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NW200 race boss Mervyn Whyte rocked by fatal crash

'It hits you for six because we have done everything we can in relation to safety and put so much effort in. It's like being kicked in the stomach' - Mervyn Whyte
North West 200 event director Mervyn Whyte says news of Mark Buckley's fatal accident on Saturday was 'like being kicked in the stomach'.

Whyte and the Coleraine Club work tirelessly to carry out countless risk assessments every year in an effort to provide both spectators and competitors with an environment that is as safe as it possibly can be at a motorcycle road race.

After last year's huge disappointment when the event was cancelled, a massive effort was undertaken to ensure the famous sporting spectacle bounced back stronger than ever in 2012.

For so long on Saturday, that looked to be the case with thousands of fans turning out to watch some incredible racing in glorious sunny weather on the beautiful Causeway Coast.

Tragically, the accident involving Mark Buckley on the opening lap of the Superstock race at Mill Road took the life of the 35-year-old from Loch Lomond and cast a dark shadow over the event.

And Whyte told the Belfast News Letter he was reeling from the setback, but vowed to continue working hard to increase safety levels at the North West 200.

"Mark's accident put a downer on the whole day. We had put a massive effort into the event this year because we had so much criticism after what happened in 2011 when the event was cancelled due to the weather, a bomb scare and an oil spill," he said.

"We worked at it for months and looked at how we could improve and make things better this year. Tuesday and Thursday turned out absolutely brilliant overall even
though we had some rain and Saturday's racing was good, but sadly Mark's death has taken the shine off it.

"Accidents like this do happen unfortunately and you can't legislate for it," he added.

"We have an independent safety panel on board who assess things but it's motorcycle racing and it's a high-speed sport - these things can and do happen."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mark Buckley - Energy Armor Kawasaki [pic credit: Glynne Lewis]
Billy Redmayne, Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, Rob Hodson on the podium after the Junior Manx Grand Prix
Michael Rutter celebrates winning the 350cc Classic TT
Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey and Ryan Farquhar were the top three in the Formula 1 race at the Classic TT
Dan Cooper and Michael Rutter in the 350cc Classic TT
Michael Dunlop won the Formula 1 Classic TT on the Team Classic Suzuki
Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda at the Classic TT
Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Honda
Michael Dunlop and Michael Rutter at the Classic TT
Dean Harrison on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT
Peter Hickman on the Mistral Kawasaki at the Classic TT
Dean Harrison on the Steelcote Solutions Kawasaki at the Classic TT
Trevor Nation and Steve Spray on the JPS Rotary Nortons.
Picture courtesy of Motorcycle News
Lee Johnston on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki at the Classic TT
John McGuinness on the Winfield Paton at the Classic TT
Dennis Hoffer at the Manx Grand Prix
Newcomers prepare to leave the line at the Manx Grand Prix

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keepherlit - Unregistered

May 22, 2012 3:12 PM

NIGuy - I have ridden at both the NW200 and Tandragee circuits and yes I agree with you that the Tandgragee is far more of a 'riders' circuit requiring greater skill than is required for the NW200. However my view is also that the better riders would perform even better at the 'riders' circuits meaning that the gap between the superior BSB riders and the likes of the Dunlops/Farquhar would become even greater than was evident at the NW. You should thank your lucky stars that some of the really top BSB/Motogp riders don't currently compete at the NW200 the way they did in the 70s/80s era. Otherwise your current road race heros would be dicing for much lower positions.

realisticracefan - Unregistered

May 23, 2012 2:57 AM

Agree 100% Keepherlit . Ive m8s who raced the roads they agree theyd come knowhere on the Tracks .Seeley's good on the tracks & thats why he can Dominate the NW 200.as Did Plater & Hislop on IOM . The NW 200 claims big crowds ,But most are from carravan sites & locals who ar'nt Race fans .Theres not 100,000 going home down the motorway any year . Its a Money making scheme for M white & Co.Tas & the Stars get paid to be there, Never any coverage for the other Riders like IN BSB with witham etc . Mark Buckley's Death is felt through this county & We wish The Family our Sympathy.Hope the Family Get all the support they need .Mark was a well known Name Here & Was very well Respected .RIP Mark



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