A host of star names attended the official launch of the 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Wednesday night at Titanic Belfast, where some key changes were announced for the event in May.

The line-up included 15-times winner Alastair Seeley, who will take over from Robert Dunlop as the most successful rider ever in the history of the event with one more victory this year.

Also present were John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, William Dunlop, Ryan Farquhar, Conor Cummins, Dean Harrison, Lee Johnston, Dan Kneen, Peter Hickman and Glenn Irwin.

In front of a packed hall of 1,000 fans and race sponsors, Event Director Mervyn Whyte said he was committed to implementing changes this year to ensure the event runs more efficiently.

"I think everyone would like to see the racing getting underway faster so we are making some changes to the grid management to speed things up," Whyte said.

"Most importantly, we will run two groups instead of three in each race this year."

These new measures, that will see two rather than three waves of riders and machines taking part in the sighting laps and race starts, should see Thursday evening's three-race programme and Saturday's five events completed in less time.

Whyte also announced upgrades to the race communications for this year's event.

"We want to keep riders, teams and fans up to date with everything that is going on so there will be an extra big screen put in place at the start and finish area and more speakers deployed around the course for the PA system," he explained.

"We also want to encourage everyone to bring their radios and tune into BBC Radio Ulster's brilliant live coverage on practice and race days so they will know exactly what is happening."



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