£125k investment in North West 200 safety measures

Sports Minister Paul Givan with road racers Lee Johnston and John McGuinness, NW200 event Director Mervyn Whyte, First Minister Arlene Foster and Ian Paisley MP at Stormont where he announced �124,000 of funding for the Vauxhall International North West 200 road races.
 PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON. INCR 44-707-CON

Sports Minister Paul Givan with road racers Lee Johnston and John McGuinness, NW200 event Director Mervyn Whyte, First Minister Arlene Foster and Ian Paisley MP at Stormont where he announced �124,000 of funding for the Vauxhall International North West 200 road races. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON. INCR 44-707-CON

The North West 200 is to receive a cash injection of £124,000 to improve safety measures at the top road racing attraction.

The funding announced earlier this week will be used on equipment that will be available for other events in the Triangle area.

Communities Minister Paul Givan said: “It is important that we do what we can to make the races a safe and memorable experience for everyone and this funding will contribute to that. It will go towards the purchase of important equipment to help improve the safety of the course for competitors and spectators alike.

“Much of the equipment being purchased will be available to other event organisers so this is not just an investment that will benefit the North West 200. Road racing is a fantastic sport which attracts the top international riders to Northern Ireland. It also makes a significant contribution to tourism and to marketing Northern Ireland as a venue to come to for major international sporting events.

Monday’s announcement at Stormont was attended by Mervyn Whyte MBE, event director, and competitors John McGuinness and Lee Johnston.

Welcoming the investment Mr Whyte said: “Safety is of paramount importance in road racing and this money will help us to make significant improvements to the famous Triangle course that links the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine.

“For over 80 years the North West 200 has been attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the North coast area and the special equipment this funding will allow us to acquire will help ensure everyone who participates in the event in the future can be part of a safe and enjoyable day’s racing.”

The funding initiative follows a number of tragic incidents at the location. Record-breaking Dungannon rider Ryan Farquhar suffered serious injury after he and another participant were involved in a high-speed crash during this year’s North West 200, while the tragic death of promising young prospect Malachi Mitchell-Thomas in May led to the event being cancelled as a mark of respect.