After a glorious and incident free Thursday night Saturday Race Day had a lot to live up to!
It did live up to it and then some!
With a reported 120,000 visitors to Northern Ireland’s North Coast the sun came, it was scorching – the crowds came – they were loving it – and the racing came – with the world’s best road racers putting on a show the like the North West hadn’t seen for years.
It was a true spectacle, road racing at its finest and – incident free. Only one red flag, new comer Nadieh Schoots came off at University and thankfully only suffered a badly bruised leg.
This was exactly what the NW200 needed after a few less that perfect years and was a real testament to everyone involved coupled with a little luck (weather) – but we all need a little luck sometimes!
Thursday night’s racing was sun-kissed, fast, contested and incident free. A superb night on Northern Ireland’s North Coast and I am happy to bring you a full gallery covering all the action from the evening’s three races. It was the perfect set up for the 2018 NW200 Race Day Saturday…
(For info these photographs were taken on the Portrush side of the Juniper Hill Chicane – about 300m before the chicane.)
Saturday Race Day – the big day for the annual NW200 and what a day it was. The weather forecast had promised to be a scorcher and guess what – even for Northern Ireland it delivered!
Thursday’s racing had already been a massive success with no major incidents and all three races running their full distance with real world class racing on display. Saturday promised another 5 races but could it deliver on what Thursday had already given us?
Well the short answer is yes! The weather was glorious, a bit breezy, but all that really did was hide the sunburn! The racing was outstanding and with only one red flag on the first lap of the final race – of which those involved are fine.
Just want let everyone know I'm fine. I thought my engine seized but it seems I just hit a false neutral at an (1-3) pic.twitter.com/hxcgvQhZ1c
Glen Irwin was dishing out the lessons on how to ride a superbike, taking 2 wins in the class, meaning he had 3 in a row at the NW200, remembering he took the 2017 Feature Race in fantastic style. Joey Thompson – a new crowd favourite missed out on taking a Supertwin win being piped at the final Juniper Hill Chicane, it was breath taking stuff and an amazing example of how good the NW200 can be if blessed with a little bit of good fortune and weather. Really well done to all those involved.
Thursday Race night at the 2018 International North West 200 wasn’t far away from perfect, with only one 30 minute delay, due to a oil spill, there were no other incidents to report, no other race delays, no red flags and a little bit of hazy cloud meant the lowering sun didn’t effect the racing as in previous years.
The result was a full night’s racing, with all 3 races running the distance.
After a rather miserable Tuesday session thanks to the Northern Irish weather (which to be fair can be much worse) Thursday’s session was – sun kissed. Glorious uninterrupted sunshine showered the North Coast in all it’s glory and gave the riders and teams a good chance to get some qualifying times on the board and get tweaking before the racing started on Thursday evening and then in to Saturday Race Day.
The Clerk of the Course even tried to get a double superbike session in after Tuesday’s session being cut so short, however like all best laid plans all you need is an oil spill to ruin them.
However a good session led us into Thursday night…
Read on for a full detailed listing of Thursday’s Qualifying Session Results :
@northwest200#nw200 Tuesday Practice Summary: Superbikes got 3 laps, superstocks got 4. A few 🚩 and Supertwins got out. One rider airlifted to the Royal (🤞🙏) and a few 30 minute delays for 🌧 . Glenn Irwin was cross and Hutchy wasn’t much happier. Roads opened 15 mins early🙄
I generally see the Tuesday session as more of a warmup than an actual qualifying session. The results you are seeing here will in no way reflect what we see on Thursday and Saturday, today’s timings are even more hampered by the greasy track from the on off rain. It is what it is, but here are the results from today’s Qualifying (“warmup”) sessions…
#NW200#NorthWest200 #2018 #2018NW200#2018NorthWest200#Live#RoadRacing#NorthernIreland#Motorbikes#Motorcycles Live North West 200 Practice / Qualifying Session : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/northern-ireland/43798025
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.
The internet has went crazy today reporting on Guy Martin retiring from Road Racing. As a Guy Martin fan, that is of course devastating news, and I honestly believe that most pure fans of road racing will also agree that Guy was / is good for the sport and its profile. However following an ‘exclusive interview’ with MCN it looks like his road racing days are over…
With huge publicity surrounding the partnership of John McGuiness and Guy Martin on the new Honda FireBlade things looked perfect for the 2017 season.
Then it all started to unwind. A poor Tandragee 100 started the season with Guy crashing out on his first lap, followed by an uneventful Cookstown 100 and North West 200 (at the same time as losing team mate John McGuinness to a horrific crash) which led us to the Isle of Man. After the ‘box of neutrals’ incident Honda withdrew from the rest of the event. Guy went onto a second place in the TTZero with Team Mugen, his team mate Bruce Anstey taking the win in that event.
Then the press release came that Honda and Guy would not be participating in the Ulster Grand Prix, a circuit that has brought Guy great success as well as proving almost deadly in 2015.
At this point I think most of us thought the writing on the wall was now here.
Guy Martin’s Road Racing days are over.
Explaining his decision to call it a day in an exclusive interview with MCN’s Matt Wildee, Guy said: “Racing’s been good to me, but I’m bored of it. You spend the early part of the year preparing for the season – testing, racing, talking about it, and then doing it all over again. It’s like Groundhog Day. It’s time to stop.”