RELENTLESS Energy is backing the International North West 200 for a further two years with the announcement today of a renewed brand partnership helping to cement the North West's position as Ireland's top outdoor sporting event.
The high profile energy drink was launched in Northern Ireland during the build up to last May's North West 200 and developed a very successful partnership with the global event and its organisers Coleraine & District Motor Club Ltd.
This year's North West 200 is set to take place on Saturday, May 21 with Race Week Festival kicking off on May 15.
Race technical director Mervyn Whyte MBE was ecstatic as he welcomed Relentless Energy back on board as title sponsor.
"The dynamic spirit and sheer tenacity of Relentless encapsulates everything that the North West 200 stands for and I'm delighted that the Relentless Energy team will support our event until 2012.
"It's been an excellent partnership to date and we look forward to working alongside the team over the next two years creating improved race programmes and drawing high calibre competitors from all over the world as well as here on the island of Ireland."
Attending the high glamour launch at Belfast's Merchant Hotel was 12 times North West winner Michael Rutter alongside Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing team members Carrick's Alastair Seeley and Guy Martin from Lincolnshire, Ballymoney riders Adrian Archibald and William Dunlop and Hawick rider Stuart Easton.
Also present was local rider Kirk Jamison from Greyabbey who will make his North West 200 debut.
. In the Superbike class Kirk will be on board the Jim Angus Contracts BMW and in Supersport will ride for Mar-Train Racing.
Ballymoney duo William and Michael Dunlop plan to race in all five events and both are set to confirm team details during the next few weeks.
Adrian Archibald also aims to compete in all races and will be backed by FB McKee.
NW200 hero Michael 'the blade' Rutter first competed in the North West in 1992 and claims the Triangle' event as his favourite road race.
The West Midlands ace aims to ride in the Superstock and both Superbike races and will also announce team details within the next three weeks. BSB rider and NW200 regular Martin Jessopp also travelled over to the launch.
BSB rider Stuart Easton has been a North West 200 regular in recent years and will be competing under the MSS Colchester Kawasaki banner at both the North West and BSB events.
In 2010 Easton was second to Seeley in the history making NW200 Superbike race and the Scotsman also broke Michael Rutter's speed trap record by achieving 204 mph on last year's Tuesday practice night.
Easton will compete in at least 3 NW200 races and potentially may ride in all five. Said Stuart, "I was delighted with my performance last year and hope to go one better in 2011 by claiming a coveted NW200 first place podium."
Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing partnership Guy Martin and Alastair Seeley are set to compete in all five races and TAS manager Philip Neill believes the pair are extremely strong contenders in each of the three race classes.
"Alastair is one of a new crop of NW200 heroes and his amazing performance last year as the first local rider to win a NW200 Superbike race since Phillip McCallen in 1997, will put him in pole position for a podium place in 2011."
"Guy of course is an out and out road racer and the duo perfectly complement each other giving Relentless Suzuki a dynamic and highly competitive North West team. We're certainly looking forward to 21st May!"
Sports Minister Nelson McCausland also attended the launch event and wished organisers well for 2011 saying, "The races at the North West continue to attract participants and spectators from across the world and are a great demonstration of how sport can contribute to promoting Northern Ireland's image at home and abroad."
Plans are in progress for a full schedule of exciting events as part of the highly acclaimed Race Week Festival and Mervyn Whyte paid tribute to Coleraine Borough Council and its staff for all their help and excellent support.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Mayor of Coleraine, Cllr Sam Cole, said; "This fabulous event is not only one of the highlights of the road-racing calendar; it is also one of the largest and most popular annual sporting events in Ireland.
"Each year this spectacular event grows in stature and entices thousands of spectators to the North Coast.
Aonghus O'Flaherty, Relentless Energy Brand Manager said, "Relentless Energy Drink is proud to be the title sponsor and partner of this prestigious road racing event for the second year.
"Also, as the largest outdoor sporting event in Ireland, the Relentless International NW200 brings the Relentless message to life with fantastic scale."
Practice format will remain the same as last year with a Tuesday evening and Thursday day time practice sessions. Roads will close at 5pm on Tuesday 17th May and re-open at 9.15pm whilst on Thursday 19th May roads close at 9.30am after the morning rush hour period and re-open at 3pm.