Six female competitors set to race at Armoy
ROAD Racing is often thought of as a man’s sport but times are changing and this year at the Armoy Road Races sponsored by RiverRidge Recycling there are no lessthan six female road racers planning to compete across four races.
Leading the offensive is renowned female road racer, Maria Costello MBE from Northampton. She will be riding a Kawasaki ER6 in the Roadside Garages Kia Super Twin 650cc race. Maria who has championed female road racing for some 20 years is no stranger to the Armoy circuit being placed a very credible 10th in last year’s races.
Also returning to Armoy this year is Yvonne Montgomery from Carryduff on a Kawasaki ZXR who will be riding in the Diamond Bar 400cc Race.
The remaining four female riders are all newcomers, well known International road racer Veronika Hankocy from the Czech Republic (pictured above), Sarah Boyes from York along with local riders Melissa Kennedy from Enniskillen and Suzanne Douglas from Sixmilebridge.
Bill Kennedy, Clerk of the Course, said, “It’s great to see female riders in the pack. This is a sport for everyone and we are really looking forward to seeing what this weekend at Armoy brings for all of the road racers.
“At this stage of the week we are working really hard to get the course set up,keeping one eye on the weather and just putting the finishing touches to the course. By Thursday evening and Friday morning we’ll be waiting on all the road racers and their teams to descend on us and then, regardless of male, female, young or young at heart it’ll all be down to some good and safe racing.
“I wish all our six female competitors a great two days’ racing and may they give the rest of them a run for their money.”
Sarah Boyes and Melissa Kennedy will be racing in the Bayview Hotel Moto3 GP 125 cc. Suzanne Douglas and Veronika Hankocy will be racing in the Mermaid Club andArmoy Homes Junior Support race, and Verionika Hankocy will also race in the Roadside Motors Kia 650cc Super Twin Race with Maria Costello MBE.
Armoy Road Races are sponsored by RiverRidge Recycling, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Moyle District Council's Tourism Events Fund.
Bike Week 2014 is from 20th – 26th July. For more information on the RiverRidge Recycling’s ‘Race of the Legends’ visit www.amrrc.com or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook and join the official fan page and you can also follow us on twitter at @ArmoyRoadRaces.
Please support the Armoy Road Races by buying a programme. They are now available from the AMRRC office and the Petrol Station in Armoy and cost £10.00.
British Supersport contender Glenn Irwin has revealed he will make his road racing debut in the Supertwin class at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix this August.
The 24 year old, currently riding for Gearlink Kawasaki, has signed a deal to ride the injured Jamie Hamilton’s VRS Racing machine at Dundrod and is already looking forward to the challenges the circuit will bring.
Irwin said: “I’ve always been interested in road racing and I’ve been wanting to have a go now for a few years, but I thought it would be probably be too difficult to organise alongside my commitments in British Supersport.
“I would like to thank Gearlink and Kawasaki UK for allowing me to take this opportunity and I think now is a good time for me to start, especially in the Supertwin class, as it’s slightly slower than the bigger bikes but still really competitive.
“The Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix is the road race I most enjoy as a spectator, but it will all be totally new when I race there this August. I’ve never even ridden a bike on the road and it will be very different to the short circuits. You have to have your wits about you, but I’m excited to give it a go,” he added.
The Carrick rider is realistic about his prospects for this year’s event but is confident that he can make the switch between disciplines and machinery.
Irwin added: “It’s hard to say how things will go in your first road race but I think that if you start with the right attitude and do your homework there’s no reason a short circuit rider like me can’t be successful on the roads.”
One thing he can be sure of is that he will have plenty of support from his family and fellow racers. His father, Alan, was a successful road racer in his day and is passing his knowledge on to his son.
Glenn said: “We’ve been round the track in the car a few times and hopefully I’ll be able to follow in his footsteps.”
Commenting on the announcement Robbie Sylvester, VRS Team Manager said: “It’s great to have Glenn competing for us. I know how he’s been doing a lot on the British scene and our bikes have been really competitive with race wins and lap records, so it’s a great opportunity.”
Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix said: “We are all looking forward to seeing Glenn out on track at Dundrod. He’s proven what a talent he is on the 600cc machines and his dad was a great road racer himself, so hopefully it runs in the family.
“It’s always nice to see road-racing pass through generations and Glenn will be made more than welcome in the paddock. He’s the latest addition to what’s shaping up to be a fantastic line up and I’m sure we’ll see some great racing come Bike Week.”
To find out more, visit www.ulstergrandprix.net. You can also follow @UlsterGrandPrix on Twitter and find us on Facebook.
A host of Rally stars joined organisers and special guests in the stately grandeur of the Castle Coole Estate to launch the 2014 Todds Leap Ulster Rally. The event, which will return to Fermanagh for a second year will again play host to all the best drivers and cars from across the UK, Ireland and beyond, and an action packed extravaganza is expected by race fans on 15th and 16th August.
