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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

All bike highway racing in Northern Eire cancelled, Brexit blamed

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Rising insurance coverage prices has been a difficulty throughout all of Eire in recent times, however has primarily affected the smaller highway racing occasions.

Nevertheless, in a hammer blow to the game of motorbike racing in Northern Eire, all occasions together with the nation’s largest out of doors sporting assembly, the North West 200 has needed to be known as off for 2023. It was reported the North West 200 contributed £17m to the native financial system final 12 months.

In an announcement launched by the MCUI, it says the price of public legal responsibility insurance coverage has develop into unsustainable for occasion organisers and golf equipment, with a BBC report suggesting a determine of over £400,000 having been quoted which might have seen prices triple.

Highway racing has survived over 100 years in Northern Eire, however funding points have develop into extra distinguished, with the Ulster Grand Prix essentially the most notable race to have been affected since a poorly-attended 2019 occasion.

An announcement from Motorcycling Eire additionally highlighted Brexit, which Northern Eire voted towards within the 2016 referendum, as a serious contributing issue to the grim scenario surrounding insurance coverage prices.

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“The top of 2021 after we scheduled our annual assembly with our dealer, [we learned] that [they] would now not be capable of take care of us on account of Brexit,” the assertion learn.

“They did ship our particulars on to a different dealer, who took us on.

“Final October 2022, we obtained an e mail from our new dealer saying insurance coverage firm Allianz, who now we have been lined with for years, would now not insure us as they have been now not protecting motorsport, and so they have reached out to different corporations however that nobody would take us on.”


The assertion added that Motorcycling Eire’s {old} dealer has put it in touch with three others, and they’re at the moment “making an attempt to steer insurance coverage corporations to take us on”.

Allianz has issued a counter assertion to Motorcycling Eire, claiming it isn’t – actually – ceasing its involvement in motorsport and defined its determination to not problem protection.

“Allianz World Company & Specialty (AGCS) covers many parts of motorsports globally, together with two and 4 wheels motorsports, as a part of its Leisure line of enterprise,” the assertion issued to Autosport learn.

“The corporate isn’t withdrawing from motorsports insurance coverage and stays dedicated to offering protection to our shoppers the place it’s financially reasonable and viable to take action.

“Nevertheless, on account of many components together with substantial losses and rising claims prices in recent times, towards a backdrop of macroeconomic components and fewer capability within the insurance coverage marketplace for a lot of these threat, AGCS should handle the variety of motorsport accounts on its books fastidiously, particularly within the governing physique sector.

“AGCS engaged in discussions with the Bike Union of Eire’s insurance coverage dealer to advise of those issues in the summertime of 2022 and tried to search out options however finally the corporate was not capable of renew protection for 2023.”

The MCUI says it would proceed to hunt public legal responsibility insurance coverage this 12 months and can proceed to problem licenses to rivals in order that they’ll compete in different occasions.

Nevertheless, there will likely be no highway racing or quick circuit racing held in Northern Eire this 12 months.

It will come as a blow to rivals of the Isle of Man TT, who’ve historically used the North West 200 as a warm-up to the TT.

The already fragile future for bike highway racing in Northern Eire appears to be like much more bleak within the wake of this newest setback.

A part of the issue is the truth that highway racing is a sport during which spectators can view without spending a dime – although the Ulster GP was propped up by a chunk of presidency laws that deemed anybody coming into the circuit confines throughout highway closure occasions needed to pay to be there.

Former racer and a number of TT winner Phillip McCallen instructed BBC Radio Ulster that the perspective round highway racing being a free-to-view sport has to vary whether it is to have a future.

“It is an absolute catastrophe,” McCallen, who’s a director of the Revival Racing Bike Membership which took over working the North West 200, mentioned. “Most of the people have had free racing and free viewing for 50 years and a few folks anticipate that to proceed however it may well’t.


“You do not go to Windsor Park and get in for nothing, so that you should not have free spectating on the North West 200, for instance.

“It is about how we get that cash from folks into the organisation.”

The North West 200 was already going through an unsure future after the 2022 occasion, with former NW200 race director Mervyn Whyte saying final 12 months that the Colerain and District Motor Membership wanted further funding assist from Tourism NI or it might face a scenario the place “we might not run the occasion” sooner or later.

Final October, the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council put a call to supply extra funding for the 2023 North West 200 on maintain. The rise in funding was anticipated to be round £96,000 to deliver whole contributions as much as £275,000.

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