Belfast Telegraph

Fans are urged to get with the North West 200 programme

By Jim Gracey

The biggest free show in Northern Ireland sport does not run on petrol fumes. You cannot install a turnstile on a hole in the hedge, which is why the North West 200 motorcycle racing spectacle needs every penny it can raise to just about break even.

And it might surprise even its most dedicated fans to learn that the event's single biggest source of revenue is the Race Week programme.

This year's 108 page, full colour, glossy publication is now on sale and race chief Mervyn Whyte appealed to the generosity of the North West's estimated 80,000 visitor fan base on coast during Race Week to show their support tangibly by buying one.

"The programme is invaluable to the North West as a fund raiser," said Whyte. "It brings in more than any other source, but only if the fans keep buying it.

"The cost is £15 or €20 and we would hope the thousands of fans who line the course will buy a programme in lieu of admission money. It offers great value, too, in return with every scrap of information anyone would want to know about the race, from records, facts and figures, the race line-ups, rider interviews and profiles, to the best vantage points."

Celebrating his 25th season in racing, John McGuinness and his factory Honda Fireblade grace the front cover of a superb effort by publisher Jason Andrews.

North West programmes are on sale from today at the usual retail outlets, roadside sellers, north coast caravan parks, the race paddock and from the NW ticket office.

They are also available to purchase online at www.northwest200.org

Claims by TT star Guy Martin that he reached speeds of 180mph on open roads whilst reviewing an Aston Martin supercar are being probed by police.

In his review of the 569bhp Aston Vanquish for the Sunday Times driving magazine he said he took sections of the Isle of Man's TT course "flat out".

Manx police said they were "making some inquiries" into the 33-year-old's claims.

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