January 18th saw the annual Cornmarket Awards ceremony held in
Belfast where the accolades for the Irish Road Races for the
preceding year are recognised.
It goes without saying the 2018 season was not without significant
tragedy, however the ceremony was handled beautifully by hosts Keith
Huewen and Stephen Watson and the evening passed with a
respectful mix of celebration and emotion.
In the hotly contested ‘Race of the Year’ category sponsored by Bet
McLean and voted for by the public vs a panel of judges, in a poll
closing minutes before the ceremony saw a resounding result declared
- James Cowton as the award recipient for his stunning victory in the
JM Paterson sponsored Supertwin Race at the North West 200.
Sam Morton representing James’s partner Chloe Black and his family, stepped on stage to collect the award for
James together Mervyn White who collected an award as the hosting event. Both made a short acceptance speech
in which Sam in hers told the audience that ‘in a heartbeat I wish he were here to accept the award in person’ and
‘given that the award was voted for by the public I hope it gives some comfort to the family further extending the love
and support the race community and race family has shown them’. Many top riders and guests attending the event
went on to further support the award result with comments like ‘it was truly deserved as it was a brilliant race with an
edge of the seat finish’.
The Cornmarket organisers later asked where the award would reside. Sam explained it would travel back to the
Isle of Man with her temporarily for Chloe to collect when she next visited which was likely to be for the Southern 100
Annual Dinner. It was muted to approach the Southern 100 committee and see if a collaboration was possible for
the Southern 100 to host the onward presentation to Chloe given that whilst the presentation at the Cornmarket
ceremony had clearly been emotional it was equally a very positive and celebratory experience.
On to Saturday 16th February and the Southern 100 Annual Dinner at the Best Western Place Hotel & Casino in
Douglas, Manx Radio’s Tim Glover informed the gathered guests of the very special presentation and invited both
Sam Morton and Chloe Black to the ‘stage’.
Sam Morton duly presented the Duleek Vase to Chloe, which Chloe accepted with heartfelt thanks to Sam for
collecting and taking care of the Award and to the Southern 100 for making the presentation possible.
Both ladies left the centre stage to a standing ovation.
Later in the evening the Japanese company CSA, who during the three races on the Colas Billown Course during
last year presented all the race winners with special medallions, made a special ‘Brave Heart’ presentation to Chloe
Black and to Dan Sayle, Tony Duncan and Paul Corrin.
Photo courtesy of Jim Gibson – Ellan Vannin Images