Manx rider Paul Cassidy has become a proud new father after his partner gave birth to a baby boy after the pair arrived in Belfast for the Ulster Grand Prix.
Paul and Naomi McCarroll arrived in Northern Ireland at the weekend and the manxman, who has never raced in Ireland before, is here to compete in this week’s road races at Dundrod.
On Monday morning heavily pregnant Naomi was whisked off to the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast and a few hours later the couple were the proud parents of a “bouncing” baby boy.
“Naomi is originally from Carrickfergus and she was with her Mum on Monday when I got a phone call to say she had some pains in her stomach and was going to hospital.” Paul explained.
“I was changing sprockets and spannering the bike in the paddock but I managed to get there in time for the birth.”
Naomi hadn’t been expected to give birth until August 19 but mother and baby are doing well, although the 7lb 4oz boy still doesn’t have a name.
“Naomi’s Dad Vinnie died just a couple of weeks ago so we will probably name our baby after him but I’d like to also get a name that links into the Ulster Grand Prix as well” Paul said.
“After all it’s not everyday you come over here and something like this happens.”
The Manxman came to Dundrod after hearing the recommendations from Irish friends in the paddock.
“They say it is their favourite meeting of the year and the circuit does look incredible” Paul said.
Despite the extra responsibility of his new arrival, the 31-year-old has vowed to continue with his plans to race his R6 Yamaha in the Supersport races at the Ulster.
“I am really looking forward to getting out there” he said.
“The nurse at the hospital was telling me what the visiting hours were and when I said I wouldn’t be able to get there in the afternoon because I had to attend the newcomer’s briefing. She wasn’t very impressed.”
But Paul says he has made a huge financial commitment to compete at the Ulster and Naomi fully supports his decision to continue to practice and race.
“She knows what I have put into our racing and is behind me all the way” he said.
“Naomi always helps in the paddock and you never know, she might make it up to Dundrod for the racing on Saturday with the baby to cheer me on!”