Issues with insurance hamper motorcycle event in West Limerick

The Athea Road Race event can't return in 2023 because of issues securing insureance.

A POTENTIAL money-spinning event for a West Limerick village has had to be called off due to issues securing insurance cover.

The Athea Road Races motorcycle race event was set to make a return to the village this year following a 12-year absence. It was hoped that the weekend-long event would draw up to 20,000 people to the area.

Despite widespread support from locals, as well as positive feedback from bikers countrywide and internationally and support from Limerick City and County Council, event organisers have not been able to secure public liability insurance to cover the event.

Speaking to the Limerick Post, Eamonn Walshe, secretary of Athea Road Race Club, said that the issue with insurance is affecting motorsport events all over the country.

“At the end of last year, it became clear that insurance was going to be an issue, and that Motorcycle Ireland were having issues securing insurance for this year, primarily because of Brexit as the broker they were dealing with could no longer work in Ireland.”

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“They were trying to secure a new source of insurance which they have actually failed. They got one quotation of a million euro, which is up from ordinarily around €200,000.”

“As of now, across the whole of southern Ireland, there is no motorcycle motorsport taking place whatsoever,” Eamonn explained.

The issues with insurance affects all aspects of motorcycle sport, including events at professional track Mondello Park.

“Anything and everything to do with motorcycle motorsport is now stopped,” Eamonn said.

The Athea Road Race Club secretary maintains that the amount issued from claims made against Motorcycle Ireland’s insurance could have something to do with insurers not wanting to insure events in Ireland.

“The claims are so high here. I know that Mondello Park were in England at the start of the year discussing their motorcar insurance for the circuit and they were just chatting about motorcycle insurance, and the broker they were talking to said there was no one [insurer] would come into Ireland.”

“For example, if someone gets hurt, an accident in England would pay out €100,000 in compensation to somebody, a person here in Ireland would be getting €1 million,” he claimed.

The group are hoping that government initiatives that are currently in the pipeline to reform the insurance industry might reduce some of the risk to insurance companies.

“I know the government is working on a new duty of care initiative, which is going to be going through the Dáil I think in July, he said. “If that can be brought in, it should help bring the liability down.”

The Athea Road Race committee hope that issues with insurance can be overcome so that the event can make a return in 2024.