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Mervyn Whyte is more determined than ever to run a full programme of spectacular racing at the NW200 in 2014


Roads Minister Danny Kennedy

Pacemaker Press Belfast 10-07-2013: Roads Minister Danny Kennedy has launched a public consultation on proposals to amend Road Racing legislation in Northern Ireland. While the Department for Regional Development has no responsibility for sporting policy or funding, it does facilitates road racing events by making road closing orders. Also pictured with the Minister Danny Kennedy North West 200 event director Mervyn Whyte. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

‘It is two months since May 18 when the 2013 Vauxhall North West 200 race day had to be abandoned because of torrential rain. Although it was soul destroying to have to make that decision after all the work that the Coleraine and District Motor Club and the army of volunteers who support us had put into the event there was really no choice because the poor conditions meant it was unsafe to race.

The only silver lining in a dark sky was the racing that was run at the North West on Thursday evening of race week. The Ballymoney Borough Council Supersport, Vauxhall Supertwin and LiveWire Superstock races were all exciting events that illustrated how close and competitive a spectacle that racing on the Triangle course continues to be. These Thursday races were the result of changes made following the problems that the event experienced in 2011 and they meant that there was still some great racing in 2013 despite the rain.

As Event Director I believe that this more pragmatic approach offers the way forward for the North West 200 in a new era of road racing when safety considerations for both riders and spectators must be paramount. The Coleraine and District Motor Club are working to find a more flexible structure for our race programme that will better enable us to cope with the problems that poor weather creates and prevent a repeat of 2013’s cancellation.

Representation has been made to both local and central government, requesting consideration be given to measures that would provide us with much needed extra funding and allow the organisers to react to changing forecasts and reschedule racing as necessary.

We have been encouraged by the positive response from everyone from residents and race fans to the First Minister Peter Robinson who has indicated that he supports our call for this extra support. We have had constructive discussions with Coleraine Borough Council and Roads Minister Danny Kennedy and Mr Kennedy’s Department has now launched a public consultation on proposals that would allow the greater flexibility on road closing orders that the North West 200 and other road races would like to have available to us in the future. We are very hopeful that this will provide a fruitful way forward.

Our faithful sponsors, including our title sponsor Vauxhall, have been fully supportive throughout the past few weeks and have indicated their continued support for the future.

I personally appreciate all of the goodwill that we have been shown since May 18 and I am more determined than ever to run a full programme of spectacular racing in 2014.’

Mervyn Whyte MBE
Vauxhall International North West Event Director


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