Record crowds of over 150,000 attended this year’s North West 200 on the North Antrim Coast. Amongst the spectators were nine journalists from Great Britain and mainland Europe, invited by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to view this motorbike road-racing event - now the largest sporting event on the island of Ireland.
In addition to watching the races, the journalists visited the Giant’s Causeway, the Antrim Coast and the Old Bushmills Distillery. Three of the journalists also took the opportunity to tour on bike and experience the complete biking scene in the area.
Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland, commented: “There is no substitute for being able to experience a spectacle like the North West 200 on the ground. The journalists we invited to attend were really impressed by the scale and professionalism of the event and by the truly international atmosphere in the nearby towns.”
“We were all extremely saddened by the death of well-known local rider Robert Dunlop during one of the practice sessions; great credit must go to the organisers for the professional manner in which they continued to handle the event.”
One of the visiting journalists, Bill McCrae, said: “As a first-timer to the North West 200, I have to say that I was absolutely blown away with the organisation, dedication and overall camaraderie from both the organisers and locals alike. The atmosphere was electric and the racing was even better! This is a wonderful part of Ireland that must be experienced to appreciate its beauty. The Giant’s Causeway is a must see and riding along the Antrim coast was truly spectacular. I’ll be back for more next year.”
The North West 200 won first place in the “Best Event” category at the recent Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.
Pictured at the Giant’s Causeway are journalists Ralph Barnett, Evening Telegraph, and Bill McCrea, Daily Record (on bikes); with Jason Powell, Causeway Coast and Glens and David Boyce, Tourism Ireland.
Elaine Moore/Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland, tel: 028 7035 9260/ 07766 527719
Sonya Cassidy, Weber Shandwick, tel: 028 9034 7300/ 07770 886949