SATURDAY was the proudest day of Alan Munnis’ life, the wedding of his daughter and only child Alana.
But if anyone in attendance at the celebration was wondering why Alan was regularly juking outside clutching his mobile phone, the answer is a cruel twist of fate which led to the wedding clashing with what he describes as the highlight of his year, the Armoy Road Races.
Motorbike fanatic Alan (58) has lived and breathed the sport for as long as he can remember.
A close friend of the members of the legendary Armoy Armada, Alan was at Joey Dunlop’s side when the ‘King of the Road’ took to the track for the very first time and when Mervyn Robinson tied the knot, Ballymoney man Alan was among the groomsmen.
Having spent a lifetime touring across the UK and further afield to take in races, Alan was ecstatic when the Armoy Road Races brought the sport back to its spiritual home in north Antrim in 2008.
As a member of the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club he takes a hands-on approach at each event to ensure everything runs smoothly for the extravaganza, with his brother William vice-chairman of the club.
July 2011 was set to be a big month for Alan, with daughter Alana (28) tying the knot with Bushmills man Aaron Parke and the staging of the Armoy races on his doorstep once again.
But an incredibly unfortunate turn of events put the brakes on Alan’s well laid plans.
Speaking to the Times on Friday, Alan explained: “When we were discussing the reception earlier in the year I asked Alana to book it at the end of the month because the races were on beforehand.
“She said to me ‘Daddy you and your motorbikes!’.
“I thought everything had fallen into place perfectly!
“Then the next thing I knew was Armoy’s date was changed after the Clough races were moved.
“If we had stuck with the wedding on the date we had discussed to start with it would have worked out okay.
“The races are the highlight of the year for me but when its your daughter’s wedding what can you do?”
The special ceremony took place in the Church of Ireland, Bushmills, with the reception at Magherabuoy House Hotel.
Speaking beforehand Alan laughed that he would have to be coy when checking his phone with brother William promising he would keep him up-to-date with all the thrills and spills from the track.
Alan’s plight has set tongues wagging throughout the motorbike fraternity in Ballymoney and his dilemma has led to some gentle ribbing from his mates.
“Everybody I see is saying to me ‘Alan are you for the races?’ knowing full well I won’t be!
“A few have told me they will pick me up a copy of the DVD to watch afterwards too,” he laughed.