Grid girls to be on track.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Countdown on to annual Tandragee 100 Road Races.

THE Clerk of the Course of the Around a Pound Tandragee 100 National Motorcycle Road Races has confirmed that if last year's grid girl is still willing to do the job, then she will be made welcome at the event.

In light of recent publicity relating to glamour women last month, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) have ditched walk-on girls from their events after talks with broadcasters.

Furthermore, Formula One bosses have also dropped 'grid' girls with immediate effect - a decision which was branded as 'prudish' by the sport's former Chief Executive, Bernie Ecclestone.

However, Clerk and Honorary Secretary of North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club, Anne Forsythe, does not see "what the fuss is about" and will continue to use a grid person at the Around a Pound Tandragee 100 Motorcycle Road Races.

"I don't really see what the fuss is about regarding grid girls," she said.

"Our view of grid girls is neither positive or negative and we make no judgement on other sports for their decisions regarding keeping or removing them from events.

"We only have one girl at our event as we simply don't have the resources to arrange a team.

"We provide the individual with club branded gear to wear that is the same as the rest of the event team wear. We could just as easily use a man for the position and have done so in the past.

"They provide an important role by letting the riders know how many laps there will be before a race.

"Riders who have their own grid girl (or man) will be able to use them as they can, for example, help shade the competitor from the sun or rain.

"I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

"The issue isn't really about the grid girls themselves, but more about how people, male or female are treated at events, therefore regardless of a person's role, it's important to be respectful."

The North-West 200 have said they will review the use of grid girls, but Bill Kennedy MBE, the Clerk of the Course for the Armoy Road Races, has said the practice will continue going forward.

Preparations are already underway for the Tandragee 100 on May 4 and 5, with Clerk of Course Forsythe revealing that there has been interest from across the world.

Growing year on year in stature, the Tandragee 100 is regarded by many as one of Irish road racing's leading and most prestigious national events.

"We have had interest from competitors across Europe, mainland UK and the Isle of Man," Forsythe continued.

"The event last year attracted more than 180 competitors and that figure could increase this year.

"The crowds of spectators are also increasing to almost 15,000, so we are really looking forward to getting started in May.

"We would like to place our thanks to Around a Pound for sponsoring this year's races."

Forsythe also confirmed that this year's chosen charity is Jonah's Fight, which was set-up in honour of Jonah Ryzo Carvalho Carceres who died from a brain tumour at two years of age after fighting so hard.

The charity's main aim is to make sure all children have access to MRIs by funding private screenings when they don't feel like they are getting the help they need, and to try and make the hardest fight of a family's life just that little bit easier.


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