THE Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club has announced that it's all systems go for organising the Armoy Road Races on Friday 30th & Saturday 31st July after the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (MCUI) approved the event regulations.
However, there will be a few changes this year, according to Clerk of the Course, Bill Kennedy MBE.
“For the last number of months we’ve been watching closely all the various restrictions and associated data and praying that we can put the Armoy Road Races on," he explained.
"Although substantial steps are being taken in the Covid vaccination process and with restrictions slowly lifting to various degrees, we will be running a ‘closed event’.
"We’re fortunate in that the Armoy course is over three miles long with an abundance of natural grandstands, with many of the viewing areas on hilly grass fields.
“For now, we have to plan a race that will have various guidelines and restrictions in place. To this end, there will be an online booking system for spectators.
"This will allow us to monitor visitor numbers allowing for spectators to be suitably socially distanced. There will also be restrictions to the paddock for riders and teams - and changes to the way we as organisers and officials run our event.
“We are still working on the finer detail and with restrictions constantly changing, ensuring racing spectators are at the races is a great start," he added.
As both the regulations and entry forms for competitors, along with the all-important spectator passes for those wishing to attend, go online, the club stressed that there were many decisions taken, and more still to be made, to ensure the safety of those attending given the current coronavirus pandemic.
One aspect to be considered is sponsors - an integral part of the Armoy Road Races. Sponsors’ backing, along with funding grants, is critical to the running of the races.
“It was initially announced that we would receive much needed funding from the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council but at this stage we are not really sure where that is," continued Billy Kennedy.
"We understand that it is being reviewed, which is disappointing for those locally, the club and the road racing fraternity. We remain hopeful but one thing I’m certain of is that it is critical to ensuring the future of the Armoy Road Races.
“Regarding other sponsors, and again it’ll be a different type of event this year for them, we are delighted to see a number of local sponsors back.
"However, for various reasons - whether a sponsor had come to their end of sponsorship agreement or it isn’t for them this year - we do have a number of races available. We would ask anyone interested to get in touch by emailing the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With talks underway with Greenlight TV, this is a great opportunity for someone to support road racing and ensure their brand is featured as part of the Armoy Road Races 2021.
"Our Facebook has over 14,500 followers and our Twitter page has nearly 9,000, so we are keen to work alongside any sponsor so that they can maximise any package agreed.”
As one of Northern Ireland’s prime motorsport gatherings, the Armoy Road Races has a rich history of bringing together the best-known riders both locally and internationally.
With this year set to be a little different for many reasons, the club will be doing its best to accommodate as many as is feasible within the guidelines set.
For more information on Armoy Road Races, visit www.armoyroadraces.com or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook or follow on twitter @ArmoyRoadRaces.