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North West 200: Race director Mervyn Whyte calls for sport funding equality

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Main men: Alastair Seeley (No4) and Michael Rutter were fastest in North West practice yesterday

Main men: Alastair Seeley (No4) and Michael Rutter were fastest in North West practice yesterday

Press Eye

Main men: Alastair Seeley (No4) and Michael Rutter were fastest in North West practice yesterday

Frustrated North West 200 race chief Mervyn Whyte has called on government here to provide the same level of support for the 88-year-old speed spectacular as lavished on occasional marquee events.

Whyte heads up Ireland’s biggest attended sporting spectacle, taking place this week and attracting up to 85,000 fans from home and abroad over race week and over 50,000 on Saturday’s race day with a worldwide TV audience of 800million.

Audited figures show the North West to be worth £4.5m in tourism revenue to the local area, and £10.3 million to the wider Northern Ireland economy  

But Whyte looks on in envy as the North West struggles to break even financially while vast sums are pumped into events that take place only every few years with no guarantee of longevity.

In that bracket are The Open and Irish Open golf tournaments, being staged in Portrush and Portstewart, in 2019 and this summer respectively, and the returning Giro d’Italia cycle race this month after a break of three years from its first appearance.

The North West is a poor relation, comparatively in terms of government cash support, and Whyte made clear: “I don’t, for a minute, begrudge those events, and others like them, their funding. They are brilliant events, worthy of government financial support, and I’ll likely attend all of them.

“But they are once in a while attractions. I would just like to see a parity of esteem for our own established events like the North West and Ulster Grand Prix and a similar level of funding.”

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Whyte added of the North West: “We have been running for a generation and will continue to do so while other events come and go.”

And he revealed: “It costs £800,000 to run the North West. That figure includes £230,000 start and prize money for riders and a £36,000 insurance premium.

“We are grateful for the aid we get from government which allowed us to put in place additional safety measures this year.

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PACEMAKER BELFAST  11/05/2017
The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. 
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/05/2017 The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  11/05/2017
The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. 
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/05/2017 The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  11/05/2017
The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. 
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/05/2017 The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  11/05/2017
John McGuinness goes through the start and finish chicane on his Honda Racing Fireblade during the Superbike practice session at the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 today. McGuinness crashed a few seconds later at Primrose sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. 
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/05/2017 John McGuinness goes through the start and finish chicane on his Honda Racing Fireblade during the Superbike practice session at the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 today. McGuinness crashed a few seconds later at Primrose sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: James Cowton. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: James Cowton. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice. Mark Dangerfield crashes out of the Thursday Supertwin practice session. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice. Mark Dangerfield crashes out of the Thursday Supertwin practice session. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: Martin Jessopp. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: Martin Jessopp. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: Paul Jordan. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: Paul Jordan. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: Michael Sweeney. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: Michael Sweeney. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: Christian Elkin.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: Christian Elkin. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: Michael Sweeney.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: Michael Sweeney. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200
Thursday Practice

Pictured: Paul Jordan.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Thursday Practice Pictured: Paul Jordan. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Pictured: Michael Rutter chases Lee Johnson and Dan Cooper.  Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Pictured: Michael Rutter chases Lee Johnson and Dan Cooper. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Martin Jessopp topped the leaderboard. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Martin Jessopp topped the leaderboard. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Glenn Irwin and his partner Laura Magee at the North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Glenn Irwin and his partner Laura Magee at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Chris Dixon ( Yamaha) during Tuesday's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Chris Dixon ( Yamaha) during Tuesday's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Robenya Farlow was the winner of the Miss North West 200 competition on Tuesday night in the paddock marquee. Rachel Mulligan (right) was second and Ciara Magee was third.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Robenya Farlow was the winner of the Miss North West 200 competition on Tuesday night in the paddock marquee. Rachel Mulligan (right) was second and Ciara Magee was third. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Glenn Irwin at the North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Glenn Irwin at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Alastair Seeley during Tuesday's North West 200 practice .Photo: Rowland White / PressEye

Alastair Seeley during Tuesday's North West 200 practice .Photo: Rowland White / PressEye

Michael Dunlop during Tuesday's North West 200 practice .Photo: Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Michael Dunlop during Tuesday's North West 200 practice .Photo: Matt Mackey / Press Eye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha  through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Michael Dunlop.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Michael Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Lee Johnston Jackson Racing Honda   through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Lee Johnston Jackson Racing Honda through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: William Dunlop.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Alastair Seeley Gearlink Kawasaki   through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Alastair Seeley Gearlink Kawasaki through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Paul Jordan and William Dunlop.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Paul Jordan and William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Ryan Farquhar.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Ryan Farquhar. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Chris Dixon (28) Yamaha involved in a red flag incident   during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Chris Dixon (28) Yamaha involved in a red flag incident during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Michael Dunlop.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Michael Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Horst Saiger (Saiger-Racing Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Horst Saiger (Saiger-Racing Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Daniel Cooper.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Daniel Cooper. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Breuce Anstey Padgetts Honda  through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Breuce Anstey Padgetts Honda through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

Bruce Anstey now has 12 TT wins to his name after claiming SES TT Zero success in Friday's opening race.