Backed by title sponsor Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and a number of local businesses, the award winning two day event offers a race line-up to cater for all the premier British and Irish Rally Championships including the MSA British Rally Championship and BRC Challenge, the Irish Tarmac, MSA British and Irish Historic and the Northern Ireland Rally Championships.
Ulster Rally Clerk of Course Lewis Boyd paid tribute to the local competitors and key event partners saying,
“It is again very satisfying to be here at Castle Coole in Fermanagh to launch the 2014 Ulster Rally. This time last year we celebrated a win for Alistair Fisher and Gordon Noble at the Scottish Rally. This year they are returning from a fantastic 2nd place in the Junior World Rally Championship event in Poland and its Daniel McKenna who celebrates a Scottish victory to strengthen his lead of the British Rally Championship. I believe that Co. Fermanagh, and its neighbouring counties, continue to be the perfect location for this year’s event. We have to thank everyone who help make it all possible especially the enthusiastic support of Todds Leap, Fermanagh District Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and I look forward, with their help, to the safe running of this event on 15th and 16th of August.”
2012 NITB award winner, Todds Leap, the activity, conference and training centre is once again backing the race as title sponsor and Managing Director Benny O’Hanlon said,
“Todds Leap is pleased to be sponsoring the Ulster Rally for the seventh consecutive year. As Northern Ireland's number one activity centre we are totally dedicated and committed to backing regional events which support the tourist trade and the local economy. The Todds Leap Ulster Rally attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Ireland each year and reaches a wider global audience, show casing the region at its sporting best. Todds Leap is looking forward to another successful rally and we wish the organisers, participants and supporters all the best for what will be a thrilling event.”
Welcoming the return of the event to Enniskillen, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Councillor Bert Johnston, commented;
“Fermanagh District Council is delighted to support the 2014 Ulster Rally. County Fermanagh is internationally renowned for its motorsport heritage and we look forward to welcoming rally drivers, crews, officials and spectators from across Europe to the Fermanagh Lakelands in August. We wish everyone involved a safe and enjoyable rally."
Entries for the event are just about to open and the organisers, Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd anticipate a top line up of local and international competitors including Scottish Rally winner McKenna, last year’s Rally NI winner Osian Pryce, Jon Armstrong and a host of British and Northern Ireland Rally Championship frontrunners.
The Irish Tarmac Championship will be well represented with current Championship leading driver, and recent Donegal Rally winning cousins Declan & Brian Boyle, Killarney winner Sam Moffett along with previous Championship winners Garry Jennings, Derek McGarrity and a multitude of other WRC cars expected to return to do battle. Also included in the Ulster Rally programme is the popular Historic section from both the British and the Irish Historic Championships.
The Enniskillen area has enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the Ulster Rally, having hosted the traditional Saturday morning breakfast halt in Ballinamallard during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and after the success of last year’s event, which won the ‘Best British Championship Event Award’ for the 4th time in the last 5 years, the organisers are delighted to be returning to the Fermanagh Lakelands.
The Todds Leap Ulster Rally encompasses 130 competitive miles over 15 stages in the Fermanagh and Tyrone regions. Set to kick off at lunchtime on Friday 15th August with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen town centre, the rally finishes back in the town centre on Saturday from 4pm.
This year will also see the return of the family friendly Spectator Special stage and other attractions at the St. Angelo Airport complex along with the event’s Central Service Park – all within easy reach of Enniskillen town centre. Rally HQ will be based at the Belmore Court & Motel and the organisers expect 300 drivers and co-drivers, supported by over 600 service crew, to be competing in up to 150 rally cars over the two day period.
For the last number of years the event has attracted over 10,000 spectators, visitors, officials, and competitors from Ireland, the UK and further afield and generated in access of half a million pounds for the local economy each year. It’s also set to be broadcast on local TV, nationally and on global networks reaching 850 homes worldwide.
Pictured above are Gary Jennings (left) and Daniel McKenna at Castle Coole for the launch of the 2014 Todds Leap Ulster Rally
The Armoy Road Races Bike Week gets underway in just a few days, with a packed programme and it promises to offer something for everyone.
The week kicks off on Sunday 20th July with the popular annual Bike Run and Barbeque, which will begin at Tilly Molloy’s in the heart of Armoy village. Last year, over 100 riders signed on for this now very popular tour of the beautiful Antrim coast.
This year, the route will head off to Glenarm via Ballycastle and Waterfoot, stopping at Carnlough before arriving at Glenarm for a quick photo shoot outside the Castle walls. On then to Larne and the Battery Inn to take in the views before returning via Broughshane, Clough and Cloughmills, and then on to Armoy for a couple of laps of the circuit. Then it is back to Tilly Molloy’s for a Barbeque on the decking overlooking the River Bush and all for £10.
