Saturday 15th May will be the date for the 2010 Relentless International North West 200 in association with Black Horse. A full week of events is currently in planning for Race Week which last year attracted crowds in excess of 150,000 people as well as some of the world’s top riders.
Welcoming the new and associate sponsors and looking forward to this year’s Relentless International North West 200 in association with Black Horse, Race Director Mervyn Whyte MBE said, “The Relentless brand very much captures the spirit of the sport and we are delighted to welcome Relentless to the International North West 200. For many years, Black Horse has provided valuable sponsorship support to the North West 200 and I warmly welcome them onboard as this year’s associate sponsor.
“Each year, the North West 200 team works hard to ensure an even bigger and better event for riders and spectators alike. With a new title sponsor, refreshed brand and already strong line-up of competitors, we hope the 2010 Relentless International North West 200 in association with Black Horse will be a year to remember”, said Mervyn Whyte.
Riders including Steve Plater, John McGuinness, Alastair Seeley, Bruce Anstey, Ian Lougher, Michael Dunlop, William Dunlop and Michael Rutter were in attendance at the launch, held in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, to hear plans for 2010. Sports Minister Nelson McCausland wished organisers well. He said, “We have a rich motorcycling heritage in Northern Ireland, and the International North West 200 is a key part of our sporting calendar. This racing event is renowned as a world-class circuit for road racing which is loved by both riders and spectators. In 2009, it saw more than 150,000 bike fans from across the UK, Europe and beyond come to Northern Ireland. Over the years it has become known for exciting and exhilarating races, as the best riders compete over one of the fastest road circuits in the world. It also showcases Northern Ireland as a tourist destination which can host world-class sporting events. I wish the organisers all the best for the North West 200 in 2010.”
Maire Campbell of Relentless said, “On behalf of Relentless energy drink we are proud to be title sponsor of Ireland’s most prestigious motor racing event; the Relentless International North West 200. As a local company, we have been supporting sports in the community for the past 70 years and there is none more prestigious and well renowned than the North West 200. The North West 200 certainly represents an outstanding example of a superb community event.
“The North West 200 brings so much to Northern Ireland not only attracting the highest calibre of sporting personalities which includes our own Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing team, it also attracts tourism and boosts the local economy, giving Northern Ireland international exposure.”
Dave Macey, Market and Franchise Development Manager of Black Horse, said, “Black Horse has been a race sponsor of the International North West 200 since 2002. Each year has seen the event grow from strength to strength and we are delighted to now be associate sponsor of this very special road racing event.”
A new North West 200 logo, designed by Pierce Communications and incorporating the Relentless and Black Horse brands, was also unveiled at the launch event. Redback Creations have designed the official North West 200 website which, to date, has achieved over 25 million hits. For the 2010 event, the website will feature information on how to create the best ‘NW200 Experience’, ranging from accommodation information, vantage points on Race Day to details on official merchandise. The 2010 official website is now live at www.northwest200.org.
Mervyn Whyte MBE said, “The North West 200 team receives so much valuable support from a wide range of organisations and companies. We are deeply grateful for the help from a wide range of organisations including DCAL, Coleraine Borough Council, Sport NI, 2&4 Wheel MSG, NITB and Tourism Ireland as well as our title, associate and race sponsors.
“While we very much look forward to working with Relentless and Black Horse, we are deeply grateful to the Kennedy Group for their financial sponsorship and support over the years. Alistair and Adele Kennedy, in particular, have played a key role in making the North West 200 the truly international event it now is and the company continues to provide Coleraine & District Motor Club with in-kind support. The expertise of David Curry of Redback Creations and Robin Titterington of Event is also greatly appreciated”, said Mervyn.
Changes to the North West 200.
Following the committee’s decision to withdraw the 250cc Race from this year’s schedule, the new format is 600 Supersport Race 1, Superbike Race 1, 125cc Race, Superstock Race, North West 200 Superbike Race and 600 Supersport Race 2. Apart from the 125cc race, all races will run under the FIM technical rules.
An additional 1,500 grandstand seats will be added to this year’s event bringing the total to 6,000 approx. The grandstand at the start line will be extended with 800 seats, Juniper grandstand with an extra 400 seats and 300 seats will be added to the paddock area grandstand.
In partnership with DCAL, Coleraine Borough Council and NITB, a new organisational structure has been introduced for the North West 200. Co-ordinated by Race Director Mervyn Whyte, the structure now consists of seven managers, each responsible for various aspects of the event. Mervyn Whyte will have overall responsibility for the running of the event.
BBC Northern Ireland continues as the official media partner for this year’s event. Once again, the BBC will give extensive coverage to the North West 200 across all three platforms; on-line, television and radio.
Shane Glynn, Editor Sport, BBC Northern Ireland said: “This is the first year of our new five year contract to cover the North West 200. We’ve established a very strong, collaborative working relationship with Mervyn Whyte and his team from the Coleraine club, and we’ll be using that to help us build on the success of our output up to now, and to provide bike fans with the best possible coverage of the North West, online, and on TV and radio.”
