W A Lomas, of Milford, Derbyshire, winner of both the 500 cc and 350 cc Ulster Grand Prix events and leader in the world championships in both classes, walked out of the prize presentation in Thompson’s Restaurant, Belfast, on Saturday night [August 13] in protest over the payment of starting money.
The ceremony was also boycotted by the other members of the official team of Moto Guzzi riders – R H Dale and D Agostini.
Lomas and his team manager, Mr Fergus Anderson, were in the room a few minutes before the prize-giving was due to start, but as the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr W B Maginess, arrived to distribute the awards, Lomas and Mr Anderson walked out.
They stood together in the hallway just outside the room throughout the ceremony and refused to take any part in it.
When they left the building shortly afterwards, Lomas’s awards were still lying unclaimed on the table. These included four valuable trophies, three finisher’s plaques and £240 in prize money, besides an additional sum of about £160 starting money.
Lomas said afterwards that the starting money proffered to him was less than had been promised him by the organisers before the race. He added that he would never ride again in an Ulster Grand Prix.
Mr Malcolm Wilson, chairman of the Ulster Motor Cycle Club, organisers of the race, denied Lomas’s allegations, and said that the money proffered to Lomas was exactly as had been arranged between them. There was no written contract as it had been “a gentleman’s agreement”.
The Grand Prix, run in brilliant weather before a crowd of 100,000, was one of the most successful in the history of the race. Lomas’s average speed of 92.30 mph was a record. He also recorded a new lap record at 94.34 mph.