A charity football match between many of the country’s top road racers and short circuit riders has raised an incredible £10,000 for the Children’s Cancer Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
The game, organised by Ballymoney’s Gary Dunlop – who made his road racing debut in 2016 – and Irish Superbike champion Nikki Coates, was played at Crusaders FC ground at Seaview on Sunday in front of a packed crowd.
Leading roads stars Michael and William Dunlop plus North West 200 specialist Alastair Seeley were among the big names who took to the field, with the road racers coming out on top after edging a 4-3 victory with hat-trick hero Paul Robinson earning the ‘man of the match’ plaudits.
A total of £7,000 was raised on the day through admission fees and a raffle, while the Dunlop brothers’ shirts were also auctioned off.
Around £3,000 had already been donated online via Go Fund Me and Just Giving fundraising pages.
Co-organiser Dunlop said he had been overwhelmed by the response and thanked everyone involved for their generosity.
“It was a fantastic day and we raised £7,000 on Sunday alone through entry fees and a raffle, plus Michael and William’s shirts were auctioned and a sponsor bought my shirt also,” he said.
“We already raised £3,000 online with our Go Fund Me and Just Giving pages, so it’s just brilliant to be able to hand over £10,000 for such a great charity.
“We’ll still keep a bucket in the bar [Joey’s Bar, Ballymoney] for anyone who wants to throw some change in, but for now we couldn’t be happier with how it went.
“We had a brilliant turnout and everyone was actually nervous because so many people turned up to watch us and I never saw so many photographers at one event,” added Dunlop, who has confirmed he will again ride in the 125cc class this season on William Dunlop’s Honda.
“I can’t thank everyone enough, especially all the shirt sponsors, the girls that did the raffles and everyone who came to watch on the day.
“I want to say a special thank to Crusaders FC because they let us use their ground for free and that was really kind of them.
“It was a really family-orientated day and myself and William, and possibly Michael, will be going to Belfast to hand over the check on Thursday, February 9th.”
Road Racers: Gary Dunlop, William Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Davy Graham, Paul Robinson, Derek McGee, Paul Jordan, Gary O’Brien, Davy Morgan, Callum Laidlaw, Gary Jordan, Steven Lynd, Dean Campbell, David Yeomans.
Short Circuit Racers: Alastair Seeley, Nikki Coates, Andrew Irwin, Carl Phillips, Aaron Armstrong, Aaron Wright, Ali Kirk, Greg Wilson, Curtis McLernon, James Ging, Padraig Graham, Wallace McFall, Darryl Anderson, Anthony Derranne, Jason Lynn, David Ging, Barry Sheehan.