THE organisers of Armoy Motor Cycle Club's road race are close to securing one of the sport's top riders for this year's event.

Clerk of the course, Bill Kennedy, has told the Times that the person in question has expressed a keen interest in taking part and if all goes according to plan, the so far unnamed rider will prove a major attration and complement other international riders to make it "one of the best national road races in Ireland."

Mr. Kennedy told the Times: "I cannot divulge a name at present, but the signs are good. Our aim is to maintain and enhance the calibre of riders as each year progresses. Fans have seen that we have steadily improved the quality of entrants and for our third event, we are determined to make the race a must for motor bike enthusiasts."

This year's race will not be held in August, instead, for the first time, the weekend of July 29 and 30 has been earmarked.

Mr. Kennedy says some people might have preferred the event to have taken place a week before the Ulster Grand Prix, but he is totally confident that supporters will be out in their thousands.

"We have been pleased with our support and for the long term benefit of the event, we encourage everyone to back us. This race costs in the region of 100,000 to run and it is vital that we get as many people as we can to come along, buy programmes and generally give us their support," he said.

Last week, more improvements were carried out to the race control area with stones laid to make underfoot conditions better.

Mr. Kennedy admitted that the previous two years had seen wet conditions make the area look a mess, but with a bigger stand planned in addition to better disabled access, the area would take on a more professional look.

"We need to look after our spectators, medical staff, PSNI and landowners who have given us a great deal of support," Mr. Kennedy said.

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure have allocated the club just over 60,000 for safety measures and it is planned to install removable fencing for extra safety.

"We installed the chicane last year and every year we will be doing more and more to enhance the track. We know we have a great deal of support and our race has certainly helped stimulate interest in the sport as well as providing a real boost for tourism in the Causeway Coast area," Mr. Kennedy added.