Ulster GP remains in "crisis situation" as funding pleas fail

The 2020 Ulster Grand Prix remains in serious doubt as bids to secure funding to run the event have come to nothing

Ulster GP remains in "crisis situation" as funding pleas fail

Poor weather on the Saturday of last year's Ulster GP led to the lowest recorded attendance in the event's history, resulting in a substantial loss in income on top of "existing liabilities".

Law dictates that those entering the circuit premises during road-closure periods must pay an admittance fee.

That, coupled with sales from race programmes, provide a serious boost in finances to the race.

In November, a statement detailing the GP's current financial crisis was released, and a second released on Thursday confirmed that, while 'sympathy' has been offered for the event's plight, efforts to secure backing from a "host of public representatives" have failed so far.

"Discussions continue", but the running of the August event remains in serious doubt.

The statement read: "Over the past months the race organisers have met with a host of public representatives including Councillors, Westminster MPs, MLAs and other government officials.

"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.

"The difficulties facing the Ulster GP and other road races in Northern Ireland have made headlines in recent weeks. If the sport is to survive and flourish it will require similar financial support from government that other sports receive.

"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.

"More discussions are planned with the government during the weeks ahead as the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club continues to pursue a solution that will ensure the Ulster Grand Prix reaches its centenary in 2022."

Last year's Ulster GP proved was a historic event, with Smiths Racing's Peter Hickman completing a record clean sweep of seven victories across two days of racing.

The Ulster GP's plight comes in the wake of financial troubles affecting multiple other national road races in Ireland, with events like the Enniskillen 100 falling by the wayside in 2020.

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