Belfast Telegraph

New motorcycle road racing law fast-tracked in Northern Ireland

By David Young

A proposed law change to allow more scheduling flexibility for motorcycle road races in Northern Ireland has been put on a fast track through Stormont.

The potential amendment to legislation is aimed at preventing another race having to be abandoned outright due to the weather.

Racing at the showpiece North West 200 has been called off in two of the last three years due to heavy rain. The law as it stands does not allow organisers, who need to apply in advance for required road closures, to restage the event in the following days.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy had asked MLAs to forego some of the Assembly scrutiny stages to grant the law accelerated passage.

Mr Kennedy said the move was needed to get the flexibility introduced ahead of next year's racing schedule.

Urging MLAs to grant accelerated passage, he said not to do so would mean the law would not be changed in time for the 2014 race programme.

While the majority of nationalist and unionist MLAs voted for Mr Kennedy's request, there was not universal support.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said he had concerns on the potential impact on churchgoers if the North West was moved from a Saturday to Sunday, and said it should be subject to full scrutiny.

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