North West 200 clerk of the course Mervyn Whyte hailed Dermot James as a ‘great ambassador’ for motorcycling in Northern Ireland.
Whyte worked with Mr James - who passed away on Monday - for over 30 years and said he had played a huge role in promoting the North West 200.
“I had a working relationship with Dermot going back over 30 years. He was an excellent journalist and a great ambassador for the sport. He put so much into motorcycling over the years and it’s a sad loss to the sport in Ireland.”
Ex-Formula 2 World Champion Brian Reid added: “Dermot named Graeme McGregor the ‘Dromara Destroyer’ and that’s how the name came about when we were racing with the Armoy Armada. Anything I asked him to do, he was always there and he’ll be sadly missed.”
A host of figures within the sport paid tribute to Mr James.
Leslie Moore, Editor, Road Racing Ireland, said: “When I joined RRI Dermot was one of the few people who gave me his full blessing and he also gave me constructive criticism. One thing he taught me was how to say something without saying anything!”
Top road racer William Dunlop added: “Dermot was always very supportive from when I first began racing and obviously he did a lot with my dad as well. He was good to all of us over the years.”
KMR Kawasaki team boss Ryan Farquhar described news of Mr James’ death as ‘another blow for road racing,’ adding: “Motorcycling in Ireland will be all the poorer without him.”
Philip Neill, Tyco Suzuki team principal also added his thoughts, telling the News Letter: “Dermot was a gentleman. He was always fair and willing to give both sides of any story. He’ll be sorely missed.”