Whyte announces changes for 2016 Vauxhall International NW200

PACEMAKER BELFAST   23/03/2016
The launch of the 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200 at Titanic Belfast this evening.
L/R Alastair Seeley, Ryan Farquhar, Jeremy McWilliams, Dan Kneen, Peter Hickman, William Dunlop, Conor Cummins, Lee Johnston and John McGuinness (back right standing).
Back row Event Director Mervyn Whyte MBE with the race sponsors Steve Clifford,Feridax, Paul McLean, Bet McLean, Cathal Cunning, The Anchor, Gordon Hannen, Vauxhall, Cllr Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Richard Hunter, CP Hire, Eddie Rowan, Tourism NI and Jock Paterson, JP Paterson.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/03/2016 The launch of the 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200 at Titanic Belfast this evening. L/R Alastair Seeley, Ryan Farquhar, Jeremy McWilliams, Dan Kneen, Peter Hickman, William Dunlop, Conor Cummins, Lee Johnston and John McGuinness (back right standing). Back row Event Director Mervyn Whyte MBE with the race sponsors Steve Clifford,Feridax, Paul McLean, Bet McLean, Cathal Cunning, The Anchor, Gordon Hannen, Vauxhall, Cllr Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Richard Hunter, CP Hire, Eddie Rowan, Tourism NI and Jock Paterson, JP Paterson. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

A stellar line-up of road racing talent was on parade in front of a full house at the Titanic in Belfast for the 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200 Meet the Riders event.

15 times winner NW200 winner, Alastair Seeley, led the cast of stars that included John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, William Dunlop, Ryan Farquhar, Conor Cummins, Dean Harrison, Lee Johnston, Dan Kneen, Peter Hickman, Glenn Irwin.

Jamie Hamilton, who finished on the podium in the 2014 Supertwins race at the North West before being seriously injured in a Senior TT crash, also made a special appearance.

Over a thousand fans and the race sponsors packed the Titanic suite to hear Event Director, Mervyn Whyte, announce significant changes to the race organisation for 2016.

“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 told the huge audience.

“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,” added the race director.