Armoy loses Tourism Northern Ireland funding

Michael Dunlop has won the 'Race of Legends' at Armoy a record seven times in a row.
Michael Dunlop has won the 'Race of Legends' at Armoy a record seven times in a row.

Armoy Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy has called on fans to turn out and show their support for the popular Irish road race this weekend after revealing the club had suffered a ‘substantial financial blow’.

No funding was provided by Tourism Northern Ireland this year and although Kennedy admits the event had been hit hard by the decision, the challenge is ‘not insurmountable’.

Armoy Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy (right) and Club President William Munnis.

Armoy Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy (right) and Club President William Munnis.

“Each year all of our members work tirelessly to ensure that every Race of Legends is bigger and better than the previous year and for that I am thankful to them,” said Kennedy, who is also the chairman of the Armoy club.

“As a non-profit organisation, the races are driven by our dedicated volunteers and support from the local community and sponsors. If we lose one link in that chain, then it can be difficult to rally round but we, as a club, have achieved so much over the last number of years and I look back and take pride in the fact that we have built a community from scratch and we are determined to keep going.

“I am extremely grateful to all of our sponsors as well for giving us the financial stability to celebrate our tenth year. To the Bayview Hotel, Tourism Ireland and the Causeway Coast and Glens in particular, I thank you,” he added.

“This year the Club didn’t receive funding from Tourism Northern Ireland. As you can imagine this is a substantial blow for the Club but although challenging it is not insurmountable.

“So this year there is a special plea from me and every member of our Club: come to the races and buy a programme. Each penny will make a difference and will help sustain these races going forward.

“For as long as the community love and support the Armoy Road Races, we will continue to make it the best we possibly can.”

It is understood the funding in previous years has amounted to £10,000

The event is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and has grown into one of the country’s best Irish National road races since it was first held in 2009.

Official programmes cost £15 and are available now from the Armoy Club office in the village, plus local businesses including the Armoy Garage and Armada Inn.

Kennedy added: “Finally, I just want to encourage you all to show your support, whether it is buying a ticket for the grandstand or a programme, every little helps and I thank you all for your continued support.

“It really does take all of us to make these races happen. I truly believe that.”

Roads close on Friday for practice from 12:30pm and will reopen no later than 9:30pm. The first Supersport 600 and Senior Support races are also scheduled to take place.

On Saturday, roads close at 10:00am and will reopen no later than 7:30pm.