Award joy as Neil and Ross win Off Road Rider of the Year

Lisburn men Neil Campbell and Ross Graham were thrilled to collect a top award for their sport recently.

Lisburn's Neil Campbell and Ross Graham in action.

Neil and Ross shared the Off Road Rider of the Year prize at the Cornmarket motorcycle Awards, becoming the first Sidecarcross team to win the award.

Neil said the local men were ‘shocked’ to win the prestigious prize.

However, as he was away in France, he missed out on collecting his award.

“Winning Off Road Riders of the Year at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards was a shock to us both,” said Neil.

“It is a great achievement for both us and the sport of sidecarcross in Northern Ireland. “We are the first sidecarcross team to ever win this award,” he added.

“We would like to thank our friends, family and sponsors who have helped to get us to where we are now.”

Neil, 25, was inspired to become involved in Sidecarcross as his father was also a Sidecarcross racer.

“My dad used to race them,” Neil commented. “I started back about five or six years ago, I got a run one day and that was me hooked.”

Neil says the sport of Sidecarcross is ‘more about technique’, with riders taking on ‘rough terrain at 40, 50 or 60 miles per hour’.

The local pair have won the Ulster Sidecarcross Championship four years in a row, and they have been unbeaten in every race over the past three years.

Last year saw the duo take fifth place in the British Championship with race finishes as high as third position in a successful season.

Neil added: “We also represented Ireland in the Sidecarcross of Nations at Italy 2013, Holland 2014 and Germany 2015.”

Neil will soon get back to action, with the first championship race this season taking place on March 19.

The local racer has high hopes for the next season, with aims of racing in Europe at Grand Prix events on the agenda.

“In 2016 I will be racing with English passenger Craig Parmenter, we will be competing in Ulster and British Championships and hope to race a couple of Grand Prix events in Europe.”