The Northern Irish Government have said they will make a significant investment into improving safety measures at the North West 200 International road races.
Communities Minister, Paul Givan has pledged £124,000 to the cause, which will be used to purchase equipment with the aim of making the North West’s Triangle circuit, which links the Northern Irish towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine, safer.
Mervyn Whyte, Event Director of the annual event, has already begun consultations with leading competitors in order to assess how the funding should be spent.
John McGuinness and Lee Johnston were both present as Givan confirmed the funding, while former British Superbike star Josh Brookes, who had pledged never to race at the North West 200 again until significant changes were made to the Mather’s Cross chicane, has also been to visit Whyte to discuss potential changes.
Announcing the investment, 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. This is the first of a number of safety investment announcements I will be making in the coming weeks for our local races.”
Whyte added: "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."
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