Extraordinary ‘Unbelievable’ were the only words I could utter when I finally sat down to count the number of entries I received for Faugheen’s 2016 road race.
For the first time since road racing returned in 2003 to the village of Faugheen, the grids are full to capacity, indeed bursting at the seams, with room only on the 125cc Championship and the 200cc/400cc Championship grids.
Following on from our very successful meeting last year, outstanding racing and the meeting of talent on the road was shared between the motorbike road racers and the very talented Rally Driver Craig Breen, setting all our hearts racing as we watched how fast a Rally Driver can race around the Faugheen circuit up against the power of William Dunlop, Derek Sheils and Derek McGee.
This battle provided wonderful entertainment for the crowds. Overall, the Club received a lot of praise, gaining the much coveted name of Motorbike Road Race Meeting of the Year for 2015.
Soon the narrow roads of Faugheen will be buzzing with activity with the build up to the races around our fantastic and challenging 2.2 mile circuit.
Roads close early, hoping to get Newcomers out on the grid around 11am on Saturday and racing will start at 11am on Sunday.
Photo by Ryan Fegan
With many of the top Irish road racers competing at this national round of the road racing calendar spectators will have a weekend of pure speed with riders travelling at speeds in excess of 180 mph on closed public roads with viewing vantage points so close you can see the rider’s eyes as they pass.
Then later you can meet the same riders in the paddock and see how very normal and down to earth they are without their helmet on.
2016, grids look fantastic! After looking at the our grids, it’s almost as if it’s a the complete list of Irish Road Racing ranking from whose leading the Championship in each and every class from top to bottom! Practically every racer has confirmed entry.
The list is too long for each class to include below, so I have just highlighted those few generally at the top of their classes.
Leading the charge in Faugheen this year in the National races is Derek Sheils, Derek McGee, Michael Sweeney, Paul Jordan, Michael Dokoupil and Club Members John Walsh and Brian McCormack who will all be battling for the Open and 600cc Championship titles.
Without exception, the grids for the Open, 600cc Championship and Grand Final have Ireland’s top racers. Should be some exciting clashes.
The Support grids are lead by James Chawke, Veronika Hankocyova, Philip Crosbie, Jordan McFerran, Paul O Rourke and Club member Tommy Heaphy all vying for top positions and championship points. Again, all those leading their classes from top to bottom will be there.
In the Classic races, Barry Davidson, Freddie Stewart, Ian Thompson, Phillip Shaw, Brian Mateer, Gary Hutton, Ed Manley, Robert McCrum will all be Faugheen as will Allan Brew making the journey from the UK and hoping to return with a championship title. Again, all those leading their respective classes from top to bottom will be there.
Gary Dunlop will be making his first appearance in Faugheen and will have work to do taking on Adam McLean, Paul Jordan, Nigel Moore, Sam Wilson and Derek McGee in the 125cc Championship race. Again, all those leading this class will be there.
The supertwins will be lead by Paul Jordan, Michael Dokoupil, Derek Shiels, Michael Sweeney and Andy Farrell. This is by far the biggest grid and if everyone turns up, the there will be a non-qualifier/B race. Almost everyone who has entered this race in 2016 at other race meetings will be in Faugheen.
I would like to ask all spectators to please watch the racing in the safe allocated zones and observe the Race Marshals instructions and advice.
I would also like to thank all of our sponsors, all officials for attending (we could not run the weekend’s racing without them) and a big thanks to all the racers who have confirmed entry.
And my last wish is for all those travelling to Faugheen is to have a safe journey and bring the sunshine with you!
Words by Maeve Walsh, Race Secretary, Faugheen 50 Road Race Club.