Production-based racing only at 2011 NW200

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Next year’s North West 200 will feature a five-race programme featuring two Superbike and two 600cc races in addition to the Superstock race.

Traditionally only the main NW200 race has been run over six laps however in 2011 all five events will be six-lap races.

The casualty is the 125 class which the Coleraine and District Motor Club Ltd say is now no longer viable to operate this particular race category as the number of entries has continued to decline over the past few years.

NW200 spokesman Mervyn Whyte MBE said: “It has proved difficult to attract a large number of top quality competitors to enter the 125cc race and regrettably we had to remove it from our racing programme.

“In 2010 only 19 riders took part in the 125 with 16 competitors crossing the finish line.

“However having increased the number of laps in four of our existing races we believe the NW200 2011 will offer a thrilling and exciting programme for both diehard fans and new visitors  and will provide the ultimate challenge for all competitors.”

Next year’s event will take place on Saturday May 21 2011 with official practice sessions on Tuesday 17 and Thursday 19.

Introduced for the first time last year, the Club plans to continue with daytime practice on Thursday with roads closing at 9.30am and re-opening by 3pm at the latest. As in previous years, Tuesday’s practice will remain an evening session with roads closed from 5pm until 9.30pm. 

Whyte said, “Daytime practice was undoubtedly a bonus last May as it provided sufficient time for both regulars and newcomers to gain valuable practice time around the course.

“It was an integral part of our overall strategy to further improve safety around the circuit for riders, spectators and officials. I would like to thank residents, traders, schools and the farming community located in and around the 8.9 mile course for their continued support, tolerance and understanding and we look forward to working closely with everyone again next year.”

The International North West 200 is currently in the process of appointing a new operations manager and it is anticipated the person will be in place from January 2011.

Whyte will then take on a new role as Technical Director acting as advisor and mentor to the new staff member. Experienced official Stanleigh Murray will take over as Clerk of Course and will also be responsible for operational duties and the management team.

First installed in Autumn last year, the executive team manages a range of activities including safety, the paddock, general duties, communications, finance, operations and course set up.   

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin