Belfast Telegraph

Armoy’s Channel to major TV deal

By Jim Gracey

Armoy Road Races will step up to a new level of national exposure after striking the event's first major television deal with Channel 4.

From modest, but ambitious, beginnings six years ago, the north Antrim Bike Week has moved quickly through the gears and is now set to be showcased on its' biggest stage with a one hour highlights programme on Channel 4, going out in August, two weeks after the July 26 race day.

Channel 4, already renowned for its coverage of motorsport, sees the thrill of real road racing as a great fit for their programming and with their on demand service, 4oD, the Armoy Race of Legends will now reach a wider audience while highlighting the heritage of motorcycle road racing in Ireland.

Local broadcaster Graham Little will present the coverage, following on from his production company's success with the Giro d'Italia here.

Graham covered road racing during his time at UTV and Sky Sports and was also recently involved in the production of BBC's Moto GP coverage.

He said: "This is great news for Armoy Road Races and Channel 4 alike. With the recent Guy Martin 'Speed' series and Channel 4's involvement in Motorsport this is a great addition to their programming. I'm personally delighted to be involved in the programme and with the Armoy Club, who have worked tirelessly to promote real road racing as a premier sports event.

“The support local road racing enjoys is quite extraordinary, and with the recent success of the Dunlops road racing film, 'Road', this UK-wide coverage of the Armoy Road Races serves to ensure that fans will get what they deserve - great coverage of great races!"

Chairman of the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club, William Munnis, said: “We’ve been working dilligently over the last number of years to bring the Armoy Road Races to as many people as possible.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’d like to thank Channel 4 for seeing this as a great event which will provide many existing and potential new fans with the chance to view the show on a mainstream, terrestial channel, and additionally through on demand services.

“This deal would not have been struck without the additional assistance of Tourism Ireland. The fact that NITB and Tourism Ireland can work together and bring international quality events to this part of the world is just fantastic. They ensure events like the Armoy Road Races are first of all funded and then capitalised upon,

allowing our landscape to be showcased in Great Britain and beyond.

“The Club and I are extremely grateful for their help which will ensure that road racing, Armoy and all those other hidden gems located around the Causeway Coastal Route, are shown to a much wider audience.”

Armoy Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy added: “It is just terrific for the Club, road racers, sponsors and fans alike that the Armoy Road Races and the RiverRidge Recycling ‘Race of Legends’ can be watched on Channel 4 just two weeks after the races.

“I’ve been told that Chris Kinley and Jeremy McWilliams have agreed to be commentators and with some of the top road racers set to come to Armoy everything is falling into place - the way it should!”

Armoy Road Races are sponsored by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Moyle District Council Tourism Events Fund. Bike Week is from July 20-26

Belfast Telegraph

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