Confirming what was widely anticipated, Enniskillen Road Races organisers the Enniskillen and District Motorcycle Club (Road Racing) Ltd, have confirmed this morning that they will not be running a roads meeting in 2020.
Amongst various factors forcing the Enniskillen Road Races off the 2020 roads calendar include the logistics, cost of needed safety equipment, increasing medical costs and many spectators not willing to purchase a programme.
Another prime factor is the implementation of water mains, enforced sustained traffic diversions making organisers wary of the impact it would place upon the acclaimed Enniskillen course.
Photo by Rod Neill
For any road race, race meeting organiser, if a decision comes to abandon a meeting or delay it for one year or the foreseeable future it’s a decision not taken lightly.
You can’t but not feel a sense of empathy for the Enniskillen and District Motorcycle Club (Road Racing) Ltd, who’s endeavours, tireless hard work has helped add an additional roads event to the race calendar in the late 2010’s.
Hopefully in the near future we will see the Enniskillen Road Races return, but for 2020 this is not possible.
Speaking about the reasons taken for not holding a road race next year, the Enniskillen and District Motorcycle Club (Road Racing) Ltd stated in a candid, thoroughly honest statement:
“This decision has been taken solely by the club following discussions with members which have spanned over several months. After many years of hard work and two successful Road Race events the club has decided that it is no longer feasible to carry on with the Enniskillen Road Race for 2020.
We have worked hard to try and make this event work, but unfortunately due to several reasons, some beyond our control, we now feel that we are unable to run the event next year.
The cost of running a road race is high, and despite our best efforts to try and keep costs down we have found that excessive cost and logistics of hiring safety equipment such as the bales from other clubs, rising medical costs etc, along with a trend of spectators choosing not to contribute by buying programmes or contributing towards the event means that overall the sport in general is suffering and something clubs can’t sustain in the long run.
Our attention has been drawn to recent laying of water mains that have taken place on the circuit and heavy traffic diversions that have been put in place, our club members are concerned that this may have a negative impact on the road surface.
The roads Inspection team would only identify this at the beginning of 2020 which leaves little time to make any improvement and as we currently are unable to secure any commitment from the department of infrastructure regarding improvements this must also a contributing factor.
We have had some very positive feedback from riders, and offers of help and support pending this announcement, and it has not been an easy decision, considering the amount of effort it has taken to get to this point.
We have proven that we can run an event of this scale; and we are very proud that after 66 years of an absence, the Enniskillen Road Races were once again back on the road race calendar. We will continue to actively seek an alternative circuit with lower running costs so we will not rule out the possibility of another road race in Fermanagh in the future.”
“We remain dedicated to the sport of Motorcycle racing with continuation of our short circuit event at St Angelo, with some positive changes proposed for 2020 we intend to grow this event which will now span over 2 days on 27th and 28th June, while also still focusing on introducing, guiding and encouraging new participants into the sport.
We understand that most clubs are struggling more and more to find good volunteers who are prepared to give up their time for sport, and our club is no exception.
A massive thank you must go to all those who pushed forward, made sacrifices and helped us make our road race possible over the past number of years.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our title sponsor Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for coming on board as our title sponsor who took the initial leap of faith to go along with our plans, without the support of them and all our sponsors the last two years would just not have been possible and we look forward to working with you again in the future.
Finally, a massive thank you to all of the competitors, who all who took part in the Enniskillen Road Races, in both 2018 and 2019 , you are the stars of the show, we may have made it happen, but you made it great.”
Words by Stevie Rial