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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



22 June 2018

Reservists from 157 Divisional Support Company, 102 Battalion REME, provided valuable assistance at this year’s North West 200 at the same time gaining a wide range of new skills and knowledge.

This year’s REME Reserve Exercise Yellow Flag provided a platform to engage and provide assistance to the Coleraine and District Motor Club (CDMC) at the International North West 200 (NW200). The Exercise was STEM orientated with the REME reserve tradesmen providing technical assistance through the International NW200 Race Week, carrying out scrutineering of the Race Bikes as well as providing background engineering assistance at what is without doubt the largest outdoor sporting event in Ireland. With crowds reported to be in excess of 100K the NW200 Road Races provided a platform for REME Reservists to showcase the many transferable skills of the modern Reserve soldier, in particular the REME reserve tradesmen.  The REME Reserve in NI now have the resources to recruit and train soldiers in a number of various trade disciplines including Vehicle Mechanic, Metalsmith, Armourer and Recovery Mechanic. The added benefit is that all of the trade training on offer to the reservist now incorporates not only the essential military qualifications but the equivalent civilian qualifications. 

The Scrutineering process starting at 0700hrs each day and continued until the last practice session or race was completed.  The REME Reservists assisted in checking the 200 race bikes for conformance to the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), along with the competitors’ helmets, leathers, gloves and boots. This Scrutineering process was all under the critical eye of the FIM Senior Technical Steward and a Team of Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (MCUI) trained Scrutineers. 

This year, Exercise Yellow Flag also gave the REME Trades participants the opportunity to obtain an additional endorsed technical qualification in the form of the newly developed “Motor Cycle Racing Engineering and Technical Scrutineering Award.” In all a total of 15 engineering and risk assessment-based elements were incorporated to meet the awards standard, through the REME Reservists assistance during the NW200 festival.  The reserve solders were given a number of specifically designed demonstrations and presentations during the Exercise, in addition to their scrutineering work.  They were then required to provide written reports on their individual learning experience. These “write ups” were then assessed with a view to gaining the award.  

The demonstrations given included:

TYCO BMW Demonstration

Special thanks is owing to the NI based Tyco BMW Race team, who very kindly kept a Tyco BMW Superbikes stripped from the previous day’s practice session and then demonstrated the precision process of rebuilding and setting the Superbike up to the REME Tradesmen. The reservists were then given a guided tour of the many TYCO Race Support Trucks which are kitted out with specialist tools, components and parts.  


Tyre Manufacturers

Mr Jason Griffiths the Racing Manager at Pyrelli Tyres Ltd, gave a presentation to our soldiers on tyre compounds, type, choice, development, testing, alinement, fitment and balance. 

Mr Patrick Walsh, the Dunlop Tyres Race Support Manager, also provided a presentation on the development and selection of the Dunlop Tyres Range. The REME tradesmen then enjoyed some hands-on tyre fitting and were given a few trade secrets to ease the fitting and balancing process. 


Race Control Tower

Mr John Creighton, the NW200 Communications Manager, gave the reserves a guided tour of the Race Control Tower, which incorporates the major incident team and the major incident plan. The multi-agency approach that has developed over the years incorporates all emergency services in one area, ready for any challenge that may present itself. 

Visit to the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency Coleraine

A prearranged visit took place to Coleraine DVA (Testing) where the Motor Bicycle Roadworthiness Inspection Process was demonstrated as part of the learning package. This provided a good comparison between the MOT Roadworthiness inspection and the scrutineering process conducted on Racing Machines.  The DVA were impressed with the REME Tradesmen’s knowledge and interest in the inspection processes demonstrated and the detail provided on the day to day running of the facility which conducts over 300 Vehicle Inspections per day.


Whilst conducting their Scrutineering activities, 157 Company REME Reserve personnel captured the autographs of every competitor at the NW200 on an Air Ambulance Northern Ireland t shirt; this was framed and handed over to the charity for auction, with all proceeds going directly to the registered charity. 


Whilst presenting the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland with the framed autographed t-shirt, WO2 McKillop was invited to speak in the Hospitality Marquee to the NW200’s 600 plus Corporate Sponsors and guests. This provided a fantastic opportunity to promote the Army Reserve in NI and in particular the REME Company based at Kinnegar.