Motorcycle racing in Northern Ireland cancelled, Ireland at risk too

Motorcycle racing in Northern Ireland has been cancelled for 2023 due to an inability to acquire the necessary public liability insurance to run the events.

Alastair Seeley - IFS Yamaha [credit: Pacemaker Belfast/North West 200]

All motorcycle racing in Northern Ireland has been cancelled for 2023, owing to an inability to secure insurance. 

The cancellation of motorcycle racing in Northern Ireland for 2023 is particularly notable for the road racing community, whose discipline runs some of its biggest and most-famous races in Northern Ireland.

Image credit: North West 200 Pacemaker.

These include the North West 200, Cookstown 100, Tandragee 100, Ulster Grand Prix and the Armoy Race of Legends.

However, it is not only road racing that is affected, as the short circuit Ulster Superbike Championship, and trials competitions in Northern Ireland, have also been cancelled. 

The cancellation has not, though, affected motocross at the time of writing (10 February 2023), according to the BBC.

Image credit: North West 200 Pacemaker.

The reason for the cancellations is the increasing cost of public liability insurance. The BBC reports that quotes have risen to in excess of £400,000 - triple previous amounts.

A statement published by the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) says that the cancellation of the 2023 events comes after an emergency meeting on 9 February of relevant representatives of organising clubs of the events. “At this meeting, the relevant representatives gave their club’s views on their ability to meet the proposed insurance costs, and fees proposed, as well as any further viable options that may result in the affordability to run events this year.

“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.”

MCUI (UC) is continuing to seek insurance for its licenced competitors for 2023. It will also continue to issue licences in 2023. “Although there will be no MCUI (UC) events run in 2023, this will allow MCUI (UC) licence holders to avail of insurance cover required for starting permission applications in order to compete in events elsewhere, outside of the MCUI (UC) jurisdiction.”

On 24 January 2023, Motorcycling Ireland released a brief statement saying they were in negotiations with two insurance companies. Since 2021, Motorcycling Ireland has been in insurance difficulties due to its regular broker ending its relationship with Motorcycling Ireland due to Brexit, according to a Motorcycling Ireland release published on 8 February which can be read below. 

According to the Motorcycling Ireland release, “we have run out of options, and just need to let the brokers try and get it sorted as all the money in the world would not make a difference, because it is not a question of how much [money], the question is ‘will they insure us?’”

The news comes after continued difficulties in requiring public funding for two of the biggest road races in Northern Ireland: the North West 200, and the Ulster Grand Prix; and as funding is being sought for a British round of the World Rally Championship which would be centred in Northern Ireland.

Lead image credit: Pacemaker Belfast/North West 200

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