Tag Archives: North West 200

North West 200 shaping up to be a pearler

2023 fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200

After almost not happening at all this year, the 2023 North West 200 is now shaping up as a ripper with a great field of road racing talent.

British Superbike Championship competitors, Glenn Irwin, Alastair Seeley and Richard Cooper are all confirmed to join Road Racing’s leading names during May 7-13 race week.

As the only between the hedges race the British championship trio currently compete in, their success around the famous 8.9 mile course provides the Northern Ireland event with a unique dimension not shared by any of the other major road race meetings.

Irwin, the winner of the last six superbike races at Portrush, has returned to the PBM Ducati squad for the 2023 British Superbike series. The Carrickfergus racer last raced with Paul Bird’s team in 2018, winning three times at the NW200 on the Italian superbike before scoring another big bike victory at Portrush in 2019 on a JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Last year the 33 year old scooped a Superbike double at the seaside meeting in the Anchor Bar and Merrow Hotel Superbike races on the Honda Racing Fireblade.

Alastair Seeley and Glenn Irwin at the North West 200 last year
Alastair Seeley and Glenn Irwin at the North West 200 last year

Alastair Seeley, the NW200’s most successful rider with 27 wins, won three races at last year’s event. After leading the opposition home in the Strain Engineering Supersport and Turkington Superstock races during a wet Thursday evening, the 43 year old also sealed victory in Saturday’s CP Hire Superstock contest. Seeley has reunited with Philip and Hector Neill’s TAS BMW team for 2023, campaigning a Milwaukee liveried BMW in the British Superstock series. He will also race that machine plus a Superbike-spec version of the M1000RR in the same colours at the NW200.

Richard Cooper made his North West 200 debut in 2019, finishing second in the CP Hire Superstock race to claim the leading newcomer honours. The Nottingham rider crossed the finish line first in both of last year’s Supertwin races but was disqualified because of a technical infringement with his machine. Cooper enjoyed the consolation of finishing on the podium of the Turkington Superstock race plus claiming second and third place finishes in both Superbike contests on a Hawk Racing Suzuki. The former double British Superstock champion will return to Portrush in May aboard a Boyce Precision Engineering by Russell Racing Yamaha for the 600cc races plus a still to be confirmed superbike-spec machine.

Over 100 entrants, including a line-up of international competitors from 13 countries outside the UK and Ireland, will take part in the Tuesday and Thursday qualifying sessions at this year’s North West 200 ahead of a nine race programme that includes three events on Thursday evening and five during Saturday’s main race day.

With Irwin, Seeley and Cooper all competing in the opening rounds of the British championship, they should arrive on the north coast in razor sharp form. Amongst the opposition awaiting them will be local favourite, Michael Dunlop. The Ballymoney racer will ride a Honda Fireblade in the Superbike class for the first time since 2013 as he retains his seat in the Hawk Racing outfit which has made the switch from Suzuki power this year. The 33 year old will also be Honda-mounted in his own MD Racing colours in the Superstock class alongside a R6 Yamaha in the Supersport division.

Ashcourt Racing’s Lee Johnston, a Supersport race winner at last year’s NW200, and KTS Steadplan’s Jamie Coward will also make the switch to Honda power in the premier class.

The official Honda UK squad will be represented at the NW200 by veteran John McGuinness and new signing, Nathan Harrison.

The Milenco Padgett’s pairing of Davey Todd, a four-time NW200 runner-up last May, and Manxman Conor Cummins, will also return to action on Hondas in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes.

Peter Hickman laid down a new NW200 outright lap record aboard the FHO Racing BMW last May. The Burton on Trent rider will be mounted on the same machinery this year in both the Superbike and Superstock classes. He will also ride a 675cc Triumph in the Supersport races and a PHR liveried Aprilia in the Twins events.

