NW200 Organisers Applaud Improvements at Mathers Cross09/11/2009
North West 200 Race Director Mervyn Whyte MBE has welcomed major improvements carried out by the Department of Regional Development (DRD) Roads Service at Mathers Cross on the 8.9 mile North West 200 circuit. Mr Whyte today hosted a visit to the NW200 course by Sports Minister Nelson McCausland and Mayor of Coleraine Cllr Sandy Gilkinson along with 12 times North West winner Michael Rutter and local rider Stephen Thompson from Antrim.
Explained Mervyn Whyte, “When DRD Roads Service contacted me some months ago about the proposed improvements I was delighted to assist them in any way possible. During the past few years there have been a number of incidents involving both cars and bikes at Mathers Cross and myself and the new seven strong NW200 management team were pleased that DRD Roads Service had taken the decision to make significant modifications.”
“The improvements are on schedule and will be finished well in advance of North West 200 Race Week in May 2010. Now as Race Director and formerly as Clerk of Course, course improvements are hugely important for both rider and spectator safety and Coleraine & District Motor Club Ltd works closely with DRD Roads Service on an ongoing basis to ensure the circuit is in the best possible condition.”
Mervyn Whyte and the organising team regularly host course inspection visits by NW200 competitors and take on board advice and ideas from the rider perspective. Highly experienced riders Michael Rutter and Stephen Thompson who both know the circuit intimately also supported the new modifications at Mathers. “The new improvements will undoubtedly help riders, particularly in terms of visibility on what is a fast and tricky section of the NW200 circuit.” said Stephen Thompson. NW200 regular Michael Rutter also backed the changes saying, ”This is a positive move forward and I would commend the DRD, Mervyn Whyte and the team for their regular assessments and analysis of the NW200 course which results in ongoing improvements ultimately benefiting the riders.”
Welcoming the improvements at Mathers Cross, Sports Minister Nelson McCausland said,”The improvements at Mathers Cross will contribute significantly to improving safety at the NW 200. I have always believed that every step should be taken to make motor sports events as safe as possible. With this in mind DCAL recently agreed to the provisional allocation of up to £2million over the next two years to help motorsport improve safety at events. I have asked Sport Northern Ireland to take this forward and am hopeful that much needed additional money will be released in the near future."
Also pledging his support for the changes at Mathers, Coleraine Mayor Cllr Sandy Gilkinson said,” I am glad to see the improvements work being carried out by DRD on Mather’s Cross and I am hopeful this will enhance its safety, not least for North West 200 riders but also for the public. The co-operation between the Coleraine Club and DRD is very worthwhile as health and safety is high on everyone’s agenda and this is a very welcome development.”
The 2010 International North West 200 is set to take place on Saturday 15th May following ratification by the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) on 14th November 2009.
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