A Titanic World Record Motorcycle Attempt in Ireland

Titanic Irish Motorcycle Challenge

On October 5, 1912, the two “enthusiastic motorcyclists” departed out of Philadelphia by steamship with Dublin as their port of call. They meant to undertake what was described by the journalist of the time as, “The longest, most difficult and most perilous motorcycle journey ever attempted.”

That is some kind of hype, and so it went. Carl Stearns Clancy, an audacious American original if ever there was one, was made of some wild seed.

Clancy’s route across North Africa, a tough hump as a ride even today on modern machines and politically impossible in these, the fractious times in which we live, was brutal and lonely. Clancy and Storey planned to map – and ride – a route around the world. The pair covered the tab for that epic ride penning adventure copy for newspapers and magazines. They followed up by cashing in by writing a what essentially became The Roadmap for any riders crazy enough to try it for themselves.

Carl Stearns Clancy was a cheeky bastard.

It was one hell of a ride from the very first day out of the box.

Though he was a “motorcycle enthusiast,” Storey was painfully inexperienced and took a horrific crash – on the first day. Storey escaped serious injury, but his bike was left at a Dublin yard for repairs. Over the following 400 miles Clancy rode with all the luggage on the back. And Storey sitting on the gas tank of the team’s remaining serviceable motorcycle.

Through some truly wretched weather and after a two month layover in Paris, Storey cashed in his chips and headed stateside. The bike he laid down (after repairs were completed) found a new home in the window of a  Henderson dealer in Paris.

Clancy saddled up set off for Spain packing a  handgun and planned to forge his way into Africa.

If you want to know the whole completely enthralling story of the trip, this forum offers some serious scholarly input on the details of the trip.



On the Belfast leg of the IAM Around British Isles Bike Ride, we are going to attempt to set a world record for the most different makes of motorcycle in a parade.

In association with Adelaide Insurance and Quay Vipers, the IAM will be looking to beat the target of 138 set at the Donington Park Race Circuit by the KillSpills Campaign (UK) in May 2007.

We’re targeting the Northern Ireland leg in recognition of New Yorker, Carl Stearns Clancy.

Clancey was the first person to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle and he began his epic journey in Ireland, setting off from Dublin and up through Belfast on the first leg of this historic trip in 1912.

Carl Stearns Clancy on his new 1912 Henderson, one of five produced, at the start of the great adventure to be the first to “girdle the globe.” (Photo: Provided by Dr. Gregory W. Frazier)

“Around the world on a motorcycle? Insane idea!” wrote Carl Stearns Clancy in 1912 before he and partner Walter Storey set out to be the first motorcyclists to ride around the world.

Clancy added, “Old Mother Earth has been circled by almost everything at one time or another. Sailing crafts, steamships, railway trains, bicycles, pedestrians and motorcars have all had their turn. Nothing remains but the airship, the submarine and the motorcycle—and now we are going to give the motorcycle a chance.”

Starting at the Titanic Quarter on the Queens Road, the 2 mile route will make its way to Belfast City Hall via Queens Bridge, Oxford Street, May Street, Howard Street, Great Victoria Street and Wellington Palace. To avoid congestion motorcyclists participating will continue on a route back to the Titanic Quarter for BBQ and refreshments

Please register your details so we can categorize your bike in preparation for the Parade and Record Attempt. Before you take part, there are some very specific criteria which we need to meet. Please take the time to read them before registering.

Entry Guidelines

  • For the purposes of this record, the make or marque of each motorcycle is the name under which the particular machine is branded or was sold. This should be displayed somewhere on the machine as well as verified by the registration documents.
  • The length of the line created by these vehicles may be recorded for interest but is not relevant to the record attempt.
  • All drivers must hold a full driving license.
  • All vehicles participating in this world record attempt must be moving – it is not acceptable merely to park them in a row.
  • The minimum distance of the parade must be 3.2 km. (2 miles) from the starting point to the finish (all vehicles must cross the start line and drive the length of the route to the finish line).
  • If a vehicle cannot complete the route, that vehicle must be deducted from the total count.
  • There must be no significant ‘gaps’ in the flow of vehicles. The vehicles in the parade may not be more than two vehicle-lengths apart during the parade.
  • License plate numbers and the make and model of all vehicles participating in the parade must be provided.
  • The rider is responsible for ensuring that the bike they bring is roadworthy and legal.


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  1. June 20, 2012

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