A record entry of riders is expected for the second running of the recently reformed Enniskillen Road Races, which will be held this Friday and Saturday. Last year the event made a comeback to the motorcycling calendar after a 66 year absence, and the success of its return has ensured it will return to the Arney circuit this year as a round of the Irish/Ulster Championship.

The new status of the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council sponsored event has had an impact on the number of entries, with the interest surprising even Enniskillen and District Motorcycle Club chairman Rodney Shaw.

“We have 47 newcomers that didn’t come last year,” revealed the Chairman. “We have to hire a coach to bring round the newcomers with an instructor to tell them the ins and outs and where to be careful, and I had only booked a 22 seater thinking that was all we would need. I had to go back and book a bigger coach! I would imagine we will have a bigger crowd of spectators this year as well.”

The roads around the circuit will close at midday on Friday for practice, with the first of eleven scheduled races on Saturday set to start shortly after the 10am road closing time. For the first time the event will showcase the area to a worldwide audience after the organisers agreed a deal with Greenlight TV to ensure it would be broadcast on television throughout the globe. “We have been in talks with a television company for a long time to try to get them to come,” explained Shaw. “It will go out on a Motors Internet channel first which goes worldwide and is huge. Ten days after that it will go out on BBC1 and a week after that it goes out on ITV4. After that it goes to Eurosport. The Cookstown viewing figures on Eurosport were something like 80 million in 23 countries so it is huge for the local area. We have been pushing for them to do opening shots of the caves or the castle or the lakes, and hopefully the world can see a little bit of Fermanagh.”

Last season saw Derek McGee dominate with five race wins, and although he was injured in a recent crash at the Isle of Man TT races, the organisers are hopeful he will have recovered in time to make his comeback at Enniskillen and join some of the country’s top road racers. “Derek was injured in the Isle of Man but he is a very quick healer and I saw he was back out on the bike,” said Rodney. “I would imagine he will be trying to get here, because he loved it last year. It’s not confirmed but we are hopeful he will be here. We will not know until the day who will turn up for sure. I don’t know yet if Derek Shields will be here, and Thomas Maxwell I would think will be here and he is one for the future. Dominic Herbertson is over from England. He had a very good TT and came ninth or tenth in the TT Superbike race and did a lap of 129. It is in the middle of a very busy schedule because we are just after the TT and then next week is Skerries and then Waterstown and then down to Faugheen so it’s a lot of races to take in for the riders.”

The 11-race schedule will again see a full day of practice on the Friday and racing on Saturday from 10am and will be the culmination of many months work for the organising committee. “There is a reason why there wasn’t one in Fermanagh for 66 years because there is an awful lot of hard work,” said the Chairman. “Even throughout the year, we had to go to Glengormley twice a month and might not be back until twelve o’clock at night. People don’t see that side of it. We are out cutting hedges for sight lines. The scaffolder has just gone. People don’t realise just how much goes into this. We are a month at this now doing different bits and pieces.”

The hard work will culminate with the Richard Britton Memorial Race with a total event prize fund of £12,000.

Race 1 McGirr Fuels Junior Support

Race 2 The Euro auctions Super sport Race One

Race 3 The Joeys Bar MCC Moto 3/125/ss300

Race 4 Struct Steel Engineering Senior Support

Race 5 Clogher Valley Windows Open Race One

Race 6 Aiken Auto Spares /Oliver Weir Junior Classic Race

Race 7 Armstrong Engineering Super twin Race.

Race 8 Enniskillen Tyres Lightweight Super Sport Race

Race 9 Plantscapes Eireann Landscaping/McIntyre Repairs Super sport Race 2

Race 10 Robert Pritchard/ Enniskillen Motorcycles Senior Classic Race

Race 11 The Richard Britton Memorial Race/ Fermanagh and Omagh District Council