In the mid 50’s, from the sleepy village of Manor Kilbride, Co. Wicklow, the roar from four stroke scramblers could be heard. The roar awakened a curiosity in a young Andy Deane, who lived there with his mother. It led him to take off over the fields and investigate. It was coming from Red Bog, Blessington, where a designated dirt bike track existed. After observing these guys racing round this old sand pit.....the seed was sown. The noise and the smell of Castrol R was enough to excite young Andy and from that moment, Andy wanted to be a motorcyclist. As a teenager, Andy and his friend hitch hiked round county Cork and Kerry. While there, he met an old school friend, Tim Allen, husband of Darina Allen, of Ballymaloe fame. Tim had a Honda 50cc, and offered Andy a go.
This was his first actual ride on a bike .....he liked it, and wanted more !.
Soon after returning home he took himself off to Stanley Woods in Pearse Street, Dublin, and invested in a 98cc Moto Guzzi. It was the first of many bikes that he would own. Two weeks later it was stolen from outside the Number 5 beat club in Harcourt St. He got it back, but it was wrecked. So it was back to Stanley Woods to buy another one. He was still at school at this time, when misfortune struck again, when he wrote off his newly purchased Guzzi at Hazel Hatch, Celbridge. He bought a third Guzzi, but it had to be second hand, as cash was getting tight.
At 18, he left school and went to work for Booth Bros., an engineering business in Pembroke Row, off Baggot St in Dublin. It was here he meet the ever popular Ken Reidy, RIP. Andy at this time was riding a 250cc. Royal Enfield, and Ken had a 150cc. Honda. Naturally they became mates, and Andy would buy one of the first 175cc. Honda’s to come into the Country. All through these years, Andy was constantly acquiring bikes, doing them up and selling them on.
Andy was now riding a DOT motorcycle and with the help of Bill Anderson, Andy immersed himself in Trials and Scrambling events, traveling to Red Bog, Crooksling and other designated tracks in the area. He would ride to these events with no lights or number plates, race, and ride home again. As his riding improved, he bought a brand new Bultaco 250cc from Harry Lindsey in 1969, and still has fond memories of taking it from its delivery crate.
Andy was still wanting to ride on the road and with the help of two well-known acquaintances from Bray, Co. Wicklow, Paddy Maddock and Joe Murphy RIP, he was guided to Noel Whitney RIP, who had a very good 350cc Norton for sale. A deal was done and Andy went home with two tea chests full of bike parts, and assembled it himself.
Today that Norton is still ridden in Schull, Co. Cork.
Among the many bikes he owned was a lovely little 250cc. Ducati. This was a lively machine and he decided to try his hand at road racing. He entered a race in Mondelo Park, but crashed. Andy had a sudden change of mind, racing was not to be for him!.
With itchy feet he took himself off to the U.K. on his trusty 350cc Velocette Viper. During his time there, he became friendly with Burt Furnace, a mechanic who worked for Vic Camp, a well-known Ducati main dealer. Burt gave him an in depth crash course on the workings of the Desmo Ducati’s, which stood to him in later years when restoring some of his Italian bikes.
Andy considered himself lucky to have lived in the UK for a period during the swinging 60’s, 1969 to be exact, where he frequented many of the famous beat clubs of the day and witnessed the rise of performers, such as Cream, Spencer Davis, Lee Dorsey, The Rolling stones, a very sexy Tina Turner, and lots more of those who would eventually be household names.
In 1970, he returned from the U.K. and for a short while went to work for Danfay, the Yamaha Distributors. This was followed by a stint in Dockrells, selling furniture.......”the worst job he ever had”. In 1973 , while working for Padraig Nolan, who sold TV’s, washing machines, motorcycles etc., he was involved in a very serious accident involving a truck, being driven by a drunk driver who smashed into him, wrecking his Honda, and damaging his leg very badly. This curtailed his biking for a while, but eventually he got back on his feet again commuting on a Yamaha 50cc. which he rode with his crutches strapped to the bike.
