Northern Ireland, North West 200, its good to be going back.
The coast road from Larne up to Bushmills doesn’t disappoint, stunning scenery as we wind up the coast to the cottage.
Thursday is another practice day with 3 races in the evening. Watch some practice down at Ballysally roundabout before moving on to Metropol, but, things have changed, we are no longer allowed up on the railway embankment, which sucks, cos its the best place to watch with plenty of facilities and a big screen to keep in touch with what’s going on elsewhere on the track. Its raining on and off, then more on than off, the superbike race goes out for 2 sighting laps and then a full 6 lap race, how, is beyond me, its gloomy and wet and not ideal for racing bikes on closed roads. By getting on for half 8 we are due for the twins race, its cancelled, a good move. We get back to the bikes and ride home in the conditions that they would have been racing in, we are doing 60, they would have been doing nearly 160 on the twins, doesn’t bear thinking about. The organisers re schedule the race to Saturday, so nothing lost.
Friday is a non race day and we play at being grockles doing the tourist stuff.
Saturday, there were some races, the sun shone, there were disqualifications and tyre issues for Dunlop. The twins race was won by Richard Cooper, but word soon comes out that he ahs been disqualified, his team lodge an appeal and he is allowed to race in the second, he wins again but loses the appeal. An altered fairing bracket is deemed to contravene the rules, done, seems a little harsh, its just a fairing bracket, however!
A few short weeks after the meeting it allegedly transpires that the fairing bracket can be an integral part of the frame and changes can alter the handling characteristics of the bike, enough for disqualification. There are also rumours that the team ran the bike last season, before rule changes came into place allowing it to be included in the series.
Track temperatures on the Saturday exceed 30 degrees, in Ireland! in May! The Dunlop tyres suffer, delaminating on a number of bikes, thankfully with no series consequences, Dunlop advise their riders not to ride in the finale NW Superbike race, the field is reduced significantly with a number of the top names missing and Glen Irwin goes on to win his 6th consecutive Superbike race.