMA (motorcycle marshals association) pass and is included in everything that goes on, some riders come to see her before they race as a good luck thing, she just loves it.”

On what the future holds Anthony said, “it is literally one race meeting at a time, I would love to win a domestic championship and move on to a bigger bike, but I enjoy the wee 125 and would even consider running in some of the English races if we could secure good sponsorship.”

Anthony added, “Some people like football or soccer, but the physical endurance of racing a motorbike is probably harder in some ways, there is no rest and you have to be both mentally and physically prepared to race. I would like to see more local support for local riders. Also, I would like to thank Emerald Road racing magazine, Track Day Tools, Davy Hamilton, my mum, dad and all my sisters. Ian Boyle’s garage and Ernie Coates Motorcycles in Belfast also deserve huge thanks. I’d also like to thank all the marshals and officials, who put their own time and effort in to a sport for people like me to go racing. And look out for the number 26 Honda!”

The McDonalds are seeking to secure further sponsorship to help with costs, entry fees and parts and Jim hopes any potential sponsors will get in touch. He added, “It would be nice to get people on board to help with entries etc, some entries are €200 and Anthony could use a set of tyres a weekend and they cost over £200. One of the main things we do not have is spare parts like race body work and sticky out bits like foot pegs and handle bars, a crash could end his season.”

He continued, “Anthony also needs a new helmet and Arias are around £550 and new leathers which could put us out another £500. What I would say to a potential sponsor is that what they get is a novel way of getting their name out there, some of his races are televised, and when they want to advertise, we can include the bike in any photo shoot, also Anthony is a good looking young man, who would be a great advocate of their product.”

Jim can be contacted on 02830878490 or via email at to answer any questions about racing or marshalling.



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