The 25th Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival ramps up for another adrenaline-packed, record-breaking year
It’s an event highly anticipated Province-wide amongst motorcycle enthusiasts and leading industry experts alike, and this year’s NI Motorcycle Festival looks set to bring record-breaking numbers through the doors of Lisburn’s Eikon Exhibition Centre once again.
The popular adrenaline-packed extravaganza unofficially kick-starts the racing season each year, with Billy Nutt - former North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix clerk who has been involved in motorsports for over 40 years - at the helm as top event organiser alongside Marty Nutt.
Billy Nutt MBE, has been involved in motorcycling since 1972 when he first took on the Race Secretary’s role at the North West 200. The Castlerock man is also father to former British Supersport rider Marty Nutt who is heavily involved in the show. Well-known across the Province, Billy later took over as clerk at the North Coast event in 1981 and was at the helm for two decades; also leading the way at the Ulster Grand Prix for a few seasons.
Now in its 25th year under the Nutt Promotion, the popular NI Motorcycle Festival - which enjoyed record-breaking crowds last year - takes place at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park, Lisburn on Friday, February 8 and runs until Sunday, February 10.
It marks the fourth year the show will return to the spacious Lisburn venue, having previously been held at such venues across Northern Ireland including the King’s Hall and St. George’s Market.
The official launch was attended recently by the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Uel Mackin and Alderman Allan Ewart, Vice Chair of the Development Committee.
Speaking at the buzzing conference, Billy welcomed this year’s guest riders Alastair Seeley and Eunan McGlinchey, who spoke of their excitement at the prospect of another action-packed motorsports event.
Nicknamed the ‘Wee Wizard,’ Alastair has once again extended his records at the North West 200 to an impressive 24 wins. The Carrick man has teamed up with EHA racing to ride a Yamaha in the Supersport Race at the 2019 BSB Championship. With more exciting news to be announced at the show, Alastair revealed: ‘‘I am looking forward now in 2019 to starting where we finished off last year; podiums, wins and to basically fight for a championship again.
‘‘It’s not getting any easier. It seems the older I get, the young ones are coming in. They’re hungry but I feel with the team and the bikes I’ve been given with EHA I would like to get two more supersport races nailed down.
‘‘All I want to do is continue my trend of winning a race every year up there ever since 2008. The record (which Alastair holds) is 24, I’d like to try and see where I can take it to - but without the good teams and the machinery I have behind me that wouldn’t be possible.’’
The second guest rider Eunan McGlinchey from Aghadowey made a huge impact on the British Kawasaki 300 Junior Supersport, winning the overall championship. Already he has plans for 2019 with the same team, riding 636cc Superstock Kawasaki. Welcoming the young talent who he describes as having ‘‘burst onto the scene’’ having won 8 out of 12 races Eunan explained: ‘‘It should be a good season, the bike is getting everything it needs, and we’re hoping to fight for another British Championship. There will be a lot more races so it is all up for grabs. We’ll make the most out of every single race.’’
Meanwhile, Billy praised the long-standing exhibitors, emphasising: ‘‘Without you there would simply be no Motorcycle Show, it is something we simply could not do on our own. We deeply appreciate the effort everyone has put in, especially over the past couple of years. The displays have really upped a level and it is such a fantastic show, as good as you could get anywhere else in the world.’’
Councillor Uel Mackin, speaking on behalf of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, added: ‘‘This is the fourth year the NI Motorcycle Festival has taken place at the Eikon Exhibitiw4sraewqaon Centre and the Council is delighted that it has once again returned to our area. We are very proud to have this fabulous facility - it really is an excellent venue for such a prestigious show, which will be attended by all the top motorcycle manufacturers, as well as motorcycle and motocross enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland and further afield.
‘‘There is a strong relationship between the Council and motorsport, as annually the World’s Fastest Road Race – the Ulster Grand Prix takes place at Dundrod, and the Dromara Destroyers over recent years have held an annual exhibition in the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. A tribute garden was also completed in honour of the Dromara Destroyers in September last year. I would encourage all the family to attend the NI Motorcycle Festival as there will be something for everyone. Just some of the highlights include: stunt shows, pit bike racing and trial riding, plus a number of exciting celebrity guests will be at the Eikon Centre.’’
Sponsors Black Horse are back on board, with Dave Macey, Market and Franchise Development Manager, commenting: ‘‘Supporting key industry events is extremely important to Black Horse and the NI Motorcycle Festival continues to be the ‘go-to’ motorcycle event to attend in Northern Ireland. In addition to the new models the event provides great insight from riders and also some great entertainment both inside and outside of the halls.
‘‘Black Horse is one of the most established finance providers in the Motorcycle Industry with a suite of finance products available through Northern Ireland dealers to help with the purchase of a motorcycle or scooter.
‘‘We hope everyone attending this year’s NI Motorcycle Festival have a thoroughly enjoyable weekend with what promises to be a fantastic event with all that the motorcycle world has to offer.’’
Without the support of the major motorcycle dealers in Northern Ireland, Billy added: “We wouldn’t have the show that we have’’ a sentiment which was echoed by Roy Neill of The Motorcycle Racing Association (MRA), who explained: ‘‘As always the event in many ways helps to kick-start our new season’s range of activities both on and off track.’’
A number of guest riders will be in attendance plus local supporters’ clubs throughout the three-day event, representing the Ulster Grand Prix, North West 200, Armoy, North Armagh and Mid Antrim and well as the MCUI (UC) Marshal Association. Opening times are Friday, February 8 (2pm-9pm); Saturday 9 and Sunday, February 10 (10am-5pm). Admission is £12/€12 for adults and £6/€6 for senior citizens.
Children under the age of 16 admitted free. Free car parking is available on site and two minibuses will be operating a shuttle service to the Eikon Centre from Lisburn Railway Station free of charge. For more details check out the official Facebook page: @NIMotorcycleFest or visit: motorcyclefest.tv.
You can also call Nutt Promotions on: 02870351199 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Win free tickets
For your chance to win a pair of adult passes (children up to 14 years go free); email: email@example.com before January 30 at 12pm explaining what you love most about the Motorcycle Fest. Entries must include an email address, daytime telephone number and house address (to facilitate the posting of tickets).
Terms and conditions apply.