Road racing in Northern Ireland during the 1970s is the stuff of legends – it produced some of the greatest names, made classics of makeshift courses and gave us the incredible rivalry between the Armoy Armada and Dromara Destroyers.
Now the latest DVD releases from Duke let fans relive highlights from some of the most memorable showdowns of this era, with exceptional archive race footage, interviews and newly filmed sections.
The two DVDs, The Title Trail and Raining Champions, feature the classic film work of the James brothers, Alwyn and Colin, which was seen in the celebrated TV series Charge of the Bike Brigade.
Both titles are packed with the greatest road racing stars and some truly gripping racing.
The Title Trail allows viewers to share the excitement and drama of the gripping battle for the 1974 Ulster 350 Road Racing Championship, as Abe Alexander and Ian McGregor go head-to-head on The Title Trail.
Narrated by Seamus McKee, the film takes us through the full, dramatic season, visiting classic meetings like the Ulster Grand Prix, Mid-Antrim 150 and North West 200, and legendary circuits including Kirkistown, Tandragee, Cookstown and Maghaberry.
Archive race footage and interviews chart all the ups and downs of the season, including how Alexander would overcome mechanical failures and bone-breaking injuries to secure his first pure road racing victory and the Ulster 350 championship.
The classic film is complemented on this DVD with newly-recorded introductions from race commentary giant Derek ‘Big D’ Mason and racing legend McCullough, plus a very special bonus feature offering an evocative look at the atmosphere at the inaugural Armoy Road Race.
Frank Kennedy, Jim Dunlop and Guy Martin are among those to reflect on the 2009 Race of Legends, where Michael Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar were winners.
The Raining Champions features three wonderfully evocative films with action from 11 gripping races from 1975 and 1976.
Once again we see heroes McCullough, Dunlop, Kennedy, Robinson, Grant, Rutter, Herron and Alexander in action, and they are joined by Percy Tait, Charlie Williams, Stan Woods and a young Steve Parrish.
Alongside the archive footage are newly-filmed introductions featuring TAS Racing team owner Hector Neill, road racing commentary giant Derek ‘Big D’ Mason and racing legend Tommy Robb, each bringing a new appreciation to three classic confrontations, perfectly setting the scene before we are treated to truly historic showdowns.
In addition, Raining Champions includes two fascinating features filmed specially for the DVD.
In the first, Trevor Steele, an original member of the Dromara Destroyers, talks about the rivalry with the Armoy Armada.
In the second, important racing figures past and present – including Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness, World Superbike Champion James Toseland and multiple Duke Road Race Rankings champion Ryan Farquhar – reflect on the impact of road racing in the 1970s.
The Title Trail and Raining Champions are essential viewing not only for fans of road racing history, but for any fans of motorcycle competition.
Title Trail and Raining Champions are released 7 December 2009 on DVD, priced at £19.56 (each) and will be available from leading video outlets or direct from Duke Video on 01624-640000.