Bruce Anstey now has 12 TT wins to his name after claiming SES TT Zero success in Friday's opening race.

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Peter Hickman Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph   through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Peter Hickman Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Dean Harrison.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Dean Harrison. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Lee Johnston Jackson Racing Honda   through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Lee Johnston Jackson Racing Honda through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Michael Rutter.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Michael Rutter. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Guy Martin Wilson Craig Honda   through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Guy Martin Wilson Craig Honda through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Lee Johnston.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Lee Johnston. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha  through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: James Hillier.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: James Hillier. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

John McGuinness Jackson Racing/Bet Victor Honda   through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye John McGuinness Jackson Racing/Bet Victor Honda through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Derek Sheils.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Derek Sheils. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Glenn Irwin speaks to Stephen Watson.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Glenn Irwin speaks to Stephen Watson. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha  through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Alastair Seeley and Danni.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Alastair Seeley and Danni. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Paul Jordan ( Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Paul Jordan ( Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Dan Hegarty (Top Gun Racing Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Dan Hegarty (Top Gun Racing Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha  through Dhu Varren during  Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Michael Dunlop wheelies his Yamaha through Dhu Varren during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Daniel Cooper (Ruby Site Services Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Daniel Cooper (Ruby Site Services Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Peter Hickman (Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Peter Hickman (Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Christian Elkin ( Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Christian Elkin ( Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017

Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions.

Pictured: Lee Johnston and Guy Martin.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Lee Johnston and Guy Martin. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Philip Magowan / PressEye

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Peter Hickman (Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Peter Hickman (Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
John McGuinness (Jackson Racing/Bet Victor Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session John McGuinness (Jackson Racing/Bet Victor Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcyles Triumph) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcyles Triumph) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Lee Johnston (Jackson Racing Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Lee Johnston (Jackson Racing Honda) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
James Hillier (JG Speedfit Kawasaki Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session James Hillier (JG Speedfit Kawasaki Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
James Cowton ( Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session James Cowton ( Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Steve Mercer (Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Steve Mercer (Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PACEMAKER BELFAST  09/05/2017
William Dunlop and John McGuinness at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 09/05/2017 William Dunlop and John McGuinness at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17
North West 200 - Supersport practice session
Michael Dunlop ( Yamaha) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 7-5-17 North West 200 - Supersport practice session Michael Dunlop ( Yamaha) during today's Supersport practice session at the North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PACEMAKER BELFAST  09/05/2017
Ian Hutchinson speaks to Riders Liaison officer Steve Plater at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 09/05/2017 Ian Hutchinson speaks to Riders Liaison officer Steve Plater at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May  2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course.
Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 9th May 2017-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Newcomers rider races pass the garden walls through Dhu Varren during practice for the Vauxhall International 2017 North West 200 around the Triangle Course. Picture by Brian Little / PressEye

PACEMAKER BELFAST  09/05/2017
Guy Martin at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 09/05/2017 Guy Martin at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  09/05/2017
Bruce Anstey at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 09/05/2017 Bruce Anstey at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  09/05/2017
Ian Hutchinson at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 09/05/2017 Ian Hutchinson at the Vauxhall International North West 200 before he heads out on his Tuesday practice laps. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

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PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/05/2017 The scene at Primrose corner on the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 circuit where John McGuinness crashed his Honda Racing Fireblade sustaining a suspected fracture to his leg. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

“But looking at the amounts other events receive in comparison, we are lagging behind.

“All we ask is a level playing field and to be judged in terms of what we put back in return which is a substantial amount.

“We are non-profit making so every penny goes back into improving the event for the benefit of riders and spectators.

“We are indebted to our headline sponsor Vauxhall, our local Causeway Coast and Glens council, Tourism NI, individual race sponsors and local business whose support is increasing.

“But a level of government support in keeping with the investment in equally worthy but occasional events would go a long way towards securing the future of the North West.” 

Practice resumes tomorrow morning on the north coast with roads closing from 9.15am until 3.00pm, followed by three night  races, Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin, with roads closed from 5.00pm until 9.00pm.

On Race Day Saturday, roads close from 9.15am until racing is complete, starting with the Supersport race (6 laps) at 10.15am, followed by Superbike 1 (7 laps), Supertwin (4 laps), Superbike 2 (7 laps) and Superstock (6 laps).


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