Sports round-up from across north Antrim - motorbikes, football and cycling

Winners of the Boys' Brigade Route Battalion Senior 5 aside Football competition held in Our Lady of Lourdes School, Ballymoney -  2nd Ballymoney.
Winners of the Boys' Brigade Route Battalion Senior 5 aside Football competition held in Our Lady of Lourdes School, Ballymoney - 2nd Ballymoney.

Ballymoney Motorcycle Show at Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre

Special guests at the Ballymoney Motorcycle Show at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre will include Ray McCullough, Brian Reid, Adrian Craig, Michael McGarrity, Jeff Shaw, Barry Davidson, John Smith and Irish 125cc road race champions Paul Robinson and Sam Dunlop.

Once again the show will support a local charity and this year they have chosen The Samaritans and they encourage the public to come along and support not only the sport but also this worthy charity and of course meet and have a chat with the riders.

The show commences on Friday 7th March 5pm - 10pm and Saturday 8th from 10am - 5pm.

Admission is 5 pounds and under 12 & oaps 1 pound..

This is the 15th year the show has been held in this venue and has become very popular with the public.

For more information or to book a space contact Davy on 07922060107.

Milwaukee Power Tools and Pirtek UK to sponsor Vauxhall International North West 200 races in 2014

The Vauxhall International North West 200 has been given a huge boost this week with the announcement that the event is to have two new race sponsors for 2014.

Milwaukee Power Tools, the company that currently sponsors the SMR Yamaha team of top road race stars, Ian Hutchinson and Josh Brookes, is to become the new sponsor of the Supersport event on Saturday.

Hydraulic hose and pipe fitting company Pirtek UK will complete the NW 2014 sponsorship team as the sponsor of Thursday evening’s Superstock race. Pirtek’s motorsport credentials are also well established as the company is the title sponsor of current British Touring Car champion, Andrew Jordan, who will attend the May 17 event at Portrush.

The announcement of Milwaukee’s involvement comes hard on the heels of the revelation that Australian BSB star Josh Brookes, who made his NW debut in 2013, will compete in both 600cc races as well as the Superbike events this year.

“For us a decision to become involved in sponsorship is based upon where we feel we will be able to get the best return on our investment.” Milwaukee’s Northern Ireland born UK Commercial Director, Dale McElveen said.

“The North West 200 is Ireland’s largest outdoor sporting event and it attracts a huge following of fans as well as extensive television coverage.”

“We became involved with the North West as sponsors of the Mather’s chicane last year.” Pirtek’s Belfast franchisee David Adams said.

“The reaction that that brought from our customers has been so positive that we wanted to become more involved this year so we approached Pirtek UK to sponsor a race in 2014.”

The new investment was welcomed by East Coast Honda star Lee Johnston, who attended the launch. The diminutive Maguiresbridge rider, who finished third in last year’s shortened Supersport race and had a podium finish in the 2012 Superstock event, joked that he intended “to be taking home some of both companies money in 2014”.

Event Director, Mervyn Whyte, MBE, is delighted with this much needed boost to the North West 200’s coffers following the difficulties caused by bad weather in 2013.

“It is a great vote of confidence for the race to have two such high profile, global companies as sponsors. But perhaps more importantly, this is another example of the way in which the North West 200 attracts investment from both public and private enterprise that benefits the economy of the local area and Northern Ireland as a whole. With the commitment and continued support of global companies like Milwaukee and Pirtek, as well as locally based businesses, we will be able to ensure not just the future of the race but also help to provide an invaluable boost for the local economy as a whole.”

Whyte’s remarks were echoed by Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor David Harding.

“As home of the North West 200, Coleraine Council sponsor the event with a significant financial and ‘in kind’ investment, which helps to deliver opportunities in tourism and economic development for the area. I welcome both Milwaukee and Pirtek to the Borough, and have invited both the President for Causeway Chamber of Commerce and the Chair of Coleraine Town team to be included in this announcement, recognizing the investment and support these companies will bring.”