Hickman will be joined by new FHO Racing teammate, Josh Brookes, in both 1000cc classes. The Australian returned to the north coast event last season after an eight year absence, finishing on the podium in the feature Merrow Hotel Superbike event.

Josh Brookes joins Peter Hickman at FHO Racing BMW for the 2023 North West 200
Josh Brookes joins Peter Hickman at FHO Racing BMW for the 2023 North West 200

2019 NW200 Superstock race winner, James Hillier, will return to Portrush with OMG Racing Yamaha fresh from his successful completion of the arduous Dakar rally during the winter.

Kawasaki will be represented at this year’s NW200 by DAO Racing’s Dean Harrison who claimed a podium finish in the Superstock class last season. Harrison will also add some extra spice to the Supersport field as he partners Richard Cooper in the Boyce Precision Engineering by Russell Racing Yamaha team.

Michael Rutter pictured here at the North West 200 in 2022 on a BMW, this year he will be on a Honda RC213V – Image Ben McCook

31 years after making his NW200 debut, 14 times NW200 winner, Michael Rutter is set to thrill the north coast crowds in the Superbike races aboard the screaming RCV213-S Honda V4 machine in Bathams livery.

Irish favourites Adam McLean (JMC Roofing), Michael Sweeney (MJR BMW), Mike Browne (Burrows/RK Racing), Jeremy McWilliams (Bayview/ IFS Racing Paton), Paul Jordan (Prez Racing Yamaha and Kawasaki) and Brian McCormack (Roadhouse Macau BMW) will be in the mix across all the NW200 classes.

Jeremy McWilliams - Image by Jon Jessop
Jeremy McWilliams at the North West 200 in 2016 – Image by Jon Jessop

2019 Supertwin race winner, Stefano Bonetti from Italy and last year’s Twins victor, Frenchman, Pierre Yves Bian, will return to the NW200 grid in 2023 alongside a strong international contingent of competitors from the European Road Racing championship.

Finland’s Erno Kostamo and Germany’s David Datzer, the winner and runner-up of last year’s Macau Grand Prix will be joined. by Optimark Racing’s Matthew Lagrieve from France, Switzerland’s Lukas Maurer, Austria’s Julian Trummer and Kamil Holan from the Czech Republic.

Last year’s leading newcomer at Portrush, Gary McCoy, will also be back on this year’s NW200 grid alongside female competitors, Nadieh Schoots, Patricia Fernadez-West and Maria Costello.

Source: MCNews.com.au

Glory for some despite shortened North West 200

North West 200 race goers had been treated by mostly glorious sunshine this week but come main race day on Saturday mother nature made things a little more complicated. The 90-year-old race run on the streets of North-West Ireland plays host to many of the stars of ‘road racing’ ahead of the Isle of Man TT each year.

With deteriorating conditions around the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit, the feature Merrow Hotel and Spa Superbike race of the 2019 fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils was called off after the riders carried out their sighting lap.

Heavy rain and non-racing incidents had also disrupted the earlier part of the programme.
As conditions improved in the early afternoon a series of brilliant races were run, producing first international road race victories for Davey Todd (Supersport), and James Hillier who dominated the Superstock event.

Glenn Irwin was the popular winner of the Anchor Bar superbike race ahead of James Hillier and Conor Cummins after what had been titanic battle between the leading two Kawasaki men and Cummins on the Padgett’s Honda.

Michael Dunlop retired early with bike problems while Gary Johnson was another high profile rider that failed to finish. John McGuinness finished just outside the top ten on the Norton in Superbike.

Jeremy McWilliams had suffered a trying week at one of the very few races the timeless 55-year-old participates in these days. Bike problems earlier in the week had left him well down the grid then during the first SuperTwins race early in the week he was run wide by another rider and had to take the other type of paddock he is not so use to frequenting. The Northern Irishman made up for it on Saturday though with victory in what may well be his last race appearance at the NW200. It was a close run affair with Christian Elkin nipping at his heels throughout while Michael Rutter rounded out the SuperTwins podium.

