ENGLISHMEN Davey Todd, who rides for the Wilson Craig team, along with Joey Thompson who rides British Superbikes for NP Motorcycles spoke out to express their excitement to return to the Armoy road racing circuit in just a few weeks’ time, after they paid a visit to the village yesterday. Having both travelled to Northern Ireland for 24 hours, they were keen to see the course and sample a little bit of Armoy culture.
Prior to their visit to the course, the North West 200 winner Todd along with international road racer winner Thompson, who made his Bennets British Superbike Championship debut this season, were photographed alongside Trevor Kane, Race of Legends sponsor and owner of the Bayview Hotel, which is located in the picturesque harbour of Portballintrae.
Both Todd and Thompson were full of praise for the directors and members of the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club, who are responsible for the organisation of one of only two road races to take place in Ireland in 2021.
Davey Todd said; “I raced in the Armoy Road Races in 2017 which was at the very start of my road racing career. I got a second in the Supersport race and a third on the podium in the Superbike races, both on a 600 and I believe that’s what really helped me in the beginning. I’m really excited to be back in Armoy and see the course again. As well as this being one of my very first road races this is one of my favourite races and it’s great to be back. It’s a meeting that is very well organised and with a fun and really good circuit it makes for a good two days’ racing. It’s great to be back.”
Joey Thompson said; “Armoy was my first national road race in my first year of road racing in 2017. I was only 18 years old. I really enjoyed it although the weather was horrendous and at that stage I wasn’t too confident in the wet. The circuit is great though and the organisers are very good but what I loved was the support of the fans and the atmosphere is unreal, particularly as you come through the village. Since then I’ve raced in various different championships as well as taking a year out of racing altogether – and I’m looking forward to restarting my Irish road racing career at Armoy. I’ve matured a lot so I’ll hopefully string together some good results.”
Bill Kennedy MBE, Clerk of the Course, said “Both these riders are a great addition to the line up for Armoy. They are both no strangers to the course as they last raced at Armoy much earlier in their road racing careers. We are very glad to have them back and it’s as clear as day that they are really looking forward to the road racing in just over six weeks.”
Newly appointed Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councilor Richard Holmes, also paid a visit to Portballintrae and was pictured with both men as well as local riders, Ballymoney man Darryl Tweed and Ballymena’s Neil Kernohan. All four riders had recently participated in the Spring Cup race at Oliver’s Mount.
The recent news that monies would be available from the Tourism Event Recovery Fund was welcomed by the Armoy Club. Bill continued; “The Club is delighted by the news that the funding from the Council in relation to the event recovery fund is being awarded. Although the monies are substantial we are very aware that there are many hoops to go through to access the monies to help with this year’s races.
“The cost and availability of many things this year is astronomical from portacabins, toilets and other infrastructure I can’t quite believe it. There are many reasons for the lack of availability and costs given the ongoing pandemic and other supply chain issues but the financial assistance is very much appreciated and much needed in these strange times.
It will go some way to ensuring that we have the right facilities for those racing as well as for the smooth and safe running of the event. There are no two ways about it, we can’t run races without financial assistance whether that is from our fantastic sponsors or local government – I’ll accept it regardless of where it comes from.”
Looking ahead to the event, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said: “Given the continued challenges of the pandemic, it is very welcome news that the unique sights, sounds and smells of road racing will return to Armoy at the end of July.
“All those involved deserve great credit for their ongoing efforts to bring the sport back to our borough, and fans and riders alike will be looking forward to the occasion with great anticipation.
“This year, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is providing much-needed support through its Tourism Events Recovery Fund which was established to secure the future of our area’s extensive events offering. We have a proud history of staging world class events and road racing is a major part of this. Armoy and its surrounding areas are steeped in the history of the sport and there is no better celebration of this than the annual Race of Legends.
“I want to offer my best wishes as preparations continue and I hope it is a safe and memorable weekend for everyone.”
Trevor Kane, Title sponsor and owner of the Bayview Hotel; “Today, as far as road racing goes, I got a little taste of normal. It was absolutely great to see a number of road racers back in The Porthole Bar and Restaurant having a bit of craic and talking all things, Armoy Road Races. It was just brilliant. It’s fair to say I can’t wait and I’m really hoping everything goes ahead safely and I’ve every faith in the Club that they are doing their very best.”
For more information on Armoy Road Races, search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook or follow on twitter @ArmoyRoadRaces.