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.
Apologies for it being a bit late, but sometimes you just get busy.
The poor weather at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Race Meeting has given me the opportunity to get caught up on a few things I had let slip. You’ll be glad to hear the next gallery will be from the Isle of Man!
So if you are over at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races you are right about now probably wishing for the rain to stop! Don’t worry it is going to – tomorrow is to be a lovely day.
However in the meantime to satisfy your needs for some motorbikes here is my gallery from the 2017 NW200 Thursday Race Session… (You’ll see it was soaked in glorious sunshine!)
Photos for this session were taken from the area of the Juniper Hill Chicane – maining looking down the Coast Road.
As with all of my photos please feel free to like, share and even use them. If you do use them however please credit me with the photograph – Don’t steal it. I don’t want to start watermarking my photos so if you do use it please – do the right thing.
Also all photos are available in full resolution, so if you would like any of the photographs in their full uneditted glory please just let me know – especially if you are one of the riders!
After yesterday’s rumours and my theory that’d we know more by Wednesday / Thursday, guess what? It is Wednesday and we know more! Without further ado here is the news and it is good!
Oh and before the internet warriors and those who specialise in the keyboard and living under bridges, a chap can change his mind and like it or lump it, this is a huge boost for the Road Racing Scene. Welcome back Guy Martin!
Looks like TT tickets may be even harder to get this year!
John McGuinness and Guy Martin complete Honda Racing dream team.
Honda Motor Europe is delighted to announce an exciting two-rider line-up for its 2017 Road Racing assault at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT in the Superbike classes. Re-signing for the Honda Racing team is TT legend John McGuinness, who will be joined by Guy Martin on the all-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Making his return to racing after a year away, fan favourite Martin will form a formidable team with McGuinness and the brand new Fireblade SP2 on the roads. Martin has enjoyed huge success on the roads during his career securing wins at various races including the Ulster GP, Scarborough Gold Cup, Armoy, Cookstown and also the Southern 100. He has also stepped on the TT podium 15 times and will be chasing his elusive maiden TT win with the Honda Racing team.
Meanwhile, McGuinness will be looking to add to his impressive tally of 23 TT wins, and riding the new Fireblade SP2, will also be aiming to recapture his lap record which was broken during last year’s race.
The Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is the most successful 1000cc machine ever at the Isle of Man TT and Honda aims to add to its remarkable record with the new SP2 version, which is the ultimate expression of the Fireblade’s Next Stage Total Control concept.
The SP2 is a road legal homologation special based on the Fireblade SP that is specifically developed for racing and features a revised cylinder head with larger valve sizes and lightweight Marchesini wheels for even greater performance.
The all-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 will make its road racing debut at the North West 200 in May.
For all the latest news and information on the Honda Racing team follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.
“I’m back with Honda for another year; really I’m part of the family, and I can’t wait to see what the new Fireblade SP2 can do! I know the old model like the back of my hand and have taken a lot of my TT wins with the old girl, so I can’t wait to get out on track and try the new machine out. I have a good feeling about this year and think we have a really good package to show that we mean business. I of course would like another TT win and I would quite like my lap record back! I always say when it’s broken that the lads are just borrowing it and I hope this year that this is the case. I am sad to say bye to the old Fireblade; I have a lot of history and good memories with that bike, but testing the new model can’t come soon enough and neither can the race season. I’m excited to have Guy as my new team-mate; we’ve enjoyed many a racing battle over the years and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can both do.”
“Neil [Tuxworth] has been talking to me for a while about joining the team, but I had a lot of thinking to do before I committed and said yes. I spent a lot of time on my push bike to and from work, thinking about what to do. I didn’t want to grow old regretting not giving the Honda a go, and the more time passes since making the decision, the more time I’ve thought it is the right decision. Honda is a great team and the Fireblade has always been a weapon on the roads, so with the new bike, I‘m keen to give it a go. We’ve got a busy testing schedule coming up and I’ve put some other stuff off to make time. John [McGuinness] is the man, I’ve got massive respect for him and I’m looking forward to racing on the Fireblade against him.”
“We have two new members joining the Honda Racing team this year with Guy signing and the new 2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. John is part of the furniture really, but it’s great to have him back with us for another year – it wouldn’t be the same without him! I really feel with Guy and John, and of course the new Fireblade, that we have a strong team ready to tackle the roads this year. Guy is hungry for his first TT win and John wants another and his lap record back, so this mixed with the new CBR1000RR means we should be in for some exciting racing action. The new Fireblade SP2 is so important to the team and also Honda and it’s vital we continue its legacy at the TT and add more to its 23 wins. We’re all looking forward to testing and I think everyone from the riders and the team are all excited to get on track and put the new machine through its paces.”
With the Thursday night Racing Session getting suspended due to a race related incident the Saturday Race Schedule had the extra race bumped into the schedule, meaning a full program of six races.
Racing started sharp and an excellent first race was unfortunately the only one of the schedule to run its course.
Race 2 was stopped following an incident involving Bruce Anstey who incidentally managed a speed trough the trap of a whopping 209.4mph! Thankfully Bruce walked away from the crash after some roadside medical treatment.
Race 3 was then stopped and the remainder of the meeting cancelled following the death of Malachi Mitchell Thomas.
As is the now normal procedure Thursday night saw the first racing of the NW200 event. The weather was glorious, as it had been all week, the roads were in top condition and things are now scheduled to move much more quickly, with the organisers now putting the focus on the racing, for the benefit of the spectators and fans rather than pit lane walks, interviews and TV cameras holding up the proceedings.
A welcome change to the program.
Three races were scheduled for the evening race session, however due to a non race related fire on the course Race 2 had to be postponed. Then when set off again a race incident involving Ryan Farquhar and Dan Cooper suspended and ultimately finished proceedings for the evening.
The third race was scheduled to run on Saturday 14th May 2016 as part of the Saturday race programme.
However more importantly and thankfully Ryan Farquhar, who was seriously injured is now making good progress and full recovery is expected, Dan Cooper was not seriously injured, should also be back to 100% fighting fit very soon.