Following the shock news that no road racing would take place in Ireland this year; including the flagship North West 200 Races; reassurance was sought that the TT; Manx Grand Prix and Southern 100 would not be directly affected. The MCUI; organizers of road racing in Ireland have been unable to obtain suitable insurance cover for their events. Their long time insurer Allianz has withdrawn from offering cover; citing Brexit (presumably ring-fencing of liabilities rules) as the main reason. Insurance costs have risen steeply in recent times; with our enquiries suggesting that liability cover for such events would cost 300% more than last year.
Via Paul Phillips; I have received the following statement from Tim Crookall; the MHK with responsibility for motorsport on the island.
The Isle of Man is proud to be a country synonymous with motorcycle road racing and we are saddened to hear of the cancellation of all road racing this year in Northern Ireland, a country that has the sport so ingrained within its heritage. It is a real loss to fans, competitors, communities and all those involved in the events. Increasing costs are a very real issue facing all sports and businesses at this moment in time, and it’s for this reason the Isle of Man TT Races made ensuring the long term sustainability of the event a clear mission within the TT’s overarching strategy.
In addition to the overarching strategy, the Isle of Man TT have brought in a raft of changes in order to grow the event’s audience and improve accessibility to fans globally through the launch of live broadcast and additional year round content. This approach amongst other changes provide sustainable income streams that can provide assurance to the longevity of the Isle of Man TT Races and ultimately ensure that road racing can remain on the Island.
Whilst the loss of the events across Northern Ireland won’t directly impact the Isle of Man TT Races, I would like to add that the Isle of Man TT Races will remain committed to working with any of their competitors that may be impacted by the cancellation.”
Insurance cover for the road racing events in the island is provided presently by way of a policy held through the ACU; the body ultimately responsible for road racing in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man. There is a caveat, in that all risks are ultimately covered by syndicates through a market such as Lloyds of London and the rapidly escalating cost of cover will have to be met ultimately by event organizers. One wonders how long it will be before the economics of the events render them unviable.
The loss of the meetings in Ireland will mean that many riders will be deprived of much needed opportunity to set up their machines for the Mountain Course. There being much less practice time than there once was at the TT and MGP will simply add to the pressure on riders and their teams. For those teams whose focus was purely on road racing; will the loss of the meetings in Ireland cause some to withdraw entirely? I hope that this is not the case for any.
Nathan Harrison; Honda’s new team rider; leaving Parliament Square during the 2022 Senior TT.