Crowdfunding to save road racing in Northern Ireland

A GoFundMe page has been set up by the MCUI to help try and cover the road racing insurance shortfall

Michael Dunlop - Hawk Racing Suzuki [credit: NW200 Pacemaker Balfast]

A GoFundMe page has been set up by the Motorcycle Union of Ireland Ulster Centre (MCUI UC) over the weekend, aiming to help plug the gap in accounts and help save Irish road racing in 2023.

When the news broke last week that racing had been cancelled for the foreseeable, racers and fans alike took to social media in what effectively became an outpouring of grief over the news. That action might have had something to do with this significant crowdfunding effort, which no doubt caught the eye of organisers, and reminded them of how much road racing in Ireland means to those that take part and spectate.

Launched on Saturday, the crowdfunding effort is already sitting at more than £70,000, although with a goal of £300,000 set out by the organisers, there is still a long way to go. So far around 2,500 donations have been made, ranging from £5 to £5,000 and they are pouring in from around the globe.

Crowdfunding to save road racing in Northern Ireland

The post accompanying the crowdfunding page reads:

The motorcycle world was rocked here in Northern Ireland when news of the hike in insurance was made clear to all the promoting motorcycle clubs. It was clear to these clubs within the MCUI(UC) that the increase was unaffordable to most if not all running events this year. The clubs could not agree to progress with the purchase of the insurance policy, despite knowing fully that this would mean the cancellation of all two-wheeled sport in Northern Ireland in 2023. The MCUI(UC), not having the funds to purchase the insurance could therefore not continue.

We are now asking our fans, those that love their racing, their road racing and trials to help us by kindly donating directly to our insurance shortfall fund to give us the chance to have racing this year. Your efforts, if successful will result in most if not all two-wheeled sport being back on our calendar.

While the crowdfunding effort is definitely a step in the right direction in the short term, it doesn’t answer what the long term has in store for Irish road racing. After all, once one crowdfunding campaign has been launched for 2023, would people still give the same again in 2024? One call from those within the sport is to begin taking contributions from people for entry into the events. Wilson Craig Racing recently posted words to this effect on their social media, as they shared an open letter from one of their sponsors.

In the letter, which you can see above, he calls for event organisers to attempt to collect a nominal amount from spectators in order to help fund the events in the long term.