Tandragee 100 Clerk of the Course Anne Forsythe admits recent insurance hikes pose a serious threat to Irish national road races, but is adamant it is all systems go for the Co Armagh meeting in April.
Insurance premiums have shot up by as much as £4,000 in 2017, with clubs also facing a significant increase in any excess costs arising from individual claims, up from £1,000 last year to £2,500.
Forsythe, who made history when she became the first female Clerk of the Course at an Irish road race after taking the reins at Tandragee in 2013, told the News Letter the organising North Armagh Club remains positive despite the extra strain on financial resources.
“The way I see it, all road races are under extra pressure because of the rise in insurance costs,” she said.
“It’s a significant increase this year but at least we got insurance cover in place and now it is up to us to make the best of it. There are always challenges with rising costs that we have to face never mind insurance, and it wasn’t welcome news that insurance had risen so much this year.
“But I think the most worrying thing is the excess cost, which has gone up to £2,500, but we will deal with that if and when we have to,” she added.
“The plan is to press ahead as normal and try and raise as much revenue as we can, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
“We are delighted that our title sponsors, Gerry and Siobhan Rice of Around-A-Pound, are on board again along with another long-standing sponsor, Tayto. We also have a new sponsor on board this year thanks to Jim McCullagh, so it’s all systems go for April.”
Forsythe, though, concedes that it will be no surprise if one or more Irish national road races scheduled in 2017 are unable to run given the impact of the increase in insurance costs.
“Yes, I do think there is the potential for that to happen. It depends on the financial situation of each individual club. If a club is already close to the limit, then this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” she said.
“But it’s not solely about insurance and there are other factors that come into it. If clubs weren’t blessed with good weather last year, then spectator numbers could have been down and you don’t have the same number of people buying programmes or making a donation.
“That has an impact and plus it can also affect sponsorship for the following year, which adds additional pressure. There are a lot of challenges to be met and it isn’t easy, but as a club we intend to get on with it and do the very best that we can.”
The 57th Around-A-Pound Tandragee 100 is scheduled to take place from April 21-22.
Regulation and entry forms are now available from the Facebook Group ‘Tandragee 100 Road Races’ or upon request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries close on Friday, March 10.