Brothers William and Michael Dunlop built upon their family legacy at the North West 200, splitting Superbike wins on Saturday. The sons of the NW200’s winningest rider, Robert Dunlop, battled each other for the first NW 200 Superbike race, with elder brother William losing and then regaining the lead on the final lap for his first-ever NW victory on the Superbike. Michael rebounded to take top honors in the final Superbike contest - the feature North West 200 race, as well as claim victory in a shortened Superstock race.
The STK contest was red-flagged after a crash by Simon Andrews, which sent the English rider to the hospital where Andrews later died from his injuries
. In the remaining Saturday races, TT veteran Bruce Anstey claimed the Supersport 2 win with Lee Johnston repeating his earlier Supertwins victory in the 650 Twins race.
Saturday’s five-race schedule kicked off with the second Supersport race of the North West. Padgett’s Honda rider Anstey benefitted from a last-lap incident between Supersport Race 1 winner, Mar-Train Racing’s Alastair Seeley, and Pirtek Honda rider Lee Johnston. The front-running duo made contact at the Metropole corner, crashing out, with Anstey inheriting the lead and the New Zealander piloting on to take the win - the 11th of his NW200 career.
Anstey bested Honda rider Conor Cummins for the victory by a mere 0.195. English rider Gary Johnson claimed the final podium position aboard the Smiths Triumph Daytona 675. Australian Josh Brookes took fourth on the Milwaukee Yamaha and Michael Dunlop rounded out the top five with his MD Race Honda. Seeley and Johnston both earned DNFs in the opening race, but were uninjured in their crash.
2014 North West 200 Supersport Results:
Bruce Anstey celebrates his 11th career NW 200 victory during the second Supersport race.
1. Bruce Anstey (Honda) 108.014 mph
2. Conor Cummins (Honda) 108.002 mph
3. Gary Johnson (Triumph) 106.884 mph
4. Josh Brookes (Yamaha) 106.154 mph
5. Michael Dunlop (Honda) 106.024 mph
6. Michael Rutter (Triumph) 105.628 mph
7. William Dunlop (Suzuki) 104.737 mph
8. Daniel Cooper (Kawasaki) 104.143 mph
9. Russ Mountford (Triumph) 104.486 mph
10. James Cowton (Honda) 104.364 mph
The opening Superbike race was shortened from seven to five laps, owing to rainfall. The race proved to be a dual between the Dunlop brothers, culminating in a dramatic final lap battle. William took the lead after dispatching the early leader, Milwaukee Yamaha’s Ian Hutchison, with Hutchy fading back through to his eventual fifth-place finish. Contrasting the Englishman’s move in the ranks was Michael Dunlop, who recovered from a poor start aboard his BMW S1000RR to move up from eighth at the end of Lap 1.
Dunlop would dispatch TT regulars such as Guy Martin, Michael Rutter, Gary Johnson, Hutchinson, and finally Cummins to get his older brother in his sights. Michael passed William at the Metropole on the final lap, but William countered at the Juniper Hill chicane to retain his inaugural Superbike victory for his Tyco Suzuki squad and his fourth career NW win.
“I only saw Michael on that last lap when I looked over my shoulder and did think, ‘oh well that’s it’ but the team and myself have put in too-much hard work just to give it away,” said Dunlop in a Tyco Suzuki team press release. “He left me a gap into the Juniper chicane and wasn’t as strong as I expected to be on the brakes. I had to take the tight line into the chicane but we made it through and kept it strong to the line.”
Michael Dunlop finished second, with Cummins claiming a podium on his Honda TT Legends Superbike debut. The Manx rider was followed by The Blade, Michael Rutter, with the 13-times NW 200 winner riding a BMW in Superbike and Superstock races.
2014 North West 200 Superbike 1 Results:
William Dunlop celebrates his first Superbike win aboard the Tyco Suzuki in the first Superbike race at the NW 200.
1. William Dunlop (Suzuki) 111.616 mph
2. Michael Dunlop (BMW) 111.576 mph
3. Conor Cummins (Honda) 110.381 mph
4. Michael Rutter (BMW) 109.628 mph
5. Ian Hutchinson (Yamaha) 109.487 mph
6. Simon Andrews (BMW) 109.019 mph
7. Gary Johnson (Honda) 108.717 mph
8. Josh Brookes (Yamaha) 108.382 mph
9. Guy Martin (Suzuki) 108.065 mph
10. Horst Saiger (Kawasaki) 107.358 mph
Lee Johnston followed up his victory in the first Supertwins race with a victory in the second. The Pirtek Racing rider edged out Michael Dunlop in the four-lap race, with Dunlop riding a Kawasaki 650 prepped by McAdoo Racing. James Cowton also repeated his first-race result with a third-place finish. The Supertwins top-five was completed by familiar names, with former Grand Prix racer Jeremy McWilliams fourth and the most prolific winner on the Irish roads and developer of the Supertwins class, Ryan Farquhar, taking fifth.
