McCullough, one of the legendary “Dromara Destroyers” famous for their rivalry with the Armoy Armada, this month received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors.
The day of celebration, which was attended by Jeremy McWilliams, Trevor Steele, Davey Todd and Johnny Rea snr, was rightfully held at Queen’s, where McCullough helped design and build the revolutionary machines he drove to so many victories.
Event organizer Paul McClean, author and photographer, presented two copies of his book âRay McCullough – the Dromara Destroyerâ to QUB Chief Librarian Irene Bittles, and it will now be on permanent display at the McClay University Library to showcase McCullough’s illustrious career.
The former unpretentious road racer reunited with two of his QUB co-workers and close friends, Professor Robert Fleck and Dr Robert Kee, and also had the opportunity to get acquainted with his QUB 500 motorcycle built in Belfast on which it scored 17 victories in the early 1970s. This unique 2-stroke machine was designed by the late Professor Gordon Blair and is a reminder of how far ahead of its time the Mechanical Engineering Department at QUB was.
Both Professor Blair and sponsor Mick Mooney were instrumental in the success of McCullough’s career.
A valued member of the highly skilled team at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University for 38 years, McCullough has worked in advanced engine development for manufacturers such as Yamaha as a chief technician with faculty Blair and Fleck.
McCullough rode a motorcycle prepared by QUB to beat the factory machines of world champions Phil Read, Jarno Saarinen and Dieter Braun with relative ease on a historic day in 1971 at the Ulster Grand Prix in Dundrod. He also beat another world champion, Barry Sheene, twice in the span of a year.
Their biggest home rivals were the brilliant duo of Grand Prix regular Tom Herron and 26-time Isle of Man TT winner Joey Dunlop, but in the 1970s Ray was the man to beat in the Ultra-competitive 250cc and 350cc categories, whether at the Ulster Grand Prix, North West 200, Southern 100 and all national road races and short circuits across Ireland.
He won 175 incredible races during his brilliant racing career.
Earlier this year, a DVD about his life – Ray McCullough – Held in Admiration – was released, raising thousands of dollars for the Children’s Kidney Fund NI.
Author and photographer McClean said, âI have had the privilege of writing a book about the life and achievements of my hero, Ray McCullough.
âLike thousands of others, I was fortunate enough to see this motorcycle legend beat all comers during the sport’s heyday of the 1970s. It was just a brilliant time for racing and Ray was # 1
âRay McCullough represents all that is good in sport and Northern Ireland and see him sitting on the QUB 500 at the front of the world famous Queen’s University in Belfast where he worked for so many years. years has been a very moving experience for all of us. “