This coming August will see Fermanagh hosting one of the most eagerly anticipated gatherings of motorcycling aficionados in some years as fans of the Honda CBX from across the world descend on the Lakelands.
One of the key organisers of the event is self-confessed CBX addict Ricky White. Well-known in racing circles, the CBX has had the Enniskillen man in its thrall since he bought his first for £900 in 1981, three years after the first one rolled off the production line.
An imposing six cylinder configuration gave the CBX an arresting presence which has seen the machine earn itself a devoted following and over 200 are expected to come to the county to indulge that fondness on the 7th, 8th and 9th August.
It’s a big boost to the summer tourist trade, but what makes the CBX such a draw?
“I think it’s just that big wide six cylinder engine,” said White. “You can have your latest rocketship bike that comes out from Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki parked up, but when the CBX drives in people flock to it, especially if it’s slightly customised. It’s got that awe about it.”
“When the CBX first came out they were priced about £2,000, and there wasn’t many people buying them new back then because that was considered crazy money. As the years have gone on they have developed a real following.
“Today, for a really clean, mint original CBX you could ask anything from £7,000 to £15,000. Some of the Specials can go up to £30,000 and dearer.
These days, the CBX wouldn’t be the fastest on the block, a production bike topping out at about 130 or 135 mph. But the bike’s muscular character has made it an enduring favourite, and that means a major tourist influx for Fermanagh.
“A lot of people are coming from a week to a fortnight,” said White. “They want to do the Antrim coast, they want to go to Joey Dunlop’s, they want to go down south. We have a big crowd coming from Europe, there’s five American’s coming, two from Japan, two from Hong Kong, one from Canada. We’re talking over 120 six cylinder Hondas, it’ll be like nothing ever seen here.”
Of course the CBX is the star of the show, but White believes this is also a great opportunity to meet like-minded people.
“People may be reluctant to go to because, although they may have a CBX, they might feel they won’t know anyone. We want to highlight to anyone out there that has as CBX or has a friend with one that they are more than welcome to come along and bring their friends.
“There’s a whole range of people from every walk of life coming,” said White.
The format of the event will see the rally officially start on Friday 7th August. After breakfast there will be a ride out around Lower Lough Erne with stops at Belleek Pottery and the Navar viewpoint. After that Roads and Policing will present a bike-safe display at the rally’s base in the Ballinamallard United grounds where there will be a Honda Fireblade, R1 Yamaha, Ducati Evo, BMWs and sports cars on show including a Delorean. After that it will be into the Ballinamallard club house for a disco and social night.
Then on Saturday morning Roads and Policing will be giving the rally an escort to the Ulster Grand Prix where they will have a parade lap, the first of its kind.
The Rally then returns to Enniskillen where there will be a ballot draw for an outstanding selection of prizes before the main business.
This will see 12 trophies being presented for the best CBXs on show, 1st, 2nd and 3rd for the Z class, for the Special class, for the B class and for the Prolink. There will also be a one off trophy for the best three wheeler on show. Saturday then wraps up with Midnight Graffiti rocking the Ballinamallard club house.
It’s going to be great value with the £75 entry getting attendees their CBX badge, hat, T-Shirt, poster, three breakfasts, two evening meals, band, and entry into the Ulster Grand Prix and programme.
There is a huge logistical effort going into the rally. Alongside White, Ray Inskipp, editor of CBX Magazine and local man Eddie McGovern are key organisers. Ulster Grand Prix clerk of course Noel Johnston helped organise the parade lap while Roads and Policing will be investing a great deal of time and effort in helping make the rally a success. Q101’s Brian Gallagher, Steve and Sarah Cummings of Brand That and System Signs have pitched in with event promotion. Ballinamallard United will play a pivotal role providing toilet and shower facilities while caterer Noel Beatty and has put together a great value menu for the weekend. Elsewhere Billy Nutt travel in Coleraine have put in place a competitive deal to get riders to the event
Anyone interested in attending can contact Ricky White on firstname.lastname@example.org or Ray Inskipp at email@example.com.
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