Organisers of the NW200 ‘have not given up the fight’

Ulster motorcycling has been dealt a hammer blow after all road racing was cancelled for 2023 – but organisers of the NW200 say they haven’t ‘given up the fight’.
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The news comes following a meeting of the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland Ulster Centre on Thursday night, when the decision was taken due to soaring insurance costs.

Clubs were facing costs three times higher for insurance than they paid in 2022, with the total overall quote for the necessary cover this year totalling around £400,000, the bulk of which was made up of public liability insurance.

Events that have been called off include the North West 200, Cookstown 100, Tandragee 100, Armoy and Ulster Grand Prix, plus the Sunflower Trophy meeting at Bishopscourt.

Disappointment for thousands of bike fansDisappointment for thousands of bike fans
Disappointment for thousands of bike fans

A statement issued by the MCUI Ulster Centre said: “The consensus was that the costs proposed were, at this time, unsustainable for most clubs in order to provide the required public liability cover to run our planned events.

“The MCUI (UC) will, however, continue to pursue all options for the provision of Public Liability insurance, should they arise in the near future.

"We appreciate that this situation is far from ideal, however although we have been unable to secure the running of events for this year, this arrangement and decision will go a little way to at least allowing licence holders the opportunity to engage in competitive events, should they wish, with the appropriate cover and security.”

However this afternoon (Friday) a statement from the NW200 was released which read: “The crisis the fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 and the rest of motorcycle sport in Ireland currently faces is due to a huge increase in the cost of insurance cover for 2023.

"The organisers of the North West 200, the Coleraine and District Motor Club, have been working tirelessly to mitigate the pressure created by these extra costs. The club was confident it could manage the initial premium increase but with other events unable to do so, the transfer of extra charges to the North West 200 created an unsustainable financial burden.

"Yesterday the sport’s governing body, the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (UC), announced the cancellation of all motorcycle sporting events in Northern Ireland this year. But the organisers of the NW200 have not given up the fight. We cannot afford to lose an event that has been running for over 90 years and plays such a vital role in the economy of the north coast area.

"We have been overwhelmed by the messages and offers of support we have received today and whilst we understand the decision taken by the MCUI (UC), the Coleraine and District Motor club will continue in its efforts to stage the North West 200 on May 7-13.

"Plans were already in place to welcome new competitors to the event during an induction day next Tuesday, February 14. Both that event and the Meet the Stars race launch, scheduled for February 15, will go ahead as planned and we will continue to keep everyone informed of our progress.”