Well done Ballymoney

Praise has come in for Ballymoney Council for attracting a day of youth football to the town when several cup finals at various ages will be held at the Riada Stadium on the May Day Bank Holiday this year, as reported in the Times last week.

One reader, Peter McCullagh, contacted us to say: “Well done Ballymoney Council for attracting a prestigious tournament like this,. Youth football is always well supported. Sure there’s no better location for it, Ballymoney is and always has been daft about football, it’s only fair that passion is recognised.”

Club hoping for a

vintage year

Bitter sweet indeed are the memories of the 2013 North West 200.

Bitter in terms of Saturday’s race ruining weather and sweet in terms of Friday night’s Vintage Cavalcade for which everything came together.

The weather, atmosphere, musical miracles from the finely tuned steel drums of Harpur’s Hill PS and the quality of machinery both on display and on the road.

Iconic of the bikes was Bob Dixon’s majestic James V Twin as pictured. It certainly impressed all who saw it, including New Zealand racer Bruce Anstey.

While May is still something of a speck on the horizon, North West Vintage Motor Cycle Club members are looking to more imminent events to get the season up and running.

Danny Leighton’s traditional pipe-opening run, open to all bikes, will take place early in April, the date to be confirmed but prior to that a St Patrick’s Day event is being discussed.

Should there be sufficient support and should the weather be favourable, this will begin at Strand Road, probably at 1100am.

The club’s website, www.nwvmcc.co.uk, will contain up to date information on both of these events.

The Annual General Meeting of NWVMCC will take place in March when, apart from the election of officers, further information on events will be available.

Will 2014 be a vintage year for vintage motorcyclists? Here’s hoping!

Be part of the Giro d’Italia

As Northern Ireland gears up to host the first three stages of the world’s second largest bike race, the Giro d’Italia, in May, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) launched a new campaign to encourage people throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to ‘Be Part of the Start’ and join in with the festivities that will be taking place around the country.

The Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the race will see around 200 of the world’s best cyclists from over 30 countries converge in Northern Ireland for the biggest sporting event of 2014 and Irish cycling legend Stephen Roche, a former winner of both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, flew into Belfast to launch the NITB campaign which is expecting to attract around 140,000 overnight visitors, including 42,000 from out of state.

In addition, a massive audience of an estimated 800 million is expected to tune in from across the globe to watch the cyclists compete along Northern Ireland’s spectacular Giro routes on TV.

NITB Destination Marketing and PR Manager Ruth Burns has urged people to ‘Be Part of the Start’ and stressed that the Giro d’Italia will be an event for everyone, and not just cycling enthusiasts.

“Obviously, the fact that Northern Ireland is hosting an event as prestigious as the Giro d’Italia is a dream come true for the legions of cycling fans throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic, but the excitement will not only be for the cycling community,” said Ruth.

“In addition to the feast of cycling, there will be a fantastic array of family-friendly events and festivals in Belfast and Armagh in the run up to and during Giro with lots of music, food and live entertainment for visitors to look forward to.

“As Northern Ireland embraces the pink of the leader’s jersey, this will be a hugely colourful and not-to-be-missed experience which is why we’ve launched our ‘Be Part of the Start’ campaign to urge everyone in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to come along and join in the festivities in May,” she added.

The public will catch their first glimpse of the world’s best cyclists at the Giro d’Italia Team Presentation in Belfast on Thursday May 8 with the competitive action getting under way on Friday May 9 with the Team Time Trial from Titanic Belfast to Stormont and finishing at Belfast City Hall.

Saturday (May 10) will see the competitors travel up to the North Antrim Coast and race along the Causeway Coastal Route back to Belfast before concluding on the Sunday (May 11) with a road stage from Armagh to Dublin. For further details or to attend the Giro d’Italia ‘Grande Partenza’ contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board by clicking on www.discovernorthernireland.com/giro2014 and by using hashtag #girostart2014.

* Email your sport to sport@ballymoneytimes.co.uk