Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea's wish for Northern Ireland bike circuit hits road block

Developer of Tyrone track goes into receivership

Artist’s impression of circuit in Co Tyrone
Artist’s impression of circuit in Co Tyrone
David Henderson of Manna Developments at launch last year
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Jonathan Rea's dream to race a round of the World Superbike Championship in his native Northern Ireland has been dealt another blow, with news that the developers behind the £29m Lake Torrent circuit in Co Tyrone have gone into receivership.

It had been announced last weekend that the 2019 World Superbike round scheduled for the circuit would not take place as the course would not be ready in time.

A three-year agreement between the Coalisland track developers, Manna Developments, and World Superbike owners Dorna was announced earlier this year.

But according to Companies House records, receivers from Belfast restructuring firm Keenan CF were appointed to Manna Developments Ltd on October 12.

Planning permission for the ambitious Lake Torrent project, set on a 57-acre site, was granted by Mid Ulster District Council in September 2017, with preparatory work beginning the same month.

Phase one of the plan included a 3.59km circuit, pit garages, a spectator gallery, hospitality facilities and new access and public link roads.

The developers said a hotel, cinema and theatre along with food and retail outlets and a range of community and leisure facilities would feature as part of the second stage.

David Henderson of Manna Developments claimed that Lake Torrent could eventually result in the creation of up to 500 jobs, with major international events potentially attracting 30,000 spectators.

As work began last year, he said: "Our heads are not in the clouds. We know what we are doing. This will happen."

However the project has already been hit by delays. Back in June, his company said that they were "still aiming for completion in 2019".

Some 25 full-time jobs had been expected to be created on completion to run and maintain the track on a daily basis with an additional 50 staff required on race days.

Meanwhile, World Superbike fans are turning their attention to Qatar this weekend for the final round of this year's championship.

Co Antrim rider Rea is aiming to break the record of seven straight race wins and the overall points record.

Rea re-wrote the record books earlier this year with his fourth World Superbike Championship win in a row and also for the number of consecutive race victories.

Belfast Telegraph


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