This year's Relentless International North West 200 in association with Black Horse is set to hit the starting grid on May 15th with a more streamlined, stylish, and high velocity event designed to satisfy riders and their teams as well as appealing to new visitor audiences from both home and abroad.
A six race programme, range of top quality riders, revamped practice sessions, new DCAL and Sport Northern Ireland funded safety provisions at Mather's Cross and Station Corner, a fresh approach to newcomers and a brand new NITB backed Rider Business and Communications Centre all aim to create enhanced conditions, improved rider safety and a smoothly managed event for all competitors and team managers.
A new marketing campaign supported by NITB using the strapline “It's easier than ever to enjoy the action!” aims to build for the future by demonstrating in 5 easy steps how travel and accommodation packages can be booked online through www.northwest200.org and pre, post and during the racing spectators can keep up to speed with race news by utilising the NW200's dedicated website as well as sharing their views on Facebook and tweeting online by following the North West on Twitter.
Visitors from outside Northern Ireland are also encouraged to check out other parts of the region through the NW200's 'Stay a While' campaign which this year boasts five new itineraries and offers a total of 10 suggested routes to tempt spectators to take a look at Northern Ireland's extensive tourism offer before or after Race Day. Whilst new additions to the Race Week Festival programme include Belfast's Continental Christmas Market with a summer make-over located at the Metropole in Portrush.
Race Director Mervyn Whyte MBE and his team are slotting the final pieces of the North West 200 jigsaw into place as they gear up for Race Week and organisers Coleraine & District Motor Club Ltd were once again honoured to attend a special Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure hosted final media conference at Parliament Buildings, Stormont with Sports Minister Nelson McCausland. Key guests included HM Plant Honda rider John McGuinness from Morecambe in Lancashire and newcomer Gary Mason of MSS Colchester Kawasaki, Mayor of Coleraine Cllr Sandy Gilkinson, PSNI BikeSafe co-ordinators, volunteers, representatives from title and associate sponsors Relentless and Black Horse, race and ancillary sponsors and NW200 Supporters' Club members.
Official Race Programme
Also launched at Stormont was the North West 200's glossy 100 page official Race Programme which has been produced for the ninth consecutive year by local company Careva Publishing. As Race Director Mervyn Whyte emphasized programme sales are an essential source of income for event organisers Coleraine & District Motor Club. “We urge spectators, fans and visitors to all dig into their pockets and buy a programme online at www.northwest200.org or from one of our hundreds of volunteers who will be located around the Coleraine/Portrush/Portstewart 'triangle' area.”
Competitively priced at £15 (18 Euros) the programme contains all up to date race information including the six race line-up and in depth features on leading riders. The souvenir programme also includes retro articles on Brian Reid, Woolsey Coulter and Ralph Bryans and a detailed lap of the circuit with current lap record holder Steve Plater. Programmes will also be available to purchase from Tesco stores and petrol stations in the 'Triangle' region.
Mervyn Whyte went on to praise and thank Paul Lindsay and his staff from Careva saying, “I'd like to thank Paul and the team for all their hard work and dedication. Each year the programme just gets bigger and better and I absolutely believe this is the best to date with a fabulous line-up of contributors and rider features to ensure fans get a great read and excellent value for money.”
Mervyn also paid tribute to all race and ancillary sponsors making special reference to North West title and associate sponsors Relentless and Black Horse, regional partner Coleraine Borough Council, Sports Minister Nelson McCausland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for their ongoing support and funding.