Motorcycling mourns death of Hillsborough Club stalwart Eric Lyons

Eric Lyons (bottom left) pictured at the launch of the Sunflower Trophy races in 2008 with race sponsor Jim Finlay and riders including John Laverty, Michael Laverty, Ian Lowry and Nigel Percy.
Eric Lyons (bottom left) pictured at the launch of the Sunflower Trophy races in 2008 with race sponsor Jim Finlay and riders including John Laverty, Michael Laverty, Ian Lowry and Nigel Percy.

Irish motorcycle racing is mourning the death of Eric Lyons, who sadly passed away on Wednesday aged 76.

From Ballynahinch in Co Down, Mr Lyons was a driving force behind the Hillsborough Club, which runs the annual Sunflower Trophy races – Ireland’s top short circuit event.

A former racer himself, Eric was paralysed in a crash at the Killinchy 150 meeting on the Dundrod course following an accident at Wheeler’s in 1975.

On the 40th anniversary of his life-changing crash two years ago, he expressed his gratitude to his wife and family for their support.

Writing on Facebook, Eric said: “Friends I have just completed 40 years in a wheelchair following my accident at Wheeler’s in June 1975 and whilst it wasn’t always easy, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in many different ways over the years, especially my wife and family.

“I am thankful I was able to work over the years but I am now retired and I would be very willing to help anyone facing a life as a so-called handicapped person. I have had a good life ‘so far’ – just different. A massive thanks to everyone and a special thanks to the nurses and doctors who kept me right.”

One of the pillars of the Hillsborough Club over the past four decades, Eric was a past chairman and treasurer, although he had taken a backward step in recent years.

Fellow club stalwart Dennis Wilson told the News Letter Mr Lyons would be ‘sorely missed’.

“Eric was a mainstay of the club going back many years. I came into the club around 1974 or ’75 and Eric was there around the same time or shortly after that,” he said.

“He was paralysed in his accident and when he came through that, he became involved with the club. He was a past chairman and treasurer of the Hillsborough Club and Eric was also very involved with the Sidecar fraternity as well – he was very passionate about the Sidecars.

“Sadly he had been in hospital for a few weeks and underwent a few operations, but he didn’t recover from the last one. He will be sorely missed and Eric was a mainstay of the club for a very, very long time.”