(c) 2016 Mount Merrion Historical Society
Stanley Woods - a Motorcycling Superstar
(and one-time resident of Mount Merrion)
By DES SMYTH / Posted: October 28, 2014
I asked Jack du Moulin where his family’s interest in speed came from.
He had no hesitation in blaming or crediting Stanley Woods. Stanley was
a firm friend of his father John du Moulin and it was he who introduced
John senior to motorsport and much later to Mondello Racetrack.
All the duMoulin children subsequently either raced or rallied.
Stanley Woods was born in November 1904 and came to live on
St. Thomas Road in Mount Merrion as a young man. By then he had
established himself as one of the leading race riders in the world.
His dad was a sweet salesman for the Macintosh Company and he drove
around the country on a Harley Davidson to which he attached a sidecar for
young Stanley to travel in during school holidays. In fact he learned to ride
and race on that bike. Initially, of course his father did not know about the
weekend racing. He even crashed the Harley during a race in 1921 and
stuck a tree branch into the broken handlebar and rode it home.
Between 1922 and 1939 he won 10 x TTs in the Isle of Man, a feat not thought possible at that time. He also won 29 Grand Prix races all over Europe. Travel was not easy but he got to some events by various devious means, sometimes not arriving at his destination until just before race time.
During his colourful career the “Irish Dasher” rode for Cotton, Moto Guzzi, Norton, Husqvarna, DKW and Velocette.
The outbreak of war in 1939 put an end to competitive Motor Cycle Racing so he spent the War (Emergency in Ireland) as a Commandant in the Irish Army where he instructed and trained the Irish Army 4th Cavalry Squadron’s Motor Division. They became and still act as the Presidential “Escort of Honour”.
In 1936 Stanley married his second wife Mildred Ross, a Canadian beauty. They became the Celebrity couple of the Sports world and travelled the world. Mildred recorded most of his races and honour occasions with her famous Cine Camera. A large amount of that film history has been preserved.
After the war he took part in many scrambles and exhibitions but his racing days were over. He started a motor business in the City but later relocated to Co Down where he spent the rest of his life. Stanley Woods died in Castlewellan Co Down in July 1993.
back to....Miscellany Corner