Now Armoy races are boosted by £55k Stormont safety cash award
The now firmly established Armoy Road Races have received a cash injection of £55,000 that will be a major boost for safety improvements at Ireland's most forward thinking and popular National Road Race.
This is more positive news for local racing, coming off the back of last month's announcement that the Vauxhall International North West 200 will also receive a welcome £124,000 towards ongoing safety improvements in 2017 at Ireland's largest outdoor sporting event.
Making the announcement for Armoy's latest financial boost, Communities Minister Paul Givan said: "The Armoy Road Races have proved 'a must attend event' in the road racing calendar across Ireland. Without a doubt it has grown in stature since its inception in 2009 and has become one of the best National Road Races there is.
"I'm delighted that this financial commitment will make a significant contribution to the safety of the course as well as tourism and marketing of Northern Ireland as a venue for fantastic sporting events."
Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim, is a regular attender at local road racing events and as an advocate of the sport, was instrumental in lobbying for the major cash injection for the Armoy races, staged in July.
Speaking after visiting the circuit with Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy and local road racing star William Dunlop, Ian Paisley said: "I am delighted by this support. The Minister is making safety at road races a priority and I welcome this as a significant investment and vote of confidence in the race, the sport and the organisers who do so much on a voluntary basis to make this a showcase event."
Speaking of the much needed funding, former racer and chairman of the Armoy club, Bill Kennedy, said: This is great news indeed for the club and Armoy Road Races. This exceptional financial support will provide further safety precautions and measures for our races.
"We are indebted to Communities Minister Paul Givan, who also took the time out of his busy diary with Ian Paisley and Mervyn Storey MLA to come to Armoy several weeks ago to review and discuss various issues."
Looking ahead to 2017, Kennedy concluded: "I'm very pleased that with the additional support from local politicians this has come to fruition. The Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club would like to say thank you to all those involved and to the Communities Minister, Paul Givan, for not only listening but acting too. This will make a difference to 2017's race which will take place on Friday and Saturday. July 28-29."
Safety equipment purchased for the North West 200 will also be made available for other Ulster Centre National Road Races, including Armoy, as NW Event Director Mervyn Whyte explained at the time of their funding award last month.
It's been a positive few months for the sport here, with the two cash injections and Jonathan Rea retaining his World Superbike title for Kawasaki.