NW200 Event Director, Mervyn Whyte

“We didn’t have much luck during the early part of the day when we faced very challenging conditions but the teams, competitors and fans all stayed with us and we turned things around. We have decided in the interests of safety to bring the proceedings to a close now because the conditions have deteriorated once again. It is disappointing but I want to pay tribute to everyone who has supported us today and braved the weather to cheer on the riders as they put on a fantastic spectacle.”

Superstock Results

  1. James Hillier – Kawasaki
  2. Richard Cooper – Suzuki +3.260
  3. Davey Todd – BMW +3.387
  4. Dean Harrison – Kawasaki +10.996
  5. Lukas Maurer – Kawasaki +51.350
  6. Michael Rutter – BMW +64.961
  7. Matthew Rees – Kawasaki +67.948
  8. Glenn Irwin – Kawasaki +75.125
  9. Horst Saiger – Yamaha +78.273
  10. Chris Green – BMW +117.194

Superbike Results

  1. Glenn Irwin – Kawasaki
  2. James Hillier – Kawasaki +0.163
  3. Conor Cummins – Honda +0.461
  4. Derek Sheils – Suzuki +9.842
  5. Alastair Seeley – Ducati +19.760
  6. Richard Cooper – Suzuki +35.202
  7. Michael Rutter – Honda +58.989
  8. Matthew Rees – Kawasaki +62.498
  9. Lukas Maurer – Kawasaki +63.277
  10. Tom Weeden – Suzuki +88.481

Supersport Results

  1. Davey Todd – Honda
  2. Derek McGee – Kawasaki +0.340
  3. Conor Cummins – Honda +0.625
  4. Paul Jordan – Yamaha +3.437
  5. Christian Elkin – Yamaha +79.515


  1. Jeremy McWilliams
  2. Christian Elkin +1.303
  3. Michael Rutter +26.554
  4. Matthew Rees +42.197
  5. Joseph Loughlin +42.645

Source: MCNews.com.au

Peter Hickman wins Superstock opener at NW200

2019 North West 200

Against a backdrop of a sun-kissed Atlantic Ocean North West 200 competitors have been enjoying sunshine as race week got underway in, funnily enough, the North West of Ireland.

Three races produced three different winners during the first evening of racing for 2019 as this year marks the 90th anniversary of the event, a fact noted on the front of Michael Rutter’s Honda RC213V-S for the Superbike events to come on Saturday. There have been breaks in the running of the event due to wars, ‘The Troubles’ and even foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks, but is still running strongly and plays host to the stars of ‘road racing’ ahead of the Isle of Man TT each year.

24-times North West winner Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) and Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing Yamaha) were locked in battle at the front of the six-lap Tides Restaurant Supersport race that opened proceedings.

James Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki), Dean Harrison (Silicone Kawasaki) and Paul Jordan (Logan Yamaha) were all in the mix as well, swapping places constantly in a high speed train.

It was Johnston and Seeley though who led that train on to the coast road on the final circuit, with Seeley going for the winning move as he has so many times before at Juniper chicane. He got his nose in front but carrying a little too much speed the Carrick racer lost control and crashed leaving Johnston to cruise to victory ahead of Dean Harrison and James Hillier. Seeley was uninjured after his tumble and walked back to the paddock.

Lee Johnston
Supersport Winner

“There is a reason why Seeley has won so many races round here and it’s hard to know when he is playing and when he is not.’ Lee Johnston said after taking his fourth North West victory. His mid corner speed over Black Hill was slow for him and I didn’t know whether he was playing with me. I thought I’m going to go and whatever happens, happens. I knew exactly where my braking marker was and I knew that if he got past he wasnt getting stopped.”

Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda) finished 4th in what was the Ballymoney man’s first race since the Senior TT last June. Jamie Coward (Prez Yamaha) was 5th and Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) completed the top six. There is another Supersport bout on Saturday.

