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New legislation boosts Irish road races

'This is certainly a step in the right direction and is a vote of support for the road racing industry, which after all brings about significant economic benefits in terms of tourism' - Noel Johnston
Events such as the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix will have greater power to switch racing to an alternate day in the event of poor weather from 2014.

An amendment to the Road Closing Order governing motorsport events in Northern Ireland was passed today, granting promoters greater flexibility.

In May, the North West 200 was cancelled due to heavy rain while the Dundrod 150 meeting – part of the Ulster Grand Prix – was abandoned as a result of bad weather in August.

Noel Johnston, Ulster Grand Prix clerk of the course, said: “I am heartened by the news that the amended bill has been passed as it will allow us to build robust contingency plans into our overall event management plan for Bike Week.

“We've lost a lot of money over the years due to terrible weather conditions, so the flexibility to change which days we run the races at a day's notice will certainly help safeguard the future of the event.

“While the total number of days on which roads can be closed remains at three, this is certainly a step in the right direction and is a vote of support for the road racing industry, which after all brings about significant economic benefits in terms of tourism,” he added.

“I've had a lot of foreign motorcycle fans tell me that they'd love to come to the UGP but that they're put off by the chance of bad weather – they don't want to come all the way here to look at an empty circuit. This news will hopefully give them the confidence to book their flights and experience the world's fastest road race first hand.

“Thank you to all the supporters and fans of the sport who responded to the consultation on this matter. It has paid off, and we look forward to bringing you a fantastic week of racing in August 2014.”



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