EVEN with earlier road closing times, every minute counted over the two day road race meeting at the Armoy Road Races.
Friday presented a day of practice and qualifying races however with a major oil spill and a number of red flags, rain finally halted the programme as riders gathered on the grid to run the Hilton Supersport 600cc race as the heavens opened.
Saturday began with a damp and wet course but once racing began and the weather improved, it was with a 14 race programme with the two races from the previous evening starting the day.
Bill Kennedy MBE, Chairman of the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club and Clerk of the Course, said, “We went out on a high. It was a long two days, and I can’t thank all of the riders enough that came and put a show on for the fans. There was some terrific racing but by far the best race of the day was the Galgorm Supertwins where it was almost a photo finish with newcomer Jamie Coward, Michael Sweeney and Paul Jordan. It was just incredible.
“However, it was the Man of the Meeting, Davey Todd, that dominated the competition. He had told me some time ago that this was his favourite circuit and had been telling me all year that he hoped he could come, and we were delighted when he did. He absolutely loves the course so well done Davey with all his wins.
“There was not a bad race in it, it was a great day of racing from riders, near and far. You just have to look at the top ten riders in the Bayview Hotel Race of Legends and every one of them are great riders. I’ve had some feedback from the visiting riders who were here for the first time, and they just loved the circuit but what made it really special for them was the reception from the fans when they slowed down they could hear them clapping – everyone felt very welcomed and said they can’t wait to be back here next year.
“I also have to mention our local riders, particularly Darryl Tweed, who was on the front cover of our programme. He’s a big favourite with the fans and what a performance he put on during the Hilton Car Sales Supersport. It was also great to see Neil Kernohan, another local favourite, and a lovely fella, who is also a good racer. We saw him battle down through the field, I think in the Euro Autospares Open, to come a very credible ninth. Well done, Neil.
“A highlight this year was the introduction of the new Steadplan Sales Classic Superbike and the quality of riders in this category and seeing and hearing these bikes was just tremendous. It’s a class that is going to catch on. I had so many riders say to me they had a bike in the garage but not prepped and if they had known about it, they would have been here. So, I look forward to what next year holds for that race but well done Jamie [Coward] on winning it this year – I think Steadplan was delighted to be handing over the winning trophy to their own rider.”
When asked who stood out over the last two days, he added: “All in all I could name 20 riders who stood out but there is a big fella Matt Stevenson, former Manx Grand Prix winner, and in my opinion, he’ll be one to watch and I think he had a really good Armoy.”
“I have to also thank the fans. We had a magnificent crowd. I thought it would be difficult to beat the crowds from last year but on both sides of the road from the various viewing points the crowds were massive. I’ve had more people than I ever knew come to me and comment that they never seen so many people at Armoy as they did this year – so we must be doing something right.”
“There is no doubt we had our challenges, on Friday the weather beat us in the end, the major oil spill on Friday was time consuming, but everyone knew where they were starting on the grid come Saturday. Overall, we had six red flags and nine riders down and my understanding is that all will be going home today [Sunday] but I’ll be checking in on everyone.
“Two other groups I need to thank. The support from our key sponsors, has been just amazing, as always. To our main sponsor Bayview Hotel and the many race sponsors, Mermaid Club, Diamond Bar, Hilton Car Sales, James McKillop, JW Hickinson & Co, MJF Construction, Steadplan Sales, Lunneys Electrical, Bluesky Resource Recovery, Euro Autospares, Tilesplus, Galgorm, Clyde Shanks, Park Electrical Services and Davey Chambers, Brap Moto, and Torra Homes, I’d like to say a sincere thank you to each and every one.
“We’ve had others help too, those who sponsor a bale or take an advertisement in the programme. However, none of it works without the help and assistance of the volunteers and the Club members. There are many that go above and beyond, giving of their time freely with nothing in exchange other than putting on a great race meeting. Some do give more than their time and one example of this is our own club member, Paul McAuley, who kindly sponsors the Man of the Meeting. Everyone plays a vital part in the running of these races.”
“Now that they are over there’s still much work to do and possibly a little reflection. Our first job, though, is to dismantle the course, return Armoy to the beautiful village it is and thereafter we will and, in due course, begin our preparations for 2023.”
The Armoy Road Races event is enabled by funding from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.