He got a job with Fergus O’ Farrell doing all types of wood turning, and this was how he was able to produce the wooden trophies which were presented to all participants of Eamon Morrissey’s “Photo Rally” in 1975……. probably the first ever Photo Rally!.
Because of his involvement in the motorcycle scene, Andy would have known many of the DMTC members, especially since he attended any event that was organized for road bikes. So his friend Mary Faulkner invited him to join the club, which was starting to flourish around this time.
At every opportunity, Andy was venturing further afield on his then Honda 500cc. He bought the first F1 Honda 750cc to come into the Country. This was replaced by a 750cc 3 cylinder water cooled Suzuki, better known as “The Kettle”. They were notorious for drinking fuel, which he discovered while on his way home from a Thistle Rally in Scotland. He had to fill up three times, while chasing Eamon Waldron [ RIP], trying to catch the last boat from Stranraer. He thought it had sprung a leak, as it was using so much fuel!. Not wanting to go broke by having to feed this thirsty machine, he took himself off to see Leonard O’Kelly, a club member who worked for “McHugh Himself”, in Talbot St. Dublin, and purchased a brand new Honda Gold Wing.
While attending Lorcan Greene’s wedding in Florence, Italy, he got a taste for continental touring, which has since never left him. In 1977, while on a Riders Rally, Andy met Dr. Margaret O’Regan at a rally check point. She was riding a 750cc BMW. Margaret was as passionate about motorbikes as Andy was, with the result, a friendship developed. Once a month, they both would travel to the U.K. and Scotland attending Rallies and any other bike events which took their fancy. Andy and Margaret married, and when their two children, Richard and Margarita arrived, they purchased a sidecar outfit.
Their first trip with the family was to France, using an 1100cc Kawasaki. Looking for something with a bit more poke, he went back to a Gold Wing. He became a member of the Gold Wing Owners Club, and attended their Rallies in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, and all over Europe. All through the 80’s and early 90’s, the family travelled to the Ukraine and Russia three times, to the Middle East on five occasions, traveling through Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordon and Egypt. They also visited Cyprus, Crete and Rhodes. During those years, Margaret also ran her own Rallies, called the “Hooded Cloak”, and the “Liberator Rally”, named after her hero, Daniel O’Connell. In 1996, Andy stopped all the traveling and went back to doing enduros with the occasional trip to the continent. Sadly, Margaret died in 2000.
In 2003, Andy met Deirdre O’Donnell and introduced her to motorcycling. Romance blossomed and they married in 2005. Every year they travel on holiday to mainland Europe, with Italy and Austria being two of their favourite countries. But for scenery and great biking roads, Norway is at the top of their list.
Today, Deirdre and Andy live in Ballycotton, Co. Cork. Andy meets up with his lifelong motorcycle friends every Tuesday and Friday for coffee and chat. He travels up to the DMTC club social in Shankill every month, and has been a staunch supporter of the DMTC for more years than he cares to remember. He is always available to offer support and advice on motorcycling to other members.
He is a member of the Royal Enfield Owners Club, and, the Moto Guzzi Owners Club GB and was awarded Honorary Membership of the Gold Wing Owners Club in 2016.
For the past number of years, his favourite events are the "DMTC Riders Rally", the "DMTC Way West Rally" and the "Photo Rally". Back in the 70’s he organized his own Rally, and called it the “Jack Rabbit Rally”, it was a Photo based event.
Over his lifetime, he has owned an unbelievable number of bikes, but the two that are most memorable, are his 250cc Ducati, and his Gold Wing which he bought second hand in the UK and put in excess of 250,000 miles on it without even having to replace a bulb. His current mount is a 500cc Royal Enfield and an MT 09 Yamaha Tracer.
Andy’s ambition is to keep on riding, traveling to interesting places, supporting club events, for as long as he can.
“He is one of life’s Gentlemen, and a True Motorcyclist ”