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Growing tide of support for change after NW200 cancelled

'We sympathise with the North West organisers, as we know all too well how frustrating it is to put all that work in only to see riders and thousands of fans go home dismayed thanks to the weather' - Noel Johnston
Ulster Grand Prix race chief Noel Johnston has thrown his support behind the North West 200 after the event was cancelled on Saturday due to poor weather.

It was the second time in three years the famous road race in Northern Ireland was halted after heavy rain, a hoax bomb alert and an oil spill conspired against the organisers in 2011.

Event director Mervyn Whyte has called on the NI government to grant more flexible road closing orders in the future to enable racing to take place on different days should bad weather jeopardise the event and Johnston fully supports his counterpart's call.

“We sympathise with the North West organisers, as we know all too well how frustrating it is to put all that work in only to see riders and thousands of fans go home dismayed thanks to the weather,” he said.

“The Ulster Grand Prix only just made it back after the washout in 2008. At the time we tried to negotiate rescheduling the race to the Sunday.

“Despite getting agreement from local residents, having the riders on side and even the provision from the ferry companies for riders to change their bookings, a resolution could not be found with the unyielding legislation for road closures,” he added.

“I didn't think the 'Ulster' would recover but against the odds we were able to regroup and move forward.

“It was only through the efforts of a small dedicated band of volunteers and the support of the general public and sponsors that the event was able to take place the following year.

“However, the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club, as promoters of the event, are still feeling the effects of the cancellation.”

Nothern Ireland's First Minister, Peter Robinson, has already vowed to grant the North West 200 more powers to switch racing to alternative days to avoid a repeat in the future.

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What?: - Unregistered

May 20, 2013 6:44 PM

On one hand, quite heartening reading the article. But, why in-spite of this, could a resolution not be found to race on Sunday? The various organisations need to sort this for next year onwards, pronto. Thanks to the BBC, the NI RR scene is now exposed to a much wider, eager fan base and is a great appetiser for the IOM TT. Please don't let it go down the plug hole...


May 20, 2013 10:57 PM

The god squad still have alot to say regarding Sunday activities over here. There's no soccer on Sundays for example. For sure you could have a week of weather like that over here, but it was cruel how good the weather was on Friday and to no benefit. Fair play to those that travelled big distances and the privateer entrants especially. Fingers crossed of the TT, UGP and other road races of th season.

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