British Superbike stars Alastair Seeley and Ian Hutchinson were among the special guests at the official launch of the Relentless International North West 200 in Belfast.
Current British Supersport champion Seeley, who will ride for the Tyco Suzuki team in BSB this year, plus Swan Yamaha rider Hutchinson are two of the top contenders for glory at the famous road race in Northern Ireland, which will take place on Saturday, May 19.
New Tyco Suzuki signing Conor Cummins plus Honda TT Legends ace John McGuinness were also present at the launch.
A new race format has been introduced this year, with a Superstock race and the newly introduced SuperTwins class being held on the Thursday evening of race week, May 17, following the daytime practice session.
A five-race programme will take centre stage on race day, with two Superbike and Supersport races and a second Superstock event, each scheduled for six laps of the 8.9-mile public roads circuit.
The North West suffered a hammer blow in 2011 when a series of setbacks including a hoax bomb alert, poor weather and an oil spill saw the event abandoned with only one Supersport race held, which was won by local hero Seeley following a gripping duel with Australian Cameron Donald.
Mervyn Whyte, the technical director at the North West 200, is determined to make amends for the disappointment of last year's cancellation and says the organisers will do all they can to ensure the event bounces back in style.
“Suffice to say 2011 was a difficult and frustrating year for organisers, sponsors, riders and spectators alike, with a combination of bad weather, a security alert, incidents and cancelled races.
“However, we are looking forward to the 2012 North West 200 and are doing everything in our power to make it exceptional for all the right reasons.”
Former 250cc Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams will ride one of Ryan Farquhar's KMR Kawasaki machines in the SuperTwins race at the North West as he makes his road racing debut in Northern Ireland.