In an astute move by event organisers, Coleraine & District Motor Club, entry fees — previously set at £100 per race — have been waived for this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200, which will assist teams and riders in the current economic downturn.
Another major positive for the May 18 showpiece is the introduction of a Riders’ Roadshow, next week in all major Vauxhall dealers throughout Northern Ireland at 13 locations in all.
Honda TT Legends riders Michael Dunlop and John McGuinness will kick-start the roadshow on Monday, January 14, taking in the dealers in Londonderry (Eakin Bros at 10am) and Coleraine (Roadside at 1pm), before moving to Wilson of Rathkenny at 4pm and Charles Hurst in Lisburn at 7.30pm.
The boys, accompanied by Race Chief Mervyn Whyte, will be on hand to answer all your North West 200 questions, sign autographs and pose for pictures on the official Superbike for the NW200, the 2013 CBR1000RR.
On Tuesday they will take in Newry (CR Morrow at 10am), Newtownabbey (Ballyrobert at 1pm), finishing up at Townparks in Antrim at 4.30pm.
Mr North West 200, Michael Rutter, will then take up the roadshow baton on Wednesday and Thursday alongside KMR Kawasaki team boss Ryan Farquhar. They will visit Lochside, Enniskillen (12 noon), Gormley in Omagh (3pm) and Donnelly’s in Dungannon (7pm) on Wednesday.
The final day on Thursday will see the boys start the roadshow wrap-up at Charles Hurst, Portadown (11am) and Boucher Road, Belfast (2pm), finishing up at Ballyrobert in Bangor at 5pm.
Gordon Hannen, Vauxhall Regional Operations Manager, said: “I hope that everyone comes along and enjoys the chance to meet these brilliant racers — this will be a very special week for Vauxhall in Northern Ireland.”
Additional on-bike safety measures will be introduced at this year’s North West. Front brake lever guards will become mandatory in all classes, falling into line with MotoGP and more recently British Superbike.
Rear brake lights will also be mandatory in all classes and will be used in wet and low visibility conditions similar to Formula 1.