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Liam Fitzpatrick's Memorial Run 2014


It’s almost a year since the great man has left us and for all that knew him has left a great void in all our lives. There is so much to remind us about him. Every time we ride our beloved Indians and every time we go into the workshop to work on them all remind us of Liam and will continue to do so for a long time. The fact that funeral’s in Ireland usually only take two days not all could make the event on such short notice. It was this fact plus a request from his Indian brothers and sisters in the UK led us to run a small memorial get together for all who wish to say their goodbye to Liam.
The last weekend in September was the date set in stone and the venue Ballyrafter House Hotel in Lismore Co Waterford set in the foot hills of the Comeragh Mountains. Proprietor is our good friend Joe Willoughby. This venue was also the location for our last Irish Indian rally in 2012 which Liam played a major part in.  All we wanted now was good weather.
Tim Berry was the first to arrive on Thursday 25th on his Chief followed by Kevin and Roy Wilkinson in their van with Kevin’s 101 in tow. They had come on the afternoon ferry from the UK. I met them in New Ross on my 53 and we headed back to my place. Tim stayed the night with me but Kevin and Roy had already booked into the hotel so they headed on after a few beers.
Next morning after a late breakfast we headed for Lismore about a 50 mile run. It was a beautiful morning so we headed over the mountains on our Chiefs and stopped in Melody’s pub for a coffee and to meet with good friend Tom Foley. We arrived at the hotel about one o clock. Already Simon and Nick Roud, Martin Campbell, Mick Mathews, Mick Hackett, Michael Hutchins, Eugene Bourke and the Bear were already there. Tony Carbine and son Andy had also made the journey from the UK. Sean Mc Carron made the journey from Donegal with his 38 Sport Scout. We were greeted by proprietor Joe and soon everybody were deep in conversation of all things Indian. The weather being great we decided to go for a run. Just as we were about to kiss the breeze a Ford Transit came screaming up the gravel drive with three dodgy looking characters in the front seat. We thought they were nackers but thankfully not. It was Jess, Martin and Andy who had come by the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. They took their bikes out of the van two Chiefs and a very unusual looking Iron Head Sportster chop built by Martin. A few minutes later we were down the garage filling up with petrol and on our way across the base of the mountains towards Mount Mellory. A stop here for tea and buns and a good ole natter. Next stop over the mountains to Ryan’s Bar for a few large bottles of Guinness known locally as “Dannos” and the favourite tipple of Liam.  We had a lovely ride back to the hotel over the mountains and down the Vee. Paddy had arrived on his 101 so it was in for a dinner and straight to the bar until about 3 am.

Liam Fitzpatrick Liam Fitzpatrick Liam Fitzpatrick
Liam Fitzpatrick Liam Fitzpatrick Liam Fitzpatrick

Next morning after breakfast more people had arrived and the sun was shining. It was a perfect day for a run. Liam’s sister Siobhan and her family arrived. Siobhan wanted to accompany us on the run so she rode pillion with Brendan on his Drifter outfit. Jackie Liam’s girlfriend also made the journey. Paddy was to lead the run on his 101 so all were ready for the road at 11.30.
The route chosen was back through Cappoquin and over the mountains to Clogheen, through Ballyporeen (birthplace of President Ronald Regan’s ancestors) then cross over the M8 motorway and north to Ballylanders and then finally to Knocklong, about a sixty mile run. The only breakdown was Kevin on his blue 101 which was magneto problems and then Paddy’s 101 went down in sympathy. Not a good day for 101’s. There was quiet a gathering outside the church consisting of Liam’s mother, family and close friends, some on motorcycles.
We all chatted outside the graveyard for a few moments and Paddy led the congregation to the grave side. This was a silent and very sad moment. We all gathered round the grave and Liam’s uncle Fr. John Fitzpatrick said some prayers and words. Paddy then addressed all with fond words and memories of our lost friend. Sean Mc Carron played a very soulful Irish lament on the saxophone which brought tears to all our eyes as I am sure we all reflected on our own memories of Liam.  We all left in silence.
The Hill Bar next to the church was the next destination. We enjoyed a good spread of soup, sandwiches, tea and coffee. I must take this opportunity to thank Joe the hotel Proprietor for picking up the tab for the spread. After all were fed and watered we all mounted our trusty steeds and headed back the same route to the hotel. I was particularly anxious to make it back as my county Kilkenny were playing in the replay of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final against arch rivals and neighbouring county Tipperary. Our host Joe had set up the big screen in the lounge for all the fans. We made it back with no drama. Seats set up in front of the big screen, large bottles and “Come on the Cats” (nick name of county Kilkenny hurling team)  It was a brilliant match and very exciting and even the English lads were shouting for the Cats especially Andy Carbine. Cats won 3-18 to 2-15!!! After that it was into the restaurant for an excellent evening dinner prepared by the host Joe who is also a famous chef. After dinner we had a short video to show off the last Irish Indian rally held in the hotel back in 2012 which our great friend Liam made a few appearances. Thanks to Tom and Micky Foley for making this video. The rest of the night was spent talking about the great man, hurling, Indian motorcycles and general reflection on the great weekend. Liam’s two daughters Michelle and Sarah as well as his sisters Siobhan and Aine joined us and enjoyed the video and all the stories about Liam. Later in the sun room a guy played the guitar and a few of the boys sang notably Tim Berry and the Bear. Sean also played a few tunes on the sax. We stayed going as long as we could but eventually retired about 4 am.
Special thanks to all who made the effort to attend especially the lads from the UK and Sean from Donegal. Joe our host and hotel owner for great service and hospitality. Tony and Andy Carbine for the special Guinness labels in memory of Liam. Tom and Micky Foley for the video. Sean for the great saxophone playing at the graveside. Paddy for the idea and leading the pack on the run and for the great words spoken at the graveside. Although we all had a great weekend there was one missing but he will never be missing from our thoughts and will always be with us as we ride down that road on our beloved Indians. Ride free now my friend on that eternal highway until we meet again.

Jim CuddihyJim Cuddihy

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