[UPDATE December 20, 2022: The North West 200 will go ahead in 2023 after an appropriate level of funding was finalized. Organizers of the event said in a statement:
“The North West 200 motorcycle races play a vital role in the economy of Northern Ireland’s north coast area, attracting millions of pounds of revenue from visitors to the event. Coleraine and District Motor Club are delighted a funding package for the 2023 event has finally been agreed by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.”
"That support, which will see the Council build the course and supply office accommodation alongside providing financial backing, is vital to secure the event’s future. The organizers can now proceed with organizing next year’s race week which will take place on May 7 through 13.”
Organizers also note that thanks to the 2014 Road Races Act (Northern Ireland), in exceptional circumstances (such as extreme weather), organizers can move a practice or race day either one day forward or one day back, as deemed appropriate. They must give the Department of Infrastructure 24 hours' notice before so doing.
The 2023 North West 200 official schedule shows practice and racing events to be held on Tuesday, May 9, Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13. Organizers say that Wednesday, May 10, and Friday, May 12 are held as contingency dates, should any part of the event need to be rescheduled due to exceptional circumstances.
We’ll include a link to the official North West 200 website in our Sources so you can learn more, or purchase tickets if you want to go.]
Original piece follows.
Road racing fans will no doubt be pleased to know that two major events have announced some information about their 2023 plans. The 2023 Manx Grand Prix—which will celebrate the event’s 100th anniversary—officially blocked off an entire week of racing activities on the calendar in August. Meanwhile, organizers of the North West 200 successfully raised funding commitments to ensure that there should be a 2023 event after all.
Manx Grand Prix organizers proudly proclaimed that the 2023 event will run from Sunday, August 20 through Monday, August 28. Tuesday, August 29 will also be designated as an official contingency session, should any hiccups arise that delay or postpone events during the regular racing schedule that week.
Full details of the event will be released in the coming months, such as a detailed schedule. Qualifying will start on the first day, while actual racing won’t start until Friday, August 25, after competitors have had the chance to acquaint themselves and their machines with present conditions on this year’s course. There will, of course, be special events planned during the MGP in 2023 to celebrate its centenary in grand style.
Meanwhile, over in North West 200 territory, event consultant Mervyn Whyte spoke in 2021 about how local council authority financial support would be absolutely vital to the event going forward in 2023. The North West 200 has not been held since 2019, due mostly to the pandemic, but also in part to ongoing financial struggles.
Of course, a major racing event of the scale of the North West 200 brings a lot of money into the local economy. In a presentation that Whyte gave in August, 2021, he said, “early indications from our research, with over 200,000 people during race week, is showing an economic benefit roughly in the region of about £16m to the area.” (That’s about $18,153,920 as of October 17, 2022.)
If those numbers are accurate, then the £275,000 (about $311,991) in financial support that the local councils have now agreed to provide seems a comparatively small price to pay. However, one councilor told the Belfast News Letter that he didn’t think it was right that the council was effectively being held responsible for whether the North West 200 would be held or not, and characterized the decision as lodging the council between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
Full details of the North West 200 have yet to be announced, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated once they’re available.