Enniskillen Road Race organisers say it is "no longer feasible" to run the event in 2020

The organisers of the Enniskillen Road Races say it is “no longer feasible” to run the event in 2020.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 9:37 am
Thomas Maxwell (5) and eventual winner Forest Dunn (88) battle for the lead in the Richard Britton Memorial race at Enniskillen in June.

The Irish National meeting returned to the calendar for the first time in 66 years in 2018 at the Arney circuit in Fermanagh.

However, the Enniskillen Club says a number of factors have led to the decision not to stage the race for a third consecutive year, including rising costs, a lack of financial support from fans attending the race and ongoing roadworks.

Tbe prospect of running the event on a new course in Fermanagh in the future is now being looked into.

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A statement issued on Friday morning said: “This decision has been taken solely by the club following discussions with members which have spanned over several months.

“After many years of hard work and two successful road race events the club has decided that it is no longer feasible to carry on with the Enniskillen Road Race for 2020. We have worked hard to try and make this event work, but unfortunately due to several reasons, some beyond our control, we now feel that we are unable to run the event next year.

“The cost of running a road race is high, and despite our best efforts to try and keep costs down we have found that the excessive cost and logistics of hiring safety equipment such as the bales from other clubs, rising medical costs etc; along with a trend of spectators choosing not to contribute by buying programmes or contributing towards the event means that overall the sport in general is suffering and (is) something clubs can’t sustain in the long run.

“Our attention has been drawn to recent laying of water mains that have taken place on the circuit and heavy traffic diversions that have been put in place – our club members are concerned that this may have a negative impact on the road surface.

"The Roads Inspection team would only identify this at the beginning of 2020, which leaves little time to make any improvement and as we currently are unable to secure any commitment from the Department of Infrastructure regarding improvements, this must also a contributing factor.”

The club said it had been encouraged by the positive feedback from riders, plus offers of help and support for the future.

The statement continued: “We have had some very positive feedback from riders, and offers of help and support pending this announcement, and it has not been an easy decision considering the amount of effort it has taken to get to this point.

“We have proven that we can run an event of this scale and we are very proud that after 66 years of an absence, the Enniskillen Road Races were once again back on the road race calendar. We will continue to actively seek an alternative circuit with lower running costs so we will not rule out the possibility of another road race in Fermanagh in the future.”

The club remains committed to running its short circuit meeting at St. Angelo next year, which has moved from its October date and will run over two days in 2020, from June 27-28.