Bill Kennedy, Clerk of the Course, said, “Bike week is a great opportunity to bring people to Armoy and see all that is great about the area and the races.
“During the week we’ve various activities including the local Ballymoney Cycling Club racing around our circuit on Tuesday evening. They’ll be completing a total of nine laps, 27 miles in total with presentation and refreshments in Tilly Molloy’s.
“Wednesday sees a classic car display which just about brings Armoy to a standstill but is well worth waiting for. Each year it just gets bigger and bigger and the cars are just beautiful classic cars.
Thursday celebrates our racing heritage with a gathering of the Coleraine Motorcycle Club and Japanese Vintage Club bikes from our racing past, all before our very own Garth Brooks (aka Jason Hughes) takes to the stage later that evening. There really is no need to go to Dublin – we’ve our own country music star in Armoy!”
“Then we are straight into Practice and Race days on Friday and Saturday, where road racing begins in earnest in Armoy. This year we’ll have the first of our road races on Friday night –a Supersport 600cc race (1) sponsored by Parker Transport of Ballycastle and I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to them and welcome them on board as a new sponsor at Armoy in 2014.
“Of course I shouldn’t forget about the renowned Miss Armoy Competition in St Olcan’s Hall on the Friday evening where you’ll see a host of ladies vying for the enviable role and title of Miss Armoy, with entertainment from Phoenix Rising.
“Young and old, fans and family just come along to the Armoy Race Bike week -there’s something there for you all to enjoy!”
Race week schedule:
SUNDAY 20th July - Bike Run & Barbeque: Now becoming a popular event to launch the Armoy Race Week, this years Bike Run will head off to Glenarm via Ballycastle and Waterfoot, stopping at Carnlough before arriving at Glenarm for a quick photo shoot outside the Castle walls. On then to Larne and the Battery Inn to take in the views before returning via, Broughshane, Clough and Cloughmills before returning to Armoy for a couple of laps of the circuit before returning to Tilly Molloy’s for a Barbeque on the decking overlooking the River Bush. And all for only £10.00
TUESDAY 22nd July - Ballymoney Cycling Club Race: Ballymoney Cycling Club will be holding a 9 lap (27 mile) race as part of their championship around the circuit starting off from the grid at 7:00 pm and finishing off in Armoy village. Presentation and refreshments after the race will be held in Tilly Molloy’s.
WEDNESDAY 23rd July - Classic Car Display & Touring: Ballymoney Old Vehicle Club will be visiting Tilly Molloy’s at 7.00pm for the 5th Year and this spectacle is growing in size & vehicles and now includes trucks etc and even a very large American Lorry. The buzz around the village causes gridlock, but it’s well worth it to watch the vehicles head off on their tour of the Armoy Race Circuit. Again refreshments are available in Tilly Molloy’s Hall.
THURSDAY 25th July - Classic Bike Display & Touring: Celebrate our racing heritage with a gathering of the Coleraine Motorcycle Club & the Japanese Vintage Club displaying bikes for our racing past. The Bikes will be on show outside Tilly Molloy’s in Armoy village from 7.00 pm before heading off with a few laps of the Armoy circuit. Refreshments will be available in Tilly Molloy’s.
Ireland’s own Garth Brooks: Jason Hughes: A special event at St Olcans Hall, Armoy after the Vintage bike display, costing only £8 to see Ireland's top Garth Brooks tribute (Jason Hughes) perform on stage. Tickets can be bought at the Armoy Club Office on race week or on entry to the hall, doors open at 9.00pm.
FRIDAY 25th July - Practice Day, New 600cc Supersport Race & Miss Armoy Competition: Roads close from 12.30pm to allow for race practice and re-open no later than 9.30 pm. A new 600cc Supersport Race has been introduced this year which will be held during the course of the evening’s practice. This new race will form part of our ‘Man of the Meeting’ Award and is an exciting addition to our race programme. Miss “Armoy” will be crowned in St. Olcans Hall (Glenshesk Road) Armoy from 9.30 pm. With guest Judges and entertainment provided by Phoenix Rising, a bar and a host of beautiful ladies lining up to take the title of ‘Miss Armoy 2014’ this will be a great night’s entertainment, at a cost of only £4, a great way to celebrate our 6th birthday and to finish off the day’s practice and racing.
SATURDAY 26th July - The RiverRidge Recycling ‘Race of Legends’: Roads close from 10.00 am for racing and reopen no later than 7.30pm. A full 11 Race Day programme including a Parade Lap featuring Frank Kennedy’s RG 500 will be racing around the roads of Armoy to thrill spectators who’ll gather to witness another great battle between today’s road racing giants. New spectator viewing on Hillside Road and bar facilities at St Olcan’s Hall in the village are also now available.
Picture above shows a few of the top racers racing at Armoy 2013.