This year’s Bush road races near Dungannon in Co Tyrone have fallen victim to rising insurance costs coupled with a lack of sponsorship, the organisers have confirmed.
In January it was announced that the cost of providing insurance cover for national road race meetings in 2013 had soared by 30 percent, a hefty increase of £3,455 from £12,315 to £15,770.
The costly hike raised fears that some of Northern Ireland’s national races would be unable to raise enough cash to run their events this season and those concerns have now been borne out with the demise of the Bush meeting, which was scheduled to run from June 28-29.
A statement issued by the Dungannon and District Motorcycle Club said the decision was taken to cancel the event as a result of ‘the recent increase in MCUI UC insurance costs and the financial downturn continuing in Northern Ireland’.
It added: “The club is finding it hard to attract new race sponsors and feel that it is safer and better to give this year a miss but plan for a bigger and better return in 2014.
“We could push on and run the event but we cannot take any risks in running a speed event like this, safety has to come first and we would rather sit out one year than take risks.
“This will be a loss for the local village and surrounding areas in trade as the event generated custom for them.”
The club revealed it unsuccessfully applied for funding to help sustain the event from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
The statement went on: “We will work hard in fundraising events from now until next year and we are inviting everyone to come along and support us.
“We also hope the govern body can get a reduction in insurance costs for next year also.”
In January, MCUI chairman, Jack Agnew, told the News Letter he was optimistic the future of national road racing could be secured despite the financial challenges that lie ahead.
“It’s up to every club now to look at ways of attracting additional sponsorship and alternative means of bringing extra money into the sport,” Agnew said.
“It will be difficult, but as an organisation we will try to make the sport as cost-effective as possible.”
Agnew is hopeful new legislation will be brought in to grant race organisers the powers to charge an admission fee to their events to help offset the financial implications of big insurance bills.
Four national road races remain on the calendar in Northern Ireland for 2013, including the Cookstown 100, Tandragee 100, Armoy and Mid Antrim 150.