World Superbikes to race in Northern Ireland from 2019
Three-year agreement reached with new Lake Torrent Circuit
By William Esler
Last Updated: 01/02/18 5:49pm
Northern Ireland will join the World Superbike Championship calendar in 2019 at the new Lake Torrent Circuit.
The venue in Coalisland in County Tyrone is currently under construction at a former clay pit site and a deal between the track and promoter Dorna was announced on Thursday at an event at the Mid Ulster Council offices.
Northern Ireland's Jonathan Rea has won the world championship for the last three seasons, but previously his closest home race was at Donington Park in England.
"I'm so excited about this news because motorcycling in Northern Ireland has a huge heritage, right through from Joey Dunlop to myself and Eugene Laverty," said Rea
"I'm very curious to see how the track is going to look, but I'm sure it will be very well attended because the fans over there love their bikes.
"I can't wait to get the chance to go there in 2019, and it's an incredible way to nurture young talent. I can't wait to be involved and to fly the flag for Northern Ireland in this new adventure, and it would be nice to create a circuit that many people talk about as the best in the world."
Construction of the new 2.2-mile circuit began in September 2017 and it will boast 12 corners and benefit from the existing undulations of the former clay pit.
The £30m project will see a track built on a 163-acre site to FIA Grade 2 standard, meaning it can host all motorsport apart from F1.
We are delighted to be adding Northern Ireland as a destination for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship," said WorldSBK Executive Director Daniel Carrera.
"The Lake Torrent circuit is a fantastic project that will deliver a high-class facility for competitors and visitors.
"We are proud that Manna Developments and Mid Ulster representatives have chosen WorldSBK as their top event for the international promotion of the circuit and region."
In addition to the World Superbike Championship, the track is also targeting hosting rounds of the British Touring Car Championship and British Superbikes.
However, noise restrictions will limit the venue to only 12 days of racing per year.
Kirkistown is Northern Ireland's only current permanent circuit with an MSA licence, but it is just 1.53 miles and does not have facilities to stage national series such as the BTCC.