North West 200 organisers have vowed to fight last night’s announcement confirming the 2023 event is set to be cancelled.
Thursday night’s shock announcement by the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) that all Northern Irish racing was to be cancelled for 2023 due to a massive increase in public liability insurance costs will be fought by the Coleraine and District Motor Club.
Mervyn Whyte told Bikesportnews.com they were not giving up, confirming a statement from the club which said: “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.
“We cannot afford to lose an event that has been running for 90 years and plays such a vital role in the economy of the north coast area.”
The North West 200 is worth over £13 million to the Northern Ireland economy and attracts over 80,000 fans to the north coast area. The loss of the event for a third time in four years would be a huge blow for local businesses and tourism who will be hoping a solution can be found to enable the event to take place. But with insurance costs to the North West more than doubling to £97,000, and for other road races to £50,000 per event - from a previous £22,000 - it looks a hard task.
“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 statement continued. “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.
”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 with 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.”