Irish road racing ‘not finished just yet’ says former Armoy Clerk of Course Bill Kennedy

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Former long-serving Armoy Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy admits that while there is a ‘lot at stake’, he doesn’t believe road racing is finished just yet.

Kennedy, who remains heavily involved in the organisation of the ‘Race of Legends’, was speaking after the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) said motorcycle road races, short circuit and trials meetings in Northern Ireland this year had been cancelled due to major rises in the cost of insurance.

“I certainly haven’t given up hope and I agree we can’t afford to lose our road races and especially the North West 200, which is our jewel in the crown and probably the biggest outdoor sporting event on the island of Ireland,” he said.

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“The statement had to be made on Thursday night because people are trying to make travel plans to come and see the likes of the Cookstown 100 in April or the North West 200, so it was imperative that the statement went out to inform people.

Irish road races such as Armoy have a huge following in Northern Ireland.Irish road races such as Armoy have a huge following in Northern Ireland.
Irish road races such as Armoy have a huge following in Northern Ireland.

“We’re not prepared to roll over and say ‘this is the end of road racing’. All this has come about because insurance companies have got a real hammering from claims relating to Covid and their reserves have gone down, so they started to pare off anything that was high risk.

“And that doesn’t just apply to motorcycle road racing because events like hill-climbs, some boat racing or anything with a high risk,” he added.

“They want to get their reserves built back up again and we could be in an entirely different situation in another year, so if we can manage to get enough money in to get us running this year then we will do our best to put on a mighty show for the fans, and for the competitors who want to go out and ride their motorbikes.”While Kennedy did not wish to raise any false hope, he said the Armoy organisers were looking at every option available to try and run the Co Antrim race meeting in July.

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“There’s a lot at stake but it’s a case of wait and see, and I don’t want to be giving any kind of false impression relating to Armoy or any other race,” he said.

“We are exploring every avenue and until those are completely exhausted and we can’t get insurance, we will keep trying, but I don’t think it’s over yet.

“We’re in a position now where we know which clubs definitely can’t run their events this year, so we can now go back and ask for another quote because the risk is lower through a reduction in the overall number of events.”