Road races have been in a critical situation for some time in one of their main fishing grounds, Northern Ireland. But it seems that 2024 may be the turning point. At least with regard to the unusual fact that six of the tests held there annually have been cancelled.
Road motorcycling was an essential pillar to reach the sports motorcycling we know, and an essential cradle was the United Kingdom. Within the United Kingdom, furthermore, Northern Ireland played a fundamental role to the point that, as time went by, in terms of top-level events, we had the Ulster GP, the Tandagree 100 or the NorthWest 200.
The latter also played a significant role in the preparation of many drivers when preparing for the Isle of Man TT. But in 2024 and unless there is an unexpected twist in the script, none of them will be held.
Insurance costs behind threat to road racing viability
In fact, in the case of the Ulster GP, it is the fifth consecutive edition that, for one reason or another, has been cancelled. On this occasion and after avoiding these same problems in extremis in 2023, the high cost of civil liability insurance that the organization has to assume has led the MCUI to be forced to cancel the events.
Of course, the MCUI (Motorcycle Union of Ireland) has clarified that it will continue looking for options. The aforementioned problems in finding insurance speak of a cost above 400,000 pounds, which when converted to euros means more than 466,000.
These costs, as they explain, are complicated to assume taking into account that in road races there are usually no tickets for spectators that imply income, and they depend on sponsors and government aid.
There are also direct looks at Brexit, but regardless of the reasons, the truth is that right now and despite its rising popularity in much of the rest of the world, road racing is more on the ropes than ever.