Dennis Paul Ireland 1968–1971
Dennis passed the School Certificate Examinations in 1970 and he left King’s part way through his 6th Form year (Year 12) in 1971.
In 1976, Dennis had left Dunedin to pursue a Motorcycle Road-Racing career in Europe, where better financial opportunities were available. He was quickly picked up by the Derry Locke wholesale Company who sponsored a Motorcycle Racing team. Dennis was appointed as Managing Director of the Derry Team in 1977. In 1978, he hit the headlines by winning the Race of Aces in England, beating the then World Champion.
During two decades of mainly European events, he raced beside – and sometimes beat – some of the greats in Motorcycle racing. In 1979 he won the Belgian Grand Prix, and was voted NZ Motorcycle Sportsman of the Year. While contracted to the Suzuki Great Britain team, a publicity photo-shoot went wildly wrong, he crashed into a concrete post and was hospitalized for five months. He had 11 operations on his leg, ankle, foot, and tendons. While in hospital, he met his future wife, Angela, a Nurse. In 1982 he won the Isle of Man TT feature event, plus he had a brace of impressive placings from around the highly competitive European circuit.
Dennis is generally rated as Otago’s most successful motorsport sportsman. After the birth of the first of three daughters, he retired from racing and became involved in the Heavy Commercial Transport Industry in England. He returned to Dunedin with his family in 2003 – with 10 imported trucks of varying sizes.
Later in April 2004, Dennis established Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), a one million vehicle supply company in Ward St, Dunedin. The business also included a Kawasaki Dealership, thereby maintaining links with his Motorcycle racing past. His business rented an extreme range of vehicles: trucks, concrete-mixer trucks, diggers, trailers, and even jet skis. His enterprise has proved to be so successful that he expanded to Cromwell, opening a five-person operation there.
After almost 19 years when Dennis was of retirement age the company was wound up and removed from the companies register. The final dissolution date being 6th October 2021.
Photo: Dennis Ireland (Suzuki) 1980 Classic TT