COOKSTOWN and District Motor Cycle Club race secretary Norman Crooks has racked up a BEM for services to motorcycle racing in Northern Ireland.
And despite not being able to partake in the normal presentation services thanks to the pandemic, the 74-year-old – a native of Moneymore – was delighted to receive his honour.
The British Empire Medal, or BEM, was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.
One of the most popular faces in the Irish paddock, Crooks – known to many as ‘daddy Crooks’ – first joined the CDMCC in October 1968 and after serving as assistant race secretary for a few years, he was promoted to race secretary in 1979 and has remained ever since.
While he prefers to graft in the background, he admitted the months before the annual race event are the busiest for any race secretary.
“I usually start my preparations in December, getting entries sent out to all competitors, plus other bookwork, which continues throughout the year,” Crooks said.
“I’ve built up a great repertoire with competitors over the years, most riders known on a personal basis these days. The Pandemic situation certainly changed many things, but we still managed to get our race over, and fingers crossed, we can do likewise this year.”
“It’s being part of a great club, that gets me up in the morning.”
The 2021 Cookstown 100 Road Races are set to run on September 10-11, 2021 ahead of the event’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2022.