Road racing is a branch of motorsports where drivers compete on open roads instead of dedicated racetracks. Motorcycles make way through narrow two-lane streets at speeds of up to 200mph. It is considered as one of the more dangerous motorsports, as motorcyclists speed through normal roads with very little protection between themselves and the spectators. On the contrary, in closed-circuit racing, there are several layers of protection for the spectators such as a sand trap, a tire wall, and a fence.
The Decline of Road Racing
The Ulster Grand Prix and North West 200 races are very famous and are attended by people coming into Northern Ireland from the world over. There are also many other local events that promote the sport. However, it is feared that the sport of road racing is slowly disappearing in Ireland. The number of events has decreased significantly compared to previous years and organizers are trying very hard to keep the bigger events running. One of the few reasons for this is that catering for such events is simply becoming financially unfeasible for organizers. Just a decade ago, Ireland was hosting up to eleven national road racing events, but this number has withdrawn to only three this year.
Increased Insurance Costs Lead to Decrease in Races
One reason for the dramatic decrease in the number of road racing events in Ireland is that insurance costs have increased significantly over the past year. Two events have recently been canceled as a direct consequence of an increase in insurance premium. Claim fees have also risen by over 150% in the past year, adding to the financial woes of the club owners and organizers. It seems that road racing is slowly disappearing from Ireland and there is not much that can be done about it.
Support from Fans Needed
Dungannon man Burrows, a veteran and legend in the road racing business in Ireland, recalls how he would not get a free weekend for months on end. Now, however, many riders are racing without financial compensation, just to keep the sport alive. In these tough times, the road racing community calls on the fans to contribute towards the promotion and financial development of the sport. Nowadays, organizers don’t even charge any entry fees and rely on donations to make ends meet. There are many who would just attend an event and not even put their hands in their pockets. Road racing fans in Ireland need to understand that if they don’t support the sport, it may disappear altogether from Ireland one day.
Road Racing is a thrilling sport that has deep roots in Ireland. It is the ultimate test of speed and nerves where man and machine synergize to make the unthinkable happen. The slightest mistake can result in dire consequences for the rider and the onlookers. This exhilarating sport is diminishing in Ireland and needs to be revived. It seems that the fate of this sport lies in the hands of the fans who can come forward and start supporting it again, in order to turn it into a sustainable form of entertainment for people around the world.