The North West 200, one of the premier motorcycle road races held in Northern Ireland, was cancelled in 2013 due to torrential rain. This was the second occasion in three years that the North West 200 had to be cancelled due to bad weather. In addition, the Dundrod 150 motorcycle race in August 2013 and the Ulster Grand Prix in 2008 were also cancelled in similar circumstances.
It is not presently possible to re-schedule these races because the existing legislation does not permit that flexibility. Consequently alternative dates or times from those quoted in the road closing order made to facilitate the event can not be used.
The Department for Regional Development is proposing to insert one new clause into the existing legislation. This new clause will amend Article 3 of the Road Races (NI) Order to: provide that not more than two contingency days may be specified in a road closing order and that a contingency day must be one of the two days falling immediately before or immediately after a day specified in a road closing order.
What this means in effect is that if there is rain forecast for the Saturday, which is the premier day of racing, the organisers can change the designated race day. However, this new clause, permitting the organisers to change the premier race day, will also limit the extent of the change that can be made to either Friday or Sunday. The organisers will only be permitted by this new bill to move the race day one day either side of the day specified in a road closing order. If Saturday is specified as the premier day for racing, as it normally has been, and the weather forecast is unfavourable the organisers will only be able to move the Saturday races to Friday or to Sunday.
2. More importantly this change in the legislation will facilitate the breaking of the Sabbath day. God commands all mankind: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it, Exodus 20:8-11.
Jeremiah 17:27: But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
Ezekiel 20:13: But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
Ezekiel 22:8,15: Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.