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All Northern Ireland Road Racing Cancelled

All motorcycle road racing, short circuit events and trials in Northern Ireland have been cancelled for 2023, due to rocketing insurance charges. The Ulster Centre of the Motorcycle Union of Ireland held an emergency meeting and decided that it was impossible to cover the costs – quotes for public liability insurance have reportedly tripled for this year, to over £400,000.

As all events except motocross have been cancelled, this includes the North West 200, Cookstown 100 and Ulster Grand Prix amongst others. The shock news comes only weeks after the North West received the go ahead from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, which had pledged to increase its contribution to £275,000, to cover office accommodation and preparing the circuit.

“It’s not just a hammer blow for motorcycling,” wrote the Stephen Watson of BBC Sport NI, “but also a huge blow for tourism…Unless a solution is found, the future of motorcycle racing is very bleak.”

However, the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) is still working to arrange competitive personal accident cover for NI-based racers, so that licences can be issued, enabling them to compete in events elsewhere in the UK or further afield.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, was dismayed to hear the news of a blanket cancellation. “The BMF have always been massive supporters of road racing, especially in NI. This is a terrific disappointment, which we hope will be resolved in the future. I know I speak for the local supporters of these events, including Howard Anderson, our Finance Director and Regional Chairman for NI. Howard has been scrutineering at these events for decades, and his son Shaun has competed in them, many times. ”

Read BBC News release here

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Newsletter