2014 North West 200 Supertwins Results:
1. Lee Johnston (Kawasaki) 101.723 mph
2. Michael Dunlop (Kawsaki) 101.557 mph
3. James Cowton (Kawasaki) 101.469 mph
4. Jeremy McWilliams (Kawasaki) 101.174 mph
5. Ryan Farquhar (Kawasaki) 100.449 mph
6. Ivan Lintin (Kawasaki) 98.405 mph
7. Martin Jessopp (Kawasaki) 97.739 mph
8. Derek Sheils (Kawasaki) 97.387 mph
9. Paul Shoesmith (Kawasaki) 97.328 mph
10. Gareth Keys (Kawasaki) 97.126 mph
The 2014 North West 200 was marred by the fatal accident of Simon Andrews (8). The English rider was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition following his high-speed crash during Saturday's Superstock race. Andrews later succumbed to his injuries.
The second Superstock race was red-flagged following Andrews’ crash. The English rider was airlifted to the hospital in Belfast in critical condition. Andrews would later succumb to his injuries.The race organizers issued a release on Andrews' death, stating: "Following a crash at Saturday’s Vauxhall International North West 200, Simon Andrews has passed away in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital today. The 31 year old, from Evesham in Worcestershire, was riding for the Penz13.com BMW team when he crashed on the approach to Metropole corner on lap 4 of the Superstock race. No other riders were involved in the incident."
Prior to the incident, the STK race featured a battle between BMW riders Dunlop and the early leader Rutter. Dunlop would get around his English rival prior to the red flag, and be appointed the victor after the race stoppage. Gary Johnson nabbed the final podium, ahead of Austrailian Horst Saiger and the STK race 1 winner, Seeley.
Dunlop’s STK victory over Rutter not only extended his own legacy, it also helped preserve his father and uncle’s position on the all-time NW 200 wins list. Robert Dunlop, who died at Mather’s Cross during the 2008 NW200, has 15 career wins at the Northern Ireland venue, while his uncle Joey Dunlop is currently tied with Rutter at 13 career NW200 wins.
2014 North West 200 Superstock 2 Results:
1. Michael Dunlop (BMW) 114.460 mph
2. Michael Rutter (BMW) 114.337 mph
3. Gary Johnson (Honda) 113.164 mph
4. Horst Saiger (Kawasaki) 113.067 mph
5. Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki) 112.992 mph
6. Lee Johnston (Honda) 112.935 mph
7. Dean Harrison (Kawasaki) 112.590 mph
8. James Hillier (Kawasaki) 111.985 mph
9. Stephen Thompson (BMW) 111.666 mph
10. Dan Kneen (Suzuki) 111.614 mph
North West 200
Michael Dunlop pushed his own career NW200 win tally to five with a victory in the namesake feature North West 200 – the second Superbike race. Dunlop had to catch early front-runners Brookes and Seeley to earn the win aboard his BMW S1000RR. Brookes and Seeley both finished on the podium, in second and their respectively.
Brookes, a British Superbike regular, made his most impressive roads race to date in the NW finale. Riding the Milwaukee Yamaha, Brookes led the opening laps, fighting with Seeley. But the Australian made a mistake and ran-off on Lap 4, yielding the lead to Dunlop – a position which he would not relinquish.
“I really wanted to show what I could do on the BMW and the crowd was fantastic as they cheered me on on that last lap,” said Dunlop in a release by the North West 200. “After the first race I had a good feel for the bike and we made a few changes that made things better and the best thing was that I stopped anyone beating my dad Robert’s record of 15 North West wins.”
Brookes garnered the runner up position, his best-ever result at an international road circuit. Combined with his Supersport 1 podium, the Australian received the Overseas Man of the Meeting award – with the three-time 2014-winning Dunlop earning Man of the Meeting honors.
2014 North West 200 Results:
1. Michael Dunlop (BMW) 121.358 mph
2. Josh Brookes (Yamaha) 121.081 mph
3. Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki) 120.930 mph
4. Michael Rutter (BMW) 120.242 mph
5. Guy Martin (Suzuki) 120.075 mph
6. Conor Cummins (Honda) 120.062 mph
7. Martin Jessopp (BMW) 118.711 mph
8. Dean Harrison (Kawasaki) 118.504 mph
9. James Hillier (Kawasaki) 118.407 mph
10. Gary Johnson (Honda) 118.042 mph
A primer for the upcoming Isle of Man TT races, the North West can be a harbinger of TT fortunes. In which case, Michael Dunlop is setting himself up for a possible record-breaking TT fortnight – having claimed a NW victory in three classes: Superbike, Superstock and Supertwins. The latter class will see Dunlop running a full six TT schedule, and the younger Dunlop has a strong record in the Supersport TT.
Dunlop’s NW200 success is contrasted by the woes of John McGuinness. The reigning King of the Mountain and last year’s Senior TT victory, which upped his career win tally to 20, was unable to finish either Superbike race at the 200 due to a wrist injury sustained during crash while training prior to the North West races.
McGuinness said of his NW performance in Honda TT Legends team PR: “I’m not going to lie, today has been one of the toughest days I’ve ever had in racing. My wrist injury has made things very difficult around this circuit and it was almost impossible for me to push, particularly in the conditions we had today. I just have to put this behind me and look ahead to the TT. I’ve got another week or so of recovery and physio time so let’s hope I can improve things before we head there.”