Mervyn Whyte said, “It is a pleasure working with BBC Northern Ireland and the whole team should be congratulated on the outstanding on-line, TV and radio coverage that they give to the North West 200. We very much look forward to working with Mike Edgar, Shane Glynn and the team in the coming months and years.”
Coleraine Borough Council
Plans are well underway for a full schedule of events during Race Week. Mervyn Whyte paid tribute to Coleraine Borough Council, which continues to provide valuable support to the event.
The Council have further supported Coleraine & District Motor Club by appointing Paul Gallagher as event co-ordinator to the North West 200 office over the coming months. Paul, who specialises in event organisation, will provide support to the North West team.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor of Coleraine, Cllr Sandy Gilkinson, said; “This fabulous event is not only one of the highlights of the road-racing calendar, it is also one of the largest and most popular annual sporting events in Ireland. Each year this spectacular event grows in stature and entices thousands of spectators to the North Coast. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities and attractions, fantastic beaches, great bistros and restaurants, specialist shopping and a packed programme of top class events for all ages to enjoy, complemented by some of Ireland’s most beautiful countryside and dramatic coastline.
The promotional and economic benefit the North West 200 brings to the Borough area, and to Northern Ireland, is very significant. Council is pleased to host the North West 200 in the Borough and to continue to support the event as it has done over many years.
“As Mayor of Coleraine, may I personally welcome new sponsors Relentless and Black Horse to the North West 200 fraternity. I look forward to the event, to working with the Coleraine & District Motor Club, and to welcoming competitors and visitors to the North Coast in May.”
North West 200 Supporters Club
Laurits Mackness and Ina McColm will once again co-ordinate the North West 200 Supporters Club. Last year, the Supporters Club raised £26,000 for the North West 200. Laurits and Ina have been raising money for the event for 33 years and 30 years respectively. Mervyn Whyte thanked the Supporters Club for their hard work and valuable support.
DCAL Funding & Campaigns
Further to successful applications for funding in 2009 under the Major Event Growth Fund, Laura McManus, NW200 Business Development Manager, launched two campaigns – ‘Stay A While’ and ‘We Want You’.
The ‘Stay A While’ campaign launched successfully in April 2009 and will continue for the 2010 event. The tourism initiative was designed to encourage visitors to stay and explore Northern Ireland after the event, by designing ten routes for visitors. For 2010, the NW200 team have taken the concept a step further and look forward to launching new routes for the May event.
The ‘We Want You’ campaign was initiated to encourage interest in volunteering at the NW200. Working closely with the Volunteer Agency, the NW200 team launched the recruitment campaign and to date have received a high level of interest from individuals who will all be invited to volunteer assessment days in February.
North West 200 Programme
Dundonald based Careva Publishing & PR will continue its involvement with the Coleraine & District Motor Club and the International North West 200 - publishing the official North West 200 programme for the ninth year in succession.
Best known for producing Ireland’s leading motorcycle magazine Irish Racer, Publishing Editor Paul Lindsay and his team have already begun work on the 2010 North West 200 programme, and the Bangor man is confident of producing yet another top quality publication. Paul Lindsay said: “As Northern Ireland’s leading outdoor sporting event, it’s hard not to get excited about the North West 200. At Careva, we are well aware of the Official Souvenir programme’s importance and the revenue it must generate, so we always strive to give the information-hungry race fans not just another event programme, but a value for money event guide with plenty of reading material.”
Practice sessions will take place on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th May. Roads will be closed on Tuesday from 5pm - 9.30pm. Coleraine & District Motor Club have applied for a change in road closure times (9.30am – 3pm) for Thursday’s practice. The application has been put forward for consultation and a decision will be made by the end of January.
North West 200 hospitality
The Stonebridge Group has been re-appointed to manage the hospitality element in the paddock area. The cost of the hospitality package for 2010 will be £175 + vat and full package details will be available within the coming weeks. This is the fifth year that the Stonebridge Group, directed by John McNally, has been involved in the North West 200. For further details on any aspect of the event’s hospitality contact the Stonebridge Group on 028 3884 9393.
This year’s charity partner
The North West 200 today announced that leading local cancer charity Action Cancer is the 2010 nominated charity for Ireland’s most famous road race. The announcement of this one year partnership is expected to generate over £20,000 for Action Cancer and significantly raise the profile and understanding of male cancers in particular.
Action Cancer Head of Services, Geraldine Kerr said, "Action Cancer is very much looking forward to working with the North West 200. We need partners to help Action Cancer meet its vision, to raise vital funds and, just as importantly, increase awareness of the importance of early detection, prevention and support for those at risk of cancer in Northern Ireland. We are very grateful to the North West 200 team who will help us achieve this.”
Action Cancer also provides a range of vital, life-saving services including breast cancer screening, health promotion, research, counselling and complementary therapies. Services are available regionally through the mobile facilities on the BIG BUS and at Action Cancer House in Belfast. For more information, check out www.actioncancer.org