1984 Stan Russell

Stan Russell 1916-2010

Photo from 1984 Circuit of Munster programme

IN PROFILE Bernard Kelly talking with Stan Russell from LIMERICK MOTORING NEWS The Journal of the Limerick Motor Club Ltd. November 1982

Since joining L.M.C. about 12 years ago one of the Members I have admired most is Stan Russell. He is, to my mind, the epitome of a Club Member. This is borne out by the fact that he keeps a very low profile but is always involved. I can remember very few L.M.C. run events at which he did not officiate - but unlike many others he was given a job, he did it thoroughly and efficiently and that was that. No Bouquets and No Bows.
For this reason I choose him as my subject in this the first of a regular "In Profile" interviews with some of our more illustrious Members.

B.K.: Stan, you have been a Member of L.M.C. since its inception in 1948. Who conceived the idea of a Motor Club in Limerick ?
Stan, The man who first got the idea of forming a Motor Club was R.I.C. (Ricky)Kemp, an employee of B.0.A.C. at Shannon. He was friendly with Dermod O'Brien - who is still in Limerick - and as both of them had sports cars they got the initial idea of a Motor Club. I had a Motor-bike at the time and knew both of them so I joined with them in forming the Club. Others who were involved at that time included Sean Fitzgerald who worked with T.W.A. in Shannon, Hector Newenham - who lives in Lisnagry and still competes in Saloon Car Racing, and Jimmy Eades. Dermod O'Brien and Jimmy Eades went to the R.I.A.C. and had the Club affiliated. This was in 1948 and the Club was then known as The Limerick Light Car and Motor Cycle Club.

B.K.: How many Members were there initially and what events were held ?
Stan: There were only 20 to 30 Members at first but this grew to over 100 by the early 1950's. The first event held by the Club was an (illegal) Hillclimb for Motor-bikes at Gallows Hill on 2nd. May 1948. (photograph of the entrants and officials at this event below). Other events run (Legally) that year were a Race on the Strand at Lahinch for both Cas and Motor-bikes and Grasstrack Racing at Thomond Park.

1948 Motorcycle trial
On bikes left to right Derek Waterstone, unknown, Mick Barry, Jimmy Eades, Graham Leask, Stan Russell
Also standing from right to left the 1st person is Ricky Kemp, 4th Gerdie McNamara, 6th Sean Fitzgerald, 7th Tony O'Brien, 8th Joe Garry, 9th Derri O'Brien, 11th Pat Phillips

B.K.: Since then you have seen the Club "progress" to its present standing -
has it developed as the Founders would have wished ?
Stan: The club was formed to organise and run Motorsport events for enthusiasts and it has never ceased to do this. This is what the Founders wanted and would have wished for..Motor Cyclists have not been catered for since the early 50's as this form of the sport was never very popular in the Limerick area.

B.K. : Did you ever compete in Motorsport events and if so in what capacity?
Stan : Yes, as a Motorcyclist. I competed first in a Reliability Trial on 5th. December 1936. I was a member of Dublin and District and competed in the Dublin area until 1939 when the War started and all forms of Motorsport were stopped. I came to Limerick in 1942 and started competing again after the War. I took part in Team Competition in Reliability Trials  run by the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland Southern Centre. In 1939 I had progressed to the stage where I was looking forward to competing in International events but as I said the War put a stop to that. I was member of Dublin and District until 1948 when L.M.C. was formed.

B.K. : You have seen Motorsport "develop" in Limerick to its present standard - what are the greatest changes you have witnessed and how good or bad are they ?
Stan : The greatest change has been the introduction of Special Stages. As you know Rallying in the 1940's and 50's was made up of Navigation and Trials. The sport now is much more skilled. It is also more competitive and has become terribly expensive. I think it has become too expensive for the beginner and this is the one thing I would like to see reversed.

B.K. : In recent times you appear to have officiated at most events organised by L.M.C.. What pleasure do you get from this ?
Stan : Since 1948 I have helped out at events for just one reason - I have an inbred love of the sport and when you have this you enjoy working at it.

B.K. : What advice would you give a new Member joining L.M.C. ?
Stan : If you cannot afford to compete in an event, help out in organising it. You can develop great pleasure from doing the odd jobs that need doing. Also, you can compete on events like closed navigation rallies which are inexpensive to take part in. Whatever else - get involved;

B.K. : What direction would you like L.M.C. take from now ?
Stan: I would like to see the Club have its' own Clubhouse. The other thing I would like would be to see a plan to get enthusiasts and members together - discussing and planning new developments in the sport.

B.K. Comment : We, the members of L.M.C., should feel honoured to have had the service of Stan Russell since our Clubs foundation. We should wish to have a dozen like Members at the moment.

Additional biographical information. Stan's early life was in Kiltiernan, Co Dublin, he was married with three children and was employed as a manager at Irish Shell's depot, Shannon airport. Stan's bother Benji lost his life at the 1947 Isle of Man motorcycle Grand Prix.

CommitteeStanding  left to right P Heelan, S Russell, S Fitzgerald, J Eades, J Garry
Sitting left to right Derry O'Brien, Rickie Kemp, M O'Connor

Photograph from a 1972 club function
Standing left to right Hector Newenham, George Newenham, P Fogarty, S Russell, Val Baker, J Garry
Seated Ned Cussen, Derry O'Brien, Claire Fitzgerald, To be confirmed, Ger McNamara

Stan Russell, Sean Cox, Hal Lewis

1998 50th anniversary

Photograph taken at the 50th anniversary of the club's formation dress dance in 1998

The club archivist appreciates Stan's family allowing the use of his collection of material about the club, which has provided the resources for this article and numerous other articles on the club's history.