2010 North West 200 Preview

May 11, 2010
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Street racing fans the world over converge now upon Northern Ireland to take in the famed North West 200. And Motorcycle USA will be along as well, on scene to cover the historic race. First run in 1927 as a 200-mile endurance contest, the NW200 has grown into Ireland’s largest sporting event and the coveted prize of Irish street racing.

Steve Plater
HM Plant Honda’s Steve Plater will return to defend his Superbike victory at the 2010 North West 200.

Running on public roads between the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush, the 2010 event will showcase six races in four classes. Practice runs on the preceding Tuesday and Thursday, while Saturday’s six-race lineup is:
1. Yoko Superbike Race 1
2. Clinton Enterprises 600cc Supersport
3. McKendry Fabrication 125cc
4. CPHire Superstock
5. Greenline Superbike Race 2
6. Ballymoney Borough Council 600cc Supersport Race 2

Campaigning in multiple classes, a familiar stable of street racing regulars return to ride Supersport and Superbike machinery. Here are some of the familiar major players for Saturday.

Steve Plater – HM Plant/Padgett’s Honda
Based off previous NW200 results, Plater arrives at the 2010 affair a strong favorite. Having nabbed the only Superbike race win last year (the second was cancelled), Plater swept the Supersport races in 2008 to go with a Superbike win. The HM Plant Honda rider, hailing from Lincolnshire, figures to be a force once again.

John McGuinness – HM Plant/Padgett’s Honda
The King of the Mountain may be best known for his dominating form at the Isle of Man, but McGuinness has a handful of NW200 victories as well. One of the active legends of the sport, the HM Plant rider could further extend his prestige at the other famed street racing circuit.

Michael Rutter – BMW
Rutter enters 2010 tied as the second-winningest NW200 rider of all time, alongside the legendary Joey Dunlop (13 wins) and trailing only Robert Dunlop (15 wins). Nine of Rutter’s 13 checkered flags have come in the Superbike class, where he remains a strong candidate for the win. Rutter will ride a BMW in the Superstock class. 

Bruce Anstey – Suzuki
The New Zealand rider looks to break a two-year shutout at the North West. Anstey’s past efforts, however, make him a prime candidate for front-running status, having scored previous wins in both Supersport, Superbike and Superstock. The Flying Kiwi’s greatest year was a hat trick in 2007.

Cameron Donald – Suzuki
Famously dominating the 2009 Isle of Man TT, the Austrailian rider will attempt a similar feat in Northern Ireland where Donald looks for his first career NW200 victory.

Alistair Seeley – Suzuki
While not the household name of some of his rivals, Seeley enjoys a two-year winning streak in the Superstock class. Expect the TAS Suzuki British Superbike racer to look for his third STK win on Saturday.

Guy Martin – Wilson Craig Honda
Sporting mutton-chops and a near undecipherable accent (at least to us), Guy Martin remains a fan favorite. While famously never a winner at either the IOM or the NW200, the 28-year-old Martin will look for his first win to go with his many career podiums and heartbreaking results.

Alstair Seeley
Alistair Seeley will defend his Superstock win in this year’s North West 200.

Ian Hutchinson – Padgett’s Honda
A TT winner, Hutchy is yet another contender in the packed NW200 roster.

Keith Amor – BMW and Honda
A consistent top-ten rider, Amor’s stock has risen with impressive results in recent years. The Scottish-born rider’s most impressive result to date may be his 600cc victory in the 2008 Macau Grand Prix.

Connor Cummins – McAdoo Kawasaki
An Irish Road Racing champion, Cummins is one of Kawasaki’s best hopes for NW200 glory. The 23-year-old is one of the rising stars in the sport.

Jimmy Moore – East Coast Yamaha
Two time AMA Supersport champion Jimmy Moore has become a fixture in the road course scene the past few years. Moore has competed at both the NW200 and IOM aboard Supersport and Superbike machines. ‘Top’ Jimmy returns to Ireland for another shot at international glory with the East Coast Yamaha squad.

There remains plenty more riders with the potential to surprise on Saturday, with veteran riders like Adrian Archibald, Gary Johnson and Ian Lougher scheduled to race. Throw Irishman Ryan Farquar’s name in the mix, not to mention young guns like Olie Linsdell and more British Superbike regulars like Stuart Easton.

Another young rider on the starting gate includes William Dunlop, winner of last year’s 125cc and 250cc races. The son of the aforementioned Robert Dunlop, who died during practice in the 2008 NW200, William’s brother Michael also competes. The latter Dunlop claimed an emotional victory in the 2008 NW200 250cc race, the very event that claimed his father’s life.

All the showcased riders stand a fair chance of hitting one of the six rostrums on Saturday, so stay tuned for more NW 200 racing action, including team/entry updates in the days to come.