2019 NW 200 Supersport Race One Results
  1. Lee Johnston – Yamaha
  2. Dean Harrison – Kawasaki +0.730
  3. James Hillier – Kawasaki +1.649
  4. Michael Dunlop – Honda +25.371
  5. Jamie Coward – Yamaha +26.832
  6. Ian Hutchinson – Honda +27.758
  7. Davey Todd – Honda +27.932
  8. Gary Johnson – Triumph +44.748
  9. Michael Sweeney – Yamaha +1 lap
  10. Daley Mathison – Yamaha +1 lap

After the hectic action of the 600cc machines the Bayview Hotel Superstock race was more of a procession as Peter Hickman dominated the six lapper from start to finish on the Smith’s Racing BMW, eventually winning by 1.895 secs from Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki).

Irwin had been locked in a battle with Silicone Kawasaki’s Dean Harrison until the Bradford man slid off at University on the fifth lap.

Michael Dunlop (MD Racing BMW) came out on top of a three man battle with James Hillier (Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) and Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) for the final podium place, receiving a huge cheer from the grandstands for his efforts.

North West debutant, Richard Cooper (Bennett’s/Buildbase Suzuki) rode a brilliant race to claim 6th place. Saturday’s race schedule will see another Superstock race contested alongside an extra Supersport and SuperTwins bout. Superbikes race for the first time on Saturday morning before the premier North West 200 on Saturday evening.

Peter Hickman
Superstock Winner

‘I have been fast on the Superstock bike all week for some reason.’ Hickman explained.
‘Its a brand new bike and I had never even sat on it before Tuesday. The boys have done a great job and it worked straight out of the box.  I just wanted to get to the front as soon as I could and just get my head down and get on with it.  if I could just get that half a second out of the slip stream then I knew I could get a little bit of a lead.’

2019 NW 200 Supersport Race One Results
  1. Peter Hickman – BMW
  2. Glenn Irwin – Kawasaki +1.895
  3. Michael Dunlop – BMW +12.228
  4. James Hillier – Kawasaki +12.694
  5. Lee Johnston – BMW +13.593
  6. Richard Cooper – Suzuki +24.065
  7. Jamie Coward – Yamaha +53.228
  8. Daley Mathison – BMW +53.405
  9. Derek Sheils – Suzuki +57.404
  10. Paul Jordan – Kawasaki +58.214

With the sun low in the sky, Jeremy McWilliams (KMR/ Bayview Kawasaki) bounced back from his earlier crash during qualifying to force his way to the front of the pack on the opening lap of the MCL Insuretech Supertwins race. But on the second circuit the former MotoGP star crashed out at Mather’s chicane on the second circuit after being ran wide by another competitor, leaving Stefano Bonetti (VAS Engine Racing Paton) in the lead.

Over the second half of the race the Italian was hunted down by Jamie Coward who had posted the fastest time in qualifying aboard the KTS Racing Kawasaki.

Coward took the lead at University but Bonetti got the Paton back in front along the coast road to take victory.

Behind the leading duo Michael Rutter provided some consolation for team boss Ryan Farquhar after McWilliam’s crash by taking third on the KMR/Bathams Kawasaki).

Limerick’s James Chawke (Team ILR Paton) had a brilliant ride to 4th on his North West debut with Team ILR teammate Horst Saiger 5th and Francesco Curinga (Bemar Paton) taking 6th.

“Winning my first international road race is better than winning the lottery.” Bonetti said after giving Italy it’s first North West 200 victory and bringing the opening day of race action at the 90th anniversary event to an emotional close.

