North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte will remain at the helm of the international road race for a 20th consecutive season in 2020.
The announcement comes as the dates for the famous North Coast meeting next year were officially confirmed, with Bike Week taking place from May 10-16.
Opening Practice will take place on Tuesday, May 12, with final qualifying and the evening race schedule on Thursday, May 14. The main race programme, including the Superbike races, will take on Saturday, May 16.
There had been speculation that Limavady man Whyte could step down from the role following this year’s 90th anniversary races, but he will continue to run the North West 200 for another year at least.
Whyte said he had agreed to stay in the position following a request by the committee of Coleraine and District Motor Club.
“I have been asked by the committee of Coleraine and District Motor Club to stay on as Event Director for next year and have agreed to do so,” he said.
“I am looking forward to the challenge as the Club continues to plan for the future with a process in place that will be adopted when I do step down.”
In 2017, plans for a ‘succession strategy’ were announced by the club to enable a smooth handover once Whyte called time on his long involvement with the event.
No timescale was put on his retirement, although at the time of the announcement in September two years ago, John Bolton – Chairman of the organising club – suggested control of the event would be passed on to Fergus McKay (Event Operations Manager) and Gillian Lloyd (Event Co-ordinator) “in the next couple of years.”
He said: “The event has taken massive steps forward in recent years and that is down to the vision and planning created by Mervyn and the North West 200 team.
“The next couple of years will be extremely important for us as our succession plan will enable Mervyn to gradually hand over the reins to his current NW200 colleagues Fergus Mackay (Event Operations Manager) and Gillian Lloyd (Event Co-ordinator).”