26 September 2013
Ulster GP race chief in plea to road race fans
'This amended bill would be an enormous boost to a sport which has, over the years, lost a lot of revenue thanks to the weather' - Noel Johnston
Ulster Grand Prix race boss Noel Johnston is urging road racing fans to air their support for a change in legislation granting event organisers greater flexibility to combat bad weather.
This year, the North West 200 was abandoned for the second time in three years due to heavy rain, while the Dundrod 150 – part of the Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week – was lost because of inclement conditions.
A public consultation on the proposal for a change to the Road Closing Order ends on October 7 and Johnston has urged fans to respond before the cut-off point.
The amended bill would grant race organisers the power to bring forward up to two of their practice or race days or to adjust the times when roads are scheduled to close.
Johnston said: “On Thursday, 15th August this year we had to cut the Dundrod 150 races short due to torrential rain. As soon as the decision was taken, fans started asking if we could reschedule the event for the following day, as the forecast looked much better.
“Unfortunately under current legislation we're unable to do that and it's very frustrating. On that Friday, we had the fans, the competitors, the infrastructure and the sunshine we needed – but no racing could take place.
“This amended bill would be an enormous boost to a sport which has, over the years, lost a lot of revenue thanks to the weather,” he added.
“The Ulster Grand Prix is of significant importance economically and as an international race puts Northern Ireland on the world stage.
“It's by no means a foregone conclusion that the amended bill will be approved so I can't stress this enough – if you are a race fan that feels strongly about this issue, please respond to the consultation before it closes on 7th October.
“We don't want to lose this opportunity, which if successful, will help safeguard the future of our sport.”
To support the proposal for a road races amendment bill, email your comments to email@example.com or post to:
JH Anketell MBE,
Department for Regional Development Transport Policy, Strategy & Legislation Division, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8GB.
The closing date for all responses is Monday, October 7, 2013.
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