By Kyle White, Belfast Newsletter
Phillip McCallen’s inaugural Classic Bike Festival Ireland roars into life on Saturday with the biggest display of classic racing motorcycles ever seen on these shores.
Inspired by legendary motorsport events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Festival of Jurby on the Isle of Man, former North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix winner McCallen decided to organise a similar event, showcasing the rich and diverse history of Irish motorcycling.
Bishopscourt Racing Circuit in County Down will host the two-day extravaganza, sponsored by GO Fuels, which commences in earnest on Saturday.
A rare line-up of world famous machines will be on show and fans will also see many of the priceless bikes in action on the track during a series of parade laps tomorrow and on Sunday.
These include motorcycles raced by some of the greatest names in the sport, including Tom Herron, Barry Sheene, Joey Dunlop, Frank Kennedy, Neil Robinson, Ray McCullough, Kenny Roberts, Sam McClements, Roger Marshall, Sammy Miller, Ralph Bryans and William Dunlop.
There will also be dedicated displays of machinery belonging to the Armoy Armada and Dromara Destroyers, plus a line-up of bikes raced by Tom Herron.
Approximately 145 machines will participate in the parade laps, including around 78 two-strokes and 67 four-strokes. There will also be 23 350cc bikes and 21 250cc machines.
Joey Dunlop’s 1980 Isle of Man TT-winning Yamaha will be on show along with Kenny Roberts’ 500 GP Yamaha.
Over 100 machines will be on static display in the exhibition marquee.
South African Jon Ekerold, a former 350cc world champion, is the special guest and a host of other riders past and present will be in attendance, such as Ian Lougher, Eddie Laycock, Ray McCullough and Dick Creith to name a few.
McCallen said: “There’s been huge interest in the event and we’re looking forward to a great weekend.
“We have a fantastic line-up of bikes, many of which will be participating in the parade laps, and there is also a big marquee with a static display of over 100 machines.
“Some of my own bikes will be there too, like my TT-winning Honda RC45 and the last Yamaha R1 that I rode, plus one of the 600 Hondas I won on at the TT as well,” he added.
“A lot of time and effort has gone into this so hopefully everyone will have a great weekend and depending on how things go, we may look at running races at the event in 2020.”
Adult tickets cost £15 per day, or a weekend ticket is available for £25. Accompanied children under 16 are admitted free.
Access will be granted to the campsite for weekend camping from 8am until 10pm on Friday and at the same time on Saturday.
Spectator access to the circuit opens on Friday from 4pm for the static bike displays, while trade stands and the auto jumble will also be open. There will be live music, bar facilities and catering until late tonight in the festival marquee.
On Saturday and Sunday, spectators can access the circuit from 9am. Parade laps will take place from 10am-1pm and again from 2pm-7pm on each day.
There will also be live entertainment in the marquee on Saturday evening until late. The festival closes at 5.30pm on Sunday.
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