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It may be end of the road for small events in province

By Paul Lindsay

National Road Racing has been dealt further blows in recent weeks with increased insurance costs forcing Mid Antrim, Kells and more recently Killalane to opt out of running their events in 2017.

With the insurance hike set to cost national events in the region of £18,000 for cover and over £35,000 for the international events on the North Coast and at Dundrod this May and August, the death knell is beginning to ring loud and clear for the smaller events on the racing calendar.

Sadly, if potential investors do not see the commercial value in sponsoring these events to meet their overall budget requirements, then in truth the financial noose is hanging overhead with the lament of increased insurance costs only a smokescreen for the inevitable.

In my honest opinion, future government investment needs to move with the times. We have a double World Superbike champion in Ballyclare's Jonathan Rea, yet we do not have a circuit in Northern Ireland fit for British Championship competition, despite a huge private effort from Jim O'Brien at Bishopscourt.

That needs to change if we are to invest in the stars of the future, the majority of whom are promoting our wee country in GB and further afield on the tarmac scene and sadly not between the hedges nationally.

Meanwhile, 2015 BSB king Josh Brookes, who is based in Ards, is taking a wildcard at this year's World Superbike opener in Oz. Some $30k short of budget, Brookes has started a Just Giving page for fans to support him. A good barometer one thinks for the Aussie to test his popularity.

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