Ulster Grand Prix: Northern Ireland road racing event's future 'remains in crisis'

Dundrod & District Club president James Courtney says efforts to salvage the future of the Ulster Grand Prix are continuing

Ulster Grand Prix organisers have said that the meeting's future remains in doubt despite talks in recent months aimed at securing funding for the cash-strapped road races.

In November, it was revealed that debts in the region of £250,000 had created a major financial crisis for the event.

A statement from the organising Dundrod and District Motorcycle club said the event's "crisis situation remains".

This is despite talks having taken place with local politicians.

"Over the past months the race organisers have met with a host of public representatives including Councillors, Westminster MPs, MLAs and other government officials," said the Dundrod club's statement.

"Representation has also been made to the recently restored NI Assembly and the Department for Communities Minister.

"Whilst there has been a sympathetic hearing to the UGP's plight, the crisis situation remains.

"Discussions continue but, so far, no financial assistance has been made available as we move into the period when preparation for the 2020 event should have been well underway."

Cookstown 100 'hanging in the balance'

The Ulster Grand Prix's difficulties came hot on the heels of news that the Enniskillen Road Races would not take place this year while Cookstown 100 organisers have warned the future of their event is also hanging in the balance.

"If the sport is to survive and flourish it will require similar financial support from government that other sports receive," added the Dundrod statement.

"Road racing is a part of Northern Ireland's sporting culture and brings major financial benefits to the province and local communities.

"Only a small fraction of the sums provided to many other major sporting events would make an enormous difference to events like the Ulster Grand Prix."

The Dundrod club added that further discussions will take place with government in the weeks ahead as attempts continue to ensure that the event reaches its centenary in 2022.

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