Dunlop and Sheils set for Battle on Armoy Armada’s old stomping ground

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 22/6/2016: William Dunlop, Neil Kernohan and Adam McLean join Armoy road races Clerk of the Course, Bill Kennedy at the launch of the 2016 event at Bushmills Distillery today.
The races take place on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th July.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 22/6/2016: William Dunlop, Neil Kernohan and Adam McLean join Armoy road races Clerk of the Course, Bill Kennedy at the launch of the 2016 event at Bushmills Distillery today. The races take place on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th July. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

NOW in its eighth year, the Armoy Road Races confirmed this week that local man, William Dunlop and Dublin’s Derek Sheils are set for battle on the famous three-mile circuit come Friday 29th and Saturday 30th July.

The announcement was made at the official launch of the SGS International ‘Race of Legends’, which was held in the renowned Bushmills Distillery on Wednesday.

Ballymoney man, William Dunlop, is set to ride an IC Racing Yamaha 600 in the Friday’s First4Printing Supersport and Saturday’s Bayview Hotel Supersport 600 race and then the MMB Yamaha in the two Superbike races on the Saturday. With wins at both Cookstown and Tandragee earlier this year William is hopeful of maintaining his winning record at Armoy.

Sheils who rides for Dungannon based Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing team will ride a Suzuki GXX-R100 in all three classes, Superbike, Supersport and Supertwin, for long-term supporter of Armoy Road Races and team owner, John Burrows. Last year Sheils challenged William Dunlop for the Irish National Superbike crown losing the championship by only six points after a number of wins down South. Both competitors are proven race and title winners and Armoy is in their sights for a few more podium wins.

William Dunlop, who has raced at every Armoy race, and won in succession at 2014 and 2015’s Friday night Supersport race, commented on the 2016 races; “The Armoy Road Races are my local races and it is just one of those events that is always marked in the calendar each and every year. I rode at the very first year Armoy Races in 2009 on a 125 cc and a 600cc in the Open race and I’ve come back every year since then. The 125 cc was what I learnt my trade on, from my father, so it is always very special to go to Armoy.”

Bill Kennedy, Clerk of the Course, AMRRC said, “We are well underway with preparations for this year’s races and the Club and I are getting increasingly excited. I’m always amazed about the popularity of the Armoy Road Races and it is testament to my fellow club members in the Armoy Motorcycling Road Racing Club who tirelessly strive to ensure they put on the very best national road race they can for riders and spectators alike.

“We’ve some exciting competitors this year but the finer details have yet to confirmed – it’s still early with the TT only finishing 10 days or so ago and riders are only starting to turn their attention to the Armoy Road Races.

“It’s fantastic to see the likes of Dunlop and Sheils throw their hat in the ring already. John Burrows has been a long standing supporter of these races as has William Dunlop and I wish them both the very best for these races. With the closing date of 4th July I’d advise everyone to get their entries completed and forwarded to us without delay.”

Also attending the launch were riders Adam McLean and Neil Kernohan. Adam won the Mermaid Club and Armoy Homes Junior Support race last year and Neil was second the year before in the same race. They joined the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey, Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism Northern Ireland, members of the Armoy Club and other guests and sponsors including title “Race of Legends” sponsor, SGS International, to hear senior race officials outline what Armoy Race Week 2016 has in store.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Alderman Maura Hickey who attended the launch said, “Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is extremely proud to be associated with the Armoy Road Races. The Armoy Races is yet another key sporting event in our Borough and we are looking forward to a wonderfully exciting event once again this year. I would like to congratulate the Club on achieving so much with this event and to those attending, drive safe and be safe.”

Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism Northern Ireland congratulated the Club on a very successful event and said, “Last year there were a record number of spectators to the event, and in that context Tourism NI fully appreciates that the Armoy Road Races has an important role to play in tourism, in contributing to the economy and in enhancing our reputation as a destination.

“To have such a great event, unique to this area, is a fine opportunity for encouraging visitors to stay around the Causeway Coast and Glens and to enjoy all that they have to offer.”

Mr Brian McGrath, Group Managing Director for Europe, SGS International, title sponsor said: “I’ve no doubt that Armoy’s success has set these races in good stead, and that this year’s event is going to attract even more interest. Given the number of other high profile names that Armoy has attracted in the past, SGS International is privileged to have the opportunity to once again be associated with this event.”

Bill Kennedy concluded: “I’d like to finish by thanking Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Tourism NI for their generous support. I’d also like to thank our title sponsor SGS International. Without the support and sponsorship from these organisations and other sponsors present here today, the event wouldn’t be possible.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all the Club members, the officials and volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. We could not do it without them. I’m delighted to not only see William Dunlop at this event today but young Adam McLean and Neil Kernohan. It is wonderful to see that the Armoy Road Races is attracting not only the top talent in road racing today but also the youngsters who will be the stars of the future.”

The event is part funded by Tourism Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Bike Week runs from Sunday 24th July until Saturday 30th July 2016 with the SGS International ‘Race of Legends’ featuring on the Saturday 30th July 2016.

For more information visit www.amrrc.com or search for ‘AMRRC’ on Facebook and join the official fan page and you can also follow us on twitter at @ArmoyRoadRaces.