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Ulster Grand Prix: Race boss Johnston in wet weather plea

'When the Ulster Grand Prix didn't run in 2008 we lost a whole year's planning and it cost us £600,000 to put the event on' - Noel Johnston
Ulster Grand Prix clerk of the course Noel Johnston hopes changes to the legislation surrounding Road Closing Orders will prevent further race cancellations in the future.

Thursday's Dundrod 150 meeting, a support card of races at the Ulster Grand Prix, was called off as a result of heavy rain.

In May, the North West 200 was also cancelled due to poor weather, sparking calls for more flexibility in the laws governing the closure of roads for race meetings in Northern Ireland.

Five years ago, the Ulster Grand Prix was abandoned for the first time in its history due to adverse weather.

The government launched a public consultation process in July in response to demands for greater flexibility and Johnston expects changes to come into force next year.

“We would like more flexibility and obviously it seems to be going that way,” he said.

“Sunday is the day we would be looking at to fall back on if we ever get another day like we had in 2008, when it wasn't possible to run any races.

“We would only look to move racing to a Sunday as a final option and once all other avenues were exhausted.

“This option won't be in place until 2014 if the proposals are successful, but I feel some sort of flexibility will be available next season to combat bad weather.

“When the Ulster Grand Prix didn't run in 2008 we lost a whole year's planning and it cost us £600,000 to put the event on,” he added.

“Every time we get bad weather on the Saturday it always seems to be good on the Sunday. The event is too big to allow it to be ruined by one day of bad weather.”

The main Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix is scheduled to take place at Dundrod tomorrow, with the latest forecast predicting rain in the morning but drier, brighter conditions in the afternoon and early evening.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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