Weather played a role in the 80th annual North West 200
in Northern Ireland. Mother Nature had her hand in nearly every race on the 9-mile mountain course, causing crashes, red-flags and restarts that wreaked havoc on the weekend race schedule. In the end a trio of double race winners leave the island with valuable experience heading into next month’s Isle of Man TT.
“I could hear somebody behind me, but I didn’t now how many there were. We had some issues with the wind and I was taking it canny. It is not the way to win a race, but I’ll take it.”
The Dewalt Superbike race was red-flagged at the start of the fourth lap when John Walsh crashed at Magherabuoy Chcane, breaking his ankle and causing quite a mess on the treacherous turn. The final results were taken from the end of Lap 2, giving HM Plant Honda’s Steve Plater the win over Relentlesss Suzuki’s Bruce Anstey. Third place went to Plater’s HM Plant teammate John McGuiness. The two wins by Plater brings his NW200 victory total to eight after a decade of competing in the historic event.
"It would have been nice to take the Superbike race win from flag to flag rather than a red-flag, but all the same I led from the outset and I'm very happy to have taken the victory in the Superbike and Supersport races and do the double again. I'm sure that if we'd had the other two races then I'd have had even more podium results. The wind was horrendous and unpredictable so I had to keep a little bit in reserve at a few places around the circuit to make sure I kept the bike upright. Experience has taught me in road racing that anything can happen and so you're better to get out front and lead rather than chase, so that's what I did - just got my head down and went for it. It's a shame the weather was so bad but I'm happy that we came away with the solid race results we did."
American Jimmy Moore finished 25th overall on the JMF Millsport Racing Yamaha R1with a time of 9:21.010, which was 35-seconds behind race winner Steve Plater.
“Whilst the decision to cancel is disappointing, the safety of the riders and spectators is our top priority,” explained Clerk of the Course, Mervyn Whyte MBE. “Unfortunately a number of red-flag incidents combined with the unpredictable weather caused significant delays to the day’s program. Despite completing two separate warm-up laps for the main Superbike race, the lateness of the day, intermittent rain and strong crosswinds on the course forced us to make this decision. I consulted with both BSB and local team managers as well as a number of riders before making the final decision to cancel the two remaining races. As always, thousands of spectators flocked to the North Coast circuit and we would like to thank them for all their support.”
Superbike Results – Race 2
1. Steve Plater (Honda) 8:45.964
2. Bruce Anstey (Suzuki) – 0.639
3. John McGuiness (Honda) – 2.019
4. Cameron Donald (Suzuki) – 2.488
5. Conor Cummings (Kawasaki) – 3.266
6. Guy Martin (Honda) – 4.516
7. Keith Amor (Honda) – 5.351
8. Ryan Farquhar (Kawasaki) – 5.823
9. Gary Johnson (Honda) – 7.696
10. Ian Hutchinson (Honda) – 9.515
The CP Hire Superstock race was cut short because of rain at the start of the third lap with race position from the end of lap two counting as the final results. Relentless Suzuki’s Alstair Seeley claimed victory over KHR Kawasaki’s Ryan Farquhar and WCR Honda’s Keith Amor in the Hire Limited Superstock final.
Relentless Suzuki's Alastair Seeley taking the Superstock victory on the 2009 GSX-R1000.
“Ryan is a really good rider and rode an aggressive first lap and had a good lead,” said Seeley after the race. “Fortunately I got a good tow from Bruce Anstey (who eventually retired) and managed to catch up on Ryan. I passed him at Juniper and led across the line at what turned out to be the crucial stage the way things worked out.”
The win gives Seely two victories at the prestigious road course. Our friend and 2-time AMA Supersport champion Jimmy Moore finished 27th on the JMF Millsport Racing Yamaha with a time of 9:25.054.
"It was a difficult day all round but I'm delighted to have been able to give Relentless Suzuki yet another international win and also keep my 100 per cent record intact,” continued Seeley. “The GSX-R1000 worked superbly well all week and hopefully we can now continue this form in the British Superstock class."
Superstock Results – Race 5
1. Alstair Seeley (Suzuki) 8:50.296
2. Ryan Farquhar (Kawasaki) 8:51.195
3. Keith Amor (Honda) 8:54.098
4. Cameron Donald (Suzuki) 8:54.538
5. Guy Martin (Honda) 8:55.429
6. Ian Hutchinson (Honda) 8:56.013
7. Conor Cummins (Kawasaki) 8:56.280
8. Les Shand (Yamaha) 8:57.018
9. Gary Johnson (Honda) 9: 01.522
10. James McBride (Yamaha) 9:11.238
The Clinton Enterprises Supersport race was reduced to four laps after Suzuki’s Alstair Seeley smashed into the back of Keith Amor at the start of the race. Neither rider was seriously hurt in the incident but it did bring out the red-flag and required a complete restart.
HM Plant Honda’s Steve Plater took advantage of the mulligan by catching early race leader Bruce Anstey on the Relentless Suzuki GSX-R and holding him off for the win. Anstey would finish second, just ahead of Street Sweep Yamaha’s Michael Dunlop.
“I knew Bruce was closing, but it’s easier riding from behind than it is to lead,” said Plater. “He came past me, but I managed to re-take him at Juniper.”
HM Plant’s John McGuiness just missed the podium in both Superbike and Supersport races, but leaves in a good position heading to the next road races on the Isle of Man.
"It was good to be the podium for the Superbike race but unfortunately I was just one place away in the Supersport race and in the 250 class I had to settle for fifth. But overall I'm pleased with my results, especially given the treacherous weather conditions which made riding very difficult at certain parts of the circuit. My CBR1000RR and CBR600RR bikes ran like a dream though and credit to the HM Plant Honda team for that. I'm feeling confident in my racing and on the bikes, and it was good to be back on a road circuit, so I can now use this experience as great preparation for the TT next month."
Jimmy Moore finished 46-seconds behind the race-winner in 18th place on the JMF Millsport Racing Yamaha R6 with a time of 19:02.902.
The second scheduled Supersport race was cancelled do to rain.
Supersport Results – Race 3
Steve Plater also took the North West 200 Supersport race for Honda.
1. Steve Plater (Honda) 18:16.091
2. Bruce Anstey (Suzuki) – 0.515
3. Michael Dunlop (Yamaha) – 2.632
4. John McGuiness (Honda) – 3.144
5. William Dunlop (Yamaha) – 9.420
6. Ian Hutchinson (Honda) – 9.761
7. Michael Rutter (Yamaha) – 10.58
8. Gary Johnson (Honda) – 11.070
9. Ryan Farqhuar (Kawasaki) – 17.337
10. Ian Lougher (Yamaha) – 28.697
250cc - Top 5 Results – Race 1
1. William Dunlop (Honda) 14:48.194
2. Chris Palmer (Honda) – 6.149
3. Phil Harvey (Honda) – 7.174
4. Mark Lunney (Honda) – 8.400
5. Denver Robb (Honda) – 10.234
125cc - Top 5 Results – Race 4
1. William Dunlop (Honda) 21:26.004
2. Chris Palmer (Honda) -7.234
3. Olie Linsdell (Honda) -12.846
4. Mark Lunney (Honda) -26.632
5. Stephan Savelkouls (Honda) – 28.534