Freedom of Borough honour for NW200 supremo Whyte

The Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has voted to award the Freedom of the Borough to North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte.

North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte.
North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte.
North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte.

The decision was taken during a special meeting of the council on Thursday night.

A spokesperson said: “This Council bestows the Freedom of the Borough upon Mr Mervyn Whyte MBE, Race Director of the International NW200 in recognition of his services to the North West 200 race and motorsport in Northern Ireland.”

Limavady man Whyte (67) said he was honoured to be selected for the recognition.

“It's a huge honour and privilege to be granted the Freedom of the Borough. I appreciate the huge support the NW200 receives from the elected Causeway Coast and Glens Council members,” said Whyte.

“It is even more meaningful now as the Council takes in a wide area from beyond Limavady to Ballycastle. Limavady, my home town, is part of the new Council and I never forget that.”

Whyte began his service as a road marshal at the 1973 North West 200 before becoming Clerk of the Course in 2000. He now holds the post of Event Director, managing a team of 800 volunteers who work all year round to host the annual road races.

“I want to pay tribute to the hard working members of Coleraine and District Motor Club and the army of volunteers who put in so much effort to ensure the races take place each May,” said Whyte.

“The North West 200 is a massive event now, with huge international status. It has grown immensely over the past 10 to 15 years with the support of Council and I hope it continues to do so over many more years to come.”

The honour will be formally conferred on the North West supremo at a ceremony within the next few weeks.

As had been the case in previous years, Whyte suggested he was considering his future as the figurehead of the North West 200 following this year’s event.

However, there is a growing groundswell of opinion of those closely involved with Whyte that he will remain the helm for 2018.