Generally sidecars seem comparable to Marmite in as much as they are either loved or hated with a passion. Whether you love or hate them, one undisputed fact is that Lowry Burton was a star of his time. A sidecar legend in Ireland and a very proud Ulsterman who took on the cream of sidecar racing in the 1980's.
In researching his racing career, I found out Lowry was a multiple Irish and Scottish champion, first racing at the Isle of Man TT with Martin Murphy in 1979. They finished 37th in the first race improving 10 places in the second.
Lowry must have been quite taken with the Isle of Man as he returned in 1980 finishing 5th only beaten by the indomitable Jock Taylor, Trevor Ireson, Nigel Rollason and Mick Boddice.
He then paired up with Pat Cushnahan and achieved two wins during their TT career together. The Carrickfergus crew also achieved three second places and a third.
Lowry’s talent should not be underestimated at the TT, as his times in the 80s would have him placed 15th at the 2016 TT!
Whilst those TT achievements are more than commendable, it was at the Southern 100 he really shone. He won his first ever race in 1980 and from then until 1989 he was only beaten once. Fastest laps were his in every race and even Dave Molyneux could not catch him.
On the 23 April 2010 Sidecar TT winner Lowry sadly passed away after fighting a long battle with illness. There were many tributes to him as you would expect, reconfirming his talent and the high regard with which he was held. One tribute stood out from Gordon Shand who wrote “I learned a lot from this man by his very thorough preparation of his outfits particularly at the TT, I am proud to have raced against him, a true gentleman.”
The Mid Antrim 150 Club are delighted to host the first Lowry Burton Challenge and hope you enjoy the two races today.