Optimistic team owner John Burrows road racing will return to full schedule in 2022

Prominent Irish road racing team owner John Burrows is quietly optimistic that 2022 will herald a full-scale return to the sport after two dark seasons.

The North West 200 and Isle of Man TT were hit with back-to-back cancellations in 2020 and again this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while no road races have taken place in the Republic of Ireland since September 2019.

Last year, only the Cookstown 100 went as planned after the event was postponed to September.

The Co Tyrone race took place again last month around the Orritor course, while the Armoy ‘Race of Legends’ made a welcome return to Co Antrim at the end of July.

Both events were held with restrictions in place, but the only two Irish national meetings of the year at least provided racing hungry fans, riders and teams with a much needed solution.

A tentative schedule is in place for next year, with the 2022 season set to start April 22-23 with the Cookstown 100, followed shortly after by Tandragee (April 29-30) and the North West 200 (May 10-14).

Burrows, himself a former road racing leader, believes the worst is now over and Dungannon’s man is optimistic about the prospects for a full calendar next year, although a question mark still looms over the future of the Ulster Grand Prix.

“Again this year we haven’t had any North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Tandragee or any of the South Ireland road races because of the pandemic,” Burrows said.

“It’s been another devastating year for road racing, but hopefully in 2022 we can move on and get closer to the kind of normal schedule we had in 2019 – I’m hopeful that this will be.

“Regarding the Ulster Grand Prix, who knows what’s going to happen and everything seems very much on hold at the moment.

“I’ve heard different stories but nothing concrete about Dundrod’s future, but it would be great to get the event back on the calendar.

“We canceled the Macau Grand Prix again this year, which we knew to be the case, but it’s another major road race that hasn’t happened for two years and we can’t afford to see most important events coming off the calendar, ”added team owner Burrows Engineering / RK Racing.

“Let’s start by picking up the North West 200 next year followed by the TT and move on from there.”

As the Isle of Man TT faces a different set of challenges in the context of the pandemic, with the tiny island in the middle of the Irish Sea welcoming thousands of visitors from around the world each year, Burrows expects also that the biggest road racing show is coming up next June.

“I would be pretty confident that TT will go ahead, but I think vaccinations will play a big part in that,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone wishing to participate in TT had to be vaccinated next year, so it would be a simple choice.

“I thought it was obvious to get both jabs, but everyone has their own outlook and it depends on the individual, but it may be that if you want to participate in TT you have to be vaccinated. – maybe that’s a way to approach things next year, but it’s just me speaking from my own point of view.

“It’s been a tough two years for road racing and I think we all want to get the show back on the road in 2022.”

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