Armoy Road Races chief 'disappointed' as event loses Tourism NI funding

Michael Sweeney in action at last year's Armoy Road Races
Practice will take place in Armoy on Friday before Saturday's race day in the North Antrim village

Armoy Road Races chairman Billy Kennedy has spoken of his disappointment after Tourism Northern Ireland opted not to fund this weekend's event.

Tourism Northern Ireland has provided funding in recent years and Kennedy described the decision as "a substantial blow" for the event.

"The races are driven by our dedicated volunteers and support from the local community and sponsors," said Kennedy.

"If we lose one link in that chain, it can be difficult to rally round."

Kennedy told BBC Sport Northern Ireland that the Tourism Northern Ireland funding had been in the region of £10,000 annually in recent years.

"We use that money to put on a really good show. The event attracts riders and spectators from all over Ireland as well as England and Scotland and further afield and the meeting is a great tourism money-spinner for the area," said Kennedy, whose duties also include being the event's clerk of the course.

"But as a non-profit organisation, the races are driven by our dedicated volunteers and support from the local community and sponsors.

"We were told by Tourism Northern Ireland that their decision was down to the application not being good enough but it was largely unchanged from the applications in previous years so that has left us a little confused.

"This is a substantial blow for the club but although challenging, it is not insurmountable."

Kennedy added that Tourism Ireland has continued to provide in the region of £10,000 funding for this year's despite Tourism Northern Ireland's decision.

The Armoy Road Races were first staged in 2008 and the 10th anniversary staging of the event will see practice taking place on Friday with road closed from 12:30 BST to 21:30 before Saturday's main race day between 10:00 and 19:30.

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