After weeks of fundraising, persuasion and negotiation the North West 200 and two other Northern Ireland road races have escaped cancellation.
May 9-13 will hear the roar of Superbikes getting off the grid on the shore of Portrush. The Cookstown 100 and Armoy national road races together with short circuit events will also be held and there are still plans to relaunch the grand old Ulster Grand Prix.
This dramatic turnaround from the belief that road racing in Ireland was finished due to a doubling of insurance costs came with an announcement from the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland that they had received a revised quote which together with £92,000 raised from crowd funding made racing in 2023 possible. The announcement made this week resulted in a day of celebration among fans at home and abroad.
”As has been well documented over the past month this year’s event had been thrown into jeopardy by a huge increase in the cost of public liability insurance,” a statement from the Coleraine and District Motor Club, organisers of the North West, said. “A new insurance deal has finally been secured and the crucial intervention of Co. Tyrone businessman Derek Keys with a generous donation from his company Euro Auctions has ensured the 2023 NW200 can go ahead.”
NW200 chief Mervyn Whyte, referring to the lack of financial support from the government leaving the sport to its own devices in dealing with the insurance crisis, also paid tribute to Mr Keys whose intervention, he said, “was crucial to saving the North West.
”We also wish to express our gratitude to the many members of the motorcycle racing community who donated so generously to the crowdfunding initiative launched by the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland, Ulster Centre,” Whyte added.
“March 2023 represents the 25th anniversary of Euro Auctions and helping the North West 200 gives us the ideal chance to thank all of those people who have supported us over that 25 year journey.” Mr Keys confirmed.
“The event sees over 195,000 people visit the region and many businesses, both large and small, depend upon events like this to bring trade and prosperity into the North West area. This event is part of our region’s heritage and I am delighted that with a little help from Euro Auctions, the event can now proceed this year.”