The organisers of the International North West 200 have confirmed the dates for the event in 2017, which will take place between May 7-13.

Practice will be held on Tuesday and Thursday, May 9 and 11, with the opening races taking place on the Thursday evening before Saturday's main race bill on May 13. A week-long festival of events will again complement the racing programme.

Even Director Mervyn Whyte said: "The North West 200 is the opening international road race of the season and has always enjoyed the support of the world's top road racers and their teams.

"By co-ordinating our event with the British Superbike championship we have also been able to attract some of the top stars from that series, which has been a huge hit with the fans. Following consultation with the Ulster Centre of the MCUI and BSB organisers, MSVR, we have managed to do that once again for 2017, ensuring we will have a star studded entry from both the road race and short circuit paddocks at Portrush next May.

"We would like to thank all of our event sponsors and key partners, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Tourism NI for their invaluable support and we will make further announcements about our exciting race festival in the weeks ahead."

The famous race was overshadowed by tragedy this year, when up and coming young prospect Malachi Mitchell-Thomas lost his life during an incident in the main Supertwins race. The event was abandoned as a result of the fatal accident by the organisers.

Top Ulster road racer Ryan Farquhar was also seriously injured after coming off at the same section of the 8.9-mile course where Mitchell-Thomas was killed. Farquhar hasn't raced since but has vowed to return to the sport in the future.