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Prestigious Sunflower Trophy called off due to lack of entries

'We have got to have a big crowd coming to the Sunflower to make it viable and if you haven't got a couple of BSB teams, then they just won't come' - Denis Wilson
The organisers of Northern Ireland's prestigious Sunflower Trophy race have admitted their plan to switch the event to a new date in August backfired in spectacular fashion.

Denis Wilson, of the promoting Hillsborough and District Club, revealed the short circuit event would 'probably' revert back to its traditional October slot in 2013.

However, he refused to rule out the possibility that the race meeting could still go ahead this year in the autumn after a failed bid to host the popular race at Bishopscourt in Co Down on August 3-4.

The thought process behind the plan to bring the Sunflower Trophy meeting forward by two months was based on the assumption that an increased number of British championship riders would compete at Bishopscourt during BSB's summer break.

Ironically, it transpired that fewer BSB teams were prepared to make the trip to Northern Ireland for the 'Sunflower' as they were unwilling to run the risk of their riders picking up an injury with the British Superbike and Supersport championships yet to reach a conclusion.

Wilson said the organisers had been left with no choice but to cancel the illustrious race, with only six entries received as of Tuesday evening.

“The BSB teams were committed to the British Superbike Championship," he said.

“Originally, some of them had indicated that because there was a five-week break during the BSB season, they could probably fit the Sunflower in.

“But when it came to the bit, they were fully committed to BSB and said they weren't coming.

“We have got to have a big crowd coming to the Sunflower to make it viable and if you haven't got a couple of BSB teams, then they just won't come.

“We couldn't afford to take a serious loss,” he added.

“We thought that with the five-week break in BSB due to the Olympics that it would be okay, but it wasn't.”

Wilson intimated that the Sunflower meeting would be switched back to a date in October next year, but also hinted that the race may yet still run in 2012.

“We'll have a think about things again for next year and we'll probably think about it [moving back to the traditional October date] because we need a more suitable time,” he said.

“We will have an appraisal next week and come to some sort of a decision one way or another.

“I'm not saying the Sunflower will run this year, but we haven't made a decision as yet.”

Ian Lowry won the Sunflower Trophy feature race on the Relentless TAS Suzuki last year, while Michael Laverty has lifted the coveted silverware a record six times.

A round of the Irish Superbike Championship scheduled for July 14 was also cancelled due to a lack of entries.



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