The 2017 North West 200 was the start of the end for Honda’s Road Racing Season this year.
Things hadn’t got off to a great start anyway even after the announcement of what has to be described as a dream team of John MCGuinness and Guy Martin. Guy crashed out of Tandragee and had a mediocre Cookstown event, however whether Honda wanted to admit it or not there was clearly an issue come the North West.
Every road racing fan knows John McGuinness just doesn’t fall off and it didn’t take long until the rumours started flowing that there was an issue with the bike and something to do with the throttle and that is what had thrown John off the bike.
Now two and a half months later, those rumours have been confirmed.
With five races scheduled for the Saturday event the usual happened and the weather closed in. After 2 glorious weeks that covered Northern Ireland in sunshine by the time Saturday Race Day had arrived so too had the rain. That meant delays… by well after lunch time only one race had been run and the question was will just one more race be even possible?
Well it was, the weather broke just enough to get a full schedule completed and WOW what a Race Day it was! Every race was outstanding, there was only one red flag and that was for rain and safety reasons rather than crashes or injuries. William Dunlop found himself back on the podium again after an outstanding run on the Supertwin machine, then a few moments of drama when rain closed in on a race and the riders wanted the race stopped raised the temperature of the event. Tempers rose to the point of breaking – all of which accumulated itself in the feature race – The 2017 Vauxhall NW200 Superbike Race. It was one of the great spectacles this event has had in years and talking about it isn’t enough, you have to watch it and see the ride that Glen Irwin put in on his Ducati, breath taking doesn’t cover it! Irwin wanted it, Seeley wanted it, Hutchy wanted it, Rutter wanted it. They all wanted it so badly – Hutchy was riding his bike more like a Subaru WRC powersliding it round the place, Seeley almost ended up sliding down the road after cutting a bit of the roadside grass for The Causeway Coast Council, and Glen Irwin was poetic coming out of every corner. It was a truly outstanding race.
Make sure you catch the highlight shows on the BBC – I have no idea how they could cut that race down to ‘highlights’ the whole race was a highlight!
Entry lists can be difficult to find so if you are not in a position to buy a program let me help you out.
(However if you are in a position to buy a program, go and buy one! Supporting the sport is what will keep it alive and to keep alive it needs money. Buying a program is how we can all do that, so get out there and get your program bought!)
Thursday Night traditionally brings 3 races to open the events actual racing. It is a pleasure to say this year the Thursday Night passed without incident, all 3 races getting off on time, to their full duration and a cracking evenings racing, marred only by the crash involving John McGuinnes earlier in the days Superbike Session.
Here are the results of the first three races of the 2017 International North West 200!