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NW200 chief Mervyn Whyte has big plans for exciting Bermuda role

 

By Roy Harris

Vauxhall International North West 200 event director Mervyn Whyte MBE is set to become Clerk of the Course at a new electric bike race on the Caribbean island of Bermuda.

The Bermuda Charge - which is being described as the Monaco Grand Prix of Bermuda, but without the air and noise pollution - is set to feature three zero-emission classes for performance bikes, touring cars and touring bikes run in a time trial format similar to the Isle of Man Zero TT race.

With the backing of the Bermuda Tourist Authority, the bike race - which is scheduled to be held each September - will aim to utilise the type of technology behind the MotoGP electric class set to launch in 2019.

And Whyte is set to be the man in charge of the two-wheeled races.

David Cahill, the Bermuda Charge director, said: "There's nobody more experienced in terms of road race arrangement and safety than Mervyn.

"Mervyn is also connected to every big-name road racer there is - they have all come through the North West 200. We will certainly generate some influential interest and look to have the best road racers over here."

Whyte, who recently visited the Caribbean island to inspect the circuit and advise on the proposed safety plan, says the race has tremendous potential.

"The idea is to start off in a small way and progress each year," said Whyte, who has had 18 years in the top job at the North West 200 as Clerk of the Course, race director, technical director and event director.

"It's really all tied into road safety as well. That's a big part of it, as well as the eco side of things. The introduction of electric bikes and cars will reduce emissions on the island."

Whyte also said the event could attract world-class stars, including the North West's most successful rider Alastair Seeley.

"I've no doubt Alastair would be very interested in competing in Bermuda," he said. "We also have lots of other riders like John McGuinness, Michael Rutter and Ian Hutchinson who might want to give it a go. I can see this event progressing in that way."

Rutter, McGuinness and Lee Johnston have had Zero TT success, while another road racer - Daley Mathison - was the European Moto E champion in 2015 and 2016.

The Zero TT has been running for nine years, with the Japanese Mugen Shinden the dominating machine capable of over 120mph a lap and over 160mph top speed for the 145bhp machine, while MotoGP is to have its own electric class for 2019 in the shape of a 145bhp Energica Ego sports machine capable of 150mph that has already been ridden in demonstration laps at MotoGP venues.

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