Ryan Farquhar says decision over 2021 North West 200 and Isle of Man TT needed ‘sooner rather than later’ – Belfast Newsletter

KMR Kawasaki team owner Ryan Farquhar with Jeremy McWilliams at the North West 200 in 2018.KMR Kawasaki team owner Ryan Farquhar with Jeremy McWilliams at the North West 200 in 2018.
KMR Kawasaki team owner Ryan Farquhar with Jeremy McWilliams at the North West 200 in 2018.

Ireland’s most successful ever Irish national road racer, who was honoured with the British Empire Medal (BEM) for Services to Motorcycling in the Queen’s Birthday Honours on Friday, doubts whether the North West 200 or Isle of Man TT will be in a position to go ahead as scheduled next year.

Already, the Manx Government’s Treasury Minister – Alf Cannan – has suggested a decision on the 2021 TT could be made before Christmas.

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Asked if he felt either race could take place as planned next year, Farquhar told the News Letter: “I can’t see it. I’ve been slated for being negative about this before but people have to face reality.

“We’re stuck in a very unusual time, not just for sport but for everyday life, and I can’t see there being an Isle of Man TT next year.

“Anyone running a team and riders who is living in hope that racing will happen has to be able to make plans and put things in place. You’ve got to spend a lot of money and there is no point in sponsors, teams, manager and team owners living in hope for some racing and throwing all their eggs into one basket financially and then being told at the last minute that it’s not happening,” added the Dungannon man.

“I think if they made the decision now it would be much easier for everybody. It would be disappointing, but I think it would be best for everybody so that people wouldn’t be left out of pocket more than they are already.”

Farquhar is of the opinion that the road racing landscape may not regain a veneer of normality until 2022, with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of dissipating anytime soon.

“I’d be quite content if it took 2021 for things to get properly sorted out and we could then look to a more normal year in 2022,” he said.

“Possibly, you might see some of the smaller races going ahead next year but for me running a team, it’s the North West and the TT that are the two events I’m most interested in doing.

“That’s not to say we won’t do something on a smaller scale at an Irish national road race and I could turn a bike around in a day for a national race, but it takes a lot more organising and money for those bigger events. The sooner they make the call the better.”

The late cancellation of both the North West and TT meetings this year had far-reaching repercussions, not only for race teams and riders, but also for fans who had made travel and accommodation commitments many months in advance – a situation Farquhar says must not be allowed to evolve again.

“This year, the races were called off really at the last hour because of the circumstances and a lot of money was lost on the back of that,” he said.

“If there’s any doubts over whether or not the races aren’t going to go ahead, then make the call early. It’s okay for people to say leave it until as late as we can, but if a decision was made to cancel in March then it’s too late because money has been spent and you can’t recoup that.

“Even things like sorting out accommodation, you can’t just turn around and put a set-up in place to go to the TT for example in just three or four weeks – it doesn’t work like that. It needs to be organised months and months beforehand.

“For spectators too, they can end up losing a flight or a hotel, so a late cancellation doesn’t help anybody.”

The 2021 North West 200 is provisionally scheduled for May 11-15, with the TT due to take place from May 29 to June 11.

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