2019 NW 200 SuperTwins Race One Results
  1. Stefano Bonetti – Paton
  2. Jamie Coward – Kawasaki +0.579
  3. Michael Rutter – Kawasaki +7.428
  4. James Chawke – Paton +25.982
  5. Horst Saiger – Paton +26.265
  6. Francesco Curinga – Paton +27.127
  7. Victor Lopez – Kawasaki +51.038
  8. Carl Phillips – Paton +51.485
  9. Darren Cooper – Kawasaki +58.515
  10. Matthew Rees – Kawasaki +64.852
NW Supertwins Bonetti
Stefano Bonetti

NW 200 Superbike Qualifying

Glenn Irwin took Superbike pole position with a new unofficial lap record on the Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki ZX-10RR in Thursday’s final qualifying session for Saturday’s Superbike races.

The winner of the last three big bike races on the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit lapped in 4min 21.767sec, 0.328 sec faster than Michael Dunlop’s outright lap record that has stood since 2016.

Superbike Pole – Glenn Irwin

“It’s only pole but it’s important.’ Irwin said, referring to his lacklustre start to the 2019 BSB series and a poor opening North West qualifying session on Tuesday. I was down in the dumps and in tears on Tuesday night. I haven’t been myself and didn’t want to be here but I came with a different attitude today.”

NW Glenn Irwin
Glenn Irwin

The pole position rounded off a good day for the Carrickfergus man who also qualified on the front row for the Superstock and Supertwins races on the Quattro Plant and KTS Racing Kawasakis.

Irwin had been helped on his ride to pole by Dean Harrison who circulated just in front of the Quattro Plant machine on his similar Silicone Kawasaki. Harrison also dipped under the existing lap record time before finishing 0.206 seconds behind Irwin.

Alastair Seeley completed the front row of the grid on the PBM/Be Wiser Ducati V4RR just 0.071 secs behind Harrison.

Almost three seconds- 2.792 secs- separated Seeley from fourth fastest Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW). Manxman Conor Cummins pushed his way into the reckoning as fifth fastest on the Milenco Padgett’s Honda Fireblade and Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) completed the top six.

Newcomer Richard Cooper made the established frontrunners sit up and take notice with a brilliant ride 8th fastest on the Bennett’s/Buildbase Suzuki just behind Michael Rutter’s Batham’s Racing/Aspire Ho RCV213S Honda.

Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Fireblade) and James Hillier (Quattro Plant/ Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) completed the top ten. Peter Hickman completed just three laps on the Smith’s Racing BMW, failing to better his best time on Tuesday.

Derek Sheils jumped up the rankings, claiming 12th fastest time on the Burrows/RK Racing Suzuki after suffering brake problems on Tuesday.

David Johnson remains in 13th although he didn’t ride in the final superbike qualifying after crashing at Magherabouy in the earlier Supersport session. DJ had been 11th in the opening Superbike qualifying session on Tuesday.

Davey Todd, last year’s fastets newcomer finished 14th quickest on the Wepol/Penz13.com BMW but John McGuinness languishes 22nd fastest on the Norton in his North West comeback. The Morecambe man lapped three seconds faster than he had on Tuesday on the Norton SG8 but only completed one lap before stopping retiring.

NW 200 Superbike Qualifying

  1. Glenn Irwin 4min21.767
  2. Dean Harrison 4min21.973
  3. Alastair Seeley 4min22.044
  4. Michael Dunlop 4min24.836
  5. Conor Cummins 4min25.116
  6. Lee Johnson 4min25.823
  7. Michael Rutter 4min26.200
  8. Richard Cooper 4min27.051
  9. Ian Hutchinson 4min28.107
  10. James Hillier 4min28.170

On Saturday roads close at 9.15am with a five race programme beginning at 10am. The Junction Retail and Lesiure Park Supersport race is followed by the first superbike race, sponsored by the Anchor Hotel and Restaurant Complex. The John M. Paterson Supertwin race and the CP Hire Superstock race follow with the Merrow Hotel and Spa NW200 feature Superbike race bringing the curtain down on the 2019 North West 200 action.

NW Glenn Irwin SBK
Glenn Irwin on pole for Superbike

Source: MCNews.com.au