No Tandragree 2010

The Tandragee 100 Road Races will not take place this year. A club statement said that the decision had been taken “due to the current economic climate and circumstances beyond our control”.

The statement added that the organisers, the North Armagh Club, intended to run the race again in 2011. The Tandragee event, which had been scheduled to take place on Saturday 1 May, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Michael Dunlop secured a hat-trick of wins in last year’s event. Ardglass rider John Donnan was killed at the Tandragee event in 2007 and Dubliner Martin Finnegan lost his life in a crash at the meeting 12 months later.

Earlier this month, an inquest in Donnan’s death heard calls from the coroner for safety improvements in local road racing events.

A barrister for Donnan’s family argued that a hay bale supposed to slow down competitors helped cause the crash.

The inquest also heard that officials ignored warnings the area was unsafe.

Senior Coroner John Leckey said: “We are just approaching that period of the year when motorcycle road race events are being held and I am concerned that a hard look should be taken at the safety issues in all the circuits.”

James Irwin, chief marshal at the course, claimed he had warned the safety officers of the danger after seeing another rider, Leo Fitzpatrick, hit one of the same bales and break a leg.

He alleged he had not been allowed to express his concerns at a meeting and said adjusting the chicane slightly could have prevented the earlier rider from dislodging it and saved Mr Donnan’s life.

Richard Nesbitt, convenor of the road inspection committee for looking after competitors’ and spectators’ safety for the Motorcycle Union of Ireland Ulster centre, said he could not remember receiving any such warning from Mr Irwin and claimed there was nothing more stable available in 2007.


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