The Ulster Grand Prix is cancelled for another year
The Ulster Grand Prix has been cancelled once again, citing issues over public liability insurance and funding as the key reasons for the event being unable to take place.
First held in 1922, the Dundrod and District Motor Club had hoped that 2023 would see the return of the ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’ for the first time since before the pandemic. Unfortunately, the club has now said in a statement that it has been left with ‘no other option’ but to abandon plans for the event’s revival this year.
Cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event is yet to return due to a wider funding issue that was rearing its head prior to the global lockdowns being put into effect, including the Dundrod and District Motor Club being served with a winding up order and forced into liquidation, having racked up debts in the region of £300,000.
An attempt was made by the Revival Racing Club to bring back the race for its centennial year around the iconic 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit, which has not only hosted some of motorcycling’s finest names, but also was home to the RAC Tourist Trophy between 1950 and 1955 before it moved to the Goodwood Motor Circuit in 1958, but this was to prove unsuccessful following a lack of funding.
Plans seemed to be looking positive when the Dundrod and District Motor Club announced a race date for 2023 across the weekend of 18th-19th August, but the club states that it has been unable to gain access, despite requests of officials, to a copy of the public liability insurance that the Motorcycle Union of Ireland, Ulster Centre, has put in place for the upcoming year. These insurance problems, compounded with the likelihood of no funding coming from Tourism NI looking bleak, left organisers no choice but to give up on their attempts to bring the Ulster Grand Prix back for 2023.
Despite concerns earlier in the year that all Northern Irish road racing was to be cancelled for 2023, the season is now starting to get well underway, following last weekend’s Cookstown 100, which saw TT legend Michael Dunlop take a win at the weather-affected meeting. The first major road race of the year and traditional TT warm-up, the North West 200, takes place in just two weeks’ time.
Dundrod and District Motor Club Statement in Full
It is with deep regret the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club has been forced to abandon plans to revive the Ulster Grand Prix on August 18-19, 2023.
The club began the initiative with confidence, enjoying the full backing of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and the Ulster Grand Prix Supporters’ Club. There was encouraging support from teams and riders and we also received strong commitments of financial support from the local business community for which we are extremely grateful.
However, in recent weeks those plans have been undermined by two specific issues.
Despite numerous requests by Dundrod club officials during the last six weeks, we have been totally frustrated in our attempts to gain access to a copy of the public liability insurance policy the Motorcycle Union of Ireland, Ulster Centre, has put in place for 2023.
The Dundrod club was expected to make an initial payment of £26,000 by mid-April. The finance is in place to make that payment but without sight and consideration of the policy documents, the club’s solicitor has advised this payment should not proceed.
That issue has been further compounded by ongoing uncertainty around funding for the event from Tourism NI. The Dundrod club made application to TNI last December as required. We are now in April 2023 and there has still been no indication as to whether or not this application will be successful or what level of support the UGP might be eligible to receive.
Given these uncertainties, the Dundrod club has been left with no option other than to make the unfortunate decision being announced today.