Race 1: HEL PERFORMANCE SUPERSPORT
1st – Alastair Seeley, Yamaha EHA Racing
2nd – James Hillier, Kawasaki Quatto Plant/JG Speedfit
3rd – Lee Johnston, Honda Padgett’s Motorcycles
To say this was a close race wouldn’t do it justice. From the outset the race was highly contended with Seeley, Hillier, Johnston and Harrison changing positions with each other throughout the 6 lap race. In the end Seeley would take the win making it the 11th win in this class and 22 wins overall at the NW200, retaining the record for the most wins at this circuit. Seeley also recorded the fastest lap with a time of 4:34.427 at a top speed of 117.671.
At the other end of the table 8 riders failed to finish which included up and coming Magrafelt rider Adam McLean and Dunlop brothers Michael & William.
Race 2: BAYVIEW HOTEL SUPERSTOCK
1st – Peter Hickman, BMW Smith’s Racing BMW
2nd – Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW motorad
3rd – Michael Dunlop, BMW MD Racing
Fans had to wait for this one as an oil spill during the Supersport race at station corner on the course delayed the action. As the sun lowered in the sky the race got underway and the racers battled it out on an 6 exciting close fought race.
Looking like another win for Seeley the riders came into Juniper with Hillier chasing Seeley’s tail. With the bike almost ‘kissing’ each other, Seeley tried to hold his position, but Hillier just nudged past which causing Seeley’s to waver slightly just holding control of his machine.
Just a short distance on James Hillier took the chequered flag by 0.578 of a second and came into the grid area to a huge ovation taking his 1st win at the North West 200.
Despite Hillier’s fantastic win, it was Seeley who recorded the fastest lap again with 4:23.577 at a speed of 122.514. 11 other racers fail to finish including William Dunlop for the second time.
William had highsided his machine at church corner and will now not compete on any of the races on Saturday due to heavy bruising to his back. Dunlop had been due to take part in the Supersport & Superstock races including the Superbike class that would have saw him start from the 8th position.
Race 3: VAUXHALL SUPERTWIN
1st – Martin Jessopp, Kawasaki Riders Motocycles
2nd – Jeremy McWilliams, Kawasaki KMR/IEG Racing
3rd – Joey Thompson, Paton Team ILR/Mark Coverdale
The final of the nights races, the Vauxhall Supertwin kicked off slightly later than expected at 8.22pm. This class is dominated by the Kawasaki machines, but neither McWilliams nor Thompson made it easy for the eventual race winner Jessopp, especially Thompsons Paton which came into its own on the course straights.
Not leading until the halfway point in the race, Jessopp with a lead of 1.860 seconds, took the flag in a stunning 4 lap Supertwin race. Jessopp also clocked the fastest lap of 4.56.226 at 109.11mph.
Four of the race riders failed to finish in this class including the North West’s only female rider Maria Costello.
If these races are anything to go by, and provided we get similar racing weather , we are in for a great days racing on Saturday.
Racing schedule: May 19
9:15am to 7pm: Roads closed for racing
Race 1: Supersport Race 1 – 6 laps
Race 2: Superbike Race 1 – 7 laps
Race 3: Supertwin Race 1 – 4 laps
Race 4: Superstock Race 2 – 6 laps
Race 5: NW200 Superbike Race 2 – 7 laps