Northern Irish motorcycle racing was dealt a severe blow on Thursday after all 2023 events were cancelled due to rising insurance costs.
All 2023 road racing, short circuit and trials events run by the Ulster Centre of the Motorcycle Union of Ireland, including its North West 200 headliner, Ulster Grand Prix, Sunflower Trophy and the Ulster Superbike Championship have been cancelled after emergency meetings concluded they were impossible to carry out under current conditions. Motocross events, however, are not affected.
A statement issued by MCUI (Ulster Centre) Chairman John Dillon on Thursday evening confirmed delegates had met on two occasions this week - Monday 6th and Thursday 9th February - in a bid to secure the upcoming season but with public liability insurance costs spiralling, negotiations - which have been ongoing since the summer - proved unsuccessful with “no appetite from insurers to offer more competitive quotes.”
“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” Dillon continued. “The MCUI (UC) will, however, continue to pursue all options for the provision of Public Liability insurance, should they arise in the near future.
“Our immediate attention must now turn to competitors, who have invested much planning and expense for the 2023 year, to date. To that end, the MCUI (UC) will continue to issue licences and are still endeavouring to procure competition Personal Accident insurance cover for the 2023 year.
“Although there will be no MCUI (UC) events run in 2023, this will allow 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.
"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."