THE Cookstown 100 kick starts the road racing season this weekend. It is one of the first road race meetings on the racing calendar and a bumper entry has ensured that there will plenty of thrills and spills on the famous Orritor circuit.
As the hundreds of competitors speed around the circuit, volunteers from the Cookstown club will be hard at work to ensure yet another successful race weekend.
One of those dedicated club members is Kenny Loughrin, who has been a member of the Cookstown club since the early 1980s.
He originally started by assisting with marshalling but now he is heavily involved at all levels in the club. He is now the club PRO and looks after the financial side of things within the club. However, he admits that each year he rarely sees any of the action on the circuit.
“I rarely get to see any of the action. I am that busy behind the scenes making sure everything is run smoothly that I don’t get the chance to watch much of the action.”
“Especially in the current climate we have to look after the financial side of things incredibly carefully and on the day of the races I take a lead role in ensuring that everything is running smoothly with regards to the financial side of things.”
Keeping a close eye on finances is crucial for any club and a professional mentality is needed to ensure that the event is success for riders, spectators and officials.
“The financial side of things is so important. More and more clubs are finding it increasingly difficult and unless a professional attitude is taken then it is hard to keep the event running.”
“We have continued to grow over the last few years and I can see us go from strength to strength over the next few years.”
“Riders love coming here because it is a real test of their ability. It is a fairly short circuit and the average speed is around 90mph.”
Keeping riders, officials and spectators safe is of the utmost importance to the Cookstown club and the club are prepared for every eventuality.
“Safety is absolutely paramount at the venue and it is an aspect we spend a lot of time looking at and making sure everything is covered.”
Without the support of local businesses it would be doubtful that the Cookstown 100 would be able to go ahead each year and Kenny was delighted with the support from local businesses.
“We are celebrating our 90th anniversary this year. We have a week of events taking place around the area and it should be a great week. We are grateful for all of the support that all of the local businesses have provided over the years. We have a new main sponsor in KDM Hire and we also have great support from the Royal Hotel and Braeside once again.”
The action gets underway on Friday afternoon when the roads close for a practice session from noon. Then on Saturday the main event begins at 10am.