Belfast Telegraph

North West 200 date change isn’t on the cards, says Whyte

North West 200 race chief Mervyn Whyte has insisted the May 21 date for the 2011 event will not change, even though two top riders could miss out.

Honda aces and previous North West winners John McGuinness and Keith Amor are down to compete for Honda Europe in the World Endurance Championship in Qatar in the Middle East the same weekend.

But speculation the North West could be switched to accommodate them has been ruled a non-starter by Whyte.

The more likely outcome is a Honda Europe compromise to allow the duo the North West outing they need ahead of the following month's Isle of Man TT races.

Both would be favourites for North West success, regarded as highly important by the riders and their factory team, leading up to the TT.

Changing the North West date would also be a logistical nightmare for the organisers and the local tourist trade, as well as thousands of fans who have already made travel plans and hotel bookings.

“It would cause chaos to change the date,” Whyte admitted. “Many thousands of people would be affected.

“We are not just talking about Race Day, but a whole week of events, including two practices, one of which, the daytime practice, was only secured after long and delicate negotiations.

“We're grateful to the many residents, businesses and schools on the course for their co-operation and could not go back to them now to start talking about new dates. Many local events have also been arranged around the May 21 date.

“We want to see John McGuinness and Keith Amor compete at the North West, as do their thousands of fans here.

“The ideal scenario would be for their other commitments to be tailored to allow them to race at the North West. They haven’t been ruled out yet.”

Belfast Telegraph


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