Northern Ireland news

Covid-19: North West 200 cancelled for second consecutive year

Racing star Michael Dunlop in action during the International North West 200 races in May 2019
Digital Staff

The North West 200 motorbike event has been cancelled for a second consecutive yeat due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released this morning, organisers The Coleraine and District Motor Club said public health officials have made it clear that despite the vaccination programme, "the effects of coronavirus will remain with us for some considerable time to come" and it would therefore be impossible to hold this year's event.

,It takes place in and around Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush and draws thousands of visitors to the area.

A contingency plan to delay the races from May until August was considered but rejected "because of continued uncertainty around both the effects of the virus on our community and the extent of the restrictions aimed at suppressing it".

The statement said: "The Coleraine Club’s main priority must be to ensure the safety and wellbeing of not only those involved in the event, but also the residents of the north coast area and further afield.

"It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the organisers to limit the number of people who travel to the area during race week which, in turn, could pose a significant risk to the local population. That is a situation that cannot be contemplated.

"Although extremely disappointing, the decision to cancel the NW200 for the second year in a row is the only responsible course of action the Coleraine Club can take. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all of our loyal sponsors, officials and volunteers for their understanding and support."

Organisers say a provisional date of May 14-22 has been allocated for racing in 2022.

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