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North West 200 to receive £124k to improve safety for riders and fans

The Vauxhall International North West 200 is set to receive £124,000 towards improved safety measures, it was announced today.

The announcement was made at Stormont by communities minister Paul Givan who was joined by Mervyn Whyte MBE, Event Director, and competitors John McGuinness and Lee Johnston.

The popular event draws thousands of spectators as it takes place annually at the north coast.

Seventeen riders have lost their lives since the event first started.

Five of whom died in the past nine years with many others seriously injured in crashes.

At this year's event in May, Malachi Mitchell-Thomas was killed in a crash.

Malachi (20) was an up-and-coming star on the road racing circuit.

Last year fan Violet McAfee was injured while she was in the garden of a friend's house watches the racing when three bikes crashed.

Read more:

North West 200: Brave Violet sheds a tear watching races for first time since horror crash  

Losing young road racer like Malachi Mitchell-Thomas is just like losing a son, says North West 200 boss  

Announcing the funding MLA Paul 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.”

Mr Whyte welcoming the investment said safety is of "paramount" important in road racing.

He said:"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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