All roads lead to St. Angelo airport this Saturday, when the Enniskillen and District Motorcycle Club along with the Cookstown club will run their short circuit event.
Riders from far and wide will be taking part, as well as many locals. Resurfacing has been taking place on two of the bumpy parts of the circuit after the club took onboard a few rider opinions last season.
For any historians out there, Enniskillen is a “Twin Town” of Bielefield in Germany, and this weekend, it is a very exciting coincidence that there are two newcomers from that area taking part in the Superbike races. 30 year old Mathias Winkenjohann, an industrial engineer, and 42 year old Vassilios Takos are both delighted to be racing in Northern Ireland for the first time.
“We have heard so much about racing here, and cannot wait to meet the Irish race fans”.
One of the local riders this year will be 17-year-old newcomer Loris Britton, son of the late Richard, who many people will remember from racing short circuits and roads. Racing has been in the family for a long time, and they have been a great encouragement to Loris.
This will be his first time at the circuit, as he only recently obtained his racing licence earlier in the season, and no doubt he’ll be hoping to give a sterling performance on his 400 Kawasaki, with the backing of some local sponsors.
This class seems to be a popular one for not only up and coming riders, but well established ones too, so he will certainly have a lot of tough competition on race day. Loris will also take to the circuit on his dad’s superbike in the parade lap. Looking towards the future, he hopes to eventually move up to the Supersport 600 class, competing in races both here and on the mainland.
One rider who certainly knows his way about circuits and bikes is Alan Armstrong. Certainly a veteran of the sport, he is now competing in his 28th season of racing. Alan will be riding in the Irish Supersport Cup class on his 675 Triumph, which he prepares himself, where he managed to pick up two wonderful second place finishes last year at this event. I’m quite sure if the chance arises, he’ll be hoping to get his feet planted on the top step this year.
Following in his father’s footsteps, is 20 year old Aaron Armstrong, who has made a big impact on the short circuit scene over the past couple of seasons, and is certainly one to watch in the Supertwin class. Aaron now in his sixth season of racing short circuits, started at a very early age, getting his first bike at the age of five, before moving up through the ranks of minimoto racing.
Plans for the future?
“I would love to take part in either the Supersport or Superstock classes in BSB,” was his reply. And Aaron has plenty of time to achieve his goals.
Aileen “Pinky” Keenan from Brookeborough, not only is a newcomer to the St. Angelo circuit, but this will be her first ever short circuit race. Three years ago, she would admit to not being able to start a bike, never mind ride one, but after getting a 125, passing her bike test, and being fed up just watching from the sidelines, Aileen got in touch with Rodney Shaw and Fiona Ferris from the Enniskillen club. Thankfully they were able to point her in the right direction, and earlier this season, obtained her racing licence through Woolsey Coulter’s race school.
“This will be my first ever event, and I intend to enjoy it, and hopefully progress as I go along. Without the help of the club, family and friends, it wouldn’t be possible, “ she said.
Yet another newcomer is 24 year old Dylan Leonard from Pettigo. This will only be his third racing event, and he will certainly be hoping for better luck than his first two outings.
First time out at Kirkistown, and his bike expired in a big way, followed by an off at Bishopscourt next time out. Dylan moved up through the ranks of minimotos, before getting a 400 when he was 17, then going on to get his race licence earlier this season. He will line up on his R6 Yamaha in the Supersport cup class.
24 year old Kesh rider, Slane Maguire will also be lined up on the grid for this year’s event. Another rider following in his father’s footsteps, he has always been around the racing paddock. With backing from JOG tuning, Kavanagh, and Maguire’s Half Way Inn, and loads of support from his mum and dad, Slane could be a force to be reckoned with in the 400 Supersport class, as he also works very hard on his fitness along with Irvinestown gym owner, Paddy Doherty. Concentrating on his engineering degree at the minute, he hopes to continue on and even give road racing a try in the future.
Just down the road in Fivemiletown, electrician Stephen Montgomery, who has a few sponsors from the Enniskillen area, will be hoping for similar success to last year. Now in only his third season of racing, he claimed a double victory in the Supersport B races in 2015, so he could again be one to watch in this class.
Back to the event in question, St. Angelo circuit will be open to competitors on Friday evening, with gates opening Saturday morning for spectators at 7.00am. The event takes in rounds of the Ulster and Irish Championships, so spectators are advised to arrive early due to large numbers expected. Practice gets underway at 9.00am with racing from approximately 11.30am.