By Kyle White Belfast Newsletter
Organisers of the Armoy Road Races received a huge boost on Thursday as the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to lift the cap on 500 people at outdoor events from Friday, July 2 at 17:00 BST.The ‘Race of Legends’ is the first Irish national road race set to go ahead this year from July 30-31, with the Cookstown 100 – the only road race held in Ireland last year – scheduled for September in Co Tyrone.This week, Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy told the News Letter a ‘large dose of common sense’ was needed as the Executive met on Thursday to discuss the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Kennedy said: “It’s time to unlock the door and allow real road racing to return in Northern Ireland.
“Let the people get back out and enjoy themselves, and see real road racing at Armoy. We need to raise the numbers up from 500 and get back to greater normality now with the summer months upon us.
“People need something to look forward to after the lockdowns and having an event such as Armoy would give fans a really big lift.
“We’re not hemmed into a marquee, a stadium or any kind of enclosed arena – we’re out in the rolling hills of North Antrim where we have natural ‘grandstands’ and where people can space themselves out, take up a position, stay in them and use the sanitisation facilities available, wear their masks and keep their distance where they need to.
“We are ready to put on a show and give the community and people from further afield a real boost this summer after what has been a difficult time for everybody with this pandemic.”Further details on spectator numbers will be confirmed soon and will be based on a risk assessment.
A host of top riders will be in action at Armoy this month, where practice and the first race action gets under way on Friday, July 30.
Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop has won the headline race at the event for a record eight times in a row.