NW200 course improvement

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Twelve times North West 200 race winner Michael Rutter has welcomed major improvements carried out by the Department of Regional Development (DRD) Roads Service at Mathers Cross on the 8.9mile circuit.

He said: “This is a positive move forward and I would commend the DRD, (NW200 Race Director) Mervyn Whyte and the team for their regular assessments and analysis of the NW200 course which results in ongoing improvements and ultimately benefits the riders.”     

Whyte hosted a visit to the NW200 course with Rutter, local rider Stephen Thompson from Antrim, Sports Minister Nelson McCausland and Mayor of Coleraine Cllr Sandy Gilkinson and said: “When the DRD contacted me about the proposed improvements I was delighted to assist them in any way possible.

"During the past few years there have been a number of incidents involving both cars and bikes at Mathers - and we were pleased that DRD Roads Service had taken the decision to make significant modifications.”

The improvements will be finished well in advance of North West 200 Race Week in May 2010. Whyte and the organising team regularly host course inspection visits by NW200 competitors and take on board advice and ideas from the rider perspective.

Thompson who also knows the circuit intimately also supported the new modifications at Mathers. He said: “The new improvements will undoubtedly help riders, particularly in terms of visibility on what is a fast and tricky section of the NW200 circuit.”

The 2010 NW 200 takes place on Saturday May 15, following ratification by the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) on November 14 2009.

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin